Snow-sure and sophisticated, Val d’Isere has long been one of the finest winter resorts in the world, but what makes the popular alpine destination so appealing? Not only does it occupy a varied terrain, but as part of the famous Espace Killy ski area, it offers a first-class lift system and facilities. Unsurprisingly, “Val”, as it is affectionately known, has become a firm family favourite with something for everyone, from thrillseekers to complete beginners. People arrive on Val d’Isere helicopter transfers for anything from a day to consecutive weeks of unrivalled skiing. So what makes Val d’Isere the best ski resort for families?
Val d’Isere is one of the highest resorts in the French Alps, and it is conveniently linked up with Tignes in the Espace Killy. This majestic ski area pierces the sky at over 3,500m; the highest lift in Tignes is on the Grande Motte glacier and reaches 3,456m. The area has over 300km of runs and 78 modern lifts. The recently upgraded state-of-the-art Solaise Gondola accommodates 10 people and comes complete with heated seats and WiFi, has significantly improved the flow of skiers to the slopes by increasing capacity by 40 percent. It whisks people from 1831m to 2550m in just 7 minutes.
The ski runs are good for all levels from beginners to those who prefer off-piste terrain. Val d’Isere boasts a fantastic snow record and long ski seasons that stretch into the first weeks of May are guaranteed since Val has the largest artificial snowmaking plant in Europe. While there are plenty of ski schools for beginners and youngsters, there are 67 blue runs and 41 reds, making it an ideal playground for intermediates. Its technically difficult black run ‘La Face’ is infamous and offers daring skiers a formidable challenge.
Val d’Isere had humble beginnings, but over the years it has been transformed into a charming and sophisticated town. The resort was established in the 1930s, but its development only picked up the pace in the run-up to the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics, when La Face hosted the men’s downhill, Super G and giant slalom, putting it on the international stage. These days, there is a strictly-enforced no parking policy on the tree-lined main street and every Thursday cars and buses are banned from the village centre. On these occasions, it becomes a pedestrian zone with live music, light shows and stalls for an entertaining apres-ski stroll.
Val d’Isere has a huge selection of chic accommodation for discerning skiers, ranging from quaint stone houses and Swiss-style chalets to 5-star hotels such as Le Blizzard. This luxurious establishment is a welcoming, contemporary chalet-style hotel that is renowned for its gourmet restaurant that overlooks the Bellevarde slopes. Val Village also has a vibrant nightlife that keeps going until the early hours with a good mixture of traditional restaurants and upscale bars. Shoppers are well catered for with the village’s specialist boutiques, which are full of souvenirs and ski gear.
A No-Hassle Ski Trip for All the Family
Children will love other snow activities such as dog sledding, ice skating and tobogganing on a nursery slope. The Aquasportif is the perfect place for families to soak their sore limbs after a busy day skiing. The luxurious sports complex has a large pool, cascades, and a spa with modern facilities. Culture vultures are catered for at the Maison de Val, a cultural centre with libraries, exhibitions and a cinema.
If you’re short on time, a Val d’Isere helicopter transfer is a comfortable, safe and convenient way to arrive the beautiful resort fresh and ski-ready. It also offers views that will thrill the whole family and create treasured memories.