I last went to Val in April this year and had a really good time. It was a bit of a random experience as it was a spur of the moment trip but it was brilliant and I loved it. I stayed at the Hotel Morriss and it was wicked. The staff were unbelievebly friendly, there was live music in the bar downstairs which was also one of the cheapest in town, the food was awesome and the crowd was wicked too.
I did find that the drinks in the bars were quite expensive (but when arent they?) and it did cost 10 euros to go in to the 'best club in town' - Dicks tea bar but this is all kind of expected on a ski resort and it isn't helped by the weakness of the pound right now. The food on the slopes was quite expensive but for a vegetarian there is a slightly limited range and I stuck to salads and pizzas when I could. I think you paid about 15 euros for a big pizza and a soft drink on a set menu and I normally shared because I didnt want to eat the whole thing.
The crowds in Val d'Isere are wicked and all of the people are really nice. A few people picked me and a friend up when we were hitching and they were really nice. Also all of the other holiday makers seemed to have the same idea as you and there was nothing better than a beer outside the Folle douche (sorry if thats spelt wrong) listening to the live music and chilling after a hard day on the slopes.
In the valley there are a lot of shops selling the gear you expect to see and there are a few nice restaurants and bars worth a look in and there are some good bargains to be had (on expensve ski wear) if you look for them. There is also a little spar shop where you can buy nibbles and drinks.
Obviously what you are heading to val for is the snow, I skiied this trip and rented my equipment from the place opposite the Morriss (sorry I forgot the name - might be jean something...?) and it was reasonable and all fine. I bought a Espace Killy lift pass (210 euros for the week - ouch!) but this was brilliant as the slopes are amazing and there are a lot of runs which are really diverse. As it was april, the valley was getting a bit slushy but the slopes go up so high that at the tops there was still plenty of ground to cover. There were a few inversions where we were skiing above the clouds and I thoght this was wicked as the air as so clean and it felt so good. The slopes are aimed I would say at intermediates but there is plenty to meet your requirements (I dont know about for beginners though sorry). You can also ski the Face which is the racing slope used in the big skiing events.
There was a lot of powder while I was there too so do watch it if you are not that confident on your skiis.
The lifts are mainly chairs and there is one which goes up and over a mountain which is pretty cool, so it is easy for skiiers and boarders alike.
I would really reccomend going here if you don't have a lot of time for your trip. If you have more time, I would head to eastern europe, canada or the states because the snow is more guarenteed and the exchange rate at the moment is so shocking, holidaying in Europe is really expensive! If you do go, I would stay at the Morriss as I think it is one of the cheaper places in town but it has the best atmosphere.
Val D'Isere is an utterly stunning location, both summer and winter. The resort most certainly lives up to its reputation (and its accompanying price!). The range of piest is fantastic - it caters extensively for both beginners and the highly competent skier alike. The scenery is fabulous, with stunning views of great expanses of mountains stretching out before you upon every turn. The ski lifts are efficient, and have received a lot of investment in recent years.
The après-ski is also thriving, although it is more of a middle-upper class market, with extensive bars and restaurants. If you want a true taste of French cuisine, this is certainly an impressive location. The chalets on the slopes are also highly competent, with a broad range of food and beverages being offered in most. However, the reputation and quality have afforded the area significant price hikes - whilst it is possible to minimise expenditure whilst in Val D'Isere, it is certainly not the place to go on a strict budget. However, you get what you pay for, and it is indisputably value for money.
I booked my stay in Val D'isere with a friend as we were both working full time on a gap year before going to University. Because of this we were on a students budget. After looking at various skiing packages during the summer months it was clear the best time we could go was in the pre Christmas months in December. This almost halved the price compared to the other packages offered in January and the following months. Booking over Xmas and New Year is a whole different story! Do not expect to pay less than £1000 for a week with expences on top.
The reason the pre christmas months are alot cheaper than those offered afterwards are due to the unreliable snow fall during the early part of the season. However the travel agent assured us that skiing would be available during the time that we wanted to book. 'Val D'isere is a snowsure resort' they say.
We eventually booked the holiday in mid october for 10-17th of December and kept our fingers crossed that enough snow fell to give us a range of pistes to ski on. You can imagen our worry when coming up to the end of November there was only a few centimetres of snow that had fallen! However our faith in the resort was renewed and the skies opened in early december giving a heavy dump of snow. Prior to arriving it snowed heavily for two days solidly so this also improved things greatly.
