Worldwide Ski ResortsFranceVal d’Isere

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This large, sprawling resort town is linked with its neighbouring sister resort of Tignes, which together make up the vast Espace Killy ski area in the French Alps. It is not the most attractive community with suburbs consisting of many ugly, modern apartment blocks. The town centre however shows signs of recent tasteful refurbishment, particularly around the traffic free hub of Val Village. It is an active, lively town, containing all the usual facilities of better than average shops, bars and restaurants. Accommodation is plentiful and ranges from top class catered chalets, luxury hotels, comfortable guesthouses and self catering apartments to suit all budgets.


Val-d’Isere is situated at 1850m and provides direct access to the entire Espace Killy consisting of an impressive 300 km of pistes served by a system of 97 lifts. Val-d’Isere is remarkably snow sure. The overall height of the resort, coupled with the extensive snow making operation covering the lower slopes means that the runs are rarely (if ever) impassable. It is a resort that has plenty to offer every category of skier. Experts are attracted by the wide areas of off piste country, served by its own lift system. There are not that many black runs, but the reds and some of the blues here do get frequently mogully and provide extra challenges. Intermediates get a huge variety of suitable runs all over the mountains. Boarders have plenty of on and off piste action in Espace Killy, and there is an excellent terrain park. Novices too have a choice of nursery slopes with good progression slopes on which to practice. Cross country trail are somewhat limited. Ski schools are generally very good, but do get crowded. Child care facilities are also good.

Mountain Information

As one would expect, given the height of the runs, the vast majority are above the tree line and take the form of wide open slopes. There are however some really nice tree lined runs back to the village. A perennial complaint at this resort is the confusing signage and the presentation of the pistes, with many green and red runs taking on a degree of difficulty above their grading due to poor grooming.

The local slopes are separated into three distinct sectors, all reached directly from the village. Bellevarde with its famous world class downhill run; Solaise — the sunniest of the three with the most gentle slopes and Col de I’Iseran, the highest with the most spectacular scenery. Experts will find the best local on piste skiing at Bellevarde, the home of the ‘Face’ black. Intermediates have plenty of suitable, excellent runs at all three sectors, so take your pick, although both Solaise and Col de I’Iseran have some flattering runs that will suit the improving or the nervous intermediate. Mountain restaurants are to be found all over the resort and are mostly very good.

Apres Ski

This is the place to come if you like to party hard. There is a huge choice of bars and clubs vying with one another for customers. Many of the bars have live bands and most have some form of entertainment on offer. Folie Douce and the Moris Pub are among the many bars that see the early action, while later the Café Fats, Dick’s Tea Bar and Petit Danois get the late night clubbers.

Resort Information • Val d’Isere

Resort Height Resort Height 1850m
Top Station Top Station 3450m
Bottom Station Bottom Station 1550m
Vertical Descent Vertical Descent 1900m
Drag Lifts Drag Lifts 23
Chair Lifts Chair Lifts 18
High Capacity High Capacity 6
Opening Dates Opening Dates Nov - May
Rating Expert Rating Expert 6
Rating Intermediate Rating Intermediate 8
Rating Beginner Rating Beginner 8
Apres Ski Rating Apres Ski Rating 7
Snow Reliability Snow Reliability 8