Val d'Isère has access to the best all-around ski area in the world, the Espace Killy. With just over 100 lifts compared to the 300 to be found in the Trois Vallées, the Espace Killy is obviously not the largest ski area in the world, but size isn’t everything and this region has as much skiing as one could ever need, not to mention the longest winter in the Alps. (The winter ski season here begins in late November and continues until early May and conditions are seldom disappointing).
The main centre of Val d'Isère has been virtually rebuilt over the past 25 years and many of the buildings are imaginative contemporary interpretations of the traditional stone and Savoyard style wood structures.
Ski holidays to Val d'Isère were revolutionised with the introduction of après-ski in the 80s, when Dick Yates-Smith set up the seminal bar-nightclub known as Dicks Tea-Bar.
Resort Altitude: 1,850m
Resort Skiing: 3,455m
Green Runs: 53km
Blue Runs: 147km
Red Runs: 72km
Black Runs: 28km
Cross Country: 21km
Travel date 02/02/2019
Booked by: Ginny Orange
Val d'Isère is part of the Espace Killy ski area alongside Tignes. With over 300km of piste-skiing and plenty of additional off-piste powder fields, there's a huge array of skiing to be found here.
Val d'Isère alone can be broken up into three ski areas; Le Solaise, Bellevarde and Le Fornet, all offering different slopes and styles of skiing.
Snow-sure, varied and extensive; the skiing in Val d'Isère is some of the best in the world and it's a great place for all ages and abilities. The pistes are well connected and the different areas within the Espace Killy mean you can follow the sunshine around throughout the day. Beginners are recommended to head to the wide, cruisy slopes found in the Solaise and Bellevarde areas, whereas advanced skiers will enjoy the vast selection of black runs, including the world-famous 'La Face'. There's plenty of off-piste skiing for those looking for fresh powder.
Val d'Isère is a brilliant resort for boarders, with an abundance of off-piste for the advanced and very few drag lifts for beginners to contend with. There are two fun parks, one in Val d'Isère and one in Tignes, both with a half-pipe and well worth a visit for any intermediate or advanced boarders heading to the Espace Killy.
With many ski schools to choose between, there is something for everybody. New Generation, Oxygène and Evolution 2 offer fantastic lessons for all ability levels. If you’re travelling during a peak week be sure to book these well in advance.
Le Petit Poucet is the most popular and is a non-ski kindergarten catering for three to ten-year-olds. t4 Private Nanny Service will look after children from four months old in your own chalet or accommodation, staffed by qualified British nannies. Both services offer a pickup and drop-off service in conjunction with the ski schools. We highly recommend pre-booking any childcare well in advance, especially for peak school holiday dates.
Self-service restaurants tend to be the best value mountain spots and serve as a quick lunch break. Alternatively, head to La Peau de Vache for exceptional food and service with a welcoming candlelit atmosphere.
In the evening, Chez Paulo is a well-priced Italian or La Baraque is a long-serving favourite where you'll find all the locals. At the other end of the scale, L'Atelier Edmond boasts two Michelin stars and is a wonderful evening out.
La Folie Douce is a must see après ski bar, even if it's just to watch the revellers from the slope above. The DJ starts around 15:00 and the terrace is jam-packed almost every day with tourists and seasonaires alike. Similarly, Cocorico is another lively après bar with live music on their outside terrace. For a more relaxed post-skiing drink head to La Cave wine bar, Victors or Saloon (where you can enjoy some games of pool or beer pong). Those looking for a stylish après ski bar should visit Les Barmes de l'Ours Bar, where there will be an open fire, piano music and fine wines.
From ice-driving in a BMW to dog sledding or winter walking; there's plenty to do off the slopes in Val d'Isère. There's a cinema for snowy days or evenings with children and a great leisure centre with two large pools, with one entry included in the cost of your lift pass. It's a fabulous place to be regardless of whether you're skiing or not, and there are plenty of restaurants in the town which are fantastic to visit throughout the day and evening. The après ski bars are also well located so that those not on skis can join the rest of the group easily.