Whilst there we had a fantastic time. Staying in a catered chalet is great fun and we met alot of new and interesting people. We travelled with thomson ski and in the chalet you are presented with a thomson ski chalet host. They will cook breakfast, afternoon tea and a three course evening meal for 6 of the 7 days in a week. This is great as it sets you up nicely for your day and then for a night out in the town!
The town itself is very pretty and has a huge range of clothes and gift shops. These are all very expensive however. Also there is good apres ski with many of the bars offering two for one drinks at various times. This is very handy if you are on a budget as you pay around 5-7 euros for a pint of beer! The bars i would recommend are Le Petit Danois (pool tables and good music) and the Saloon bar which gets gets very lively after 10. A must have drink in the saloon is the Long Island Iced Tea. Try and stay on your feet after 3 of them!
The skiing is very good. With going in early december, in places the snow was a little on the thin side, however we couldnt really expect as huge layer of snow given the time of the year. The resort is linked with Tignes and the lift pass enables you to ski in both Val D'isere and Tignes. This gives you a huge area to ski in. There are a wide range of pistes for all abilities and the off piste skiing i am told is fantastic. I am not quite up to the standard yet! The lifts systems are also very good with little waiting time during the time perioid that i visited. However this may change in the holiday weeks.
Overall this is a great resort and i am planning to go again next year around the same time. If you are on a budget then definitely go in early december and just keep your fingers crossed that the resort has a good layer of early snow!
I've just spent 18 weeks in Val d'Isere and I'm still getting my breath back - and I returned two weeks ago! Its the most incredible place I've ever skied, or been not only for the fact that it is probably the best skiing area in France but also for the lively night life, the general charm of Val d'Isere and the contrast of people you meet out there (le Blizzard hotel is around £2000 a week to stay there, but pikies live in La Daille!). It really is superb, though expensive. I've heard that it is only second to Courchevel 1850 in the most expensive resorts to stay in Europe but trust me, the money is worth it. Val d'Isere is situated about 4 hours away from either Lyon or Geneva, the two main airports that feed the resort. Its not the easiest resort to get to, as there is only one road in and one road out and that road also feeds Tignes (monstrous horror of a resort). This one road will take you to Bourg Saint Maurice which has a train station, which you can get to from Geneva or Lyon. Trains in France/Switzerland are very cheap, I got a train from Geneva to Bourg for about £20. However, you then have to get a bus from Bourg to Val. Buses run to and from Geneva direct from Val d'Isere which makes life that bit easier, though they are a bit more expensive about £50 it worked out as for a return. Bourg Saint Maurice is basically the main base for getting to other resorts if you go by train, with the 3 Valleys, Les Arcs, Le Plagne and La Rosiere all in close proximity. But lets not think about that - lets talk skiing! Theres just too much to tell anyone about in words. Val, or the Espace Killy area, named after the famous French skier Jean-Claude Killy who grew up in Val d'Isere, has about 400km of piste which is a plenty, I tell you, and its the second largest skiing area in France (only the 3 valleys with 620km of piste has more). The runs range from Green to black, and then some off pis
te. However, the Espace Killy area is more of an advanced skiing area. Not meaning to put people off but it appears that the Val d'Isere planning committee decided to put green runs on the map just to attract beginners! I've been to Schladming, Austria and Pas de La Casa, Andorra (read my reviews!) and some of the blue runs in Val were easily red runs in the other resorts. But don't be put off, because this just makes for fast and challenging skiing. And besides, you haven't had a good day skiing unless you've stacked it proper! There are so many gorgeously wide and fast runs that I wouldn't know where to start! The longest run is around 5km but there are many of similar length, particularly from the top of the Olympique bubble lift (the main, 15 man seated bubble which takes you from Val to the top of the Bellevarde mountain) to the bottom of La Daille. There are about 5 different routes to La Daille ranging from green to red, the red runs being used as part of the Alpine Skiing World Cup at the start of December. My personal favourite though was from the top of the