The ski resort of Val d’Isère is located in the Tarentaise valley in Savoie. This high mountain village, known for its architecture, is also known for its ski competitions.
Val d’Isère, an internationally renowned resort
Planting the pole is an innate thing in Val d’Isère. As early as 1930, the resort positioned itself as a first-class village. Two years later, the ski school opened its doors. After the Second World War, Val d’Isère capitalized on the winter sports craze and quickly gained the international reputation it enjoys today. It must be said that the charm and authenticity of the village particularly attract holidaymakers. As early as 1960, Val d’Isère had two cable cars and a dozen ski lifts.
But the resort was also faced with climatic hazards. In February 1970, an avalanche devastated the UCPA, killing 39 people. This disaster had the effect of an electroshock. Following this disaster, risk exposure plans were drawn up. In 1971, the Association Nationale pour l’Étude de la Neige et des Avalanches (Anena) was created. This was followed by the construction of new buildings, better adapted to the climatic conditions, as well as numerous avalanche barriers.
Val d’Isère, a resort designed for major competitions
Val d’Isère is a resort designed for international alpine skiing competitions. It must be said that the O-K, as it likes to be called in the industry, is impressive. As much for the spectators as for the skiers, amateurs and professionals alike. The Face therefore naturally hosts World Cup events. But not only. In 1992, the ski events of the Albertville Olympic Games were organised on it. In 2009, it was the turn of the World Championships.
The Val d’Isère ski area
The Val d’Isère ski area is linked to that of Tignes. Together they form the Espace Killy. It is possible to ski between the end of November and the beginning of May. The advantage of this Tarine resort is that the snow cover remains particularly good. This is due to several factors:
- The exposure of the slopes, which allows the snow to stay longer
- The altitude, between 1 800 and more than 3 000 metres
- The number of snow guns, which ensure access to the slopes throughout the season
- The return from the East, possible thanks to the proximity of the Italian border.
Extra info: it is on the Val d’Isère ski area that the film Les Bronzés font du Ski was shot. You can also see a chalet in the village called “Planter de bâton”. This is the chalet of the ski instructor who appears in the film alongside Jean-Claude Dusse, played by Michel Blanc.
Val d’Isère – Office de tourisme
The best rated hotels
Depending on your budget, we have selected for you four accommodations located in the resort of Val d’Isère. They have very good reviews from customers.
L’Aigle des Neiges
L’Aigle des Neiges is a 4-star hotel located in the heart of the village of Val d’Isère. The rooms are spacious and elegantly decorated. The ski lifts are just 100 metres away. Charging points for electric vehicles are available.
From 224€ per night.
The Hotel du Mont-Blanc offers direct access to the Val d’Isère ski area. A ski pass sales point is available to guests, as well as a wellness centre and a gym. You will be able to recuperate peacefully after your days of skiing.
From €353 per night.
Hotel Avenue Lodge
The Avenue Lodge is located 250 metres from the first ski lift. The rooms are decorated in a Savoyard style that you will appreciate. The lounge-bar allows you to relax in front of the fireplace in the evening.
From 312€ per night.
The Avancher hotel has a chalet style that leaves no one indifferent. It fits perfectly into the architecture of Val d’Isère and is less than 500 metres from the slopes. The restaurant offers local specialities.
From 194€ per night.
The most beautiful chalets
For an unforgettable holiday in the mountains, we offer three chalets for rent. They are very popular with holidaymakers.
The Vail Lodge is a chalet located 700 m from the ski school and only 150 m from the slopes. You can enjoy a beautiful view of the mountains from the accommodation. Ski storage is available for guests.
Residence Tasna is a chalet with a surface area of 145 m². You will appreciate the mountain decoration of this accommodation which can welcome up to 10 people. The view of Val d’Isère and the mountains is also a great asset.
Chalet Petit Yéti
Chalet Petit Yéti has a surface area of 200 m² and can accommodate up to 10 people. It is located 250 metres from the ski lifts. Its fireplace will allow you to warm up in the evening after a day of skiing.
In the winter in Val d’Isère, it is possible to practice many activities. Here are the ones we recommend you try:
Biathlon. What if you took yourself for Martin Fourcade for an afternoon? In Val d’Isère, it is possible to try biathlon. On foot or on cross-country skis, you will have to reach the maximum number of targets to avoid penalty laps. A family activity to try this winter.
