Val d’Isère is one of the most popular ski resorts in France, particularly with British skiers - some of whom have never skied anywhere else and never will. And it’s not that hard to see why. Sharing the immense Espace Killy ski area – named after the legendary French ski racer Jean-Claude who grew up in the village - with the purpose-built resort of Tignes, there are 300km of groomed pistes along with boundless off-piste possibilities to explore. Val d’Isère's lucky location being hard up against the Italian Alps gives rise to its amazing snow record – catching the Mediterranean as well as Atlantic dumps of snow. It always seems to be snowing in Val when everyone else is dry!!
This is truly a resort for everyone, whether cruising the gentle bowl pistes of le Grand Pre, testing yourself in the often-overlooked off-piste paradise of Le Fornet or, with edges sharpened and heart pounding, tackling the fearsome “Face” de Bellevarde – 63⁰ pitch at its worst, host of the mens’ 1992 Olympic downhill and providing dramatic scenes every December on the World Cup racing circuit to this day (and in full view of every deckchair in resort to boot…)
Clearly, just surviving La Face is reward in itself but, pro-skier or novice, every hard day on the mountains deserves a bit of wind-down and, while not in the same league as some of the Austrian resorts, après-ski in Val d’Isère is possibly the best in France. From the original Folie Douce dance party on the piste, through civilised caves de vin to buzzing subterranea with DJs and live music every night, there is truly somewhere for all tastes once the lifts shut.
For those looking for a more relaxing (or indeed a more sporty!) après-ski, the Centre Aquasportif offers numerous activities as well as relaxation opportunities, including 'Spa World', pools with river currents and massage jets, climbing wall, gym, and even golf and driving simulators - truly something for everyone!
New for 2016, a state-of-the-art gondola has replaced the old Solaise “Express” chairlift, and is reputed to move 40% more people per hour than before. This is great news for a resort in which lift queues first thing could be a perennial problem, particularly in peak weeks. The new Solaise gondola also features heated seats and all-important wifi so you needn’t miss a trick – just don’t forget your poles when pricing up that contract!
For an absolute certainty Val d’Isère is a stand-out resort in Europe, if not the World, for all-round fun on and off the mountain. Fabulous skiing and a brilliant atmosphere day and night. Come and see why some skiers never go anywhere else!