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Val Thorens or Val D'Isere?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi All.

I'm looking to book the Easter family trip, 30/03 - 06/04, and have been looking at Val Thorens or Val D'Isere. Having never been to either I wondered if anyone could comment on which would be more suitable for us.

I will be taking my 20 year old Son, boarder, with 15 plus weeks experience, Daughter, skier, 11 with 8 weeks and Nephew, boarder, 13 with 3 weeks, wife doesn't ski so no issues there. Nightlife isn't high on the agenda but nice restaurants and bars would be a plus and ski in ski out is a must. We like getting the miles in and enjoy exploring all that a resort has to offer which both resorts appear to be perfect for.

We have been going to Avoriaz for the last 3 years at Easter which we've enjoyed but looking for something different this year.

Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.

Thanks
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Either would work. VT snow likely to be less mushy at the end of the day as it's that bit higher. There's a decent range of restaurants and some proper posh ones too-at the last count I think there are 3 with Michelin stars in VT-if that's what floats your boat.
VT probably wins in ski in and ski out accommodation. Val D wins on being more attractive, more of a proper village feel and also has a good range of restaurants.
It would still be worth getting a whole ski area pass for both-so Espace Killy for Val D and 3 V for VT. I'd say on balance that VT would suit the less experienced skier/boarder better as the slopes around and into the resort offer plenty of wide cruisey blue runs. Val D can be a bit of a chore at the end of the day when you are going off the mountain.

Both are great. My own preference, for sheer variety alone, including much more skiing below the tree line over in the other valleys, would be VT and all that the 3V has to offer, but I'm sure someone will be along soon to persuade you otherwise!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
I think both are superb but I'd say in my opinion, and it's only an opinion...
VT shades it for the skiing but were I a non-skier I think VdI might be slightly more enjoyable.

Neither are cheap but the skiing is great. Have a great time
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VT
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
VT is pretty limited for a non-skier, go to Val D.
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@Valkyrie, there's a sports centre and a swimming pool.
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Val d'Isere.

As good onpiste.

Much more to do in-town at day and night.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
The snow will be the same at both (both seasons run until early May) and I love going late March. Both have plenty of mileage and a good variety of pistes for your family. If you are used to Avoriaz, you will love some of the big non-stop descents. Definitely get the full resort passes.

As above, nightlife and restaurants in VdI are what would (and do) seal it for me. The town is pretty and has a lovely feel to it. There are weekly markets, a lovely spa/wellness centre for your wife to try and a proper high street with some nice shops. The restaurant choices range from pizzas to Michelin 2 star... and everything in between.

The skiing at VT is as good, but the place always looks like a 1960s concrete jungle to me.
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Never been to Val D'Isere

VT from my one time visit there, I found the off-slope option very limited. Barely sufficient for a skier who doesn't want to cook. Not much diversion even to kill a day when skiing condition are marginal.

I think your non-skiing wife may be bored to her bones in VT. Unless she enjoys reading all day long...
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Agree with those who suggest VT is not great for non skiers.
If as a non skier a partner took me to VT it would be the last ski holiday I would go on.
Tedious scenery in a concrete monstrosity.. If you have to ski in Val Thorens with a non skier go to Orelle instead and let the skiers get a lift over.
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If ski in/out is an absolute must, you'll not find much available in Val d'Isere - but skiing down at the end of the day is often not a great idea anyway. If you are allergic to downloading at the end of a ski day Val T probably better. And maybe your non-skier is very undemanding and happy to sit and read a book and do a bit of walking.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Late March skiing in 3V usually results in lots of afternoon sunbathing, and slushy runs down to Courcheval for apres time. Hard icy mornings in Meribel, sore on your feet when the groomed last nights slush turns to solid ice in the morning.

From a skiing perspective, I think VT wins as it will be less slushy at resort level and less icy in the morning. VD is much better for nightlife, which with a 20 yo male would be great. VT has a nightlife too, but limited.

VD is more interesting to walk around than VT. You may have dry pavements at that time of year in VD. Lots of really expensive clothes shops in VD.