Snooc. If there is one activity to do during the winter, it is certainly the Snooc. The concept is simple: go up in cross-country skis and come back down to the station in a sledge. All with the same equipment. An experience for the whole family.
Sled dogs. You can either sit comfortably in the sled or choose to lead it. Either way, you’ll have a great time, especially because you can take the opportunity to pet the dogs.
The resort’s athletes
Since its creation, the resort of Val d’Isère has seen the development of many high level skiers. We suggest you retrace the history of three of them.
In Val d’Isère, Jean-Claude Killy is a name that everyone knows. The former French national team skier arrived in the resort at the age of 3. At the age of 16 he specialised in skiing. He won the overall classification of the first World Cup. He achieved 12 victories in 15 races. In 1968, Jean-Claude Killy was crowned triple Olympic champion. That same year, he received the Légion d’Honneur and decided to retire from the circuit.
Ingrid Jacquemod is a former French national team skier who spent her childhood in the resort of Val d’Isère. In 2000, she won her first titles in downhill and Super-G. In total, she reached the podium six times during her career as a top-level skier. Ingrid Jacquemod announced her retirement from skiing at the end of the 2010-2011 season.
Clément Noël is originally from the Vosges. At the age of 15, he left his native land to join the Club des Sports de Val d’Isère. He already had three titles to his name. The skier never stopped progressing and it was in 2018, during the PyeongChang Olympic Games, that he exploded and took 4th place in the slalom. In 2019, Clément Noël climbed onto the World Cup podium for the first time, taking 2nd place. Then in 2022, he was crowned Olympic slalom champion.
Must-see events in Val d’Isère
Val d’Isère hosts several large-scale events. We suggest you discover two of them.
Critérium de la Première Neige
The Critérium de la Première Neige has been a major event in the resort since 1955. This stage of the Alpine Skiing World Cup takes place on the Bellevarde face, the legendary slope of Val d’Isère.
On this occasion, it is possible to see the best skiers in the world at work. During two weekends, men and women succeed one another on the 1,000-metre face. Bellevarde was the venue for the 1992 Albertville Olympics.
International Adventure and Discovery Film Festival
The Val d’Isère International Adventure and Discovery Film Festival takes place every year at the Maison de Val and the Congress Centre. Created in 1997, the event has become an established part of the resort.
Each year, 10,000 spectators are welcomed and 11 films are selected and screened.
Several ski passes are available in Val d’Isère. You can choose to stay in the resort’s ski area, or to ski the entire Espace Killy, including Tignes. We recommend that you take into account the length of your holiday, as well as your level of ability.
The extra tip: to save time during your stay, consider buying your passes online. This way, you won’t have to go to the ski lift ticket office.
During your stay in Val d’Isère, you can let yourself be tempted by the snowshoe itineraries. They are numerous and will allow you to have a new approach of the mountain. Just remember to choose a trail adapted to your level.
Here are the sectors at the gates of the Vanoise National Park that we recommend in Val d’Isère:
Le Fornet. You will walk along the river and pass the Saint-Charles bridge. Keep your eyes open during your walk, you may be lucky enough to spot the emblematic mountain fauna, such as chamois or golden eagle.
Le Manchet. This valley welcomes both walkers and cross-country skiers. You will have the opportunity to refuel at the Au Bout du Monde restaurant. Three routes are available, ranging from 1.5 to 6 kilometres.
Ideas for summer activities
There are a number of activities that can be done in Val d’Isère during the summer season. Of course we think of skiing on the Pisaillas glacier. However, due to global warming, this refreshing break could well become rare.
But don’t panic. You can still enjoy the mountains through hiking. There are many in Val d’Isère and you can take advantage of the Olympique cable car and the Solaise cable car. And for cycling enthusiasts, why not try the Col de l’Iseran?
Access and public transport
To get to Val d’Isère, you can choose between several options such as the train or the plane. In this case, the journey will end with a bus or taxi connection. The car is also a very popular means of transport. But in this case, why not think about carpooling? This will save you money.
In order to avoid traffic jams as much as possible, we recommend that you postpone your stay as much as possible. For example, book from Wednesday to Wednesday or outside the school holidays.
Video presentation of Val d’Isère
Resorts near Val d’Isère
There are other ski resorts close to Val d’Isère. These include Tignes, which is part of the Espace Killy, and Bonneval-sur-Arc, which is directly accessible via the Iseran pass in summer.