Val d’Isere is France’s premier resort – it has everything you could possibly want from a ski holiday: great skiing, a pretty village, lovely restaurants, and lively nightlife. There are 186 miles (300 km) of piste runs as well as incredible off-piste opportunities and because of its height and location it is open from November to May – in fact, the resort has traditionally been chosen as the location for one of the opening races for the skiing world cup in Europe.
The ski area links Val d’Isere and Tignes with one of the most efficient lift systems in the world which have been increased and improved over the last 5 years. The new, fast Solaise lift can move 8530 feet (2600 m) on heated seats and in-cabin Wi-Fi and the new gondola going from La Daille to the Folie Douce has 51 cabins with heated seats and can move 2,800 passengers per hour in a journey time of just 4min 30sec. The gondola cabins were even designed by Ferrari and Maserati.
The ski area is split into four sectors, two of which can be reached directly from the resort and the lifts make moving from one area to another and to access the slopes in Tignes easy for anyone of intermediate level or above. As the resort is a linear development along a dead-end valley (although open in the summer) there is a main lift point all along the central road from La Daille, at the entrance to the resort to Le Fornet, the pretty village settlement at the end of the valley.
The most famous run in the resort is probably La Face de Bellvarde with its magnificent views of the alps and of the village – this was the men’s downhill run in the 1992 Olympics and a great test for the legs as it is often mogulled from top to bottom. It is a run best tackled in the morning when it’s been groomed! The area is an intermediate paradise with lots of wide, fast blues and reds. Head up to Glacier de Pissaillas where you’ll find great snow, amazing views, and some lovely red and blue runs in an area that is frequently quieter than some of the other ski areas. But beginners are not forgotten here – there are new beginner slopes in the recent Solaise development as well as some good green runs in the Bellevarde area.
If you’re looking for a challenge for the week, start in Le Fornet and ski from the Glacier de Pissaillas to the Grande Motte on the Tignes side and then down to Tignes Les Brevieres so skiing between the two furthest points of the ski area. Just don’t forget to leave time to ski back!
Val d’Isere Ski Resort Statistics
|Skiable Terrain||300 km of piste. 24,700 acres|
|Vertical||1605 m (5269 ft)|
|Top Elevation||3,197 m 10,488 ft|
|Base Elevation||1,850 m 6069 ft|
|Average Snowfall||5.25 m (207 in / 17 ft)|
|Trails||151 (Green 22, Blue 68, Red 39, Black 22)|
|Winter lifts Total||70 + 2 Funiculars|
|Longest Run||6.5 km (4 mi)|