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Resort Guide: Val d'Isère
Last Updated: January 2021
Val d'Isère is one of the most popular ski areas in the French Alps, while along with the Tignes ski resort it forms, according to many, the most beautiful ski resort in the world.
As you reach Val d'Isère, you are at an altitude of 1,850 meters, between high-ceiling chalets made of wood and fresh snow that creaks under your boots.
The official season starts around mid-December until May 4 - who can challenge the allure of spring skiing? The rest of the year Val d'Isère remains as lively, unlike, for example, the purely touristy Trois Vallees. Besides, the village, which has around 2,000 inhabitants, was established before the ski resort.
About Val d'Isère
Thanks to the numerous facilities surrounding the Val-d'Isère ski resort, guests will be more than just satisfied. The resort is distinguished for its freeride skiing but also for activities beyond the ski slopes. The most characteristic of these is without a doubt the Grande Motte peak located at an altitude of 3,656 meters.
Val-d'Isère's only downhill ski slopes, Solaise and Bellevarde, offer skiers of all levels a wide variety of pistes, from beginner level to cross-country skiing routes for professional skiers.
Its icy slopes are home to the highest altitude ski slopes of the ski resort. Every year, traditionally in December, various ski races take place in this area as part of the Alpine World Ski Championship around the slopes of the Val d'Isère.
Winter Sports with a Traditional Charm
Here one finds on the same slope red, blue and green slopes next to each other. Val d'Isère has 124 slopes, 19 green, 58 blue, 36 red and 11 black, 120 lifts, including 2 aerial and 5 slidings, and over 240 snow cannons for periods when artificial snow becomes a necessity. Anyone who prefers to ski on less demanding ski slopes can find what they want in Val d'Isère.
The slopes are suitable for skiers of all levels. Beginners are recommended to take group lessons and take advantage of free lift access while advanced skiers can try their luck on off-road trails over Le Fornet and Le Laisinant.
You can get directly from the Val d'Isère to various other ski areas. With the Funival underground cable car, skiers can get from La Daille district to Rocher de Bellevarde.
From Le Joseray, a cable car line lifts guests to the top. Another cable car and an aerial lift with seats, designed to protect passengers from bad weather, cold and rain, lead to the Tête du Solaise. Only in rare cases do passengers have a long waiting time at the lifts.
Of course, there is more than just skiing: snowboarding has over 15,000 fans every year, while snowmobiles, skating and related winter sports are just as popular. For your safety and to get to know the area in the best way possible, it would be better to let the experts teach you and show you the Val d'Isère slopes.
If you are a budding snowboarder or are you an experienced snowboarder looking for unique off-piste adventures at Val d'Isère? Then check out Snowboard School Val d'Isère, the local experts on all things snowboard related!
They can offer you passionate, knowledgeable teachers who can tailor their lessons to your needs, especially if you opt for a private lesson. Lessons are open to all levels and for children from 4 years old and above and can last 2 or 4 hours or the whole day. The team can also help you explore the backcountry and shred the powder fields around Tignes and Val d'Isère. They will teach you about snow layers, the different risks you need to take into account and of course take you to some of the best spots in the mountains for off-piste and freeride snowboarding.
PowderWeGo ski school in Val-d'Isère is another favourite school specializing in many winter sports and activities. Here is a quick overview of their most popular classes for all levels:
PowerWeGo welcomes you to the winter sports world of Val-d'Isère from November to May. They are also happy to offer you tips about the best time to visit the area to ensure that the weather conditions are ideal.
Accommodation and Entertainment in Val d'Isere
In the area, you will find luxurious hotels, cozy chalets, comfortable winter holiday apartments and spacious cottages. They offer top quality, maximum comfort and excellent services to suit every taste. On average, 3-star hotels in Val dʼIsère cost € 146 per night and 4-star hotels € 236 per night. If you are looking for something special, the 5-star hotels are priced at € 380 per night.
In the village, there are many small boutiques, cafes, creperies, patisseries, local breweries, sports shops and souvenir shops that make Val d'Isère a great place to be even when you're off the pistes. If you want to do something different than skiing or snowboarding for the day, you can go ice climbing and sledging with huskies. Nice to know is that famous people also find their way to this beautiful ski resort. With a bit of luck, you can spot a celebrity!
After skiing, there is always something going on in the main street of Val d'Isère. Here you will find many beautiful shops where you can enjoy shopping. Although Val d'Isère is a bit quieter than nearby Tignes, you can also enjoy great après-ski at pubs that host live music events.
How to Get to Val d'Isère
There are several ways to get to the Val d'Isère. The resort is just 5 km from the border with Italy and only three hours away from Geneva. The most common way is to take the plane, but many visitors choose to drive there to enjoy the snowy landscapes of the French countryside along the way. The most economical but at the same time, the most time-consuming solutions are train and bus.
If you enter the country from the north, the distance from Paris to the resort is about 8 hours. If you are coming from the south side of the country, then, for example, the journey from Montpellier to Val d'Isère is 5 hours. Wherever you start your trip, make sure your GPS is up to date, shows you the right route and alerts you for the traffic flow, constructions, and crashes.
When getting closer to the area, the best way to get to Val d'Isère is to take the N90 motorway from Albertville to Moutiers, and then continue in the direction of Aime and Bourg Saint Maurice.
Although Val d'Isère is geographically closer to Italy, the nearest and most convenient airport to fly into is Geneva Airport, which is only 3 hours away. Don't worry about your transport from the airport to the resort as many private companies can arrange your transfer. You can book a private bus or choose a shared minibus which is offered at more affordable prices.
Many train lines run to the nearest station, Bourg St Maurice, 45 minutes from Val d'Isère. Paris to Bourg St Maurice is a 5-hour journey. You can take the TGV train from Paris Gare de Lyon and change in Chambery to the regional train line TER to get to Bourg Saint Maurice. One-way prices cost around € 60.
To finally reach your destination, you can take a local bus, taxi or private transfer to your accommodation.
A coach is certainly not the most popular choice, but it is the most economical one. This is especially true if, for example, you land in Paris, then a private coach to Val d'Isère may be the cheapest means of transportation. The demand is usually high, so the best thing to do is book your ticket several months in advance. The journey may take more than 10 hours, mainly due to the low speed and frequent stops.
Needless to say, Val d'Isère is an excellent affordable family-friendly resort. The extensive season from November to May has something for everyone, whether you prefer the fresh winter snow or the bright spring sun. All you have to do is book your tickets, a lodging of your choice and get ready to enjoy the magic of Val d'Isère.
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