Val d’Isere needs no introduction as one of the world’s top ski resorts with 300 kilometers of ski runs. Here are some of the best Val d’Isere ski and apres-ski hotspots that you’re sure to enjoy!

First Impressions of Val d’Isere

There’s no denying that Val d’Isere is a picturesque place, that has retained its village charm yet managed to modernize its facilities. The skiing is top notch and the apres-ski is just as good.

Val d'Isere village, France

Val d’Isere Skiing

Before tackling the slopes, you’ll need to get kitted out with skis and all the trimmings. We recommend heading to Snowberry, one of the best Val d’Isere ski shops.

They have brand new equipment and who fitted us out with skis as well as comfy boots – no mean feet as we have sensitive calf muscles! They advised us to take insurance for our skis or to keep them within our sights whenever we stopped for lunch.

The new 10 person Solaise gondola has heated seats and free WiFi, reaching the top in 7 minutes. It’s opened up a whole new high-altitude area for beginners with 3 magic carpet lifts.

We’ve been on a few of these “conveyor belt” type lifts in our time but never on a covered one before. Pim Pam is an innovative covered ski lift on the beginner’s slope.

Pim Pam Val d'Isere

We came across this superb crocodile sculpture created by Richard Orlinski at the top of the Solaise ski lift. Richard is the highest selling contemporary French artist and his works have been snapped up by Paul McCartney, Sharon Stone and Richard Branson.

So taken were we with this beast, that we were on a mission to spot his other sculptures dotted around the resort.

Val d'Isere crocodile sculpture

Our favorite was this magnificent bear that we finally found at the Fornet glacier – doesn’t he look fierce!

Val d'Isere bear sculpture

The snow quality was excellent wherever we went. In fact it was so good that the International Ski Federation chose to reschedule the Beaver Creek World Cup ski races from Colorado where there was very little snow to Val d’Isere.

You can actually ski until the first week in May on one of the glaciers. On one of the days we were treated to a ski lesson by New Generation, who know the area like the back of their hand.

Val d'Isere ski area

Val d’Isere Events

The Criterium de la Première Neige, or Men’s Downhill Slalom was taking place during our stay. It seemed that all the village had turned out to watch the contestants race down the slope at record speed. 

There are quite a few festivals taking place throughout the year, such as the Winter Golf Cup, the Adventure & Discovery Film Festival and the Yoga Festival in April.

Criterium race 2016

Val d’Isere Restaurants

For the best Val d’Isere restaurants on the slopes, head to Le Signal, which has won several awards for its gourmet cuisine. Admire another Richard Orlinski work, the red DJ Headphones, before tucking into a traditional pot au feu casserole.

There’s also a more casual self-service restaurant on the ground floor.

Le Signal Val d'Isere

Another good place for a relaxed lunch is Bar de l’Ouillette, with its beach area – yes really! OK so there’s no sand but there were some nifty sun umbrellas…

Ouillette Plage Val d'Isere

Parked just outside there was this nifty snowmobile which was just crying out for a photo. Back in the village, don’t miss Fondue Factory which has a display of vintage skis as well as delicious fondues in a stylish decor.

Val d'Isere skiing

Val d’Isere Apres-Ski

We knew that Val d’Isere was famous for its nightlife but what we didn’t realize is that many of those places are outdoors, so remember to dress up well! Cocorico is one of the most popular Val d’Isere bars with live music and people dancing on the tables – a good way to keep warm!

Coco Rico Val d'Isere apres-ski
Val d’Isere Apres-Ski

Perhaps the most famous or should we say infamous of the Val d’Isere apres-ski bars is La Folie Douce, meaning Sweet Madness. It’s reached via a rather steep slope but we weren’t going to let that stop us.

As we got closer, we saw people dancing on tables but we’re told that the party atmosphere gets into full swing a bit later.

If you’re seeking a change from skiing during the day, check out the Aquasports Centre. Located in the heart of Val d’Isere, it houses a pool, hammam, gym, climbing wall, driving and golf simulators.

There’s also an ice driving circuit in the village, as well as a natural ice rink.

La Folie Douce Val d'Isere

How to Get to Val d’Isere

Chambery is the closest international airport, with Geneva also being convenient. From Chambery it was a scenic 3 hour drive to Val d’Isere with SnowDrone, a luxury transfer service with complimentary WiFi.

Val d’Isere Accommodation

Whilst there are some great Val d’Isere hotels, why not try a ski chalet for the ultimate relaxing break. You can have a really fantastic stay at Kilco Penthouse, one of the best Val d’Isere luxury chalets, being located a few minutes from the main ski lift.

It’s actually owned by the Killy family, relatives of famous world record holder Jean-Claude Killy. Managed by Hip Hideouts, it’s a beautiful building with floor to ceiling windows and a very cosy interior.

There’s a plunge pool, steam room, large garage and kit room as well as a chauffeur to collect your ski kit. The food here is truly high end, with a different chef cooking each evening and afternoon tea being available every day.

