Located at 1850 m at the end of the Haute Tarentaise Valley, with access to top slopes at a heady 3400 m underneath the Pointe du Montet summit, Val d’Isère is one of the most popular ski resorts for UK skiers. With sister resort Tignes, it forms the excellent Val d’Isère – Tignes ski area, which has historically been known as the Espace Killy. The ski domain has an impressive 300 km of pistes and 78 lifts, with snow-sure slopes that are perfect for anyone from absolute beginners to grizzled veterans. The highest lift in Tignes sits on the Grande Motte glacier at 3456 m where you’ll find plenty of pristine powder, but snow conditions on all slopes are usually excellent, and the resort also has Europe’s largest snow-making capacity to top up cover in the rare event that there’s a lack of natural snowfall on some pistes. You won’t waste time trekking along trails and taking lifts to make the most of the entire Val d’Isère – Tignes area because the pistes are linked in an organic, accessible and convenient manner, maximising your action time.
Val d’Isere is a great resort to get stuck into a bit of retail therapy at some of the resort’s 70 shops. Obviously, the majority of these are sports and food shops, however Val d’Isere also has many gifts shops and luxury goods retailers that make for a great browse. In the resort there are also three art galleries and photographic stores to visit, and Berraud the jewellers. You can also visit one of the many spas to help heal your post piste aches and pains.
Val d’Isere also offers activities for the adrenaline junkies. You can get a team together and be in charge of your own dogs and sled, and go husky racing. If this isn’t quick enough for you, then you can have a go at ice driving.
With high-altitude snow-sure slopes and a huge variety of pistes, Val d’Isère has much to recommend it to all aptitudes of skiers, plus it’s part of the impressive Val d’Isère – Tignes ski area, which extends your Alpine pleasure zone even further. The pistes here can be a little more challenging than their equivalents at rival resorts ̶ for instance, a Val d’Isère blue might be in the red category elsewhere and a black run almost always represents a very tricky but genuinely exciting endeavour.
Bellevarde is also where you’ll find the best off-piste opportunities in Val d’Isère ̶ the Banana is a large vertical drop you can access from the start of La Face, and the Charvet Tour is another famous off-piste run which is accessible from the top of the Grand Pré chairlift. You’ll also find a few off-piste tracks and fresh powder at La Daille and an area called the Lost Valley which you reach by passing over the bottom station of the Tommeuses chairlift bottom station and taking a drop-down to your right, but as always, it’s safest to hire a local mountain guide wherever you’re looking for fun off the beaten track.
The snow conditions in Val d’Isère are difficult to beat, wherever you go. Even in bad snow years, Val d’Isère remains accessible in most places due to the high altitude. A big plus point is the fact that all runs back into the town stay open almost all the time, because of how high the town is. The majority of the runs are above mid-mountain, ensuring long-term accessibility.
Geneva Airport is a 3 hour drive and Grenoble Airport is a 2 hour 45 minute drive from Val d'Isere.