Arguably one of the world’s best ski destinations, Val d’Isere is an upmarket resort renowned for its exhilarating skiing and animated nightlife.
Originally a small alpine farming village, Val d’Isere has transformed into a modern and sophisticated resort whilst still retaining its character. Made up of a series of alpine hamlets, Val d’Isere is located near the Italian border within the Tarentaise valley, and together with Tignes forms part of the vast Espace Killy ski area.
At an altitude of 1850m, reaching 3456m at the top of Grand Motte in Tignes, you can expect some of the best snow conditions in the Alps, providing fantastic skiing late into the season. With access to over 300km of pistes, not to mention the extensive off-piste opportunities there is no shortage of terrain to satisfy all mountain goers. Val d’Isere is also home to one of the finest lift systems in the world with over 96 lifts that are constantly being upgraded.
Due to its snow sure slopes Val d’Isere has hosted many important ski and snowboard events over the years including the 1992 Winter Olympics as well as the 2009 World Championships. Famed black run La Face, the site of Men’s Downhill, provides an opportunity for skiers wishing to follow in the tracks of the world’s best, although it is not for the faint hearted!
With thrilling skiing, a charming setting, not to mention the plethora of luxury chalets in Val d’Isere, this resort is hard to beat.
“From Michelin stars to self-service restaurants Val D’Isere caters for all tastes and budgets.”
For an unforgettable gastronomic experience, L’Atelier Edmond at Le Fornet is highly recommended. With two Michelin stars to its name, head chef Benoit Vidal fuses local cuisine with Mediterranean flavours.
www.atelier-edmond.com / +33 4 79 00 00 82
Located at the top of La Daile, La Fruitere incorporates wholesome dishes and efficient service. Served in surroundings replicating an old dairy, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy watching the revellers next door at La Folie Douce.
www.lafoliedouce.com / +33 4 79 06 07 17
La Peau de Vache
One of the most popular mountain restaurants, La Peau de Vache can be found halfway down La Face. Notable for its innovative and enormous burgers, it also offers incredible views of the valley.
+33 4 79 06 11 29
For a cheese fest head to L’Avancher Restaurant, and gorge on delicious fondue and raclette. Situated just minutes from the ski lifts, within one of the oldest hotels in Val D’Isere, L’Avencher focuses on high quality local produce.
www.hotel-lavancher.com / +33 4 79 06 02 00
“With happy hours galore and numerous bars to choose from, Val D’Isere has a lively and entertaining apres ski scene.”
La Folie Douce
For serious on-piste partying, La Folie Douce attracts packed crowds with live DJ’s, bands, and table-top dancing. Open from 9am until 5pm, those who get too carried away can always take the gondola back to the village.
www.lafoliedouce.com / +33 4 79 00 00 82
Cocorico arrived on the scene in 2014 and is certainly making an impact. Open from 2pm to 8pm throughout the season, it brings in the crowds with an outdoor bar and terrace, live music, cold beers and a huge sound system.
www.cocoricovaldisere.com / +33 6 14 09 26 33
Dick’s Tea Bar
First opening its doors in 1979 Dick’s Tea Bar is an institution in Val D’Isere. Serving drinks and delicious nibbles from 4.30 it remains fairly restrained until the ‘After Dinner Club’ kicks in at 10.30pm showcasing live music, before transforming into a nightclub which remains open until 5am.
www.dicksteabar.com / +33 6 51 39 99 81
A trendy bar situated at the bottom of the slopes, Cafe Face has a relaxed vibe early in the evening before becoming a serious music venue where the apres-ski set can let their hair down until 2am.
www.le-cafe-face.html / +33 4 79 06 29 80
For a more sophisticated approach to apres ski, while away the evening listening to jazz in Le Jack Bar, or relax on the plush sofas of Le Blizzard Hotel Bar. Wine connoisseurs might want to consider heading to the intimate wine bar La Cave Sur La Comptoir to sample a variety of vintages.
“Whether you’re cruising down wide, gentle slopes, taking on the challenging blacks or making fresh tracks off-piste, Val D’Isere showcases skiing at its very best.”
Divided into three main areas, Val D’Isere’s slopes have a lot to offer. Solaise is the site of the original ski area in Val d’Isere, and by 2017 there will be even speedier access from the village to its 2560m summit with a new high-speed gondola. Bellevard can be reached via gondola from the village or the Funival from La Daille. Here you will find Val D’Isere’s two most famous downhill runs, La Face and thrilling World Cup piste the OK. Le Fornet, at the far end of the resort provides access to glacial skiing which remains open in June and July.
For adventurous types, the resort provides marvellously challenging off-piste skiing. The Col Pers and Pays Desert provide spectacular views and endless routes down, although we recommend taking a guide.
A mecca for serious skiers and boarders, Val d’Isere also caters for beginners. With two nursery slopes, an abundance of ski schools and a variety of confidence-boosting runs there are great opportunities to learn new skills. However, be warned that the resorts’ piste grading is not exactly reliable and some runs may be more challenging than their colour suggests!
The Development Centre
TDC have a range of clinics and private ski development lessons to suit all requirements.
www.tdcski.com/val_disere / +33 6 15 55 31 56
One of the leading ski and snowboard schools in the alps, Progression is a British ski school with highly trained and qualified instructors.
www.progressionski.com / +33 6 21 93 93 80
With over 20 years experience, Oxygene have a large number of dedicated instructors. From group lessons to private guiding, race training and ski touring Oxygene offers it all.
www.oxygene-ski.com / +33 4 79 41 99 58
Catering for all levels, I Ski are a close-knit team of local instructors (albeit fluent in English) with off piste guiding experience.
www.iski-val.com / +33 6 46 18 64 13
“Apart from skiing Val D’Isere has a number of other heart-stopping activities to get the adrenaline pumping.”
At the Circuit de Glace you can experience the thrills of a race track ice karting, or learn how to control a car at speed on ice.
www.valdisere-ice-driving.com / +33 6 23 04 46 58
Enjoy breathtaking views over Espace Killy at 10,00ft, with experienced pilot Phillippe de Villenoisy.
www.marine-air-sport.com / +33 607 224 397
Take charge of your own pack of huskies or alternatively enjoy being a passenger.
www.evolution2-27-dog-sledding / +33 4 79 00 77 29
French Patisserie Classes
Learn how to create mouth-watering French pastries from acclaimed chef Patrick Chevallot (voted best French Pastry Chef of the year). Classes are available every Thursday at the Chevallot bakery from 5pm to 7pm.
www.chevallot.com / +33 4 79 06 16 09