Not only are the Lifts still closed in Ski Resorts, but another quintessential part of the Skiing experience remains absent from our lives: après-ski.
Val d'Isère has world famous 'Après' and we've been spoiled with it for many seasons, making us quite the experts. A classic afternoon of the after skiing entertainment (for Seasonnaires on their day off) usually consists of:
• Ski the 'Around the World Loop' so that you have time to grab lunch and your first drink in Tignes before taking the Toviere bubble up to the top of the mountain, skating to the far side of the restaurant and taking the blue run (Creux) back down in the direction of La Daille- remember to stay right at the fork on this run or you'll have to walk up to Folie level as the left run brings you out below it. By the time you hit the Marmottes lift (take a left) you'll hear the bass from La Folie Douce guiding you the rest of the way.
Image Source: Powder Hounds
• Arrive at La Folie Douce around 15:00 and remember where you put your Skis/Board! It's definitely recommended to take advantage of the LFD Ski Guardian for just €2, but if you're budget is purely for beer then always swap one Ski with a friend so that it's less appealing for thieves or someone who has had one too many glasses of Rosè to take your skis. Don't leave your equipment directly next to the entrance as this area gets quite chaotic. If you're a skier, remember to loop your poles over your skis and hang them off as it makes it easier to find them and there's less chance of them getting lost, separated, or snapped. Think tipsy 'Walking Dead' on snow when everyone is leaving so be prepared for your equipment to not be exactly where & how you left it if you don't take precautions.
• Go into LFD for some of the best partying on the mountain that you'll ever experience. The performers put on an incredible show every day!
• La Folie Douce closes at 17:00 so it's best to round up your gang and leave at around 16:45 to avoid the queues. If you're not too merry then Ski/Board down but if in doubt, take the bubble! It's so much safer and lots of fun too. If you're lucky you'll get the 4 man special edition bubble which has racing car seats.
Image Source: Val d'Isère Téléphériques Blog
• The Red Bus takes you from La Daille back to Val d'Isère and runs every 5-10 minutes. In high season you may have to wait for a few buses to pass before there is space for you on one, hence the suggestion to leave a bit earlier than at the end of the party. This also allows you time to get back to your accommodation and drop off your equipment as well as change into other footwear for your next stop, which we definitely recommend! You can then also have a snack/slice of Chalet cake to prepare you for some more drinking. Dress warmly- you'll need it!
• Head to Cocorico which is located on the Piste at the bottom of Solaise. You can take the bus but, depending on where your Accommodation is, it's often quicker to walk. If you still have your equipment with you, the same tips apply as for La Folie Douce. Just remember that people will have drunk a lot more by the time they leave Cocorico than LFD and it will be dark, so the chances of your equipment going home with someone else is considerably higher. For this reason most Seasonnaires leave their Skis or Board at home.
• Cocorico has Live Music until 18:00 when the DJs take over (cue: 'Thunderstruck' by AC/DC and fire from the roof). There are various bar areas, including inside, so check which one is the least busy before getting wedged into a queue. Before Covid the dance floor would be packed tighter than a tin of sardines so don't wear anything that you mind drinks being spilled on. Post Covid... who knows! But we really hope that the future of Après-ski in Val d'Isère doesn't look too different from how it used to.
• If you would prefer a more relaxed Après Ski vibe then head to the Ski Instructors favourite haunt: Coin des Amis (Corner of Friends). The service is great and there's cozy seating inside and downstairs if you need to warm up!
There are of course many other options for Après Ski in Val d'Isère d'Isère, but this is the one for when you're going big! We plan to do a follow up article with some of the other bars when the government gives the green light for everything to open up as some have changed since last season (bye, bye Fall Line- you'll be sorely missed) and some offer a very different vibe to the one described here. We love them just as much though!
Some other points to note:
• At La Folie Douce and Cocorico, there are Security staff checking bags and pockets so respect the establishments and don't take your own booze in with you.
• If you find that someone else has taken your equipment then the chances are very high that someone had a few too many shandys and forgot what their Skis looked like. The majority of the time, they take it back to the bar the next day hoping to find theirs. DO NOT take another set of Skis just because yours have disappeared- two wrongs don't make a right! Go back to the bar the next day and the chances are your Skis will have been returned. You can leave a description with the Bar Staff or Security AT THE END of the party when the majority of people have gone but do not try to do so when they are busy- it's very annoying and they'll be a bit preoccupied with dealing with the Customers.
• Whistling, shouting or banging on the counter to get the attention of the bar staff will put you firmly back at the end of the line. Not only is it incredibly rude, but the Bar Staff are used to dealing with high volumes of people everyday- something that you probably aren't- and they'll know exactly who queued up before and after you.
We miss Après-ski. Genuinely.
Our thoughts and love to the business owners who are having to weather the storm of the Pandemic and we're ready & waiting for you to open up again.
Comment with your tips and favourite memories of Après Ski!