If there is limited snow in the Alps at that time of year, VT will have the best snow at resort level and above. You may not want a 3V pass, and so could save a few pennies there. (weather dependent)
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abc wrote:
Never been to Val D'Isere

VT from my one time visit there, I found the off-slope option very limited. Barely sufficient for a skier who doesn't want to cook. Not much diversion even to kill a day when skiing condition are marginal.

I think your non-skiing wife may be bored to her bones in VT. Unless she enjoys reading all day long...


When was that? Are you sure it was VT? Honestly without trying to be rude, that description is so far removed from my experience (4 weeks over the last 4 seasons) as to wonder if we have actually visited the same resort (or if so, in the same decade). There must be over a hundred restaurants, at all different price points from fast food to traiteurs to Michelin starred, covering a wide variety of cuisines.

There's a Sports centre with swimming pool, spa, gym, fitness classes, tennis, squash:
http://www.valthorens.com/en/activities-and-entertainment/sports-center-and-aqua-spa.94.html

There's a cinema:
http://www.valthorens.com/en/activities-and-entertainment/amusement/filmcinema.46.html

There are numerous spas:
http://www.valthorens.com/en/activities-and-entertainment/health-and-well-being.43.html

There are 2 shopping centres (Peclet and Carron) and numerous shops.

There's a twice weekly produce market:
https://valthorensguide.co.uk/market.html

There are late night bars and nightclubs:
https://valthorensguide.co.uk/nightclubs.html
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
With Val Thorens you do have the option of the free inter resort bus which runs 5 times a day to both Les Menuires and Saint Martin. There are some good walks not least LM to St Martin along the river which is pisted although at 9km may not be for everyone. There is a much shorter walk form VT to LM about 4km. A bus to Moutiers for some shopping is not out of the question either, about 25 euros return. Whilst Moutiers is not the most exciting place it is somewhere different. The point I make is you do t have to just confine yourself to one resort for the day. Similar may apply to VD but I have only been there once many many years ago. Good luck with your choice.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Duster wrote:
With Val Thorens you do have the option of the free inter resort bus which runs 5 times a day to both Les Menuires and Saint Martin.

It isn't free on a Saturday.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Gämsbock wrote:
abc wrote:
Never been to Val D'Isere

VT from my one time visit there, I found the off-slope option very limited. Barely sufficient for a skier who doesn't want to cook. Not much diversion even to kill a day when skiing condition are marginal.

I think your non-skiing wife may be bored to her bones in VT. Unless she enjoys reading all day long...


When was that? Are you sure it was VT? Honestly without trying to be rude, that description is so far removed from my experience (4 weeks over the last 4 seasons) as to wonder if we have actually visited the same resort (or if so, in the same decade). There must be over a hundred restaurants, at all different price points from fast food to traiteurs to Michelin starred, covering a wide variety of cuisines.

There's a Sports centre with swimming pool, spa, gym, fitness classes, tennis, squash:
http://www.valthorens.com/en/activities-and-entertainment/sports-center-and-aqua-spa.94.html

There's a cinema:
http://www.valthorens.com/en/activities-and-entertainment/amusement/filmcinema.46.html

There are numerous spas:
http://www.valthorens.com/en/activities-and-entertainment/health-and-well-being.43.html

There are 2 shopping centres (Peclet and Carron) and numerous shops.

There's a twice weekly produce market:
https://valthorensguide.co.uk/market.html

There are late night bars and nightclubs:
https://valthorensguide.co.uk/nightclubs.html

I guess its all a matter of taste but if I was offered nightclubs cinemas and shops as something to do when on a holiday in the alps I would be pretty pissed off.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
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@T Bar, picking two things off a non-exhaustive list of many that you personally don't like is missing the point. VT offers far more non-skiing options that most ski resorts and it's disingenuous to suggest otherwise.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Gämsbock wrote:
VT offers far more non-skiing options that most ski resorts

Whatever VT has to offered, it must have done a very good job of hiding them. I did not find much during my visit.

That said, it's been a few years now (but still <10). So it's conceivable many more had become available in recent years.
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@Gämsbock,
I don't know what the OP's other half likes to do and I don't claim to know VT that well, I've skied there several times but always chosen to stay elsewhere, one of the reasons being that whatever the quality of the skiing it's a fundamentally ugly place with by alpine standards spectacularly dull scenery from resort level.
To me it would hold little attraction if I wasn't skiing and the things to do which you list would not add to its appeal.
A couple of times when I've been injured I've had non skiing holidays in a ski resort, even if what you want to mainly read a book doing it in attractive surroundings adds to the appeal, for me VT does not offer this.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Val D’Isere for that week every time for the group you describe.
Val T resort is at higher altitude but Val D/Tignes has plenty of easily accessible high altitude snowsure terrain.

