Part of the gigantic Espace Killy ski area that also includes Tignes, Val d’Isere is one of the most expansive and impressive stops on the World Cup as far as ski terrain goes. You’re guaranteed great turns of your own here and as one might expect in France, exquisite eats around every corner.
Lying in France’s southeastern Savoie Rhone-Alpes region just a snowball’s throw away from Italy, Espace Killy (named after the region’s most successful ski racer, Jean-Claude Killy), is home to sprawling slopes—including two glaciers. Most of the terrain is well above tree line and although there are beginner and intermediate runs, much of Val d’Isere is notoriously steep. Plus, the region gets a significant amount of sun and blue skies, so if you dare to venture down one of craggy chutes on a clear powder day, you can’t help but feel you are starring in a high elevation ski video.
What’s more, the village, in spite of dating back nearly 400 years, is popping with dance clubs and après ski bars, so there’s no reason to feel like anything less than a hero.
WHERE TO STAY
There’s some sort of lodging every 10 steps in the village, but for a true rustic yet unquestionably French experience, the five-star Hotel Christiana delivers every luxury you could possibly want in a large chalet just a short walk from the gondola. Each of the 69 rooms or suites are equipped with beautiful oak furnishings, there is large heated pool, full fitness area, spa with every variety of massage and a beauty salon for the ultimate winter mani or pedi.
The array of fruit and pastries at the breakfast buffet is guaranteed to keep you charging on the mountain all morning. Besides the exquisite entrees on the dinner menu—monkfish with potato risotto, lobster tail roasted in butter or steak tartare that disintegrates in your mouth—the salads, meats, cheeses and roasted veggies in the hor d’oeuvre buffet alone with blow you away.