About Winter Activities in Val d'Isere
Whatever you choose to do on your winter holiday you are sure to find a huge range of activities across the Val d'Isere area. From relaxing to full on adrenaline there is something for everyone, every ability and every age in Val d'Isere. Check out the selection of things to do below for some holiday inspiration!
Val d'Isere is a winter walker's paradise, with lifts giving access to the higher ground and a network of groomed trails in the winter, it's very easy to discover the resort on foot. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before you set out as conditions can change rapidly in the mountains. You do not need any particular equipment, just a pair of sturdy boots and layers of warm clothing that you can take off or put on as necessary. A pair of walking poles will come in handy for extra balance on icy patches and for checking snow depth before you go striding forth. Top tip: buy grippers for your walking boots to prevent slipping which you can buy from most local Sport Shops.
Spend the evening dining in a yurt in the forest and finish the night with a drink by the fire and torchlit sledge ride back down the mountain. This is suitable for anyone over 14 years of age and offers a unique evening experience in the wilderness of Val d'Isere. Cost approx €70 per person.
Modern Winter Biathlon is the combination of cross country skiing and rifle shooting and tests not only fitness but also patience and control. In Val d'Isere you can try your hand at this Olympic Sport. If you like cross country skiing but want to add another challenge then Biathlon is the perfect way to escape in to the natural,quiet surrounding mountains sand then shoot stuff. Bit of a contradiction this one but it's fun all the same.
Catch the latest films and releases in Val d'Isere on your winter or summer holiday. Some cinemas open their doors early on a bad weather day, otherwise you'll find most screenings in the evenings. Look out for VOST for English speaking films.
Get back to nature and explore the lovely tranquil cross-country ski trails. There are two different techniques – classic and skating. Classic is the easiest for beginners; you simply place your skis in two parallel grooves, push off and glide around the trails. Skating is more energetic and a slightly harder skill to grasp; you push your feet out to either side as though you are ice skating and use your poles simultaneously to gain momentum. You can hire the comfortable boots and lightweight skis and poles fairly inexpensively from most sports shops and book a group or private lesson to learn the basics from most ski schools or private instructors. A number of adventure companies also offer cross-country skiing guiding, tours and lessons too. Find your way around with the cross country skiing maps.
Also see: Cross-country Skiing in Val d'Isere
Take the family into the Manchet valley and discover the Ferme de l'Adroit. It's open in summer and winter, and you can buy some of the delicious cheeses they produce on site.
There are over 2.5 million people doing geocaching around the world and some of them (perhaps surprisingly) are right here in Val d'Isere! It’s a relatively new craze that started taking the world by storm in May 2000 after a computer geek decided that GPS could be “really exciting”. He hid some treasure at his home in Portland, America, for people to find, broadcast the GPS coordinates and said, “Come and get it”. His only rule: “Take some stuff, leave some stuff”. And that’s exactly what Geocaching is…you go in search of treasure by using the GPS system on your mobile device – once you’ve found it, you write your name in a logbook and replace the treasure you decide to take. It’s pretty simple really and means, as a family, you can be adventurers together. You won’t usually find anything quite as precious as gold, silver and diamonds but nevertheless it’s quite exciting!
Gym / Fitness centres
A public gym & fitness classes can be found at the main sports centre in Val d'Isere.
Handiski / sit-ski
Enjoying the thrill of being on the pistes need not escape you if you're less mobile or have special physical needs. Resorts all over the Alps offer equipment and fully qualified guides to help you get the most out of your experience. Sit-ski, taxi ski, Vertiski, Handiski.. whichever method you're used to, or would like to try there will be at least one ski school or activity company in Val d'Isere that offers this service.
Also see: Disabled Skiing in Val d'Isere
Unfortunately, heli-skiing is not permitted in France, however some of the ski schools, adventure companies, local flight companies and mountain guide companies will offer a pick-up/drop-off heli skiing service for you where you will be taken over the border into Italy or Switzerland. It is expensive, but definitely a once in a lifetime experience!
Sit back and admire the mountains from even higher up. Daily panoramic helicopter flights are available (weather permitting) with a number of local flight companies. Relax and enjoy the stunning views as you fly over the snow-capped mountain tops, glaciers and alpine forests of the Alps.
Be in charge of your own sled and team of excitable husky dogs, driving them along forest paths in winter. After a brief explanation of how to make your team stop and start, you set off following the guide’s team. If this all sounds a bit much you can opt for a less physical outing where you sit in the sled and the guide does all the hard work! It's a very popular winter activity, so booking at least 48 hours in advance is a must. They run from early December to the end of April (snow-permitting).
For the true mountain enthusiast, why not scale an amazing frozen waterfall or glacier? If you want to try something different in Val d'Isere other than hitting the slopes then why not try Ice Climbing. This is a fantastic sport, not just for experienced mountaineers. Whether you are an experienced climber or a beginner you can have a go at ice climbing on a 40m wide and 200m high ice waterall. Although it sounds like a very specalised sport, ice climbing is suitable for everyone - from complete beginners to experienced climbers. Some knowledge of ropes and basic climbing skills will give you a head start, but if you are a complete novice then your guide should be able to teach you from scratch.
