Challenging runs can be sought all over Val d'Isere, but from the top of the Solaise Express lift your choices are vast. Take a few warm-up runs on “Grand Pre”, and then test yourself on “Rhone Alps”, a seriously challenging black that is very steep and narrow in parts. Slightly less intense is ”Piste M”, a challenging red to push yourself on. The Tete de Solaise restaurant at the top of the Solaise lift is a great sunny après spot. For true après ski however, La Folie Douce is the only option!
When the weather closes in, Val d’Isere shines. Below the treeline there are some great runs in Fornet or La Daille. There are more varied runs coming down to La Daille such as the narrow green “Verte”, meandering through the trees (check open/closed signs at the lifts). “Raye” is a challenging black, often used as a slalom track during events.
Ski Tranquille area – top of the Olympic bubble lift:Good choice of runs. Take the “Verte” run down as far as the Borsat chairlift, then “Genepi” down to the Grand Pre area. Fantastic to ski over and over. Great place to practice and polish your tricks if you’re more advanced.
1. “Club de Sport” – top of Grand Pre:Good run… but link with “Santons” and it becomes great! Takes you back to the Olympique area which opens up the entire ski area.
2. Take the Glacier Express chair:All the runs under it are blues. Top choice is “Piste L”, a gully which links with a green run back to Val d’Isere.
3. Pyramides chair from top of Fornet cabin:Open pistes until you reach the trees where it becomes slightly narrower but is a beautiful run back to the bottom of Fornet.
1. The “Orange” run – top of Olympic lift:By far the best red in Val d’Isere. Steep stretches and consistently wide up top. Great first thing compared to the other runs from here. Ski the top half over and over by cutting across and taking Marmottes lift back up, or ride all the way down to La Daille.
2. The ”OK” run – top of Olympic lift:Starts from the same point as “Orange” but takes a different route to La Daille. Can get icy at the base towards the end of the day so ski it early on.
3. “La Route de Col” – top of Laisinant Express lift:Particularly nice if you want to push yourself. You can really go for it early in the morning when it’s still freshly groomed.
Best of the Blacks (and more)
1.”La Face” – top of Olympic lift:Make sure you’re on it before 9:30 or it becomes a motorway!
2. “Epoule du Charvet” – bottom of Fontaine Fois lift:Ski back down to Val d’Isere on a very challenging run. Be aware of the long flat section at the end.
Access from the top of the La Daille bubble or Mont Blanc chair (use drag lift for easy repeat access). Different areas (green, red and black). Kickers, rollers, jibs, boxes and rails, plus the infamous Oakley rail and staircase.
La Folie Douce (3-5pm) – Rocking! Cabaret, live music, dancing and amazing atmosphere. Ski back to La Daille and get the bus back to Val d’Isere.
Doudoune Chalet (3-5pm) – Live bands & happy hour. Located on-piste in Val d’Isere (easy walk back to chalets).
Tete de Solaise (3-5:30pm) – Reasonably priced and perfect location for lounging in the sun. Large outdoor terrace and bar with music. Take the Solaise chair up.
And finally… A day for the Bucket List:
Hire a ski guide with some friends and ski from Toviere, off-piste, all the way down to Lac du Chevril. Experience couloirs at the top leading to open powder fields, ending with a helicopter back to Val d’Isere! Obviously, after a day like that the Folie Douce VIP area would have to feature for the rest of the afternoon…