Why Val d'Isère Ski Resort?
- Pedestrian friendly resort
- The Val d'Isere and Tignes ski areas combine to make the huge Tignes Val d'Isere (formely Espace Killy) ski area
- A lively resort with plenty of activities and amenities
- Pretty original village
Val d'Isere Information
The process of developing Val d'Isère into a world-class ski resort, which started in the 1930s, gathered momentum during the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics, when it almost re-invented itself, with numerous new buildings built attractively of wood and stone.
Val d'Isère and its linked neighbour Tignes, which together form the vast and exciting Tignes Val d'Isere ski area, each sit in two deep valleys. Both are reached from Bourg St Maurice via the Route des Grand Alpes, with an intersection cutting across to Tignes shortly before reaching Val d'Isère. Until 1952, the village of Tignes was to be found just above Brévières but it was "drowned" by a huge artificial lake, the Lac de Chevril, installed to provide hydro-electric power.
So while the main resort village of Tignes today is a much more modern counterpart, “Val”, complete with its ancient 16th century, dates back to the 13th century. Historic remnants of the old village are still to be seen amongst the chalet-style buildings in the resort. Today, this pedestrian-friendly resort is made up of several hamlets all connected by a very efficient free bus service. So once you’re here, you won’t really need a car. The resort is quite long (5km) with accommodation spread along it. There are 7 different start zones for skiing (on the southern side of the valley only), from La Daille at one end (as you enter the resort) to Le Fornet at the far end at the foot of the Col d'Iseran.
VAL D'ISERE SKI AREA
The two ski resorts of Tignes and Val d'Isère make up the Tignes-Val d'Isere (formally Espace Killy) ski area, located in the Tarentaise area of the Savoie department in the Northern French Alps. There are multiple villages in Tignes including:
- Tignes Val Claret
- Tignes Le Lac
- Tignes 1800
- Tignes les Brevieres
- Tignes Lavachet
- and then Val d'Isere on the other side
It provides a large well-linked and high-altitude ski area with a very reliable snow record (Tignes is open 11 months of the year!), thanks to the La Grande Motte Glacier and the fact that it backs onto the peaks of the Italian border. According to 'Where to Ski and Snowboard' Tignes is listed as "Good snow guaranteed for a long season - about the best Alpine bet". You can also ski the glacier in the summer months with our sister company Peak Retreats.
As a whole, the Tignes-Val d'Isere ski area has become one of Europe’s premier ski resorts. With its varied ski terrain, easy ski access and excellent lift system, it offers something for everyone – from complete beginners to thrill-seeking off-pisters!
Areas of Val d'Isere:
- La Daille (entrance to the resort) - home to the funival underground funicular as well as the brand new gondola to Folie Douce for 2018/19
- Rond Point des Pistes - an open area for ski school meeting points and lifts rising into the mountains
- Solaise - gondola to the summit at 2560m
- Bellevarde - it's 2827m summit is reached by the Olympique gondola (or funival from La Daille)
- Le Laisinant - take the chairlift to connect with runs of Solaise and Le Fornet
- Le Fornet - cablecar/chairlift up to the Pissaillas Glacier and Val's highest lift beneath the Ponite du Montet
Neighbouring Tignes has a lot to offer including the Grande Motte glacier served by a modern funicular railway which takes experts as well as intermediates to the panoramic platform at 3030m within just 7 minutes! The Perce-Neige funicular, which took 4 years to construct, departs from Tignes Val Claret. It carried its first passengers in April 1993, and can transport 3000 people per hour travelling at a speed of 12 metres per second! At the top you will find a beautifully located panoramic restaurant with the most stunning views, brilliant ski slope options and the cable car to conquer the Grande Motte glacier!
The cable car will take you to new heights at 3456m. It can transport 3000 people per hour thanks to its two cabins and all at a speed of 10m per second! From the top you can enjoy a thrilling ski down to Tignes Les Brévières, have a mountain guide take you to the very summit of the Grande Motte glacier or as a pedestrian simply marvel at the glorious surrounding mountains from the various viewpoints.
