Val d'Isere Lifts & Terrain

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Val d'Isere Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Interlinked Ski Resort

Tignes

    Val d’Isere Ski Trail Map
  • Val d'Isere Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    1,550 – 3,456m (1,906m) (incl. Tignes)
  • Average Snow Fall
    7 - 10m+
  • Lifts (78)(incl. Tignes)
    11 Gondolas/cable cars/funicular
    41 Chairlifts

    Summer Skiing - 2 lifts for skiing
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Winter: Mid-Nov to early May
    8:45am - 5:00pm

    Summer: Early June to mid-July
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs - 300km (incl. Tignes)
    Longest run – 10km+
    Advanced - 18%
    Intermediate - 25%
    Beginner - 57%
    Off piste - 10,000ha
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 20/21
    Tignes-Val d'Isere
    Adult - €50 to 62
    Child - €41 to 50
    Adult over 74yr - Free
    Child u/5yr - Free

    Summer Skiing at Val d’Isere
    Adult/child - €30
    Tignes - Val d’Isere (Espace Killy) Ski Trail Map
  • Tignes-Val d’Isere Trail Map
    Val d’Isere Summer Ski Trail Map
  • Val d’Isere Summer Ski Map

Val d'Isère Skiing & Snowboarding

The Val d’Isere ski resort has three main ski areas; comparatively remote Le Fornet (includes the Glacier du Pissaillas), Solaise & Bellevarde. All are well served by modern high-speed lifts including high-volume gondolas and a funicular. The Bellevarde has no less than 5 lifts converging on its 2,827m summit.

On its own, Val d’Isere (a.k.a. Val) provides 150 km of piste on wide highway-like runs. However, it is what the 'highways' turn into through the day that marks down the ratings on Val d'Isere's piste trails. Whilst beginner pistes make up nearly 60% of the resort's trails, skiers should note that many of these runs are 'dark blue' in the morning, evolving into 'dark red' or even black as the ski day progresses & the bumps start to appear in high traffic areas. Take care to avoid ending up black & blue!

An abundance of first class free-ride opportunities are throughout the resort. Val d'Isere is an off piste freeride skiing & snowboarding paradise.

Val d’Isere Skiing Highlights

The Val skiing highlights are a rite of passage according to Powderhounds. They are only to be undertaken when there is no powder because skiing powder ALWAYS takes priority. Tick off the following when skiing or snowboarding this fabulous resort.

  • For beginners, head to the Borsat chair for wide easy cruising. The Grande Motte looms spectacularly nearby.
  • Ski on or off-piste the 1500m vertical from the highest part of the resort on the Glacier du Pissaillas down into Le Fornet village.
  • Hike above the Bellevarde top lift stations & freeride the north face of the mountain down into La Daille.
  • Challenge yourself to ski the infamous ‘Face’ piste off the Bellevarde into Val d’Isere village without stopping, dodging people & bumps along the way.
  • Head off piste into any of the broad freeride areas like the Les Marmottes (below Solaise) or the trees between Val d’Isere & Le Fornet. Test yourself in one of the many couloirs.
  • Ski your own “Tour de Val d’Isere”. Starting from the base area at La Daille, take the gondola (avoid the funicular!) & work your way up, around & over the Bellevarde, drop into Val d’Isere village. From there, take the gondola up to Solaise, ski the Manchet, Madelaine & Glacier chairs before descending to Le Laisinant base. Ride the long Laisinant chair, drop into the Vallon & ride the lifts all the way to the top of the resort on the Glacier du Pissaillas. Complete the full descent to Le Fornet village (with a lift interruption!). If time & energy, ski back via lifts & pistes to La Daille, or just surrender & take the bus.
  • Ski directly from the Bellevarde to the door of the best après location in Val d’Isere at La Folie Douce near the top of the Daille gondola & the boundary with Tignes. The place rocks in the afternoon. Ski down with caution!
  • Spend a day or two (or more) exploring the delights of Tignes. Do a Tour de Tignes to scope out the massive terrain. Always leave Val d’Isere early to make the most of the day & to avoid the worst of the human traffic! Make sure to get to the top of the La grand Motte & check out the Eye of the needle on Aiguille Precèe.

Ski Lifts

A modern and capable lift system ensures that skiing Val is relatively comfortable. Except for the long Laisinant chair, all the Val d'Isere base areas have either gondola, cable car or funicular lifts to access the piste. Beyond those, the resort has a huge number of chair lifts and relatively few surface T-Bars and J-Bars (button lifts). At La Daille, avoid the funicular on busy days. On any day, expect lift queues to be pushy – don’t take it personally, cos it’s not!

Trail Map

The Val d’Isere ski trail map gives an excellent rendition of the terrain & lifts throughout the resort. Off-piste terrain is generally accurate, but given the vastness of the area, scope it all out prior to following someone else’s tracks!

