Val d’Isère

By Eve Boissonnault, Special Contributor

It was Jean-Claude Killy who, in the 1960s, became the poster child of French skiing. His career as a competitive skier, marked by a series of spell-binding performances, led to Killy taking home the gold in all three Alpine events during the 1968 Winter Games in Grenoble. As testament to his talent, a skiing area in Killy’s hometown was later named in his honour.

Fastforward to 2015, when Val d’Isèr – Tignes (formerly Espace Killy)  now enjoys a reputation as the epicentre of the skiing world. Located halfway between Geneva and Turin, the little piece of Savoyard paradise, nestled in the Vanoise Massif, is proud to be known as the French skiing paradise par excellence. Young and vibrant, Val d’Isère – Tignes (formerly Espace Killy) is the place to enjoy some of the most intense skiing in the world. Val d’Isère, with its chic and sophisticated flair, is connected to its younger and more rebellious sister station, Tignes, through three different passages. Together, this fantastic duo forms Val d’Isère – Tignes (formerly Espace Killy), a superb ski area boasting over 300 km of groomed runs, which has received accolades around the world.

Val d’Isère: Tradition… with a young, hip vibe

When you hear the bells ring at Val d’Isère, more often than not they mark the start of a World Cup race. The Face de Bellevarde, overlooking the resort, one of the most technical runs on the
circuit, is much like an illuminated monument surrounded by the admirers who gather at its feet. Needless to say, such worship is definitely well earned. Val d’Isère is the perfect mountain for experienced skiers eager to earn their après-ski downtime.

And, since we are on the topic of après-ski fun, you’ll be excited to know that a young, hip vibe has taken over La Fruitière, a mountain restaurant that has since expanded to add the Folie
Douce bar to its facilities. Quiet wine sipping has made room for DJs and turntables, blaring the tunes for fluorescent ski pant-wearing crowds on the terrace, happily enjoying one of
the most lively après-ski parties in the Alps. But, hip parties and ski racing aside, when it boils down to it, Val d’Isère and Tignes are about pure, simple skiing at its very
best… and, given the immensity of it all, what else could you really need?



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Text from 2014-2015 ski magazine

 

Absolutely ENORMOUS—there’s just no better way to describe Val d'Isère - Tignes (formely Espace Killy), the ski area that combines the resorts of Tignes and Val-d’Isère. But, don’t be fooled by the fact that their skiable domains are united under the same name, these two villages are extremely different, both in terms of altitude and in terms of architecture. When it comes to skiing, though, it is clear that they complement each other marvellously.

Tignes-le-Lac and Val-Claret are the offspring of the old village of Tignes, which was flooded over during the construction of an immense hydroelectric dam in post-war times, converting it into Lac du Chevril. Although the need for electricity was great at the time, the project to build the dam was met with strong opposition from the locals who bitterly fought the idea of deserting their original village. Despite having their homes dynamited, they stayed in protest. Eventually, however, they would lose their fight as the rising waters forced them out of their old stone homes.

The magnificent valley below, which once served as pastures, is now home to the ski resort. The location is spectacular, and the snow here is seemingly endless. High above the valley stands the Grande Motte Glacier, which provides plenty to keep skiers happy, even during the summer. Winter, however, remains the season when the glacier truly shines as the symbol of the resort. This is, without a doubt, the ideal time of year to enjoy every inch of the glacier, along with its modern lift infrastructures.

A former racing opponent of mine often used to say: “If you go to Tignes, you’ll get to ski steeper slopes than you would with most heliskiing operations!”

A little farther past Lac du Chevril, you’ll come to a small and welcoming hamlet. Resting calmly alongside the river that shares its poetic name, the beautiful old village of Val d’Isère (birthplace of legendary French skier Jean- Claude Killy) is sure to please any mountain enthusiast.

With its traditional architecture, Val d’Isère is replete with inviting boutiques, sunny bistros and, of course, international calibre ski slopes located just at the far end of the village square! Whether you pick Solaise, to your left, or Bellevarde, to your right, you are guaranteed some world class skiing, and perhaps a little vertigo, too! But, fear not, there are plenty of easier paths that will get you to the bottom—and to that après-ski drink—a little faster, if you so choose! Val d’Isère and Tignes, a fantastic choice for unforgettable skiing!

By Jean-Luc Brassard Special Contributor, Olympic Champion and Assistant Chef de Mission for Sotchi 2014

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Ski stations Accommodations Snow Conditions
TEMPERATURE (CELSIUS)
Month Min. Max.
January -3 6
February -3 8
March 1 13
April 3 15
May 8 21
June 11 24
July 13 27
August 12 26
September 9 21
October 5 17
November 1 10
December -3 6

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