For those with their own car, yet more skiing is available fairly nearby in the following ski areas: Sainte Foy is a 30 minute drive from Tignes Val Claret; Les Arcs is 45-60 minutes; whilst La Rosière and La Plagne are about 60 minutes away. And don’t forget you have Val d'Isère just 25 minutes by car (or ski across from Tignes) plus the other Tignes villages. A day of skiing at most of these resorts is possible at no additional cost with lift passes valid for six days or more.
Additional ski fact info 2018/19, main ski info in resort facts box at top of page
Val d'Isere only - 42 lifts (1 funicular, 5 gondola/cable car, 19 chairlifts, 17 draglifts/moving carpets), 81 slopes:
Green slopes: 14
Blue slopes: 34
Red slopes: 23
Black slopes: 10
VAL D'ISERE SKIING
VAL D'ISERE BEGINNERS
There are nursery areas in the resort centre and in La Daille.
VAL D'ISERE INTERMEDIATES
A good way to get started in Val d’Isère is to take the Funival funicular from La Daille to Bellevarde. Although this sector is famous for its 1992 Olympic downhill, it’s also a wide plateau with a network of enjoyable blue and green runs.
From Bellevarde you can also access the slopes of neighbouring Tignes. Solaise, another major area, is the gateway to some gentle slopes off the Madeleine, Datcha and Glacier lifts. The Vallon de L'Iseran, dominated by long, wide open intermediate terrain.
For more advanced intermediates to can easily work your way from the furthest corner of Tignes to the furthest corner of Val d'Isere in a day.
VAL D'ISERE EXPERTS
The mountains here are pretty high and steep for the most part. The village is situated at 1850m and the skiing goes up to 3400m in Val d'Isere and 3456m at the top of the Grande Motte in Tignes. These are the setting for some thrilling descents for those serious ski enthusiasts amongst you. Although beginners and intermediates have enough to keep them occupied in Val d'Isere, it's a renowned resort for the more advanced skier.
VAL D'ISERE OFF-PISTE
If you keep going down the Vallon de L'Iseran, you will encounter some excellent off-piste opportunities, particularly around the Grand Vallon, before you finally end up at Le Fornet, the furthest lift-served point of Val d’Isère’s skiing along the valley floor. A shortish climb from the glacier takes you up to a ridge from where you can descend off-piste all the way down a giant powder bowl to the old village of Bonneval at the head of the Maurienne Valley. It’s good fun but unless you fancy a 3 hour taxi ride, the best way home is to get a helicopter.
Apart from its famous bump run – which will test the knees of the fittest skiers! - Solaise is also the departure point for some interesting tree skiing, much of it with off-piste variants, down to Le Laisinant.
VAL D'ISERE SNOWBOARDING
A large snowpark can be found in Val d’Isère and is known as the ‘DC Val Park’. Located at 2500m on the La Daille/Bellevarde sector, access from Tignes Val Claret is via the Bollin Express, from Tignes le Lac via the Toviere gondola or from Val d’Isère via the Daille funicular or Bellevarde cable car. This park has been approved by The French Snowboard Federation, proving its high standard. This snowpark is equipped with 1 x 3 seated chairlift, 2 draglifts, 1 rope tow, 1 quarter pipe, 1 boardercross for all levels, different jumps and hips for all levels, several low/high, single/double rails plus 1 Rainbow and 1 Fun Box. There is also a hut for refreshments and a deck chair area where you can sit back and relax, whilst listening to some music and taking in all the slope action. Not to be missed: Late March is Valpark Week, where the pros arrive for a helicopter photo-shoot!
VAL D'ISERE CROSS-COUNTRY
Tignes-Val d'Isere has 52km (33 miles) of cross-country trails dedicated to Nordic skiing. There is a good selection of trails in each of the three sectors, either high up around the Ouillette lake (Solaise area), or in the Manchet valley, Laisinant or La Daille in Val d'Isere.
