The Tarentaise Valley boasts the largest concentration of world-class ski resorts on the planet and Val d’Isere, in the soaring, snow-blanketed Espace Killy ski area is no exception. In this guide to Val d’Isere skiing holidays we’ll give you an overview of what to expect in the most popular ski resort for Brits.
Guide to Val d’Isere skiing holidays: The slopes
Espace Killy links skiing in Val d’Isere with Tignes providing 144 runs, including 89 blue, 39 red, and 16 black pistes. There is a total of 300 km of pisted runs plus dramatic, often lift-provisioned, off-piste to tempt experts off the beaten path. The lift system across the Espace Killy is well linked and mostly modern with mainly fast chairs, gondolas and funiculars.
Both Tignes and Val d’Isere have glaciers, and much of the skiing is at over 2000m making it a snow sure ski area. With around 2000m of vertical to play in there are plenty of long runs that will leave your legs burning but heart yearning for more.
The Bellevarde Mountain hosts the Val d’Isere’s most famous run — Le Face — which featured in the 1992 Olympics, and along with the OK Piste is part of the World Cup circuit. From the Bellevarde you can ski back into Val d’Isere, La Daille or work your way over to Tignes. There are also a lot of beginner runs accessed from Bellevarde peak.
Heading in the opposite direction is the Solaise Mountain, which has some tricky blacks a red -that gets quite busy – running back into Val. Or you can head over the back of Solaise for a gentle blue runs back to the village, or access to the rest of the ski area. The Solaise also had some great off-piste in the Lavancher area and off the Manchet chairlift.
Heading to the left (as you look at the piste map) from Solaise there are a huge amount of runs starting up at the Monet Peak and Pissaillas Glacier at around 3400m and heading all the way down to Le Fornet at 1850m. There are a vast range of pistes to choose from and a lot of easy to access off-piste in the area.
In the past Val d’Isere was notorious for under-classified slopes, meaning many of the beginner runs were tricky, narrow, and bumpy – the learning curve was steep. However things have improved dramatically and these days beginners slopes are well taken care off. Although Val d’Isere skiing holidays are suitable for all, it’s a ski area that experts will love.
Guide to Val d’Isere skiing holidays: The town
Val d’Isere is a very lively resort where many people party as hard as they ski. With the original Folie Douce on Bellevarde the party starts at 3pm on the piste, and with the famous Dicks Tea Bar not chucking out until around 5am it ends late.
There are a multitude of bars to entertain you for the night that range from traditional pubs to swanky cocktail bars and sports bars to strip joints. If you want to know more about the nightlife read this article about a Val d’Isere snowboarding stag do.
In comparison to many ski resorts Val d’Isere is a picturesque town. It has plenty of shops and restaurants suitable for all tastes. However it is one of the most expensive French ski resorts, particularly for eating out, which is why it is a good to book catered accommodation.
Val d’Isere is the most popular ski resort for us Brits meaning all the major ski tour operators offer Val d’Isere skiing holidays. However if you prefer to book independently, or want to experience something more personal, authentic and affordable then we recommend you try Ski Bonjour catered chalets.
A friend of mine stayed with Ski Bonjour a couple of years ago and raved about the experience as they provide a high quality chalet experience at an affordable price. Ski Bonjour have four chalets to choose from in Val d’Isere, which all offer their great service at a reasonable price.
Val d’Isere skiing holidays are so popular because the ski area is vast and varied and the apres caters to all tastes from wild to relaxing. I personally have been a few times and I am sure I will return again.
To find out more about Ski Bonjour visit their website: www.skibonjour.com or contact them by phone: +44 (0)1765677787 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Val d’Isere check out the resort website: www.valdisere.com