Val d'Isère sits in a gigantic ski area, the Espace Killy – named after local Olympic gold medal hero Jean-Claude. Any competent skiers will be able to ski between Val d'Isère and Tignes within a day, aided by the superb lift system. Val's slopes are split into three defined areas; on one side of the valley there's the Bellevarde and on the other, Solaise and Col de l'Iseran. All three have widely varying pistes, and access to some legendary off-piste stuff. Fast quads and cable-cars zoom up the mountain from the village. Better still, Val d'Isère has a fabulous snow record. Most skiing is at 2,300m and above, and if all else fails there is always the Pissailas Glacier at 3,300m.
The area is still a Mecca for boarders owing to the endless off-piste routes in the Espace Killy. There are lots of natural gullies and jumps on the mountain, especially in the Bellevarde sector. There's a half-pipe at the foot of La Face and the town is full of boarder bars such as Ramski's and Magoo's. There's a vast selection of ski schools for learning to ride with the pick being Evolution 2.
Competition is fierce on the slopes of Val d'Isère for ski tuition. The biggest player is the ESF, but the smaller outfits of Evolution 2, Snow Fun and Top Ski have built up strong reputations with off-piste and bumps lessons being the most popular. Mountain Masters offer private lessons and will take you anywhere on the mountain. There is a children's centre where kids will be looked after well and on the slopes, children congregate en masse in the nursery area at the base of the village for lessons with the various ski schools.
Last Updated: Feb 2010