As others have highlighted, Val D is a far more interesting base as a town, especially for the non-snowsporter.
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I'd take them to Val Thorens, but if you cant get accommodation there Val d'Isere will do just fine.
Then the following year do the other one.

They are both ski resorts so you don't find much in the way of museums, art galleries etc.
Good books and box sets, could be the answer.

But enjoy either.
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The OP says his wife 'doesn't ski so no issues there'. It strikes me he wants a recommendation for the skiers not the non-skiing wife (who is presumably a grown up and capable of sorting herself out)
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Classic here's a bunch of people who want the best skiing. Answer go to somewhere where it will be probably worse because there will be more shops and prettier buildings for the little lady. And as for dissing VT for having nowhere to eat - it's got more frikkin eating establishments than you can possibly imagine for a place made of predominantly SC appts.
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@T Bar,
Quote:

whatever the quality of the skiing it's a fundamentally ugly place with by alpine standards spectacularly dull scenery from resort level.
To me it would hold little attraction if I wasn't skiing and the things to do which you list would not add to its appeal.
A couple of times when I've been injured I've had non skiing holidays in a ski resort, even if what you want to mainly read a book doing it in attractive surroundings adds to the appeal, for me VT does not offer this
I feel exactly the same. But the skiing's fine and there are plenty of places to eat, so maybe that's all that's required.
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@Hurtle, I’d mainly agree with you about the buildings in VT, but ignoring that, it’s still in the mountains and they are always something we can always appreciate, and an enormous part of why I like skiing. Madeye-Smiley
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@Dave of the Marmottes, Well the OP did say there was a non skier so pointing out the drawbacks is not unreasonable , having said which if they normally go to Avoriaz VT probably ain't a whole lot worse if bleaker. If it was purely a skiing thing I would still prefer Val d'Isere out of the two.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
I've skied a LOT in both of them - but mostly in VDI (13 holidays there at last count).

Both great resorts with lots to offer but of the two I prefer Val d'Isere for the general ambience, attractiveness of the town and superb skiing - not to mention amazing apres-ski, spectacular scenery and lovely restaurants.

I don't think you'll be disappointed either way though - and staying in VT gives you access to the whole 3Vs and more mileage and variety than you can shake a stick at.

If it's ski-in/out which you want, then it's VT. Val is mostly a very short walk to the lifts but is the all-round better resort IMV.
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@geepee,
Quote:

it’s still in the mountains and they are always something we can always appreciate, and an enormous part of why I like skiing
Me too, but I prefer being able to see some trees and guess Val d'Isere may better for that.
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You know it makes sense.
Hurtle wrote:
@geepee,
Quote:

it’s still in the mountains and they are always something we can always appreciate, and an enormous part of why I like skiing
Me too, but I prefer being able to see some trees and guess Val d'Isere may better for that.

Agree and my own opinion is that the Belleville mountains are less shapely than most in the alps.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
geepee,

As you say, Val T is in the mountains. Despite that some think it has "spectacularly dull scenery." Shocked (What is unimpressive about the view of the Aiguille de Peclet, for instance?)

https://goo.gl/images/k1RTnm

Sounds to me like the classic Fawlty Towers sketch about wildebeest grazing & the Hanging Gardens of Babylon! Toofy Grin
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
holidayloverxx wrote:
The OP says his wife 'doesn't ski so no issues there'. It strikes me he wants a recommendation for the skiers not the non-skiing wife (who is presumably a grown up and capable of sorting herself out)

Fair point. If the skiing is vastly superior in VT, the OP’s request to disregard the need of the non-skier to focus ONLY on the skiing is a valid one.

But even from the skiers point if view, many found Val D more attractive than VT, with practically speaking just as good skiing. So it’s only fair to point out the significant difference for the non-skiing member of the group.

If, on the other hand, both resorts were equally bleak and soulless, then the slightly better snow record of VT would have received more focus.

