The perfect start to the season Val d’Isère France

Val d’Isère, France

The perfect start to the season

It is a pretty good estimate that if you mention  Val d’Isere  to a British person or any avid skier they have either been there, going there or have heard of it. The luxury and charm of the village teamed with a world-class ski area with snowsure slopes attracts devoted skiers, snowboarders and party enthusiasts every year.

So when I was recently invited to Val d’lsere with the luxury chalet company Hip hideouts and was to be shown (skied) around Val d’lerse with the tourism office I jumped at the chance.

val d'Isere deck chairs on the ski slopes

Relaxing chairs on the slopes – Val d’lsere

I am so glad that I did because I got the chance to see why Val d’lsere have just won 3 awards at the 2016 World Snow Awards  Ski Resort of the Year, European Resort of the Year and Après Resort of the Year. With over 300 klms of ski runs, connect via resorts such as  Val d’Isere and Tignes there is definitely something for every type of skier or boarder. Its long season stretches from the end of November into the first week of May.

skiing down Val d'lsere piste

Val d’lsere piste

Due to conditions and the terrain, Val d’Isere hosts a number of ski and snowboard events each year. I was lucky enough to be there for the AUDI FIS Ski world cup competition, which the atmosphere was electric. This is considered one of the most important ski events of the calendar year.

supporters gathered for the ski world cup

AUDI FIS Ski world cup Val d’lsere

New Solaise Gondola

For when it gets really cold, you will be glad to know that Val d’Isere has recently invested millions in upgrading the Solaise summit area, which includes the impressive 10 seater Solaise Gondola with heated seats and FREE WIFI.  Not only can you warm up but you can also keep your friends updated (envious) about your ski trip on social media at the same time.

Selfie in front of the Solaise Gondola

Selfie in front of the Solaise Gondola

Ski Runs & Area:

Linked with the neighbouring  Tignes to form a ski area of 300km of piste, there is something for everyone from a complete beginner to seasoned skiers who enjoys going off piste.

  • They are long and wide in most parts
  • Plenty of on and off piste skiing, especially after a fresh dump of snow.
  • Lots of places for kids to ski and there is also a children’s area
  • 153 Groomed slopes (pistes)
  • 2 Snowparks
  • 78 Ski Lifts
  • 2 Glaciers

view of Val d'Isere ski slopes from chairlift

Location

The closest international airports are  Chambery  Geneva or Grenoble and the best way to get to Val d’Isère  is either via transfer, bus or car as there are no direct trains.

Beware, flights are not regular from Chambery and tend to be more expensive than from Geneva airport or Grenoble. There are also more options in regards to transfers from Geneva airport.

The view of the ski runs from the Chairlift Val d'lsere

The view from the Chairlift Val d’lsere

Transfer

Our transfer from Geneva was with SnowDrone Transfer  It was the first time I have caught a transfer where you were given movies, bottled water and FREE WIFI for the journey. This made the 3hr drive so much more pleasurable and before we knew it, we were there.

snow drone transfer vehicle

Ski Hire

As most skiers or boarders know, you can’t beat using your own gear when on the slopes but when Snowberry Ski Hire offered me a pair of skis to use from their ski hire collection, I thought I would give them a try and I am glad I did. I used my own boots but the Rossignol Skis that I had were light and easy, I felt like I had been using them for years. The only downside was that I wanted to buy a pair!

Snowberry Ski Hire offer some of the latest ski and snowboard collections for hire and are located right next to the main Piste.

Skis lined up inside snowberry ski hire shop

Snowberry Ski Hire Shop

For the ultimate in luxury experiences, Snowberry Ski Hire also offer a Chalet Service

A team of professionals will come to your chalet and do the fitting services for you in the comfort of your own place, without you even having to leave.  They will take your measurements before returning to the hire shop to make sure everything ready for your first day of skiing.

Hip hideouts ski Chalet

Kilco Penthouse – Hiphideouts

Accommodation

No doubt you are definitely spoilt for choice in Val d’Isère from the Luxury Chalets with 24hr service and swimming pools to apartments and budget hotels. There is something available for everyone with all types of budgets.

