• Sasha

My Favourite things to do in Val d'Isere

Val d’Isere is a small ski resort in France, which has a lot of different unique experiences on offer at any time throughout the year. This is the reason I have always loved coming here and will continue to do so. In this blog post, I will talk about some of my favourite things to do around during your time here.

1. Day trip to La Thuile, Italy.

It’s always fun to have the ability to travel to a new country for a day and from Val d’Isere you have a chance to do exactly that. An hour’s drive from Val d’Isere, there is a ski resort called La Rosiere, from which you can ski over the Italian border and go skiing in Italy for the day. The journey over is quite mellow and can be done by most of the skiers no matter what the level is. La Thuile is a fairly small ski resort but it offers some pretty good skiing and I have always enjoyed snowboarding over there. However this trip is all about spending some quality time with the people that you go with and La Thuile offers just that. At the bottom, it has plenty of great Italian restaurants that offer amazing pasta and great wine. To top it off, as a digestive, you can ask for limoncello and make your journey a bit more exciting. However you have to make sure that you are keeping track of time because you need to make sure that you are able to catch the last lift back that takes you back across the border to the French side or you will have to spend the night in Italy. This experience is best done with help of guides that know the area and you can not go wrong by asking the talented ski instructors from ESF (https://www.esfvaldisere.com) who will help you organize every part of the trip from getting there to the best place to enjoy Italian food.

2. Enjoy the Aprés Ski that Val d’Isere has to offer.

When hearing the words Aprés Ski, everyone thinks of going to the local bars, having some drinks and dancing to some cheesy music. If that is what you want to do, I would recommend going to La Folie Douce, which can be found in the middle of the Bellevarde side of the mountain and offers a variety of restaurants, followed by a choreographed cabaret and ends with 2 hours of dancing to live performers and great music. After that, you can go down either with the help of the bubble lift or by skiing and then take the bus into the centre of town, where you can find Cocorico and keep on going. However, if that is not your cup of tea, you can still do various activities after skiing. You can visit the bar called La Cave sur le comptoir (https://la-cave-sur-le-comptoir.business.site) and is located next door to a restaurant called La Baraque. They offer a wide range of wines and charcuterie, which is something that is very typically French and helps you feel part of the culture. Or you can just take a stroll through the old part of town and enjoy the architecture that is very typical for a ski resort and even take a look at the stunning Church situated in the middle of the old town.

3. Paragliding

Paragliding is a great thing to do as long as you are not scared of heights. You get to go tandem with a professional behind you and fly above the Refuge de Solaise before descending down to the middle of the snowfront. This activity offers some incredible views down the Tarentaise valley and over the ski domaine and definitely gives a breathtaking experience. The start is at the top of the Solaise lift and you can find more information by emailing skiparapente@gmail.com or by vivisting the Evolution2 website at https://evolution2.com/en/val-disere/paragliding-4

3. Weekly Market

Every Monday in the centre of town, dozens of local businesses set up their stands and offer their products. These products range from charcuterie, cheese, clothing, sweets and many others. It is a great way to experience some of the local produce and jump straight into the local culture. My personal favourite thing to do on Mondays is visiting the “chicken man”. It is a local business owner that comes in a yellow van and has a rotisserie grill at the back of his van. From there, he produces succulent chicken by pieces or as a whole and various other foods such as various types of sausages and potatoes. It is a great way to enjoy a typical French dish and share it with the rest of your peers.

5. Riding as much as possible

This is an obvious one but it is the main reason I love going to Val d’Isere so much. It offers terrain of all kinds and all levels of skiers and snowboarders can enjoy themselves and push themselves to the limit. Whether you have not been skiing before or are a confident skier, there is something for everyone. On the same day you can enjoy some incredible powder runs by hiking up and going to places that nobody has ever been before and going to the snowpark and enjoying getting some air time that a lot of us always crave. You can sharpen your carving technique on a plethora of green runs that are easily accessible or you can push yourself and ski down the world’s famous Face de Bellevarde run that is used yearly for the World Cup and has even been used in the Olympic games in 1992. Basically what I am trying to say is I just suggest you go riding as much as possible as there are so many different things to discover that even I am still finding new features or fun things to do on the slope. So just go out exploring! I would suggest getting a ski pass that also includes the Tignes area. It is a little more expensive than just getting Val d’Isere but it definitely pays off as it doubles the ski area that you can visit.

These are just my top 5 things to do in the resort but there are so many others that I will need to write a Part 2 of my favourite things to do. Let me know if I had missed one of your favourites and I will try to include it in the future posts!