Skiing Val Disere

( Val d'Isere )

val disere view val disere village val disere in the valley

General Feel.
Skiing Val Disere,is hard to beat. It offers challenging terrain, particularly for intermediate to advanced skiers. It has nice scenery, traditional alpine architecture, is continuously growing and has a little bit for everyone. Some advanced skiers love this destination. It is well inter- connected and can cope with early morning crowds quite well .The lift systems are reasonably close to villages.

Free shuttle buses will carry you around. If you are looking for varied terrain, which will work your quads, you have the right spot. To complement your experience the village is at the altitude of 1850m, so snow is very rarely a problem.

For a bit of a cultural enlightenment, Val Disere was originally the hunting lodge of Dukes of Savoy. Some history can be found here.

From what I could gather the village is made of 3 towns, spread out in almost a linear fashion, the major being Val Disere, then Le Pornet and La Daille. To see a Val Diser town map visit here.

The region is forested with spruce and pine and the chalets have charming old alpine feel .The area has a bit of history going back to when dukes visited the region.

Off Piste.
The area has four major gondola lift points. One which is most remote to the village is Le Fornet which historically has the shortest waiting time during a rush season. Here you can reach areas of Pte du Montet ,a peak towering 1.6km above the level of the village (3488m). This is a good starting point to traverse the two valleys. I infact recommend this spot to start off on your skiing Val Disere adventure.

I like this part of Val Disere because is has an old mystique, and an aged alpine feel. Part of Le Fornet is reached over a small bridge. If rustic charm grabs you, stay over the bridge. This satellite village is like a small school of mushrooms clumped together, nested at the foothill.

When you travel up on a lift from Le Fornet, you reach lots of beginner’s runs. Seems deceiving, but this is a good spot for families. I would suggest it for a 4 plus age group. The gentler regions are close to the glacier de Pissaillas. This is a beautiful part of the world, but at the altitude of 3300m you are exposed to the elements. Do not however ski all the way down with your little troopers. Take the gondola back to Le Fornet.

When you go skiing Val Disere try not to pass up exploring the Col de l’Iseran, a region in the vicinity of the glacier. There are more intermediate and advanced runs here.

The remaining gondola lift points are at the village ascend to two peaks Tete de Solaise (2560m) home to famous mogul skiing and Roche de Bellevarde .The Roche can be reached either from central village or from La Daille.

The Bellevarde Face which is close to town centre can now be reached by a new, fast gondola. About 15 million Euros has recently gone into the lift upgrade. This run offers the famous Face run, with bumpy terrain, and whilst rated as blue trails, are what would be classified as black in other resorts. Skiing Val Disere has to be experienced from the Bellevarde region.

For a little challenge go to Rocher de Bellevarde and ski behind the summit, down to the base of the mountain. You will pass through weaving sparsely forested regions, funneling down to the village. Whereever you venture out, skiing Val Disere,is not difficult as you visually stay well connected with the town, orientating yourself is easy (assuming good weather).

This valley has 50 lifts and about 130km of downhill skiing. If you are a little like us, and enjoy exploring new snow terrain, rather than ski the same trail, allow yourself one week to get to know this place.

To broaden your Val Disere skiing experience, cross the valley, aim for La Torviere, a point on the ridge of the Bellevarde mountain. Then gently descend to Tignes (2100m), an adjacent resort. This will open a whole new terrain to you.

For night life and atmosphere after a full day skiing Val Disere I recommend Val central. For those of you who want to meet people who speak English, this is also the preferred choice. A lot of UK residents have settled here, or run their businesses here.

Food in Val Disere is fine , and the English owned lodges try to stand on their heads to please incoming customers. The place suffered of a tarnished reputation when it comes to food, and it is trying to redeem itself. I think there are a lot great spots here, try Chalet du Cret, which is a 300 year old house. You will find it a little out of town.

Family rating.
Val d I’sere **1/2

  • Getting Here. Catch a flight to Geneva (Switzerland), then drive south heading to Annecy. From here cut across to Albertville, and keep on climbing to Moutiers, weaving through different alpine towns until you reach Val d’Isere. The last stretch can be demanding, so I suggest leave Geneva early in the morning.

    There is an alternate route, and that is to catch a high-speed train from Paris to St Maurice. St Maurice is only 34km (21mil) from Val d’Isere.

  • Proximity to lifts.When skiing Val Disere, kids lifts are central to town, in fact a walking distance. For ascending further up the mountain head to Bellevarde or Solaise lift points .Be advised that the Solaise lift can suffer from cues.

  • Creche.Child minding is available from 2 years of age.

  • Cafes for kids. I have not seen any purpose build cafes for little ones, but French are usually pretty relaxed when anyone strolls into the café ,even a poodle on a leash is acceptable.

  • Ski Equipment. The Val d’Isere central is the place to visit, you have the information center here as well.

Hope your skiing Val Disere experience is a nice one, We recommend this place. Both of us look foreward to continuous upgrades on the way.

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