Europe has more than its fair share of stunning ski resorts but France’s slopes are rightfully regarded as one of the most beautiful skiing destinations in the world. The resort is a favourite among seasoned skiers who often come back each year; this is more than likely due to the fact that the Espace Killy offers the world’s highest extended ski terrain.  There’s pretty much guaranteed snow from November through to May and the region boasts 300km of pistes. Rest assured, you will experience an unforgettable vacation whether you’re visiting Val d’Isere for the first time, or as a veteran of the slopes.

Why Val d’Isere?

Thanks to its location near to the Italian border, the resort offers superb levels of snowfall. Queues for the lifts are never a problem here – there are around 100 ski lifts which can shuttle up to 135,000 skiers per hour. Add to this the 10,000 hectares of off-piste skiing as well as 300km of pistes and you have one of the most expansive and well-equipped ski resorts in Europe, if not the world! Val d’Isere is also home to two glaciers, which provide an extra few months of skiing and snowboarding during the summer.


A range of accommodation options

Val d’Isere has always been an upmarket resort but it’s not prohibitively expensive. Yes, the ski pass is pricey but, for the money you will gain access to world-class skiing. This has led to the resort being known as a free rider’s paradise. Resort accommodation does include inexpensive chalet and hotel options, although booking early for budget lodgings is advisable as a huge number of students hit the resort each year. At the other end of the scale you can take your pick from luxury boutique hotels, aparthotels and private apartment rentals.


The après ski factor

When the sun goes down it’s time to indulge in some evening entertainment and Val d’Isere has something to suit every taste. Bars such as Victors and the Pacific Bar are about as lively as you can get with nightclubs such as the Members Bar and Club not closing until around 5am. For something a bit different check out La Folie Douce where you can party on the slopes!

Of course the picturesque village offers a good choice of restaurants with plenty of terraces to sit, sip a hot toddy at and enjoy the winter atmosphere. For those who prefer to stay active during the evening there is a leisure centre with swimming pools, squash courts, saunas and spas.

Val d’Isere has been attracting skiers since the 1930s and over the last 80 years it has built itself into one of the best skiing destinations in Europe. The standards here are exceptionally high, but this is one of the reasons why skiers and snowboarders return to this spectacular resort year after year.

Ben Howard is an administrator for a charity. He is passionate about skiing and has spent several seasons at Val d’Isere as a ski instructor.

Images by Micheal Evans and Jerome Bon (1 and 2) used under creative commons license.