Val d'Isere Resort Reviews
Visitor reviews for Val d'Isere Ski Resort
February 14, 2019
Simon Eames from United Kingdom
Returning this year for at least the 20th time. For skiing (as opposed to boarding) Val is simply the best all-round resort for all except beginners (see below), and the apres, the bar scene and the restaurants are legendary. The lift system and bus services are also superb, giving easy opportunity to cover all areas of the Espace Killy.
For on-piste skiing, advanced and intermediates will never run out of variety. With excellent links all across the vast area from the left edge of the map with crisp corduroy on the lovely Fornet glacier area in the morning. All the way over to the extreme right of the map with the superb very long (partially) black "Sache" from up at the Aiguille Percee all the way down to Les Brevieres.
My only warning would be to beginners and intermediates of a timid nature. Val is a fairly challenging resort with a huge variety of reds and blacks. This, in my opinion, has resulted in the deliberate down-grading of some fairly difficult reds to blue status in order to get the right colour balance on the piste map and to encourage families and beginners who would otherwise be put off visiting. Some of the blues in Val would definitely be graded red in most resorts. This can result in unwelcome and exhausting problems for some less able skiers getting down back to resort at the end of a hard day, especially if conditions are poor.
I can't comment on the off-piste, but for piste skiing it's 5* for advanced and intermediates, 2* for beginners, and probably only 2* for boarders, who are not made welcome here and have largely stopped coming in the last couple of years. We can't stay away and will keep coming year after year.
Val d'Isere Ratings
Overall: 4.1. Based on 59 votes and 62 reviews. Vote
(1) At least one overnight stop, (2) requires a whole day, (3) requires more than half a day – you may have time for a few turns (4) arrive by lunchtime and ski all afternoon, (5) there is a main airport within an hour of Val d'Isere.
Public Transport: 3.9
(1) There are no buses or taxis to Val d'Isere, (3) there are slow or infrequent buses / trains available, (5) getting to the resort is easy with frequent bus / train connections.
(1) An ugly resort in a bland setting, (3) average mountain views and resort, (5) a spectacular setting and a beautiful / historic resort town.
(1) No places to stay in/near Val d'Isere, (3) a few places to stay in the resort, (5) a wide variety of accommodation suitable to suit all budgets.
Cheap Rooms: 2.8
(1) No budget accommodation available, (3) just one or two hostels so book ahead, (5) several cheap hostels and pensions available.
Luxury Hotels: 4.8
(1) No luxury accommodation available, (3) just one or two luxury hotels so book ahead, (5) several up-market hotels in Val d'Isere.
Ski in/Ski out: 4.4
(1) The ski area is located far from any accommodation, (3) a free ski bus takes you to the ski area in a short trip, (5) Ski-in ski-out accommodation is available.
(1) There are no child care facilities at Val d'Isere, (5) the resort has excellent child-care facilities including at least one reasonably priced creche.
(1) Occasionally gets enough snow for skiing, (2) is often closed due to a lack of snow, (3) occasionally suffers from a lack of snow, (4) rarely suffers from a lack of snow, (5) Val d'Isere is snowsure even in the poorest seasons.
(1) Val d'Isere relies entirely on natural snow, (3) there are just a few snow cannons, (5) there are snowmaking facilities on all pistes.
Snow Grooming: 4.5
(1) There are no snow groomers at Val d'Isere, (3) occasionally some pistes are left ungroomed and in a poor state, (5) all the runs at Val d'Isere are groomed daily.
(1) there is nowhere to ski when it is windy or visibility is bad and lifts often shut, (3) there are some trees for poor visibility but main lifts sometimes close, (5) Val d'Isere is mostly in forest where you can ski in flat-light and windy days, lifts rarely close.
Nearby options: 3.4
(1) If snow conditions are poor at Val d'Isere, it will be poor everywhere nearby, (3) there are good alternatives within an hours drive, (5) other locations on the same lift pass provide a rich variety of snowsure ski conditions.
