About Beginner Areas in Val d'Isere
First time skiers and snowboarders, or beginners looking to improve their technique will find plenty of good areas to practise in Val d'Isere.
Val d'Isere has two nursery ski areas, one in the centre of the resort village and one in La Daille at the bottom of the pistes. There are also 12 green pistes further up on the mountain tops and in the region of 24 blue pistes for those who are ready to progress.
Best beginner areas
Nursery ski areas
The Village nursery ski area is the closest to the centre of Val d'Isere and it has three free ski lifts that give you access to two green pistes and a gently sloping area that's perfect to build confidence on. In La Daille there's a slightly smaller nursery area with two short lifts at the bottom of the Bellevarde funicular.
After gaining confidence on the nursery slopes, the Solaise (above the Village nursery area) and Bellevarde (above La Daille nursery area) are good places to progress to as there are several wide and easy green pistes in each place.
From Val d’Isere centre, take the Solaise Express chairlift or the Solaise cable car up to the Solaise ski area. Once at the top of the Solaise a short rope pulley will take you across the flat piste (it is much easier than pushing your way along) which gives you access to the Glacier and Madeleine chairlifts. Leisurely and beginner skiers can cover the Madeleine area, which has a designated beginner section and ski the runs in and around the Glacier Express which are nice and easy blues and greens. These runs are perfect for a beginner who has gained more confidence and wants to move on from the beginner slopes. With wide, gentle and rolling pistes and quick express chairlifts, you can practice your skiing skills and perfect your technique all day long.
After a few laps of the Madeline and the Glacier lifts there are options for lunch in La Datcha, Tete de Solaise or De l'Ouillette. In the afternoon, try L and Mattis which go down to the Laisinant Express. From here it's a short free bus ride into the centre of the village and back to the Rond Point in Val d'Isere. This is an easier place to end the day as the runs back down to Solaise are fairly steep and can get very busy.
You'll find plenty of variation for all levels of skiers in the Bellevarde area, and there are even different ways to head up the mountain depending on how confident you are. For leisurely and beginner skiers, it is worth noting that there is a slightly steep, busy section to the piste at the top of the Funival and Olympique lifts in the Bellevarde area. To avoid having to ski this, take the Train Rouge bus to La Daille and here, take the La Daille bubble, then the Mont Blanc chairlift. You will then have access to the easier slopes and the Borsat Express which will give you access to Grand Pré, Genepy and Borsat which has a selection of long, easy, wide and gentle runs.
A good beginner route to take is to go from top of the Borsat Express down to the Fontaine Froid lift via the gentle green Genepy run, from the bottom of here take the Fontaine Froid lift and head down the Verte (green), Diebold (blue) or 3J (blue) which will conveniently take you to Folie Douce or Fruitiere restaurant for lunch. After lunch, head up the Tommeuses where you can ski the blue runs Creux and Edelweiss at a leisurely pace before taking the Verte piste or the bubble back to La Daille.
To access the beginner pistes at Le Fornet, take the free shuttle bus out of Val d’Isere centre to Le Fornet, then Le Fornet cable car followed by the Vallon de l’Iseran bubble lift to the base of the glacier. From here you have a selection of long, rolling blue runs in and around the Vallon bubble and back down to resort. The pistes should be very quiet, as they tend to be less popular than the Solaise and Bellevarde area but just as good!
You can stop for lunch in Le Signal or l’Edelweiss (halfway down the Mangard blue piste). In the afternoon, the best snow will always be higher up so head back up the Vallon de L'Iseran bubble and all the way up to the Cascade chairlift where you'll find more easy blues. From the top of the Cema chair, at the foot of the glacier, there is a long, gentle descent down the blue pistes Col, Vallon and Mangard back to Le Fornet village. If you have tired legs and fancy an easier way down, you can always take the bubble and the cable car down on this route.
Also see: Ski Areas in Val d'Isere
Beginner ski lessons
If you're learning to ski for the first time, Val d'Isere has plenty of choice of ski schools who teach children's ski lessons and adult's ski lessons. Children's lessons are determined by their age and ability, whilst adult lessons are determined by ability and interests.
Also see: Learn to Ski in Val d'Isere
Beginner ski passes & free ski lifts
If you're joining a ski school as a complete beginner, you will probably start off in the nursery areas where a ski pass isn't needed, making use of the free beginner ski lifts or just practising on the slopes without using any lifts at all.
In the two nursery ski areas mentioned above, there are seven lifts in total which are free of charge for beginners. In the Solaise area there are two chairlifts, 'Village' & 'Rogoney' and three drag lifts 'La Savonette 1', 'La Savonette 2' & 'La Légettaz'. In La Daille there are two drag lifts 'Les Lanches 1'and 'Les Lanches 2'.
If you're a skier looking to progress after having already learnt the basics, you can buy a beginner ski pass for 1 day at a time or 6 days. You should consider buying a Val d'Isere only ski pass at this point, rather than the Espace Killy ski pass (which includes the neighbouring resort of Tignes).
Children under 5 ski for free.
Also see: Ski Pass Prices in Val d'Isere
Beginner ski hire
Pre-booking your ski hire in advance allows the hire shop to prepare for your arrival and smooths the process. A key thing you should consider when booking your equipment is how close your accommodation is to the ski hire shop, or to the foot of the pistes for when lessons have finished. Even if there are several equipment options to choose from, we recommend you go for the most basic. Beginner skis are short, flexible skis that are easy to turn or, if you're snowboarding, you'll have a shorter stiffer snowboard that's easier to control and generally cheaper too. You won't need to know about the technical aspects of any of the equipment as ski hire shops will advise you to get the best model for your ability and size once you've booked.
Also see: Hiring Skis in Val d'Isere
What to wear skiing
Buying all the gear before you go can be daunting if you’ve never set foot in a ski resort before. The key items to bring with you, along with the obvious ski jacket, ski trousers and sunglasses, are as follows:
- Layers - thermal tops and leggings, fleeces, hoodies, hats and a good pair of ski gloves and a helmet. Weather on the mountain can change pretty quickly, and you are much better off wearing layers of thinner items as opposed to a big, bulky jumper.
- Socks - a variety of socks ranging in thickness, it may sound weird but in our experience hire boots can be quite painful with the wrong socks.
- Sun cream - even when it’s cloudy the sun here can (and will) still get you, and don't forget the underneath of your chin as the sun reflects off the snow too. Don't forget a lip salve with an SPF.
- Piste map - make sure to always have one in your pocket while you're out on the mountain. You can pick up paper copies from the lift pass or tourist office once you've arrived in resort.
Also see: Ski & Board Gear for Val d'Isere
Location: Val d'Isere Region