On- and off-piste playground with reliable snow.

Val-d'Isère is one of the world's best resorts for experts - attracted by the extent of lift-served off-slope - and for confident, mileage-hungry intermediates. But you don't have to be particularly adventurous to enjoy the resort, and the village ambience has improved greatly in recent years.

The list of drawbacks above looks long, but they are mainly petty complaints, whereas the plus-points are mainly things that weigh heavily in the balance, for us and for those who send us reports. The last of them - the clear recent improvements in slope grooming and lift staff attitudes - is as welcome as it is surprising. We await similar improvements in the local branch of the ESF.


What's Great
What's Not-So-Great

+ Huge area linked with Tignes, with runs for all standards

+ Some of the best lift-served off-slope runs in the world

+ High altitude means snow is more or less guaranteed

+ Wide choice of schools, especially for off-slope lessons and guiding

+ Wide range of package holidays and accommodation

+ For a high resort, the town is attractive, very lively at night, and offers a good range of restaurants

+ Slope grooming and staff attitudes have improved noticeably


- Slope grading understates the difficulty of many runs

- though moguls on greens now uncommon

- You're quite likely to need the bus at the start or end of the day

- Most lifts and slopes are liable to close when the weather is bad

- Nursery slopes not ideal - and no easy return run to the village

- Crowds on some runs

- Still some lifts in need of upgrading

- Seems at times more British than French - especially in low season

- Disappointing mountain restaurants