Grand Motte. Beautiful up there it is. The Grand Motte is the highest point in the Espace Killy area, only accessible by a Cable Car and standing at about 3600m. It gives you a view for miles which takes your breath away. Mont Blanc is just to the left if you look out from the cable car, and it looks incredible though close. Its actually about 20 miles away, and when you consider how much further you can see around it its awesome, a thousand sugar coated peaks. Brilliant. The run down from there is about 5km (the red run) and its just sheer adrenaline all the way down to the ugly sister of Tignes, Val Claret. Let me tell you, no matter where you live you will never see so many crimes against architecture as you will in Tignes and Val Claret (the product of speeded up French 60's development). You really wonder why they decided to ruin the alps
like that. Val d'Isere isn't much better, but Val has a certain sense of charm about it when viewed from the Face de Bellevarde (the olympic run, black with about a 45degree gradient on it!) or the top of the Solaise mountain. But anyway, the skiing is fantastic and thats that! Theres enough runs to keep all levels of skiers happy, so many blues and reds and then the black runs if you're confident. Theres also two quite big snow parks for the slightly more adventurous and these are filled with hips, kickers, spines and rails, which are also fun to just sit and watch the more experienced rifers show off. The runs over on the Solaise mountain are probably best for starting out with nice, reasonably long blue runs all over. This obviously doesn't include the considerable amount of off piste area there is, which is vast. Some off piste is easily accesible such as the off piste area running from the 'Germain Mattis' to 'L' or the parts off the Grand Motte. Others, and the best less tracked out off piste areas need to be hiked to which is obviously only for the advanced skier, but for that skier who is prepared to make the effort they will find themselves with almost double the skiing ground available already. These areas include the mountain sides viewed from the Grand Huit lift or by the side of the Aigulle Percee, and there are many others. The best powder can be found over at La Fornet, the skiing area furthest away from Tignes on the Val side. This is quite a hassle to get to, well not really its just not as easily accessible as the Bellevarde or Solaise areas. However, this means that few people go there so on a powder day its well worth a visit, and if you do visit take the some what annoying button lift to the top of the signal and ski off the back of it - magic on a mountain side! Val also has other activities available, many which I personally couldn't afford but always looked fun. Val Circu
it particularly, which is a racing circuit on ice where you can race skidoos, quads, go-karts and even rally cars! There's also parapenting which looked brilliant and well worth doing. I can imagine the views would be amazing, and for only 70 euros! Val has the customary après ski type things to do like ice skating, sledging or swimming (very good for the muscles after skiing) though my personal favourite has to be the outdoor Jacuzzi! This was situated down at the Toit du Monde restaurant in La Daille and was absolutely super. For 15 euros you got the steam room and the jacuzzi for 40 minutes, as well as a champagne cocktail. Take some gold medallions and a cigar with you, some sexy women or hunky men and just be a king/queen/whatever for 40 mins. You can see Val just down the road. Come on, imagine it - middle of the alps, snow all around you, brilliant day skiing and now just chillin? in a jacuzzi! Thats how life should be lived! The night life in Val is also good, ranging from crazy scandi bars to the uncomfortable down stairs area of bananas, and then finishing off in Dicks Tea Bar which is highly overrated. The Pacific bar shows all the sport and the Rodeo bar has a bucking bronco and for the more chilled out places there?s the Lounge Bar or the Foret bar. All good, but to really mess your self up have a Attitude Adjuster at Victors, a few 2-for-1 Red Eriks (evil stuff) at Le Petit Danois, a few Freestylers at Bananas and then pass out in Dicks. Vive Val d'Isere! Top tip: Claim to be a seasonnaire, lie and say you work for a company or bar and you'll get cheap drinks! Sorted! Don't feel guilty either because the prices in val are extortionate, a Long Island Ice Tea at Dicks after 10 is about £12 and a beer £5. Rip off or what?! I would recommend to anyone to do a season in Val if only for the views at the top of the Motte and the Bellevarde mountain but even more so for the beautiful scandi women! No really, Val is the best skiing, the best night life, the best everything. Val Rocks!