Val d'Isere Ski Hire
Please note, these Pound Sterling prices are for indication only. They will fluctuate based on Euro/£ exchange rate. Please call us for the latest prices.
We have two conveniently located hire shops in Val d'Isere for all your ski and snowboard equipment needs. We offer competitive prices and special offers are also available. Pre-booking your equipment hire will allow you to save precious skiing time once in the resort and means you can budget for your ski holiday, knowing that it is already book and paid for.
We have selected Sport 2000, which ensures that only the highest standard of equipment and service will be provided for all levels of skiers: regularly waxed and edged skis, boots disinfection between each rental and bindings adjusted by a qualified technician in the resort. We are confident that most adequate equipment will be provided and adjusted when you arrive at the shop. More information on ski hire.
Val d'Isere Lift Passes
Ski Collection is unable to pre-book Val d'Isere lift passes, however you can still purchase them in advance online at www.valdiserepass.com. Alternatively you can buy them once in the resort from the lift pass kiosk.
Other lift pass on offer (to buy locally in resort in Euros):
Tignes/Val d'Isere ski pass – ½ day and daily rates 2017/18:
1/2 day - €34 children, €42.50 adults
Day - €44.50 children, €55.50 adults
Val d'Isere Ski School
Ski school for children is available to book from 5 years to 12 years, in Val d'Isere, with Ski Collection.
We do not book the Ski Kindergarten from 3 years.
Please note, these Pound Sterling prices are for indication only. They will fluctuate based on Euro/£ exchange rate. Please call us for the latest prices.
Ski School: Please note that lesson times are subject to change right until the last minute. Outside French school holidays the ski school reserves the right to cancel group lessons should numbers be insufficient. For peak periods (24/12-7/1, 11/2-11/3 & 31/3-24/4) we strongly recommend that you book as early as possible and in any case at least 6 weeks prior to the required dates. Morning lessons tend to get booked up first and therefore we may only be able to offer afternoon classes within 6 weeks of departure. In some resorts English speaking instructors may not always be available, particularly at peak times.
We cannot always guarantee that prices will be cheaper than in resort. When ski packs prices are calculated, the currency is bought at the exchange rates that apply at the time. You can be assured that once you have booked your extras, if the pound depreciates, you will not be charged more for your ski packs, enabling you to budget for your holiday in advance.
*** More Information Coming Soon ***
Every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 5pm children can discover the recreational zone at the foot of the slopes where they can try a selection of sports including:
- Airboard- where the rider has the impression of flying on the snow
- Snake Gliss- where 2-20 people can go sledging, snow football or curling
- Other activities include: snow shoeing, riding on snow mobiles, going on a husky sleigh ride, driving on ice, ice climbing. Or enjoy the local swimming pool or ice rink.
Val d'Isere Resort News and Events 2018/19
- New projects - after the 2-year Solaise project completed in 2016, the new 5 year 'Le Coin' project is underway with a scheduled completion date of 2022. This includes a €200 million plan to redevelop a section of the village with new hotels, apartments, shops (Val Tower with 7 level space including shops, cafes and top floor panoramic restaurant), bars, underground walkways, nursery etc
- La Daille gondola - a brand new 10-person Poma gondola costing €10m will bring skiers from the La Daille area up to the Folie Douce. The new lift, with 51 cabins, WiFi and heated seats, replaces the old four-person télécabine that opened in 1966 and which was renovated in 1994. The new lift increases uphill capacity per hour from 933 to 2,800 passengers and halves the journey time to just 4min 30sec! The spacious Symphony 10 cabins (including 1 VIP cabin), the first of their type in France, were created by an Italian designer who works for Ferrari and Maserati. Some 40 bulky electricity-style pylons have been removed from the mountainside and any replacements are in sleek minimalist style. Read the Val d’Isere blog for more information
- Lift re-opening - one of Val d’Isère’s iconic ski lifts, which has been closed for the past six years, has been renovated and is to reopen for the coming season. Téléski des 3000 on Solaise permits advanced skiers to reach the Leissières ridge that separates Solaise from the Le Fornet ski area and the Pissaillas glacier. The drag lift goes up to a lofty 2960m and the 76% slope here is only suitable for accomplished skiers
- Kid fun - Val d’Isere has announced a new play area where little ones can go ‘behind the scenes’ to learn about snow-making and even ‘drive’ a cable-car! The miniature ski resort area has fun educational activities where they can explore how mountains are looked after, including piste grooming and mountain rescue. The area, known as Valkids, also has its own toboggan piste, deck chairs and picnic tables
- Folic Douce news - party-goers will be able to step from the new La Daille gondola to an escalator that brings you directly from the lift to the terrace of Folie Douce. Also new for this season is The Beaufort Gallery, a cheese maturing room with spectacular views of Mont Blanc. This new space can be booked for private parties
- New hotel - opening of France’s highest hotel, on the mountainside way above Val d’Isère. At a heady altitude of 2551m, France’s oldest cable car station has been transformed into Le Refuge de Solaise. The project is a partnership between local restaurateur Jean-Claude Borel and local architect Jean-Charles Covarel.