Interlinked with Tignes

In combination with the neighbouring Tignes, Val d’Isère offers 300km of piste, over 140 named runs, 102 ski lifts and 2 glaciers (both available in summer). It’s mega! The resorts are linked by lift, piste and lift pass, effectively creatively one massive ski resort - how typically French!

See the Tignes-Val d'Isere ski trail map here.

Lift Passes & Tickets

For such an immense, premium ski resort, lift pass prices at Val d’Isere offer the visitor reasonable value for money on a world scale. As a bonus, Val d'Isere lift passes are now quite straightforward. Whilst the options get more convoluted the longer one stays, essentially all standard day lift tickets give access to the entire Val d'Isere - Tignes combined ski area.

Beginners can get some free lifts in the base area of Val d’Isere & could consider the ‘Solaise Beginner Pass' as a cheaper ticketing option, giving access to the gondola up to Solaise & all the upper lifts in the area. In summer, separate lift passes are required for Val d'Isere and Tignes.

Summer Skiing on Glacier du Pissaillas

The all-round nature of the Val d'Isere ski resort continues into summer. From mid-June to mid to July (depending on snow), 2 lifts access 6 piste trails on the Glacier du Pissaillas.

See the Tignes-Val d'Isere summer ski trail map here.

Snowboarding at Val d’Isere

The Val d’Isere ski resort is eminently snowboarder friendly, but proficiency with bumps later in the day would be an advantage ( or use a tactical download!). Some off-piste exits may require awkward traverses back to the lift bases – you gotta know when to start traversing.

Val d'Isere Ski Areas

Le Fornet

Le Fornet is situated at the top end of the resort, and has some easy long, open & often empty pistes. It has guaranteed quality snow since it offers north aspect glacier skiing up to 3,400 metres. The area has 1,500m of vertical descent via either off piste or along easy piste trails all the way from the top of the Glacier du Pissaillas to the bottom at Le Fornet village (1,930m), with only one short lift connection to interrupt it. Le Fornet offers some of the best off-piste in the entire Val d'Isere - Tignes ski area, with some runs offering more than 50 minutes of off-piste skiing for just under a 20min walk.

Solaise

Solaise is the resort’s central skiing area. It is easily accessible from the town centre via the new Solaise gondola. As most of the ski schools meet at the bottom of the area, it is probably the busiest in the mid-morning. Overall, Solaise has excellent beginner & intermediate terrain off the Madelaine & Glacier chairs, plus enjoys the sunshine for most of the day. Advanced riders will enjoy the terrain along the Manchet Express chair. Whilst the run down to the village sounds like a grand idea, it is recommended that beginners or tired skiers take the Solaise gondola back down to the village, as it can get fairly “bumpitybumpbumped” towards the end of the day.

Bellevarde

Bellevarde is Val d'Isere's busiest sector overall. It has a wide range of all aspect ski terrain for every ability & provides a major link towards Tignes, promoting a lot of 'through traffic’. The lower slopes under the Daille gondola are tree-lined & sheltered for when the weather is poor – one of the few places to safely ski/ride in bad viz. The east facing slopes toward Val d’Isere town have very steep runs. The south/ southwest facing slopes (Grand Prè) at the top of the area are mellow. The west/northwest facing slopes provide great views of huge mountains including Mont Blanc and include many long, gentle slopes leading over 1000m vertical down to La Daille. If not busy, access to this ski area is best via the funicular at La Daille, otherwise take one of the gondolas.

Off Piste & Freeride

Make no mistake that Val d'Isere ski resort is a freeride paradise. On a powder day some sectors may get tracked out quickly, but the scope of the terrain will make even the most hardened powder snob salivate. There is a lifetimes worth of skiing in around Val d'Isere. When will your life start?

If in doubt about your skills get a guide or off-piste ski instructor to show you the way. Use our Val d’Isere Ski Lessons & Guiding page.

Val d’Isere Snow & When to Go?

Snow-wise, December at Val d'Isere (like many ski resorts) can be feast or famine. Luckily the high peaks, glacier & massive snow making infrastructure will always make a pre-Christmas trip worthwhile. Val d'Isere is one of France's most snow sure ski resorts.

Busiest times at Val d'Isere are Christmas to the end of the first week in January and early to mid-February (French school holidays). It could be argued that it is always busy at Val d'Isere, but these times are busier than normal.

January skiing is often the best because whilst it’s cold, the pistes are relatively empty (& accommodation is cheaper - not that you might notice!).

April is often the snowiest month of the season. April showers land as fresh snow in the high alpine mountain peaks of Val d'Isere. In April when the weather is fine, it is the perfect time for long, lazy lunches in the sun & the pistes are once again quiet.

If you are in Europe during summer, from mid-June to mid-July, you can ski & snowboard on Val's Glacier du Pissaillas - yee har! Do it before climate change dooms the glacier & it’s summer skiing forever. POW (Protect Our Winters).