A bleak blast of alpine air winds its way through the gap left in the sky by two pink sentinel peaks. It cracks the sweaty, but now frozen, faces of our ski party as we wend our way back to val d'Isere. The sun starts to set on another day in paradise. Below us rise the stepped shapes of buildings cast in Legoland that abut rudely with the craggy walls of the valley. Dark foreboding masses of steps that house hundreds of like-minded individuals, who, at this time of day all have one thing on their minds. The night. This is the view and sentiments of most who ski down into Val disere along the long green run that leads into La Daille the northern most village that makes up the val d'Isere resort. Val is Frances premiere resort, yet the architecture at this end of town is like something out of Space 1999. A veritable moonbase alpha. For those of you used to the picturesque charm of Austria, or the grandiose pettiteness of Switzerland this scene is grotesque. Why then is Val the cream of the cream in the French Alps? One answer. The skiing. Every other ski resort has the nightlife that matches Val's Dick's tea bar or Tignes' Wobbly Rabbit. Every other ski resort easily matches Val's choice of activities for the non-skier, namely ice skating, saunas, sleigh rides, parapenting and cross country skiing. Every other ski resort is more picturesque than Val, and most are cheaper. But, quietly Val still sits smugly in the haute taranteise, resting on its laurels. Every year thousands of skiers, and ski bums make the pilgrimage back To the "espace Killy". The reason is simple, it has the most skiing that any resort can offer. It will keep the most ardent bum happy for season after season, It keeps the hungriest powder and off piste hound replete. It will teach any novice the art and grandeur of skiing and boarding. It offers jobs and opportunity to any gap year student and any one who wants to break free from the co
nstraints of 9 ? 5 humdrum. It will teach anyone the pleasures of tequila at 4 am even though you have an 8 am start. It will make you all want to come back. The resort is teamed up with that monolithic monstrosity that is called Tignes and offers 400 kilometers of pisted skiing. This is served by well over 100 lifts ranging from the humble cabletow to the futuristic funiculaire (through mountain train). The cost to access this varied terrain, is a reasonable £120 a week. But it is the off piste potential of this resort that sells it to most. With long well skied trails off the back of Charvet to the powder that stays well kept till late in the season off the side of the Grande Motte. Services on the mountain are few and far between. With the favourite style being French mass catering cafes. But these are always packed. Nice smaller restaurants can be found over the back of the Aguille percee (a dramatic rock hewn into the shape of the eye of a needle) towards Tignes le Brevieres and the trek is worth it as the crowds do start to thin out. Pricey is an adjective that comes to mind when describing any mountain restaurant in France. But after a hard morning working up a sweat over the solaise bumps or the sheer drop that is the Motte wall, even a Coke and a sandwich is the most welcome feeling. Getting to and from Val is not easy either. Air train and road is the choice but all end with the long and winding road from Bourg St Maurice that can get extremely clogged on Saturdays as thousands upon thousands arrive and leave a small alpine hunting village in their pursuit of the ultimate day on skis. Most people keep coming back because Val seems to be able to provide more of those dream days than any other European resort. The people who do ski at Val come from every walk of life. For those who prefer Gucci suits and expensive hair, Val provides. For those whose faces are wizened and their mountain man beards are long, Val has a welco
me. For those on a budget, ski suits fresh from C&A, Val caters. Walking through the streets of Val at night there is more variety in punter than any other resort, as each resort tends to attract only one of the classic skier stereotypes. I lived for four seasons in Val. I worked as a guide to those who wanted to explore this vast and varied resort and never grew tired of it. I know people out there who are looking for workers, people who will offer you accommodation, a lift pass, food and a little money. I had a ball and I can recommend this as a way to get away from it all. A way to get away from the seemingly endless grey that makes up an English winter. For those of you who cannot make a whole winter of it, then even a week out of this dreariness will lift your heart and soul. Go to the architectural equivalent of a dump. Go to a place where queues dominate for half a season. Find out why nearly everyone who goes there wants to come back again and again. Free your soul, Ski Val disere.
