Advanced pistes in Val d'Isere
Val d'Isere has a number of challenging steep & deep pistes that are great for the advanced skier. There is the world renowned 1992 Winter Olympics downhill run called 'The Face' (pronounced 'fass'), which took Patric Ortlieb a mere two minutes to ski from top to bottom (we don’t recommend you try and match it!). You can challenge yourself with the Epaule du Charvet, the Face or the S.
From Val d’Isere centre, take the Solaise Express chairlift up to the Solaise skiing area. Warm up those muscles with an easy cruise round a few blue runs in the Madeleine and Glacier Lift area in the morning. Cugnai is also a nice steep piste and is best in the morning, definitely worth catching when it is open as it can sometimes be closed due to avalanche risk. Then it is worth waiting until the late morning or afternoon to ski Arcelle, which can be extremely crisp first thing in the morning, and is just off the Madeline run.
After lunch, also try to cover Pistes A, M and S which go down to the Solaise area as this will be their quietest time. The Piste S is particularly challenging and is often closed so if it is open and you fancy feeling the burn then it is one to try. You can then go back up and ski the lower runs down to Laisinant which is an easier place to end the day as the runs back down to Solaise can get very busy.
Take the free bus out of Val d’Isere centre to Le Fornet and the Le Fornet cable car followed by the Vallon de l’Iseran to the base of the glacier. Advanced skiers will probably cover the Le Fornet area quite quickly although it is worth skiing every run for the excellent snow conditions. Try the Forêt, a black run through the trees down to the bottom of the Le Fornet cable car or try Signal, a steep red pitch at the top of the Signal drag lift.
If you are skiing in a group, are confident, and carrying avalanche equipment, there is plenty of off-piste skiing just off the edges of the pistes in Le Fornet when the snow is good.
From the top of Bellevarde, there are several options for steep descents down to both Solaise and La Daille. It is best to do all these lower slopes in the morning or mid morning while they are quieter and in peak condition, and then perhaps have a lazier afternoon!
You can ski Face (the ex-Olympic run) which has undergone a bit of a makeover to help congestion on the run. The diggers have been hard at work smoothing and widening the run to make it more enjoyable for regular skiers. You can also try the Epaule du Charvet which has steep black moguls and is only open when conditions are perfect which takes you back down to the Olympique and Val d’Isere village. OK (world cup run) or Orange which are the more challenging options taking you down to La Daille.
In the afternoon, there is the network of blue and red pistes available, and there is also the option to attempt the Vallee Perdue. This is an off piste run which starts at the bottom of the Tommeuses lift and involves negotiating rocks, nooks, and crannies. Depending on the time of year, you may have to clamber through holes or streams without your skis on – but it is good fun. Just make sure you have the experience, confidence and equipment to negotiate the valley. We always recommend attempting the off-piste with a mountain guide.