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Val d'Isère

Val d'Isère Ski Resort Guide

Val d'Isère, France

Rated: 4/5 (from 7 ratings)

Ski Area Highlights
Recommended ForFreeriders, Expert Skiers, Intermediates, Beginners, Snowboarders, Snowfall and Apres-Ski!
Total Piste Length150km
Highest Lift3,450m
Resort Height1,850m
 Nearest AirportsChambery and Turin Caselle
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Val d'Isère

Val d'Isère is one of the most famous ski resorts in the world, and shares the huge Espace Killy domain with neighbouring Tignes. With world class lift infrastructure and a vast array of apres ski activity, 'Val' is very popular with the British, and hosts regular FIS World Cup events.

Summary

The French ski resort of Val d'Isère is in the French Alps at an altitude of 1,850m, with 150km of marked runs.

Val d'Isère is part of the Espace Killy ski area with access to 300km of downhill skiing, with 154 marked pistes, served by a total of 87 ski lifts. In addition to the skiing in Val d'Isère itself (150km of pisted ski runs), the appropriate ski Lift Pass will allow you to ski or snowboard in the other Espace Killy ski resort of Tignes.

The ski resort itself is at 1,850m, so skiing or boarding back to the resort is usually possible. With ski lifts as high as 3,450m, skiing and snowboarding is assured throughout the season.

Snow and Weather

When will it snow in Val d'Isère?

The next notable snow forecast is 10cm, expected on 4 December, with around 29cm forecast over the next 7 days.

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Snow this week

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Ski Area Stats

Val d'Isère Ski Area

Piste and Lift Stats
Black Pistes
Expert Trails
25
Red Pistes
Intermediate Runs
46
Blue Pistes
Easy Trails
61
Green Pistes
Beginner Runs
22
Downhill
Total Length
150km
Cross Country
Total Length
44km
Ski Lifts
Number of Lifts
87

Espace Killy Ski Area

Piste and Lift Stats
Black Pistes
Expert Trails
24
Red Pistes
Intermediate Runs
44
Blue Pistes
Easy Trails
65
Green Pistes
Beginner Runs
21
Downhill
Total Length
300km
Cross Country
Total Length
44km
Ski Lifts
Number of Lifts
87

Altitudes

Val d'Isère Ski Area Heights

Lift Heights and Resort Altitude
Highest Lift3,450m
Resort Altitude (Val d'Isère)1,850m
Lowest Piste1,550m
Max Vertical1,900m

Ratings & Suitability

Ratings for Val d'Isère
Freeriders
Expert Skiers
Intermediate Skiers
Beginners
Snowboarding
Snow
Apres-Ski

Val d'Isère Overview

One of the world's most famous ski resorts, Val d'Isère offers a vast skiing panorama made famous by the great French skier, Jean Claude Killy, after whom the ski area, Espace Killy, is now named. The resort has it all - a huge vertical stretching up to an altitude of year-round snow and skiing, with 90 lifts opening up seemingly endless terrain, including Olympic and annual World Cup downhills.

 Notable Ski Runs

The longest possible descent in Val d'Isère is 10km long and the most difficult run is the 'La Face'.

Skiing

The Espace Killy, the name of the ski region which Val d'Isère shares with Tignes, is huge, with over 10,000 hectares of snow fields. As you would expect, this means there is plenty for all levels of skier.

The lift system has been designed so that it's possible to move around the Espace Killy without having to drop back in to the resort, so study that map carefully!

Val d'Isère hosts the first European downhill race in the annual World Cup each December, using the OK piste.

Val d'Isère for Beginners

Beginners have all they need to progress rapidly, including free lifts in the resort's nursery slopes area and a choice of over 500 ski school instructors to help them on their way. A novice's only risk is of being daunted by the huge terrain around them. First steps up the mountain are normally taken on the Solaise plateau, immediately above the resort.

Val d'Isère for Intermediates

Intermediate level skiers are equally spoiled, if not more so, with numerous long, fast, wide trails heading off in all directions through the six skiing sectors of the Espace Killy.