- Christmas week in Val d’Isère - invites you to discover a host of festive events to get you into the Christmas spirit:
Giant Snow Sculptures - seven snow sculptures, created by Christian Burger and his team, can be found not only around the village and in front of the church, but also in Le Fornet and La Daille
Christmas scenes carved in ice - two ice-carving elves will be working away from 4pm to 7pm all week long in Val Village and on the main street. Come along a watch them create their icy masterpieces
Giant Christmas baubles - giant baubles hanging down the main street to make Father Christmas feel at home
Christmas domes - admire the festive Christmas decorations in the Tourist Office square in their transparent tents
Christmas stage - visit the Christmas reindeer surrounding Father Christmas stage on Olympique avenue.
Father Christmas himself will start the festivities on stage on Christmas Eve from 5pm. The SATIN DOLL SISTERS will be live on stage from 4.30pm on December 28th.
- Alpine Skiing Europa Cup - 30th-31st January 2019 - the Europa cup precedes the World cup circuit for most skiers and skiers from all horizons will be competing. Val d’Isère is to host a Europa Cup Giant slalom event. Come and watch the champions of tomorrow on the Joseray slope
- 23rd International Aventure and Discovery Film Festival - 15th April 2019 - 4-day festival. Discover the nightly showing of 11 films to be judged by the professional jury. The Festival also features exhibitions, entertainments, demonstrations, literary encounters and book signings … Admission to the Festival remains free of charge, however, reservations may be made for the Conference Centre auditorium seats for the evening (3 films) for 14€. A restricted number of seats are available for reservation which must be pre-booked at the Tourist Office from Friday 13th and up until 1pm on the day.
Check the Val d'Isere tourist office website for more exciting news: www.valdisere.com
Apres-Ski, Bars & Restaurants
Val d'Isere has an impressive selection of outings. All tastes are catered for in over 70 restaurants, from traditional cuisine served at Chalet du Cret to fish and seafood served at the Perdrix Blanche. Happy hours and nightlife stretches from cosy to noisy amongst 17 bars and 3 night clubs.
Val d'Isere has a large selection of shops and services including, food stores, news agents, bakeries, beauty parlours, hairdressers, dentist, doctor, chemist and banks. Not to be missed are luxury boutiques where you can purchase the best of snow sports fashion and more.
Getting to Val d'Isere, France
From Calais: 600 miles, approximately 9 hrs 30 mins
Chambery: 50 miles, approximately 2hrs
Geneva: 140 miles, approximately 3hrs
Private taxi transfers from airports to Val d'Isere are pre-bookable via Ski Collection. See our airport & station transfers page for more information.
Tignes Val d'Isere Opening Dates
Tignes & Val d'Isère ski area is open: Saturday 22/12/18 – Wednesday 01/05/19.
Partial opening: Saturday 24/11/18 in Tignes.