This world-class resort has earned its reputation as one of France’s top ski destinations. Val d’Isère has something for skiers and boarders of all levels: Olympic and World Cup runs, a wealth of fantastic off-piste opportunities and a varied selection of pistes including greens high up on the mountain.
The base of Val d'Isère sits at 1850 metres and from there, the pistes climb up to 3488 metres, at the Pointe du Montet and the Pissaillas glacier, just below at 3450 metres. Skiers have a choice of 150 kilometres of pistes for all levels, serviced by 90 lifts.
Val d'Isere is part of the Espace Killy ski area, shared with Tignes. Some of the world's best skiers leave their tracks here and the resort has hosted Olympic and World Cup downhill competitions, as well as the Alpine Ski World Championships.
Best for: Intermediates and above
Val d'Isere really is a great all-round resort. Beginners and intermediates will find about 55% of its runs are either green or blue. The resort also has five beginner zones, two of which are large "ski tranquil" areas, criss-crossed with easy runs.
Of course, advanced skiers will find all the slope they need to push their skills to the limits, thanks to legendary runs like the incredibly steep La Face, used for the men's Olympic downhill. The most challenging run, La Forêt, cuts through the trees and is ideal for mogul fans.
Freestylers can also get their kicks in the famous Oakley ValPark, which like the rest of the resort, offers something for all levels. Val d'Isere is linked to neighbouring Tignes; the two resorts combine to form the giant Espace Killy ski area.
Highlights: High-altitude snowsure slopes, a long ski season from late November into first week of May, ski-in/ski-out accommodation, huge selection of varied pistes, fast modern lifts, terrain parks, one of the best lift-served off-piste ski areas in the world, easy access to Tignes.
Nearest airports: Chambery (145km/2hrs), Geneva (223km/2hrs50)
Nearest station: Bourg-St-Maurice (30km/40mins). Regular buses run from station
Après / Nightlife
Val d'Isère is known for its nightlife, so get après ski started at La Rosée Blanche, which is just at the foot of the La Daille. It's a quiet option, where you can sip Val's best vin chaud and watch the last skiers make their way down the mountain.
Otherwise, the M Bar at the Tsanteleina Hotel sets the mood with lounge music, champagne cocktails, and dimmed lighting. The bar also has free wifi, in case you want to take a little time to connect with loved ones back home to recount your exploits on the pistes.
To finish the night on a hot note, there's Dick's Tea Bar, which has been a staple of Val d'Isère nightlife for 30 years. It came under new management in 2010-2011 and underwent renovations. Now guests party in a cool Nordic atmosphere, bathed in blue, turquoise, and violet light. International DJs regularly rock the dance floor, so check their website for the programme.