Val d'Isere luxury ski chalet

Val d’Isere Highlights

We had some fantastic experiences but were particularly impressed by:

  • Cool temporary artworks on display
  • Virtually year-round snow and great new facilities
  • Amazing après-ski
Val d'Isere ski
Val d’Isere Ski highlights

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Read all our France tips here.

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32 thoughts on “Best Val d’Isere Ski & Apres-Ski Hotspots”

  1. Angie SilverSpoon

    The sculptures on the snow are really cool! What a beautiful place, Mr S loves Val D’Isere.

  2. Val d’sere looks absolutely gorgeous!! I’m big into skiing and I’d love to check out these trails at some point in my life. I also love those sculptures of the crocodile and the bear!

    1. Suze @LuxuryColumnist

      There are some great trails in Val d’Isere and it’s worth visiting in Summertime too. The artworks were amazing

  3. Suze @LuxuryColumnist

    Thanks very much Hayley, we were blessed with good weather and of course it’s a very picturesque place to photograph!

  4. It’s the perfect place to ski, eat and enjoy outdoor pursuits. I love the art sculptures beautiful Lucy x

  5. Anne Slater-Brooks

    I tend to overlook france for skiing because it can be so crowded but have to admit Val does look incredible. Love places that have apres ski and also such great slopes. That bear is fabulous too

    1. Suze @LuxuryColumnist

      It wasn’t too crowded when we were there as there was good snow everywhere so people were spread out thankfully. The apres-ski is definitely rocking there!

  6. that looks amazing! never been skiing before but would love to try it one day..

    THE FASHION MATTERS- Travel & Fashion blog | INSTAGRAM: TheFashionMatters

    1. Suze @LuxuryColumnist

      It’s such a great place for skiing, I’d say it’s particularly suited to intermediates but they do have a new beginner’s area that’s pretty good

  7. Suze @LuxuryColumnist

    Well we didn’t party the night away in La Folie Douce, I’d have been scared to ski back down again afterwards ;-). We did get a few photos at least. Aren’t the sculptures cool!

  8. Suze @LuxuryColumnist

    I was really impressed by the sculptures, in fact a nearby ski resort has a competition to win one! The heated seats were lovely when it was snowing

  9. Believe it or not, I live 45 minutes away from the mountain and a great skiing place but I have yet to visit it! LOL! Definitely need to change that next winter.

    Shireen | Reflection of Sanity

  10. Skiing seems to be a much sought after sport there. Staying in tropical land I have enjoyed skiing only in pics. 😛 🙂
    Those sculptures are amazing! what are they made of? Blue against the white snow makes them more attractive.

    1. Suze @LuxuryColumnist

      They’re made from a kind of resin, the sculptor developed a new material as far as I understand – the end result is certainly impressive. Hope you get to try skiing one day

  11. Gotta a love a good day skiing the mountains. Everything at val d’isere looks just perfect! Even those sculptures look pretty cool!

  12. What a beautiful setting. The Alps are such a beautiful place to visit, and Val d’Isere is not exception. I’m not much of a skier (I’ve done snowboarding a handful of times), but I’m all about apres ski! I wouldn’t mind hanging out in the mountain top bars and having a few drinks in a hot tub! That’s how I like to spend ski vacations!

    1. Suze @LuxuryColumnist

      I’ve never tried snowboarding, I imagined that it was harder than skiing. I agree that it’s all about the apres-ski, whether you’ve skied in the day or not!

  13. MakeTimeToSeeTheWorld

    Val D’Isere really is a beautiful part of the alps. I love the blue bear sculpture – and i’ve been to La Foliie Deuce’s sister venue in Val Thoren – the party atmosphere is great once it gets in full swing, but getting back down the mountain can be a little hairy by the end of the afternoon!

    1. Suze @LuxuryColumnist

      Ooh I didn’t know they had a sister venue but I can imagine that getting down the slopes afterwards is a challenge!

  14. Planes & Champagne

    Oh wow I’m loving the sculptures Suze – very unique! It’s also been a long time since I’ve been snow mobiling! Val d’Isere looks like a very glam ski spot and one that I’m definitely adding to the list!

  15. It really does look great here! Compared to the skiing fields that I went to in NZ, this beats them hands down! There was certainly no heated seats or free wifi on the skilifts there! The food also looks amazing, I could devour both od those dishes!

    1. Suze @LuxuryColumnist

      It’s amazing how ski resorts have improved since I used to go too! I just wish someone could invent lighter skis and boots ;-). The food was delicious

  16. It seems that you had a fantastic time! My last time skiing was years and years ago but if I decide to go back you have convinced me to do it in Val d’Isère

  17. Love that there’s virtually year round snow in Val d’Isere – one of the top classic ski resorts in Europe for sure! We actually published an article on top ski resorts in Europe a couple of days ago and mentioned Val d’Isere, so I’ll link to your post for those looking for an insightful review 🙂

  18. Jennifer Dombrowski

    Looks like you had an incredible ski getaway at Val d’Isere! We love the French Alps and it’s good to know the snow quality was good. The Alps have really been suffering the last few years with the warmer and drier winters.

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