I stayed at Kilco Penthouse with Hip hideouts which are Luxury chalet that sleeps 10 people and is only 5minutes from the new Solaise Gondola  . This place was definitely the ultimate in Luxury Chalets with everything from Michelin star trained chefs, private swimming pool to having your own private 4×4 chauffeur ( Full review to come).

Chalet lounge room from upstairs bedroom

Apres-ski

There is nothing more enjoyable than having a drink of some sort after a hard day of skiing or boarding and Val d’Isère definitely, does not disappoint in that department. Considered to be one of Europe’s top apres-ski spots, with countless bars across the resort on and off the slopes.

Skiers enjoying Apres-Ski outside Folie Douce

Apresski – Folie Douce

You are never in short supply of places to go, notably the Folie Douce at the top of the La Daille gondola to kickstart your apreski for the day, before heading to the Cocorico for some live music at the foot of the slopes in the afternoon. If you don’t want the party to stop, you can continue on to Doudoune Club which goes to 5 am!!!

Other hot spots include The Morris Bar, Dick’s Tea Bar, Petit Danois and The Underground.

Apres- ski at Cocorico

Apresski – Cocorico

Tips

Keep your eye out for the colourful statues (like the blue bear), placed around various parts of the ski slopes. They are a great photo opportunity with the snow in the backdrop. They were created by a renowned contemporary French artist Richard Orlinsk

You can buy your lift pass online to miss the queue and pick it up from the ski office.

Richard Orlinsk - Blue Bear artwork displayed on the ski slopes

Richard Orlinsk – Blue Bear

If you want to take a break from Skiing or if the kids are climbing the walls, visit the swimming Centre Quasportif

There is a free bus that runs between La Daille – Val d’Isere center – Le Fornet. I understand that this runs from 7:35 am to 3:00 am most days.

Val Thorens France is also a great option. If you are looking for a resort a little smaller but still want the same vibe.

Lone hut on Val d'Isere ski fields

Recommend

This is my second time to Val d’Isere and it has only gotten better. Granted I was invited and I was shown around but this does not affect the fact that I would not hesitate going back again with both friends and my family.

I mean, what is there not to like about Val d’Isere, with its 300klms of ski runs linked without the need for long and boring connecting trails or lifts. A lively town packed with bars, restaurants and upmarket shops. Not to mention, the additional facilities that are available in town like the Aqua leisure centre, Ice-skating, climbing, ice driving or paragliding. Val d’Isere definitely has something for everyone during the winter ski season.

Skiing on an empty ski run

And the best bit is it is only going to get better, with the tourist office continuously spending money to update areas, chairlifts and gondola.

Have you been to Val d’Isere before or are about to? Please feel free to share your experience in the comments below.

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75 Comments

  1. Looks amazing – I love France for skiing (after living in a ski resort in the Portes du soleil region) I like the idea of having a luxury chalet to relax in after a day of skiing. The resort looks perfect too – one I haven’t visited though obviously know of! Happy skiiing ⛷

    1. I love Portes du soleil region as well and I should be there in March for some spring skiing. Definitely recommend it, it is one of the prettiest rests I have seen and there is so much to do.

  2. The good thing about skiing in Western Europe is that everything is so well organised. Luxurious too! Even the minibus came with Wifi and movies. I’d imagine it’s hard to look out the window and appreciate the view when your favourite movie is on. I’d love to be invited to Val d’Isere!

    1. It is a 3hr transfer so super long, I didn’t watch a movie but I did use my phone and took in the views at the same time. I definitely excited to be invited along for the experience.

  3. I’m not much of a skiing person but I do love to go to places like this in winter. This looks absolutely marvelous and seems like THE place to be for ski- and snowboard lovers!

    1. Val d’lsere is definitely a place you can visit without skiing. There are alot of people that go there just to enjoy the Michelin star chefs and the 5star spas that they have everywhere. It is also a fun place to people watch 🙂

  4. I really do know NOTHING about skiing but your chalet looks amazing! Plus, the thought of heated seats is amazing – sounds like Val d’isere are really upping their game.

    1. Apparently, they spent 19million alone just doing up one of the area and they have just had approval to build a hotel at the top of the mountain. I have nearly finished my chalet review, so I will definitely let you know when it is done.