In terms of reputation Val d'Isere is right up there with the best, and having visited 2nd week of March 2001 I have to say it is throughly deserved. The Espace Killy ski area is huge, there are countless red and blue runs to keep intermediate happy, and plenty of black and off piste for the experts. There were only a couple of places where the pistes got even remotely busy - mainly the runs into La Daille. For complete beginners there are free tows and lifts at village level, however the majority of the green runs are high up the mountain and there are none which come back down into the village - this means beginners need to take the cable car or chair down as well as up. As a word of caution, if you can find one in your hotel, it is worth taking a look at the daily maps of pisted runs so you know what your are in for. They seem to like to leave all but the beginner runs unpisted for several days at a time, this leads to some pretty serious moguls which quickly make a blue seem like a red, and a red a black. Of course a huge ski area needs a good fast lift system, and Espace Killy has that too. I found very few queues apart from the early morning rush to get onto the mountain. Queues, where they did appear, moved quickly. As a bonus for beginners there are very few tows, and a funicular and/or cable cars are avialable to get you up the mountain. The different areas of Espace Killy (Le Fornet, Solaise, Belvarde, Tignes) are all linked and are accessible using a single lift pass. However it has to be said that the linking is not that great, Solaise to Le Fornet is via a single exposed up and over chair (but it is spectacular - try it just for the ride), Solaise to Belvarde means coming back down in to Val d'Isere itself. Getting over into Tignes is a little better with a couple of different options. I believe that for 2002 there are various lift improvements planned that should relieve a couple of the bottle necks that do exist an
d improve access over to Tignes. At 1850m Val d'Isere is pretty high up and therefore snowsure, even so, on serveral days I found the lower slopes getting very heavy and slushy, but once you were up the mountain things were generally very good (with fresh powder on a couple of mornings whilst I was there). The downside to the altitude is that it can get quite wild higher up and some of the higher chairs may close if it gets too windy. The altitude does mean all but you can ski right back into the village (or into La Fornet or La Daille) which is a nice way to end the day. As a bonus if you find yourself in La Fornet or La Daille, or fancy starting off from somewhere different a free and very regular bus service runs up and down the valley (but it can get busy). Back in the village I don't think they know the meaning of the word "bargin", at best, prices are reasonable, at worst... The village itself is quite pretty, it's not entirely purpose built and the new buildings blend in well. A street market on mondays also helps add a local flavour to the place. The village is reasonably flat and everything is within easy walking distance. I was in very few bars and but those I did go into were nice enough, and as I was full board (Brussels Hotel with Inghams - great food, great location, really average rooms) I cannot comment on the village eateries. I and others in my party used the Evolution2 ski school, who were excellent, patient, knowledgeable and good english - as we were all in different classes it obviously wasn't just my instructor - top marks. We got our equipment from Precision Ski who again were really good and happy to swap your equipment if you weren't happy (top tip - if you get there mid/late Saturday afternoon try and sort out you equipment before the end of the day and miss the Sunday morning rush). Precision Ski is also where yo can find Evolution2 ski school. The main downside to
Val d'Isere has to be the getting there - a 4 hour transfer from Geneva, which is always too crowded, busy and subject to many delays. If you can I would suggest flying out on a week day or trying Chambery which is closer if nothing else. Overall it's not the cheapest place to go but the great skiing makes it worth it. P.S. try http://www.valdisere.com for the latest info, maps, web cams, accommodation etc
I'm definitely not what you would call an expert boarder, in fact after having done about two weeks worth of boarding over the past few years I only just discovered that I should have been riding regular as opposed to goofy! I've been to Chamonix, Verbier, Italy and St. Anton and Val D'Isere is by far my favourite resort so far. It is quite simply vast with a seemingly unlimited amount of runs for all levels. My favourite run was the Gran Prix which can be reached via a short ski from the top of the Belvarde. It's a beautiful wide and easy run with a nice off piste bit in the middle and some great powder. Unlike many places that have that killer last run to the bottom through either a hellacious mix of ice or slush there are some straightforward runs down to La Daille (with some great runs through the trees or down some gullies for the more adventurous). Val D Isere is very close to Tignes and you can ski over there easily, which opens up many more possibilities. Some very nice Blue runs to get over there. There is a snow park which even has a railing for the guys who miss their skateboards and an awesome slalom and giant slalom where it's easy to while away some ours watching the real speed junkies. The lifts are very modern and efficient and really do open up the whole resort to all levels. There are some very challenging runs though and in recent years to encourage the opening up of the resort many of the blacks have been 'downgraded' to reds so be wary. The run called 'Le Face' looks very nerve racking (from the lift!). But Val D'Isere is not all about skiing and it does a great job of being a really nice place to go on holiday. Get a hotel with a Sauna and if you can an outside pool (not quite as masochistic as you might think!) then head into town to places like: Bananas - one of the best Mexican's I've been too, awesome Quesadillias. It's
at the bottom of the main sloe and gets packed Après Ski. Cafe Face - a French bar with a well trodden, lounge bar feel and cool cocktails. Victors - another cocktail bar with 2 for 1 before 7pm. Very Scandinavian and gets packed later on. Club 21 - you will be there all night! Toit du Monde - the best restaurant in the world....and I have eaten at more than a few good ones. This place is great! They come and pick you up and tack you to La Daille, serve you modern European / Asian Fusion food in impeccable style. The food is presented in a way that Gordon Ramsay would be jealous of and they have every wine under the sun! I really can't recommend this place enough and believe it or not it was less than 35 quid a head including drink (I reckon you would pay 80-90 quid in London for the same level of food and service!). If you need ski instruction, avoid the French Ski School who operate a bit of a cartel and will more than likely land you with an instructor who does not speak your lingo too well. Go for Master Instructors who are an excellent, pro outfit, who do more intimate but professional classes. If you need ski hire, check out www.snowrental.com who will save you alot of money compared to resort prices plus you will get the satisfaction of knowing that your rep won't be getting their nice kick back from the ski shop for taking you there! Anyway.... go there for the skiing, you won't be disappointed because the resort is high and gets lots of snow (there are even summer piestes) but go there for the town.... it's great.