Val d'Isère for Experts

'Val' should be on the World Top 10 list of any expert skier. The Solaise bumps run above the resort or the Olympic Men's Downhill from Bellevarde (a good first choice as it gets the sun early and accessed by the high speed underground 'Funival' funicular) are just a couple of examples. Off-piste there are numerous potential powder fields (take a Guide!), steeps and forest runs (again, guides are essential if you're unfamiliar with the area - Val has plenty of cliffs). Descents from the Pissaillas glacier or the Tour de Charvet basin runs are equally recommended.

There are a variety of pistes to suit all levels of skier ability, from Beginner to Expert.

Snowboarding

As you would expect from a 'with it' resort, snowboarding and Val d'Isère have been friends for a long time. There's a lot to satisfy boarders of all levels in the Espace Killy where kids as young as 14 and 15 can be seen happily turning 360s in the terrain park.

The Snowpark is one of the world's largest at 35,000 square metres and include two boardercross courses, a half pipe, quarter pipes, bumps, big air, tables and all with music. There's even a chalet for repairs.

Boarders looking to improve their technique have a huge choice of public and independent tuition options, including the Billabong Snowboard School which specializes in off-piste. Year round boarding is possible on the neighboring glacier at Tignes with summer 'boarding on Val's own glacier in mid-summer.

You can even go to the trampolining school, on a snowboard, in the summer.

Location and Map

Where is Val d'Isère?

This ski resort is in the French Alps in Espace Killy, Savoie.

Map

Tap Show Map in Full Screen for Full-Screen, or see J2Ski's Resort map, showing Hotels and Ski Shops.

How to get there

 By Air

The nearest airport to Val d'Isère is Chambery, 100 minutes drive away.

Turin Caselle, Annecy, Geneva, Lyon Bron, Lyon St-Exupéry and Turin Cuneo airports are all within three hours drive.

Infrastructure

Ski Lift Capacity

The 87 ski lifts are able to uplift 64,480 skiers and snowboarders every hour.

Snow Making

Snow-making is available, on 30km of ski runs, with 300 snow cannons.

Season Dates

When is Val d'Isère open?

 Opened : December 1, 2020.

 Closes : May 1, 2021.

Usual opening is late November (Re-opens for summer skiing from early June to early July), and usual closing is Early May.

NOTE:- Ski area, lift and piste opening is subject to Current Snow Conditions.

Piste Map

Val d'Isère Piste Map
Val d'Isère

COVID-19 / Coronavirus

We don't yet have specific details of the COVID-19 precautions being taken in Val d'Isère, but they are likely to include most of the following :-

  • Face masks required on lifts, and in shops.
  • Social distancing in public areas.
  • Reduced lift capacity.
  • Extensive disinfection / sanitization.

French Ski Resort COVID-19 Measures describes further measures that may also be applied.

Visit the Val d'Isère Tourist Office for the latest.

Talking about Val d'Isère

Mentions in recent J2Ski News Items and Snow Reports from our users...

Aprés Ski

Val d'Isère has a 50 / 50 split of clientele between domestic and international, but half of the international market is British, making a sizable impact on the après ski atmosphere. There are numerous pubs, bars and various nightclubs. Restaurants cover the range from moderately-priced traditional Savoyarde, up to prestigious dining (with prices to match).

Cultural events are staged throughout the season, including concerts at the resort's church whilst music festivals are staged at the Centre Henri Oreiller. The 'red train' a series of over 20 shuttle buses circling the various key sections of Val d'Isère runs until midnight.

History and Development

One hundred years ago, this was just a small hamlet at the valley head, served by a rough mule track. The farms about the area lay dormant for up to 8 months of the year because of the snow. It all changed in the early 1930s when Parisian industrialist Jacques Mouflier persuaded the local mayor to work to turn Val d'Isère in to a ski resort. The rest, as they say, is history.

The local farmers trained as ski school instructors, a ski shop opened, the authorities brought running water and electricity to the village and six years later the first ski lift was installed. Today the resort, which then had just four hotels, can cater for around 30,000 overnight guests, staying in the resort centre or in one of the satellite accommodation complexes of Le Fornet or La Daille. Rapid development in the 1950s and 1960s led to the construction of some rather ugly concrete buildings, but in recent years the resort has worked hard to use local materials and architectural styles to make it far more attractive.

In 2004 the resort won the rights to host the Alpine Ski World Championships, making it only the third resort in history to host all three events - and the only resort in the modern era to do so.

Val d'Isère