After travelling for close to 5 hours from Geneva International Airport, we got to Val D’Isere town around 7.30 pm and quickly dashed to the Pro Shop at the posh and discreet Le Barmes De L’Ours Hotel to rent our ski equipment, as recommended by Val, one of our ski instructors for the group. It might be a bit more expensive than other shops, but we liked that the ski equipment for rental looked pretty new. Plus, they had a great selection of ski brands and merchandise as well.
We kickstarted our first night with a hearty classic Savoyard dinner in L’Arolay, which was highly recommended on many online reviews and by our lodge concierge. We had typical French dishes like escargots and then cheese fondue and the classic raclette, which yes what you see below, our entire group managed to devour it with lots of bread and potato. Just don’t order the fondue with beef which is pretty much beef cooked in a hot pot of oil!
We hit the slopes early at 9.30 am on the first day and met with our instructors – Val, Christophe and Cat. Cat and Christophe took the majority of us who were beginners or new to the sport, which was great, as they had a lot of attention to detail and Y felt they were much more thorough in teaching the foundation.
The village of Val D’Isere and related towns are located along a valley all around an altitude of 1850m. If you look at the piste map, there’s an amazing suite of runs to suit beginners, intermediate, advanced to those who like off piste. Generally, the lift systems are pretty efficient, waiting time is not really that long, but I have to say I really hate the button lifts, which are so hard to get on and off! And these button lifts were everywhere, aargh!
Of course with skiing comes a lot of eating to replenish our tired bodies, and what I love about this ski town is the great selection of restaurants to choose, from the nursery slopes to the more advanced slopes, as compared to where we we in Niseko in February where F&B choices were much more limiting on the slopes. It gave us a great deal to explore different places.
The most memorable location amongst our rest stops was definitely La Folie Douce – table top dancing at 3 pm in the afternoon with their in-house DJ, not many slopes can boast that. This institution really epitomises much of the Apres ski lifestyle one can enjoy in Val D’Isere and the food at their restaurant was one of the best too.
By the 3rd day, some of us managed to get up to the Madeleine green run on Solaise. It’s a really long run that needs some level of stamina but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty fun.
There were some pretty happening rest stop views like this amazing panoramic view that we shot below on an Iphone while having a hot chocolate.
Christophe took R, Y and DC to Bellevarde slope where there were some more challenging runs for beginners like them, like going down on a blue to get to the green side but learning the side-step was pretty nifty in going down these hard slopes for beginners like Y. It was breathtaking though being able to see Montblanc mountain from here!
Nothing was more satisfying then conquering the tough slopes leading down to La Folie Douce, and soaking in the loud Euro trans music while skiing down and snapping this amazing shot below.
Of course, when you are in Europe ski towns, a bit of light shopping is a must and well, Y couldn’t resist getting a beautiful gorgeous Moncler ski jacket at luxe ski shop Ogier, a definite recommendation for you fashionistas who love to look good when you are on the ski slopes. They have an amazing collection of designer ski wear from brands like Fendi to Moncler and more plus their own inhouse brand – Ogier which does really bum flattering ski pants. It’s also nearby to a host of many ski shops which sells really great merchandise, just need to walk left of Ogier and you would see many other great shops.
We had a pretty cool time with the instructors on the ski slopes and invited them back to our lodge on one of the nights for our Asian cook out at home. Not sure if they thought our food was funky or strange but they definitely looked very appreciative and we had fun just chatting through the night. It’s amazing how much Christophe can eat and he still stays so skinny! His secret to all this is daily yoga in the early mornings before hitting the slopes, which explains his ability to do a headstand without hands on floor! Shucks I missed that picture perfect moment. Val took the chance to give me a big hug as well, and attempted to bring me home for the night much to Y’s disdain.
Of course, Y had to wear her new jacket at least on the last day before it sees snow again for a while. This ski trip made us really want to plan another one soon enough, but oh well we have to wait till this December before that happens. Till then, we have these wonderful memories of Val D’Isere to look at. I would highly recommend the Go Pro to take those wonderful videos and stills of yourself when you go skiing, which is also great for looking at how to improve your ski technique.
How to get to Val D’Isere:
1. Fly to Paris and take the train from Gare Du Nord to Bourg St Maurice (no train on weekdays) or alternatively to Chambery (which has more frequent trains throughout the week). And take a car from here to your choice of stay. Return is the same, best to go via Chambery back to Paris which takes around 3 hours by train.
2. Alternatively, can fly in to Geneva International Airport and then hire a car to the resort town of Val D’Isere. It usually takes 3 hours, but it took us close to 5 hours as we were coming in on Friday evening which is peak hour traffic.
Also, my advice is request for a spacious car for your car transfers – for leg room and have something in hand like sour plum if you get motion sickness, as it can get rather nauseating going round the endless bands in the ski valley.
They charged us 4 hours for 280 euros, and would highly recommend Christophe who was with R & Y throughout, or Val as well who’s a real fun gal.
Christophe: email@example.com ; Val: firstname.lastname@example.org
Physiotherapist and sports massage:
If you need to see a physiotherapist for touch wood any bad falls or injuries or just have a sports massage, I would recommend:Louise Allison, Managing Director & Clinical Lead BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy MCSP SRP ACPSM www.bonnesantephysio.com, 0033 (0)4 79 06 07 27 65, Residence Les Andes, 73150, Val d’Isere, France