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A snowHead
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Location: snowHeadLand
Resort: Val D'Isere
Country: France
Domain: Forms part of the huge 'Espace Killy' ski area, linking Val D'Isere's slopes with the Tignes ski area to provide 300km of ski runs.
Author: Skier-Nick
Date: Early April
Our holiday: Annual family ski trip with skiers of varyied ability and age.
Basics : Flew to Geneva where we took a coach. Changed over into a smaller mini-bus before ascending up into the mountains.
Lift system : At that time of year, it wasn't too busy at all, apart from queues for the main lifts out of Tignes and Val Claret. Most lifts are fairly quick apart from the 'Col Des Ves' chair lift which is apparently the slowest in the espace killy (20mins)
The terrain : The ski area is heaven for intermediate and advanced skiers, however you'll find better resorts if you want beginner slopes. There is some nice skiing on the Grand Motte glacier for intermediates as well as the slopes around the Aiguille Percee in Tignes. For advanced skiiers, don't miss the tough Val D'Isere black runs such as Face, Epaule du Charvet, Piste S and 3000. For easy-going intermediates, the slopes around the bellevarde area are great for cruising around as well as the Solaise runs. My favourite run in the whole of the Espace Killy area is the long 'Sache' black run on the eastern side of Tignes. Start at the top of the Aiguille Percee before dropping 1200 metres on steep and varied terrain, ending up at Tignes Les Brevieres.
The snow : For April, the snow was fantastic and the only times when the snow was slushy or icy was at the end of the day when descending back down to La Daille. The height of the resorts means that they're reliable in terms of snow cover. Any shortages in snow are covered by snow-cannons stationed around the main pistes.
Off-piste : Although I didn't do much off-piste skiing in Val D'Isere, the resort has a reputation for having some of the best off-piste runs around. However, it is best to take a guide, as there is often a high avalanche risk.
The resort : The village has a nice atmosphere and the buildings weren't an eyesore unlike some of those in Tignes.
Food : At lunch times, the restaurents are packed and the pistes deserted, so leave your lunch an hour or so later than normal and enjoy lovely quiet runs. There is great food at the restaurent at the top of the solaise express chair lift.
Accommodation : Stayed in a catered chalet which was comfortable and within walking distance of the resort lifts.
Costs: As with all big resorts you often have to pay a higher price to stay and ski but it's worth it. Definitley spend extra on an Espace Killy pass unless you're an absolute beginner.
Conclusion: 10/10. Love the resort and the skiing is just brilliant. Will return in 2008.

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