Regional rating: 4.7
(1) Val d'Isere usually has poor snow conditions compared to other resorts in region, (3) has average conditions for the region, (5) usually has the best snow conditions in the region.
Lift Staff: 4.3
(1) The staff at Val d'Isere are rude or unhelpful, (5) lift staff at Val d'Isere are pleasant, cheerful and eager to help.
(1) the resort is always busy and there are usually long lift queues, (3) it is quiet apart from occasional weekends and school holidays, (5) it is uncrowded and lift queues are very rare.
Ski Schools: 4.7
(1) No ski schools available, (2) one or two ski schools but local language only, (3) a few ski schools but book early for multi-lingual instructors, (4) plenty of ski schools and multi-lingual instructors available, (5) excellent ski schools with friendly multi-lingual ski instructors.
Hire and Repairs: 4.8
(1) Nothing can be sourced, not even ski-wax or ptex. (3) there are some ski shops but rentals need to be booked in advance, (5) good quality ski equipment can be purchased or hired and overnight repairs are possible.
Variety of pistes: 4.7
(1) The ski runs are featureless and unvaried, (3) the ski runs are varied but not extensive enough for a week, (5) Val d'Isere has diverse and interesting pistes including forests and high alpine terrain.
(1) Beginners can only watch others ski and snowboard, (3) a few gentle slopes but beginners will get bored in less than a week, (3) Vast areas of gentle terrain.
(1) No intermediate terrain at Val d'Isere, (3) intermediate skiers will get bored after a few days, (5) vast areas of cruising runs.
(1) Nothing for advanced skiers and snowboarders, (3) enough steep terrain for a few days with some good offpiste, (5) Enough steep terrain and offpiste areas to entertain advanced skiers for at least a week.
Snow Park: 4.1
(1) Not even a kicker at Val d'Isere, (3) average sized park quite well looked after, (5) huge park area and expertly crafted pipes, jumps and boardercross trails.
(1) No off-piste worth mentioning, (2) off piste is out-of-bounds, (3) some varied offpiste that stays fresh for one or two days, (5) a vast array of off-piste routes that can stay untracked for several days.
(1) There is nowhere to go for cross-country skiing around Val d'Isere, (3) there are some cross country trails available, (5) the area features many spectacular and well maintained cross-country trails.
(1) No designated luge or toboggan runs, (3) there are toboggan runs that open quite often, (5) Val d'Isere has long and well maintained luge / toboggan facilities suitable for all ages.
Mountain Dining: 4.1
(1) Nowhere to buy food by the pistes, (3) some places to eat up on the mountain but they are often busy and expensive, (5) there is a variety of excellent mountain eateries right next to the slopes to suit all budgets.
(1) Bring your own food, there isn't even a shop. (5) A wide variety of places to eat and drink in the resort, from fast food to fancy restaurants.
(1) Nothing to do, not even a bar, (3) there are a few bars in the resort but nothing special, (5) clubs and bars stay open until very late and have a friendly atmosphere.
Other Sports: 4.6
(1) No sports facilities at all apart from ski lifts, (3) resort has just a small public swimming pool, (5) resort has all kinds of sports facilities, including a full-size swimming pool.
(1) Besides the snow and walking there is nothing to do here, (3) the non-skier will find things to do for few days but may become bored after a week, (5) the resort area is a fascinating place to visit, regardless of winter sports.
Winter Walks: 3.6
(1) Very limited walking and no snowshoe trails, (3) a couple of designated scenic walking/snowshoe trails, (5) extensive and diverse winter walking trails for all abilities.
Ski Pass Value: 4.0
(1) A 1 week ski pass is overpriced compared to the number of lifts available, (3) the ski pass is averagely priced and covers a reasonable number of lifts, (5) ski passes are excellent value for money and cover a lot of lifts spanning a big area.
Value (National): 3.9
(1) Overall, Val d'Isere is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the country and not worth the money, (3) overall represents average value for money, (5) overall offers the best value resort in the country.