Submerge yourself in the icy depths & explore the wildlife below. You can try a completely unique experience in Tignes - Ice Diving. You can plunge into the icy cold waters of the lake and experience the thrill of diving under the icy layers above. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced diver you can have a go at ice diving. Adventure companies offering this activity will provide you with all the equipment and instruction you need, and will take you on this underwater adventure. Take a look at our review of this activity.
Ice-karting / Ice-driving
There is an ice driving circuit in La Daille where you can pit your wits against friends or family, with both driving and Go Karting on ice.
Ice-skating / Hockey
In Val d'Isere you can enjoy ice skating. It's a fun thing to do with the family, or in a group if you want to do something a little bit different for apres ski. Perfect for children and families and those who just want to enjoy the beautiful mountain views whilst playing around on some skates. It's an outdoor rink, open from 15:00 to 20:00 every day.
There are a number of companies who can take you mountaineering in both summer and winter, from local guides to ski schools and activity companies.
Paragliding / Parapenting
If you’ve never tried paragliding before then Val d'Isere is a great place to learn how to fly. Known as “parapenting” in France & Switzerland, there are a great number of clubs and organisations in the area whose sole purpose is give you the experience of flying. From the heights of the mountain tops you can glide down to the bottom of the valley on a tandem paraglider controlled by the instructor. He manoeuvres the parachute while the passenger enjoys the ride and fantastic views. Top tip: go on a sunny, warm day when the thermals will keep your airborne for longer.
Take to the skies and see the majestic mountains of Val d'Isere on a scenic flight in a helicopter. Fly over glaciers, wave at people on the Aiguille du Midi and take in the breathtaking scenery around you.
Many people would not automatically think of Val d'Isere as a place to shop, however, the town boasts some great stores. As you would expect from an outdoor sports resort, there are plenty sports stores where you can get your hands on some of the top mountaineering, ski and snowboard brands but there are also some fashionable clothing stores, and plenty of shops selling traditional mountain goods.
Val d'Isere is popular for ski touring, whether it's going up the pistes that most people normally ski down, or tackling more of a back country route. A number of ski schools, private instructors and companies can show you around, or if you've got all the necessary equipment you can head out in your own group.
Skiing & snowboarding
The main draw for people coming to Val d'Isere in winter is of course the skiing and snowboarding. With the whole of the Espace Killy to ski in, as well as a wealth of off-piste areas, Val d'Isere has something for every level of experience.
Also see: Ski Areas in Val d'Isere
Sledging / Tobogganing
Val d'Isere does not have an official long toboggan run, it does however have a designated area for tobogganing located next to the nursery slope on the left hand side of the Savonette lift. The area is open everyday from 10:00 to 17:00 and it is the perfect place to take your children for some sledging fun. The entry to the area is free and you can hire sledges of different sizes from many ski hire shops or sports shops in Val d'Isere.
Raquette à Neige or Snow-shoeing in and around Val d'Isere is a perfect activity for bad weather conditions or for non-skiers. Don't forget to wear comfortable and waterproof boots. Either set out on your own, or join a group led by a knowledgeable local guide and explore the hidden parts of the ski area. Snowshoes and ski poles are provided by most companies offering this as an experience, or you can hire snowshoes from most Sports Shops or Ski Hire Shops, grab a trail map from the Tourist Office and head off on your own adventure. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you go.
Snowmobile / Skidooing
Those who enjoy speed will love riding a powerful snowmobile (like a motorbike with caterpillar tracks) around Val d'Isere. Discover the different dimensions of driving; carving turns, accelerating in a straight line, ascents and descents. Snowmobiles are a great way to explore Val d'Isere especially as you get to ride them when the resort is at its quietest. Disappear into the woods and blast around empty snow fields on your scooter with your own guide. Remember to wrap up warmly especially if you go after dark, and bring goggles if there is powder.
Where to go to jib, bonk, spin and pop in the Espace Killy.
Also see: Snowparks in Val d'Isere
Spas & massages
If it is calm and relaxation you are after then head to a luxury day spa or book in for massage therapies and beauty treatments. A day spa is also the perfect activity when the weather turns. You can keep warm and revive aching muscles in saunas, steam rooms and jacuzzis or take a refreshing dip in a swimming pool. Unwind, relax and indulge.
Speed-riding / Speed-flying
The idea behind speed riding is to combine the sensations of skiing and paragliding into one activity, and then descend off-piste sections of the mountain using a mini-wing to enable you to access areas that you might not normally go. Learning and having fun with speed riding comes very fast as long as you are a competent skier; you need to be able to ski red pistes with confidence in any type of snow. Speak to one of the companies offering this activity who can show you the ropes (literally).
Normally located in the main sports centre, you should be able to rent all you need on site. Alternatively some of the hotels or spas have their own squash courts too.
Whether you like to take a dip indoors or outdoors, you'll be able to find somewhere to go for a swim in Val d'Isere. Most hotels, lots of chalets and apartments have their own swimming facilities, however there are also municipal swimming baths that you can visit, which often come free with your lift pass purchase. In summer and winter you should be able to find somewhere to take a dip, so don't forget your towel and your swimming costume or shorts.
Telemarking is a form of downhill skiing where you are only attached into the binding at the toe, so to turn, you have to lunge and bring your heel upwards. Talk to one of the ski schools or private instructors who can teach you how to telemark and take you out on excursions using this technique.
Location: Val d'Isere Region