TRAVEL - Skiing in Val D'Isere

02 Feb 2018

A weeks skiing in luxury resort Val D'Isere, why thank you, it would be rude to turn down this opportunity given to me through the Army Reserves. Third time skiing, second time with the Army, I count myself as confident(ish) on red runs, although scream like a little girl attempting a black run, that's a lie, I will scream down a red too! Nothing could have prepared many of us for our first day skiing out there, hit with the most snow fall/weather conditions they had seen in years, visibility was awful and it could've been a black slope for all I knew. 

Off the lift and away we go, straight down a red run, I hated it, hated every minute of it, I wasn't skiing for enjoyment, it was more for survival...whilst I say I am confident(ish) on red runs, I like to ease into it, having not skied in two years I was totally out of my comfort zone! It wasn't long until I stacked it, and one of the many times I fell, I landed awkwardly and my knee went one way with my ski going another and knew straight away something wasn't right. I carried on until lunch but headed back to the chalet afterwards and admitted defeat for rest of the day. I rested the second day at the chalet (I used the time productively and began working on my Workout and Wellness Retreat, more of that to come....) The third day though I got back on the skis and asked to go in a lower ability groups, lovely instructor, lovely group and perfect weather I was finally enjoying the views of Val D'Isere and Tignes had to offer! 

On our fourth day we were placed into mixed ability groups and we had a number of checkpoints and tasks we had to complete and check in by 4pm. We were disqualified as we arrived minutes late, but a great day had by all.

 We were graced with empty runs on occasion and you'd find yourself at times with maybe one other in your eyesight, not wanting to be a speed demon (that's when I tend to scream), I soaked up the breathtaking views. 

The whole aim of the trip was to take part in the Royal Armoured Corps Reserve Ski Championships, lets just say I am a better powerlifter than I am a ski racer, but I didn't stack it, I didn't die and I didn't finish last, so I'm happy with that! 

Due to the extreme weather conditions avalanche warnings were high and a number of runs/lifts were out of action during our trip. One evening the whole resort was shut down and a curfew was enforced and everyone was to remain indoors after 10pm due to the avalanche risk, first time in 20 years that they had to put the resort on curfew. 

Always thinking about food and where the next meal and hot chocolate was coming from I made a note of some of the few places we ate and recommend if you get the chance to visit;

  • The Marmot Arms, Tignes, located at the bottom of the Palafour chairlift that offers friendly and welcoming atmosphere and delicious cheeseburgers and military discount as a bonus.
  • Taverne Neiges, Tignes, located right next to the Bolin/Fresse chairlift you can enjoy excellent views of the Grande Motte and is a perfect place to stop for a hot drink/beer and take a breather on the sun terrace.
  • Les Tuffs, La Daille, located at the foot of the La Daille funicular, we stopped here twice, a hot chocolate pit stop and lunch, again offers military discount.
  • Roxy/Quiksilver Coffee Shop, hidden at the back of the Quiksilver shop on the high street in Val D'Isere is this cafe serving simple food (large portions I thought) and drinks.
  • La Bouida, Tignes, situated in the heart of the famous espace Killy located at the furtherest away point in Tignes from Val D'Isere, it was lovely place to recharge with music and outdoor heaters and lush views, it was one of my favourite places to eat.
  • Artic Cafe, Val D'Isere, located on the high street they state their goal is to not only source and provide the best energy food and drink, but to enthuse, push and inspire mountain fitness, nutrition and health.

We flew from London Gatwick to Grenoble with British Airways. Our skis/poles/boots were hired from Snowberry, they have two shops within the resort and their service was second to none. Our chalet, Hotel Gelinotte, although lovely, was frustratingly located at the top of a hill which made for slippery conditions when going out due to the harsh weather conditions, saying that, the staff did their very best to give us a clear route to get in and out. The chalet is available via Alpine Elements, the staff, Manager Brittany, our dedicated waitress Zoe and our rep Georgie were lovely and nothing was too much bother for them ensuring we had the best time, breakfast and evening meal was included everyday except for Wednesday (staff day off), they even put on afternoon snacks if you were back in time! With your lift pass (make sure you get a lift pass that will give you access to Tignes as well as Val D'Isere) you get a free entry into the Aquasportif Centre for the swimming pool, which in itself is pretty fancy, but upgrade your entry for €11.90 and you get into the fancier area of the sauna, steam rooms and jacuzzis. Not forgetting the whole apes-ski, I highly recommend going to La Folie Douce, whilst I didn't get to attend during my trip, I'd go back solely just to visit here!  I did however visit Cocorico, with live music, and located near the bottom of the home run from Solaise it was a great way to end the day! 

I wore salopettes and jacket from Dare2Be, helmet is from Salomon, gloves and goggles from Amazon and I wore base layers from Dare2Be with a t shirt over my base layer top. Attached to my helmet I wore my GoPro Hero 5 camera, and when I can figure out how to transfer my media onto imovie, I might get around to making a short film of it all....

Val D'Isere/Tignes was gorgeous, whilst there are a number of runs for the experienced skier there are more than enough runs to keep the novice skier going, and these were probably some of my favourite runs, if you get the chance to go, GO, you'll love it!