Val d’Isere: Perfect ski holiday on the Alps

This wonderful French ski resort with over 300 km of marked pistes runs and unlimited off piste skiing within the Espace Killy area, is offering some of the best skiing and boarding in the world.

Val d’Isere is a great destination with a lively atmosphere concentrated on the wide main street that runs the length of the town, lined with fashion shops, restaurants bars and cafés and a cinema. During the winter season, every Thursday, this main and busy high street is closed off to all vehicles in order to transform the area into a pedestrian zone where visitors can enjoy street entertainment, ice and snow sculpting, parades and live music. Every Monday near the tourist office, the market comes to town selling local cheeses, cured meats, sweets and clothes giving the village a real French feel.

Val d’Isere village

The ski area is best suited to strong intermediates and better. There are 96 lifts spreading ten miles across Val d’Isere and Tignes that can carry around 149,000 skiers per hour. Most of Val d’Isere’s lifts are rapid and long, so there’s a lot of skiing back down for a short trip up.

Val d’Isere skiing

On the Val side, the mountain is split into four sectors, two of which can be reached direct from the resort. One can move from one sector to another on pistes, and the links to Tignes are seamless.

There are eight main mountain access points, from Le Fornet to La Daille. The Train Rouge, is a free ski bus that loops all eight as well as Val’s satellite villages every three minutes at peak times. During the day it is an integral part of the lift system. Solaise was the first of Val d’Isere’s ski areas opened in the late 1930s accessed by a highspeed hair from the Rond Pointe des Pistes. At 2,560m, there is a network of intermediate runs of varying standard, as well as the RhoneAlpes black, an FIS omen’s downhill course. Bellevard area is reached by the Olympique jumbo gondola or two chairs, rises up to 2,827m on the other side of the resort. La Face was the venue for the men’s downhill at the 1992 Albertville Olympics and the 2009 World Championships. The backside is the starting point for an enormous area of varied slopes that head towards Tignes in one direction and back down to Val, via a circuitous route, in the other.

Val d’Isere snowboarding

Le Fornet area can be reached from the pistes of Solaise, or by regular free ski bus from Val d’Isere. From here, a cable car followed by a gondola and other lifts, takes you up to the summer ski area on the Pissaillas glacier beneath the 3,488m summit of the Pointe du Montet. La Daille is reached by the ski bus, from where you can head towards Tignes. For beginners, the main nursery slope is at the bottom of the pistes beside the resort centre or at La Daille or Solaise. The Oakley Valpark in the Bellevarde/La Daille sector is at the foot of the Marmottes chair and served by its own button lift and has an excellent range of rails and kickers. Val has 18 official ski schools teaching skiing and snowboarding.

Arriving in Val d’Isere

Bourg StMaurice, is the nearest railway station to Val d’Isere, and has train connections to destinations all over France (eg Chambéry and LyonPart Dieu) and seasonal bus links to Val d’Isere. Belle Savoie Express links the railhead of Bourg StMaurice, 32km northwest of Val d’Isere, with Val d’Isere. Tickets must be reserved 48 hours in advance. The company also has ski season buses linking Val d’Isere to Tignes.

Eurostar also operates direct daytime and overnight services from London to Bourg StMaurice.

Aérobus has direct airport transfer services from Val d’Isere to Geneva airport or Ben’s Bus which also connects Grenoble airport to Val d’Isere.

Altibus has seasonal airport transfer services to/from Lyon StExupéry airport and during the ski season, direct buses also go to Chambéry airport.

Chambery Airport, France is the closest airport to Val d’Isere, around 2.5 hours away. However flights are not as regular as Geneva and the airport is more likely to close due
 to bad weather. You can book a private airport transfer from Geneva airport for a comfortable and reliable ski transfer to Val d’Isere. It is recommended to arrange your airport transfer prior your trip instead of taking taxi at the airport because the cost for private airport transfer to Val d’Isere is fixed and can be paid by credit card or to the driver. Also, the price for the taxi transfer from Geneva airport to Val d’Isere is per vehicle and is especially convenient if you’re a larger group so you can split the cost. The arrangement includes door-to-door service so your taxi will take you from Geneva airport to Val d’Isere at the address you will provide.

Originally published at on December 31, 2015.