If you’re looking for a large ski area, with plenty of alpine charm and lots going on – then Val d’Isère is the resort for you. It’s a firm favorite, as it retains great snow conditions throughout the long winter season (November – May). The ski area neighbors Tignes and together they make up the enormous Espace Killy. With over 300km of pistes to explore, there is something for everyone.
Let’s take a closer look at
the best pistes in Val d’Isère.
Val d’Isère is backwards in the way the ski area is structured. Usually, the more mellow terrain is at the bottom of the hill and the steeper slopes are at higher altitudes. Val d’Isère is the complete opposite of that theory! At the top of the hill, there is gentle, mellow terrain thanks to a variety of glaciers. The steep terrain is on the valley walls closer to the resort nestled on the valley floor. Val d’Isère is split into four main areas: Solaise, Bellevarde, Le Fournet and La Daille.
60% of the resort’s pistes are above 2500m, so we suggest taking the lift up to ski the blue and green runs and then taking the lift back down to resort at the end of the day. The slopes back to the resort are challenging, even the blue runs. There are 3 beginner areas, one in the center of the resort, one in La Daille and up at the top of Solaise. They are a suitable place for adults and children to learn to ski or board. It’s worth having a look at the piste map before you go.
The best pistes for beginners:
- Solaise offers a fantastic selection of blue runs that are perfect for beginners. Due to the pristine snow conditions, the Solaise area has some of the best pistes in Val d’Isère. It’s easily accessible as it’s right above the town. Our favorite cruisy blues are Glaciers, Col de la Madeleine and Forche.
- The Bellevarde area has a whole network of green and blue runs perfect for practicing after a lesson. Mont Blanc & Genepi are two pistes that are groomed to perfection and just keep on going! There is a huge choice of ski runs so people tend to spread out, meaning less queuing and space to try new techniques.
- Mangard in the Fornet area is a fantastic blue run for the whole family. Make sure you take in the stunning views at the top and devour a hot chocolate on the way down before taking the free bus back to the main town of Val d’Isère.
The best pistes in Val d’Isère for intermediates:
- The Daille area has some terrific runs which are ideal for progressing your skiing. The variety of green, blue and red runs means you can chop and change to suit how you’re feeling. Diebold and Vert both wind all the way back down to the valley floor meaning you can really get into a rhythm.
- The Bellevarde area is the place to head to in the afternoons for some long, open pistes. The runs here are long, open and in close proximity to Tignes. Great for taking the next step in your skiing and heading on an adventure. If you feel like you’re happy turning and cruising on blue runs but lack confidence when it gets steeper, check out our clinics & private lessons.
- Our top tip would be to head to the Pissailla glacier, in the Fornet area which is great for perfecting technique. The glaciers are usually crowd-free, mellow and wide open meaning you have space to improve. The Cascade is a red run that starts at the top of the glacier and sweeps down across the mountain. Alternatively, you could head down on one of the inter-twinning blue runs which cross the Col de l’Iseran.
If you need more information on why Val d’Isère is the perfect place for your next ski holiday, take a look at our guide to Val d’Isère.
The best pistes for advanced riders:
- Val d’Isère proudly boasts 25 black runs, including the famous Olympic “La Face” slope. Our advice is to tackle it between 12 – 2 pm, as it can be quite firm first thing. After 2 pm the run turns into ungroomed moguls. If you fancy a challenge, and your legs are feeling good then head to la Face.
- Santons is an exciting red piste which is more like a black run if we’re being honest! You should enjoy this piste first thing in the morning when it has been freshly groomed but if the rest of the family don’t fancy it, instead, they can ride the Olympic chair down.
- Le Lavancher Couloir is one of the best off-piste runs in Val d’Isère. Only venture into this area if you have the appropriate safety equipment and be sure to always go with a guide or instructor. It begins at the top of the Solaise Express where it is wide and flat. Don’t let that fool you as it funnels down becoming steeper, through the trees finishing back in town. Just in time for some dancing at apres!
Not sure where the best après is? Check out our guide to the best après in Val d’Isère.
The resort is hard to beat because there’s so much space to learn, have fun and explore. The village of Val d’Isère remains quaint and beautiful with old buildings and alpine architecture. If you need another reason to visit Val d’Isère this Winter then take a look at our blog. We’ll see you on the slopes!