In The Spotlight: Val d'Isère

Quick facts on Val d'Isère

Combining purpose-built convenience with striking mountain scenery, Val d'Isère occupies a secure place among the world’s premiere ski destinations.
With Europe’s most snow-sure conditions, an incredible variety of terrain and over 300km of pistes to explore, it’s an almost unbeatable proposition for a winter break. Throw in almost year-round skiing, a lively après-ski scene and a huge range of ski-in ski-out accommodations, you start to see what makes a Val d'Isère skiing adventure so enduringly popular for families, groups and solo adventurers alike.

Val d'Isère Fast Facts

Domain altitude: 1,850m
Lowest slope: 1,550m
Highest lift: 3456m
Total pistes: 300km
Lifts: 76
Runs: 154

  • Green: 21 (14%)
  • Blue: 67 (43%)
  • Red: 42 (27%)
  • Black: 24 (16%)

Getting There

The nearest airports are

  • Chambéry (144km / 2hrs)
  • Grenoble (216km / 2.5hrs)
  • Lyon (221km / 2.5hrs)
  • Geneva (226km / 2.5hrs).

Such is its popularity that Val d’Isère is very well connected by various private transfer services.

Train travel is a viable option. From Bourg-Saint-Maurice it’s an easy 40-minutes (30km) journey by taxi, or you can opt for the public bus service.

We Love

  • Long winter season, running from late November to early May
  • In terms of sheer size and variety of terrain, the ski area is practically unbeatable
  • Modern and efficient lift system that effectively handles the crowds

The Downsides

  • Prices can be very much like the resort’s most challenging black runs: steep!
  • The prevalence of Brits can make it easy to forget you’re in France
  • Incredible popularity means it can get very busy during peak season

The Domain

Val d’Isère is without doubt one of France’s prettiest domains. Originally dating from the 17th century, it has successfully retained much of its traditional charm, with attractive stone and wood buildings supplying character in abundance. Now partially car-free, it’s a thoroughly pleasant place to walk around, with a wealth of excellent shopping and dining options on offer.

A couple of kilometres towards the head of the valley lies Le Fornet, a sleepy and picturesque hamlet with some truly stunning Savoyard style chalets. Meanwhile, back down towards the lake at the mouth of the valley is La Daille, where the majority of the domain’s less expensive accommodation is to be found. Both are linked to Val d’Isère itself by a regular free bus service.

The Ski Area

Even as a standalone entity, Val d’Isère would be a strong contender amongst global ski domains. Factor in the links with Tignes and the wider Espace Killy area, and its presence in the top echelons becomes abundantly clear.

Not all interlinked ski areas were created equal. While some tend to suffer from slow lift connections and lengthy piste links, the Espace Killy is the real deal: a cohesive, genuinely functional domain. With over 300km of trails and some of the very best off-piste in Europe – all seamlessly integrated by a modern, efficient lift system – it’s genuinely one of the best places in the world to go skiing or snowboarding.

Aside from its sheer size, the area’s strength lies in its diversity. Thanks to the broad variety of terrain, there really is something for all comers. Experts will love the selection of long, challenging blacks, including the legendary La Face de Bellevarde, known simply as ‘La Face’. At 3km in length and with a vertical drop of 959m, it’s steep, highly demanding and practically a local rite of passage.

With a combined total of 109 red and blue runs, Val d’Isère is a paradise for intermediates. There are plenty of well-groomed, undulating slopes that lend themselves perfectly to fast, easy cruising, while an excellent halfpipe and multiple terrain parks offer potential airtime for skiers and snowboarders of all ability levels.

Meanwhile, newbies and children are well served by the newly revamped Solaise sector, which offers three covered magic carpets and an abundance of easily accessible beginner runs. There are also two nursery areas: one in La Daille, and one in the centre of Val d’Isère.

Another benefit of Val d’Isère’s enduring popularity is that it enjoys a strong and consistent influx of money, much of which gets continually reinvested in infrastructure. As such, the lift system is being constantly modernised, and the standard of piste grooming is amongst the best in France. Recent developments include replacing the old Solaise lift with a modern 10-person gondola, increasing capacity by 40% and eliminating some of the domain’s most notorious bottlenecks.

Club Med Ski - The pioneers in all inclusive ski holidays

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