Basically, we’re talking 2 resorts with much similarities. It’s only natural people highlight the biggest difference, namely the ambiance of the base village.
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Well if the OP has got any sense he'll ( or she'll guess we shouldn't presume these days) figure out a resort about 45 mins drive up a mountain is unlikely to exactly the same as one in a valley.

And there are trees in VT. I know because I skied over it once.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@T Bar, granted VdI has the "prettiness" edge on VT but VdI isn't exactly chocolate box. But the OP has spent the last 3 years in Avoriaz, so they presumably aren't as offended as you are by brutalist architecture. Both resorts are good matches but for the OPs specific requirements I would say VT is more suitable because
Quote:
ski in ski out is a must
- much more SISO accommodation available in VT.
Quote:
boarder, 13 with 3 weeks
- VT home slopes much more suitable for this person than VdI.
Quote:
wife doesn't ski so no issues there
- may not even be coming!
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Quote:

VdI isn't exactly chocolate box

Indeed. It always amuses me when people describe it as a "pretty village" just because it's less ghastly than some of the others. Just for me, I'd always choose VT over Val d'Isere, but I'd not choose either if there were a range of other possibilities. But Easter is late next year, and a high resort makes a sensible choice.
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For a skier I think VT shades it but maybe not for a boarder. There's an awful lot of long flat runs around VT that in spring slush will be hard work for an inexperienced boarder. VDI's home runs may be under-graded but at least most of them have gradient.

One point that nobody seems to have made is whether the skiers/boarders will meet up with the non-skier for lunch? If so, then VT is much the stronger bet with a wide variety of places to meet that are an easy walk/ski/board plus LM or St Martin restaurants using the bus service.
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Anyway if a non-skier goes to a ski resort they know (or should know) exactly what they are letting themselves in for. It's not a secret - the clue is in the name. I don't actually see why there should be any more attention paid to pandering to them then there should be to the skiing/boarding members of the party. I've had many a down day (through injury, weather, recovery) in ski resorts. It's rare there isn't enough pottering around to be had to be vaguely entertaining* and if there is a pool somewhere then happy days.

& I agree with the above post VDI might once have been a charming little Savoyard village but it smacks of nothing so much as money and high-end redevelopment these days. I find it curious that the core assumption is that a non skier would prefer this to actually being up the mountain and able to easily walk to great tranquil places like Lac de Lou.


* to be fair La Grave stretches this to breaking point and it is probably no surprise why people turn alcoholic there.
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@Dave of the Marmottes, +1

@Raceplate, "One point that nobody seems to have made is whether the skiers/boarders will meet up with the non-skier for lunch?" question not asked by the OP. So what if they do or they don't, it's not rocket science to work out where a non-skier can get to in any resort.
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holidayloverxx wrote:
question not asked by the OP. So what if they do or they don't, it's not rocket science to work out where a non-skier can get to in any resort.

Actually I was thinking of it from the perspective of a mixed bag of skiers and boarders rather than the non-skier. Much easier to get back to the centre of VT than the centre of VDI and therefore less down time for a group that likes to "get the miles in".

And so what if they didn't ask the question? They asked for thoughts and comments.
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@Raceplate, ah well, you specifically said "whether the skiers/boarders will meet up with the non-skier for lunch". The problem when people answer an unasked question is that the thread gets taken over by that element. I am a bit sick of reading stuff that is supposedly about ski areas and ends up about how to keep a non-skier occupied and results in all sort of crap about spas, shops and prettiness (which usually hasn't been asked about).

on this thread 6 responses about skiing/boarding and c19 about the non-skier
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I have commented before on SHs about the impossibility of giving advice about destinations for non-skiers - even when somebody DOES ask for it, unless they give quite a bit of additional information about the person concerned. It's no more sensible than giving advice for skiers with no idea whether they want to potter round on easy slopes and spend a lot of time in cosy bars or huck off cliffs all day. And I find it intensely irritating when people assume that a non skiing "wife" likes nothing better than lots of shops and to spend time having her nails done or sitting in a soup of other people's bacteria in a "wellness" (shudder....) centre.

Some people would prefer peace and quiet, a comfortable place to catch up on reading and some beautiful winter mountain walks.

But there's no point guessing!
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