Val d’Isere

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The resort of Val D’Isère 1850 (VDI) is situated in the Espace Killy region of the French Alps. It is approximately 1 hours Camper drive on the D902 up the Isère valley from Bourg St Maurice. The Espace Killy region actually has two resorts, Tignes and VDI. VDI has a proper village atmosphere, where as Tignes is the usual purpose built French concrete resort.

VDI has a reputation as being an expensive resort; however, this mainly applies to accommodation and restaurants. VDI is popular with Brits, but doesn’t seem to be as overrun with budget skiers as say Meribel. Tignes caters for the package operators.

VDI has several main access routes up onto the ski area and because of this queuing is thankfully not a problem here. VDI has effectively five interconnected valleys, Tignes sits in a bowl at 2100 and is surrounded on three sides. In short the ski area is vast. There are 50 lifts at VDI and 49 at Tignes of various capacities and a Funicular from La Daille. Expect to pay approximately €180 for a weeks all area pass, or €37 a day. Each resort has Ski shops for both sales and rental. There are loads of restaurants, both cheap and expensive, and a multitude of bars to choose from. In VDI it’s well worth exploring the back steets to find the hidden gems that the locals frequent. There are several banks and also a self service launderette.

As at Feb 2007, there was no winter campsite in either VDI or Tignes. The latter doesn’t lend itself to motorhomes and I would advise not to try parking there. There is only really one option for motorhomes and that is at La Daille in the coach park adjacent to the funicular. This is on the right hand side just after passing through La Daille, and is about 1Km short of VDI itself. You can park in here for free, though it’s advisable to move to the far end so not to be disturbed by coaches.

There are no facilities as there are no Aires in the area. Water can be obtained and Thetford cassettes emptied in the small toilet (left unlocked) at the back of the ski-pass office at the funicular. This is a short (150m) walk across the footbridge from the coach park. This is not an official policy and I would advise you do this during the hours of darkness, and ensure you clean the place afterwards. It is tolerated because the authorities prefer campers to do this rather than pour waste directly into the Isère River flowing past the coach park.

Looking towards VDI from the footbridge. The coach park starts where the flags end.

Everyone here goes to the municipal swimming pool to make use of the showers. If you have a week ski-pass, entry is free. You need to have speedo style swimwear, shorts are not allowed.

It is advisable to have a portable generator as the valley bottom only gets sun for a few hours and solar power cannot be relied on here.

There is a free ski-bus that goes up and down the valley from early morning till late evening, which can take you into VDI or further up the valley to the lifts at Le Fornet at the head of the valley. There are several supermarkets in VDI, and a garage which also has a well stocked shop. The garage sells unleaded and Diesel and does have limited stocks of bottled gas, but does not have LPG. Gas and LPG can be bought in Bourg St Maurice.

In summary. Not the easiest place to camp (certainly wouldn’t recommend staying any length of time here with kids), but the rewards on the slopes make it all worth while. In my humble opinion this is probably the best skiing area in Europe. Stock up in Bourg St Maurice before heading up here and you will not be disappointed.

More info at:

www.valdisere.com

www.tignes.net

Pros:

  • 150m to nearest lift
  • Free skibus
  • No camp fees
  • Brilliant ski area – Incl glacier skiing
  • Very few queues
  • Varied and plentiful nightlife

Cons:

  • No campground facilities
  • No LPG & gas limited
  • Can be VERY cold
  • Expensive mountain cafes

Info supplied by Austin Hind.