Fresh white powder. Dazzling blue skies. Crisp mountain air. Is there anything better?
Val d’Isere has announced November 29th as its opening date and we’re already counting down the days until we can go pound the powder in the fantastic slopes of the Espace Killy. With the neighbouring resort of Tignes throwing its doors open this same weekend, make sure you get ahead of the crowds and book your space on what’s set to be an incredible season. Take a look at what the French resort has got lined up for this winter...
Kicking off the season will be Val d’Isere’s opening weekend with entertainment and the chance to test the latest ski and snowboard kit for the coming year with the Ski Force Winter Tour; you could even get your hands (or feet!) on a brand new pair of skis of your own in their prize draw. ESF ski instructors will be on hand to whisk you into the heady heights of the mountains as Premier Traces pass holders can explore the alluring ski area. There’ll be live music and vin chaud (mulled wine), and make sure you check out the snow sports film screening at 6pm and 9pm.
Once December hits, expect an abundance of events to keep you entertained over the Christmas month. Saturday the 13th will see a whole host of athletes descend upon the pretty village as the International Ski Federation comes to town for the FIS Alpine Ski Races. Free to watch, expect to see thrilling high-speed ski races from some of the top skiers in the world as they compete for world titles.
If you think sledging is just for kids then think again! On Monday the 22nd expect to see the future of sledging – Snake Gliss! Taking place on the Savonette piste on various evenings throughout the winter, Snake Gliss is a group sledging activity where a group of up to ten people are linked together to swish and swerve down the mountain at high speeds. Unleash your inner child and get involved in the fun!
Christmas in the snow is magical so you won’t want to miss the entertainment of Val d’Isere at this festive time. See the Alps come to life as the ESF instructors treat you to a torch lit descent and ski show on Tuesday the 23rd, followed by fire-juggling, music and kids shows. Entry is free and the party will kick off at 6pm sharpish so be sure to head over early. If you’ve visiting with children then give them a Christmas they’ll never forget with a visit from St Nick himself. On Christmas Eve, Santa Claus will make his way through the town on his magical sleigh before arriving in the main street to meet the children and grant their Christmas wishes.
As the New Year rolls in and the sounds of Auld Lang Syne fade away, there’s still plenty going on in the village of Val d’Isere. On Thursday the 1st, the ski instructors of Val will be displaying a fantastic freestyle show by the Valpark followed by another torchlight descent and firework display, enjoyed with mulled wine at the Savonnette nursery slope.
If you fancy a break from your skis or snowboard, then why not give airboarding a go. Jump on this new and exciting innovation as you sledge face first down the flood-lit Savonette slope in the centre of Val d’Isere from Wednesday the 7th. Free and open to all ages, experience a weightless flight over the snow as you steer by shifting your weight. The only thing you need to worry about is getting a face full of snow!
The following day will see sparkles combined with snow as the Airstar Night Light hits main street for illuminations, ice sculpting and street party. Planned for every Thursday this season, the village of Val d’Isere will be transformed into a pedestrian zone and lit up with thousands of different colours. Could you want anything more than hot chocolate, vin chaud, ice sculptures and sparkly lights?!
Competitions galore sums up the resorts of the Espace Killy come March 2015. Over in the neighbouring resort of Tignes on Saturday the 14th and Saturday the 21st, we’ll see the Air Ladies Quarter-Pipe Contest and The Brits Championships hit the slopes. For the first, Marie Martinod – the most rock ‘n’ roll of all female freestyle skiers – is inviting the best female half-pipe skiers for a ‘girls only’ contest in tribute to the Queen of SuperPipe, Sarah Burke. And for the latter, the week-long festival will see some of the biggest names in British snowsports compete in Halfpipe, Boardercross, Skiercross and Slopestyle events. Make sure you catch some of the contests as there’s sure to be some epic displays of daredevil stunts and tricks.
As the season slowly winds its way to the end, Val d’Isere goes out with a bang as Ride Her First – the pro ski / snowboard contest that takes place on the Bellevarde face – hits the mountain, combining freestyle riding during the day with live DJs and fireworks in the evening. Held on Thursday the 24th, a prize of 2,000 Euro is up for grabs, as well as equipment from some of the sponsers. You can expect to see some of the best riders of the French scene ripping it up on the Bellevarde face during the day and in the bars of Tignes at night! Come on over and join the party.