Val d'Ise;re is one of the world's best resorts for experts - who are attracted by the extent of lift-served off-piste - and for confident, mileage-hungry intermediates. You don't have to be particularly adventurous to enjoy the resort; but it would be much better for novices and timid intermediates if the piste classifications were more reliable. The drawbacks listed above are not crucial for most people, whereas most of the plus-points weigh heavily in the balance. For a combination of seriously impressive skiing and pleasant village ambience, it is difficult to beat. Val d'Isere spreads along a remote valley that is a dead end in winter. The road in from Bourg-St-Maurice brings you dramatically through a rocky defile to La Daille - a convenient but hideous slope-side apartment complex - and the base of lifts into the major Bellevarde sector of the slopes. Carry on into the centre of town and turn right, and you drive under the nursery slopes and major lifts up to both the Bellevarde and Solaise sectors to a lot of new development. Continue up the main valley instead, and you come first to Le Laisinant, a peaceful little outpost with a fast lift into the slopes, and then to Le Fornet, the fourth major lift station. The developments up the side valley beyond the main lift station - in Le Chatelard and La Legettaz - are mainly attractive, and some offer ski-in/ski-out convenience. La Daille and Le Fornet have their (quite different) attractions for those less concerned about nightlife. A car is of no great value around the resort.
Pros

Huge area shared with Tignes, with lots of runs for all abilities

One of the great resorts for lift-served off-piste runs

Once the snow has fallen, high altitude of slopes keeps it good

Wide choice of schools, especially for off-piste lessons and guiding

Cons

Some green and blue runs are too challenging, and all runs back to the village are tricky

You're quite likely to need buses at the start and end of the day (but they are very frequent and efficient)

Many lifts and slopes are liable to close when the weather is bad

Expensive eating and drinking; it's one of the priciest resorts in France for this

Getting there

  • Chambery airport: 2 hours
  • Geneva airport: 2.5 hours
  • Lyon airport: 2.5 hours
  • Bourg-St-Maurice train station: 1 hours

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