Value (Global): 3.9
(1) Overall, Val d'Isere is one of the most expensive ski resorts in the world, (3) overall it offers pretty average value for money compared to resorts from other countries, (5) internationally the resort offers excellent value for money.
January 08, 2016
Ade from United Kingdom
If you read these reviews you'll find that Val d'Isere clearly splits opinion. Here's another one.
It's a pretty town and the free bus service is the best I've ever encountered. The town is expensive though; for both drinks and food. The skiing is ok but, like another reviewer, we preferred the Tignes area. Although some lifts are quite slow by modern standards, there are some excellent key lifts that connect really well to the different valleys and getting across to Tignes is easy. The ski map though, isn't very accurate or easy to follow. Val d'Isere is a skiing resort and not a great resort for boarders, unless there's been a big dump and the off-piste is available to have fun. We reckoned boarders made up for less than 10 % of those on the slopes when we visited in December 2015. And finally (and probably it's biggest issue, as far as we were concerned), far too many British people seem to go there.
So, in summary, pretty resort, pretty expensive resort, pretty expensive resort for skiers and not boarders. Too many Brits.
March 26, 2015
Martin from United Kingdom
I'm in 2 minds about Val d'Isere. I've just returned from my second trip there and while I had a great time, for some reason it just doesn't stack up against other resorts for my kind of skier. I ski on and off-piste but haven't been ski-touring. I suspect it's terrific for touring and saw several groups in the distance, clearly on big trips into the wild.
For lift served off-piste I prefer La Plagne. There, I've said it. Essentially, because it has bags of terrain like Espace Killy but unlike EK it takes all week to get tracked out. It's probably marginally better than 3 Vallees for this though.
For pistes, I think it has some great runs, e.g. Face early in the morning is great and Trolles into Tignes is a fast, flattering run that's really only like an easy wide red. The blues below the Grand Motte feel pleasantly remote too. But a lot of pistes are quite short, a bit samey and not that scenic. It's nothing like as well connected as the 3 Vallees with some really obvious places where an upgrade is needed, e.g. the slow chairs above Les Boisses/Les Brevieres and the inexplicable slow Grand Huit chair. In fairness to Val, these are all in Tignes but they're a key part of the area and really slow you down. In our week the trees at La Daille were much appreciated as the clouds closed in at times. For a high resort, this area is a real bonus.
The village itself is generally quite attractive with shops, restaurants and bars to suit all tastes. The bar scene is about as good as any ski resort, i.e. a bit pants compared to any decent town back home. But it's good enough for a week. The buses were very good from town to La Daille.
Final point, I also had 3 days in Tignes in the summer as altitude training for some climbing. I had a great time and skiing the Grande Motte for a morning was actually great fun. The atmosphere in summer is entirely different and I really enjoyed that trip.
Would I go again? I reckon I would if my group insisted on it. But I'd prefer 3 Vallees, La Plagne or St Anton.
November 02, 2013
graeme from Australia
I have skied at over 100 resorts around the world over the last 30 years and must have spent over a year in total at Val. There are a lot of great places to ski but nothing beats Val d'Isere for the quality of skiing unless you have a helicopter. BC has some wonderful areas but please don't include Whistler amongst them unless you enjoy crowded lifts, a village that has had a soul bypass and you like skiing the heaviest snow outside of Australia.
March 26, 2013
AndyMac from France
With regards to skiing, Val d'Isere surpassed all my expectations.
It's quite clear why Val is ranked amongst the world's top ski resorts year after year, the quality of the lift accessed off-piste is superb; the person or persons responsible for planning Val's lift placement had a lot of heart and soul and obviously love skiing with a deep passion. As well, for two weeks in mid-March the longest lift queue was maybe 5-7 minutes and that was in the obvious places. 80% of the time it was a matter of skiing straight onto the lifts.
I would say that apart from village returns for novice skiers, the skiing is almost perfect for all levels.