  5. Am I in the minority being British and not having heard of this? Although to be honest I’m not a big winter sports fan. However, I can totally see the attraction with this place! It looks (and sounds!) incredible.

    1. Okay so that seems a lot more sarcy than I intended haha! It should be noted I’m not a winter sports fan because I’m a big fat scaredy cat who hates cold weather.

      1. I am just finishing the post about the luxury chalet that I stayed in and everything was heated, the floor, the pool and even the concrete outside so you never felt the cold. You don’t have to be scared you can always play on the baby slopes 🙂 and drink wine

    2. I didn’t write it in my post but everywhere you go in the resort, you hear a British person. Even my guide and person from the tourism office was British. A lot of people go to Val d’lsere to relax and enjoy the first class facilities like the Spa’s and the luxury resort. If the ski conditions were not as great I would have stayed in and enjoyed my accommodation.

    1. Writing the post gave me the holiday blues but then I remembered that I am skiing next week again 🙂 The luxury chalet was amazing and I would have never left to go skiing if the conditions were not as good as they were. The couches were so comfy I would fall asleep on them every night.

  6. How luxurious! There are some great ski resorts here in the States, but brand-new gondolas and sweeping views of the Alps sounds like perfection. How much do lift tickets run per day?

    1. I skied at in the states for the first time last year at Mammoth mountain and I really enjoyed it but it is not the same as Europe that is for sure. The one difference I did find is how expensive the lift passes are in America for a day than in Europe. In America, I think we paid. around USD 120 compared to the 45Euro in Europe. Australia is the same though, it is really expensive for a lift pass for a day.

  7. I just learned how to snowboard a few years ago and only have been able to get on the slopes once a year since! I have been dying to do more destination travel based on snowboarding and slopes and this place looks incredible! I love the photos you took, especially that cool bear statue! We have to make it here ASAP!

    1. I am off to Bulgaria next week to ski for a week, apparently, is supposed to be really good for beginners. The good thing about Val d’lsere is that is plenty of areas to get depending on your level. I have been skiing for 25years, so I skied everywhere but I loved the big open slopes of Va d’lsere.

    1. If you ever go there, close your eyes and just listen as all you can hear is the British and you will think you are back in the Britain. Even my tourist guide and skier guide were both british. It good for me as I became one of you last year:-)

    1. I learnt how to ski in Australia many years ago and you are correct it is definitely different and the areas are much smaller. They had animal statues spread out across the resort and they looked really cool.

  8. Never been to Val d’Isere, but I am very tempted after reading your post! That chalet looks incredible, I think I would spend all the time in that private pool… 🙂

    1. It definitely would be an ideal spot for your boys and they have aqua center that was supposed to be really good. Having a private swimming pool definitely made the trip more pleasurable.

  9. I have never been, but it seems like winter paradise! I mean wonderland.
    the sno drone tranfer in itself seems very glam, with the free wifi, water & entertainment, to keep you sane. Reminds me how when I am flying, I actually enjoy it because of the huge amount of entertainment, plus the thrill of traveling!
    Not to mention, the luxury chalets & room service really does look like luxury! Staff doing your fittings in the comfort of your chalet? Well! If I work hard & am one day able to afford to upgrade from budget to luxury travel, I would love to take that! I mean, the cosy chalets are bomb! Anyway, it’s great Val Disere suits all budgets, & everywhere you go is absolute charm. Pinned this post for future travel reference!

    1. Thanks so much for your in-depth comment, I really appreciate it. Don’t worry, I usually ski on a budget as well and it was really great to be invited along to stay for a long weekend. The problem now is that I don’t want to go back to budget 🙂

  10. Oh my gosh how lucky! These pictures are gorgeous, what a beautiful place. I am dying to learn how to ski, maybe one day soon I’ll learn so I can visit here

    1. I have skied a lot over my time in various places around the world but I have to admit that is a great area to learn to ski in. The runs on the easy slopes are really big and wide which would make any beginner feel comfortable.

    1. This definitely a great place to take a family skiing, especially if you have not ski before and you have others that can. The good thing is that if you get tired (especially when you are learning) there is plenty of other things to do in the area.