Tignes, part of the Espace Killy ski region lies the other side of the mountain from Val d'Isere. Tignes is the cheaper of the two, and the atmosphere is much less like and Eton Boarding School Open Day and more like a multi-cultural resort. The ski-ing in Tignes is superior to that of Val d'Isere with the majority of the black runs over this side. I would however recommend the full area lift pass so you can experience both resorts. We stayed in Val Claret, not Tignes le Lac which was a good choice. Val Claret is situated at the base of all the main lifts and is serviced by a free ski bus to the other areas. Tignes has an excellent snow record - we went late April and had no problems with the snow (well apart from the odd blizzard)! A great place to ski for all
I knew this place had class the first bar we walked into (Moris Pub, next to the main square). I'm a huge fan of the superb Swedish pop diva, Robyn (virtually unknown in the UK unfortunately) and they were playing her second album. I thought, this is my kind of place. We had gone for a drink because we had been delivered by Crystal too early to check into our accomodation (Maeve Appartments, right beside the main slopes). We checked out the town, loads of shops, bars and restaurants but mostly quite pricy. Val d'Isere has a reputation for being somewhat more expensive than your average resort and it's well deserved, though there are reasonable places if you look hard. Our apartment was excellent and the facilites were good throughout. We were self-catering as usual but for us that usually means just breakfast. We try to eat out as much as possible. The location could not be faulted. You couldn't get much closer to the skiing without actually skiing in through the front door. Val d'Isere has a vast skiing area and, as long as the weather is good you will not get bored nor run out of new routes to explore. However, if the weather is not good, Val d'Isere doesn't have a lot to offer by way of local pistes, and that is a big drawback. The main lift is the Bellevarde Express. It takes you half way up "The Face", the resort's most famous and challenging piste. We had a couple of days where the clouds came down and you couldn't even see the top of the lift. We were restricted to the nursery slopes and those very, very few that went just a bit higher. Very boring. We finally gave up and toured the town. We also went across to La Daille. There they have a little train (Funival) that goes up through a tunnel bored through the mountain. It's an amazing experience and not to be missed. The track gets steeper and steeper and you hang to the supports
as the carriage tilts until you are finally delivered at the top of the run back. The night life is very good. Every type of entertainment is on offer. We were mostly interested in the restaurants. We can strongly recommend the Melting Pot, the White Horse and, especially the Perdrix Blanche. Also, right next to the Maeve Appartments is a superb restaurant, La Nappaflo. We ate there three time, both dinner and lunch. Val d'Isere is definitely worth the effort, but just pray for good weather.
France is my favourite European ski destination. I have been to several resorts in France but Val d’Isere has become my favourite spot. Most probably because the resort offers a nice combination of skiing and entertainment. The resort is large and offers skiing for every need. Many basic slopes for the not-so-experienced ones with possibility to join a ski school for a reasonable price. The same goes for not-so-experienced snowboarders. My fiancé can confirm that because she did a one-week snowboarding course in Val d’Isere earlier this year More secure skiers will enjoy the ‘La Daille’ area. The lift system is very effective, leading to few or none queue Of course, depending on the season you choose for your trip. The area has mostly red and black pists, one of them being the famous Olympic ‘Face’. When you are bored of being in-piste, you can start exploring the off-piste possibilities. You can go down the ‘Charvet’ or some other spots but no matter which off-piste you choose you should be familiar with the risks. Even better, gather a group of good skiers and rent a guide for a day or two. After a good day of skiing, you are well worth an after-ski beer. There are many smaller pubs spread out in the centre of Val d’Isere and I recommend that you explore each one of them. The food in the restaurants is as good as anywhere else in France and the local speciality is ‘Raclette’. Check out ‘Le Aventure’ for some good music, dancing and a happy crowd of drunken yet friendly people. More useful information can be found at: http://www.val-disere.net