Of course, Val is not flawless, it's crazily expensive at times, the drunk (mainly British) kids are an embarrassment and the pose factor in the village is laughably high but for the smart and creative it's easy enough to circumvent these.
If you really like actually skiing and especially if you want to really get into the off-piste, you owe it to yourself to visit Val d'Isere at some stage.
March 04, 2013
jon from United Kingdom
Just returned from Val after a two week holiday.
First time back in Europe having spent the the last 5 seasons in British Columbia, Panorama, Louise, Revelstoke ,Whistler etc.
Seriously you should go to BC.
Val is crowded, expensive, windy, white outs, over-rated.
In terms of terrain it's not even close to the Canadian resorts and the snow, whilst there is a lot of it, gets skied off very quickly.
If you want to be seen then Val is the place, if you are serious about your ski holiday then get to BC.
We're in Panorama at Easter, can't wait.
November 09, 2012
Laurence Verbier from United Kingdom
Having spent a total of 6 months there, the marketing is as usual for a town where the council is questionable. There is an ice-rink but it is so low down that it is rarely serviceable after January. In fact, it is shut even if the temperature drop and is very crowded at other times. Val d'Isere has to have some of the rudest piste 'policemen' out there. My ski knocked off after getting a chair lift, the operator saw it happen, and presumably notified the other side, who was day-dreaming while I was waving for him to stop the lift so I could dismount at a reasonable speed. I then went full speed into my neighbours ripping my ski trousers. To prove that he had slowed the lift (which he hadn't, otherwise I would not have collided with the 3 others also getting off) he then sped up the chairs, causing the next lot to fall off onto their knees. I could not believe the arrogance and disrespect for safety. Also, expect to have to clear off the pistes a good half hour before closing, the patrol come in 3s and 4s, skiing at high speed - as if they are going to crash into you- and then escort you down, giving you about 20cm of personal space. Incredibly intimidating and pressurising when you are a beginner on a snowboard. I had very bad bruises as a result, and I was quite angry considering the price of the pass and the ski hours actually advertised. I prefer Tignes myself.
PS To the reviewer below, there is no salt on the roads, because it is extremely bad for the environment, as it causes havoc for the plant and fishlife in the rivers.
[note from the editor : this post has been edited to maintain absolute relevance]
November 01, 2012
Jess Brown from United Kingdom
Val d'Isere is rather special, I love the expanse of the resort, plenty to do, I always hook up with Martin at skimckay for ski coaching. The Chalets are very good, especially by the Face. I highly recommend Val d'Isere the finest of ski vacations. Jess Brown - Ski Fanatic!
May 01, 2012
seth brown from United States
Spent 1 week there in March. Snow was iffy, but the altitude kept what was there in good shape. Great ski town, we stayed at Hotel Ormulene in the middle of town..great location, great value. The skiing goes on for ever. It looks huge..and it is. Great on mtn food at all price levels..night life is centered mostly on the younger crowd...but a few great bars and tons of great restaurants. Skiing is fabulous, although it's geared to either advanced or lower intermediate. If you're an upper intermediate cruiser, there are better places to go. The reputation is well deserved...this is a world class resort in every use of the word.
January 05, 2012
Barry Allsuch from United Kingdom
Have just returned from Val. Still one of my favourite ski areas. We actually stay in La Daille which is nice and quite in the evening.
.Very lucky with weather, clear blue skies most of the time. Excellent link up with Tignes gives even the most energetic skier miles of pistes to explore. Love the easy blue down to Tignes Le Brevierre
.At the other end of L'Espace Kiley, Le Fornet is still very quiet and has some lovely runs and fine views. Wish we could ski across to Italy which is only 2 or 3 kilometeres away. Maybe in the future.
One word of caution, restaurant prices are quite mad £10 for a coke and a fruit tarte. One has to seriously consider taking out a packed lunch, especially if the weather is fine.
Don't forget magnificent Oxygen indoor sports facility in the centre of town, with heated pools, saunas, steam rooms and sports facilities. Don't miss. Great for aching limbs.