    1. My tourist guide that i had on the first day was 85yrs old and he was skiing faster than all of us. You never to old to ski….But you are correct this is a place that you could just go and relax in too.

  11. I have never been skiing I am such a wimp and I am scared of falling over. But all that snow looks amazing I might just go for the apreski as prefer the sound of sitting somewhere cozy sipping a drink lol and wait for all the skier to join me.

    1. You just have to make sure you fall when it has been snowing and it is nice and soft. The only downside is that if you get snow everywhere you will get wet when it melts. Val d’lsere recently won the best apres ski resort at the 2016 awards. People watching is also a lot of fun to do there 🙂

    1. You know that a lot of people go there just to relax and enjoy all the amenities and you can pay to just get on the gondola to go up and enjoy the views. They have just had an approval to build a hotel up the top.

  12. I went snowboard a few years ago in Whistler, Canada and broke my wrist and haven’t done any winter sports since then. This place has me wanting to go back. And how cool that the Gondola has heated seats and FREE WIFI.

    1. I have known a few people that have broken their wrists snowboarding and it has put me off trying it for that reason. Sorry that it happened to you, that is really unfortunate. You should definitely get back out there and maybe try skiing 🙂

  13. This looks absolutely stunning. I’ve never been skiing and honestly, it totally intimidates me. I’m not exceptionally coordinated, so I would definitely need to start on really small slopes. However, I could sit on those chairs really well! Haha! I also love the look of the lodge, and would be totally content there with a good book and a mountain view!

    1. You know that Val d’lsere has some amazing long, wide slopes that are not intimidating at all for beginners. There are lots of bars and restaurants everywhere to enjoy when you need a rest. I am just finishing my post on the chalet. I definitely would have stayed in if the condition on the mountains were not so good.

  14. My family (The Hubs and two sons) love snow boarding. I myself try to avoid snow with gusto lol. Val d’Isère looks amazing and your photos are stunning. I wonder if it would be worth visiting in the summer?

    1. Funny you mention about the summer, I love hiking and I asked about the same thing when I was there. They have just built a new centre at the top for all hiking in the summer, where you can have lunch and relax. They have heaps of areas to go hiking in and I am keen myself go up there during the summer.

  15. I’ve never been to Val d’Isere because I’ve only been skiing in the States. I am strictly intermediate, so it’s good to know that there is skiing for all levels there. I would love to go skiing in France as my French friends rave about it! Your photos look fantastic!

    1. I skied in the states for the first time last year and it is definitely different from Europe. I have skied in a lot of resort in France and I really do love it. The French definitely know how to do it correctly.

  16. I definitely need to add this to my list of places to go for snowboarding. This sounds amazing. I still have yet to make it to France or Switzerland to snowboard. So far it’s only been the US and Canada. Thank you so much for posting this. Great read!

    1. We were so lucky that the conditions were near perfect, the sun was out and the sky was clear and blue. There have been plenty of times when it has been whiteouts and we were stuck inside but saying that. If we were stuck inside it would not bother me as we had that amazing luxury chalet. 🙂

  17. How fun this looks!!! I have never visited this area and it is time I go! I know Gian would love to skii those slopes and I will enjoy the cozy and luxurious hotel options 🙂

  18. I recently went skiing for the 1st time over the holidays. It was such a thrill and so much fun! Who knew? This looks like a great place for some skiing.

    1. Oh, where did you go skiing? I love it, especially when everything comes together. Tomorrow I leave for back to the back ski trip to Bulgaria and then Italy and I am so excited.

  19. I am not a skier but I would not mind being a by-stander and experiencing this, just for the fun of it. A well captured story – love the tips and the recommendations that you have put together.

  20. Wow, this resort looks absolutely amazing. One regret I have about the time I lived in France was not taking the time to explore skiing there (to be fair, I was a broke ass at the time). Maybe it’s time to go back as a grown-up and try this resort!

    1. I love the ski resorts in France, as they do offer something for everyone. Definitely understand about not having money when you are younger. I hope you have a great weekend

    1. The blue bear is huge when you see him 🙂 I love skiing to and just got back from skiing across France and Switzerland 🙂 Thank you in regards to the pictures.

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