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Val Thorens or Val D'Isere?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
T Bar wrote:
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.


You've mentioned a lot of things that you don't want - but what are the things that you are looking for that aren't on the list?

Obviously the attractiveness of a resort or surrounding mountains is very subjective and a matter of personal opinion, I personally think that sitting outside at Face West with a cold beer in the sunshine viewing the mountains is pure bliss and absolutely beautiful!
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Oh Gosh
Firstly I was giving an opinion on why I personally would not find VT desirable as a non - skier and gave a reason. I don't think its unreasonable to take a non skiing travelers wishes into account and I have been away plenty of times with non skiers.
If the OP thinks my reasoning may chime with their non skier they are free to think about it or ignore it as they wish, it does seem to resonate with some others in the thread but not with others that's fine we are all different and have different points of view.
I was not trying to instruct anyone not to go to VT just give a gentle warning that for some non skiers it ain't a great place, others may love it we are all different.
From a skiing point of view my own preference would be V D'I, largely on the grounds that if the weather is bad there is more tree lined skiing immediately to hand, going in Late march -early April I cannot conceive that the snow will not be excellent in both areas , my own experience of going consecutive weeks one week to 3V and one to Espace Killy in late March in warm weather is that the crowds and queuing were worse in VT as the whole of the 3V thronged there whereas in Val D'Isere the crowds were more spread out.
In terms of ski in ski out VT obviously has more but if booking at this time it should not be difficult to secure such accommodation in VD'I either at Rond Point des Pistes, Le Joseray etc or pretty close to ski in ski out at La Daille.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
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@Handy Turnip,
Quote:


You've mentioned a lot of things that you don't want - but what are the things that you are looking for that aren't on the list?

Obviously the attractiveness of a resort or surrounding mountains is very subjective and a matter of personal opinion,

Yes it is subjective and clearly others differ.
Personally I quite like to stay in a place which has some traditional Savoyard/Tirolean/Valasian etc. buildings and I also prefer to stay in a place where there are a few trees to give definition to the landscape if I am around. Cleared walks are a a plus preferably again with some through trees. Somewhere with a bit of cultural heritage is an added bonus.
Incidentally I am not trying to say this is what other people should like, it's very clearly up to them.
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@T Bar, makes sense, I get that - my question was a genuine one, not meant as a criticism at all.

Completely agree, everyone has a different opinion and there are no right or wrong answers l.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Calling @Redordead? Any chance of you coming back with something on here?
Otherwise it looks like maybe you were just looking to start a fight and walk away? No offence intended.
It did look like a simple enough and innocent question, but IMO short on info in some respects, which I fully accept as inevitable.
Is this thread going anywhere useful to you at the moment?
Or maybe you think it's better not to stick your head back up over the parapet?
It would be quite understandable if that were the case.
I'd like to offer something useful to you, as SH's do, but it looks to me like there are people now having a private conversation not involving you except possibly as ammunition?
Yes, I am becoming more and more aware of how SH threads tend to evolve.
I hope to remain calm and helpful myself, but you never know.
I might catch something.

Nevertheless.

You said: "We like getting the miles in and enjoy exploring all that a resort has to offer which both resorts appear to be perfect for."
I know what you mean and it looks like that 'on paper', but there's a big difference in the kind of skiing experience your group might have if the weather's bad in your chosen resort - in my my opinion both resorts aren't perfect in that respect.
In making your choice you could take into account that maybe the younger and more inexperienced members of your group might be better off with more near-resort below-tree line skiing for the possible bad weather?
Maybe some of you won't care.
I know tree line skiing's been mentioned before.
I can't offer too much as I don't know you or your family or any more about your problem than you put in the original post?

BTW, leaving VT aside for the moment, my experience of VdI is that you can find ski-in/ski-out, but you might need to grab it quick - unless you're rich? There several expensive hotels with ski-in/out at VdI, but that's not for me.
A reasonably priced chalet good for ski-in/out I've used was Chalet Maison Rose in VdI - 3 times. Ski to chalet patio, with a bit of snowfall luck, round the chalet right to boot room door. There are others too. A bit more up the Isere valley for example.
As people I've been with don't mind walking a wee bit, I've also found chalets in La Daille down the valley to be good for accessibility although actual ski-in/out is rarer. The Funival's effectively on the doorstep, which is good for getting up to plateau.
However La Daille might not be so convenient for those who are less experienced, taking e.g. any group lessons - bus ride.
And just because a chalet or hotel is labelled as ski-in/out, your group might not be able to do that in practice. Accommodation up the Joseray valley can be disappointing because in my limited experience, the Santons run may look like you can ski down it on the piste map, but it's often closed, and trying getting down the Epaule de Charvet black might not be a good idea for some of your group. I once made the mistake of booking a group into a chalet there - Santons was closed the entire week and I got a real b*ll*cking every day and they won't let me forget about it. Not doing it again.
(Edit: Apols for not saying 'boarding' as well as 'skiing' here. Hoping it was inferred. Also Santons is near flat/a bit uphill for most of the section along to Joseray in the valley through where the accommodation is there . . )


Last edited by Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do. on Tue 21-08-18 19:23; edited 2 times in total
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Raceplate wrote:
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.


Which runs are you thinking about? There are two separate ski areas directly accessible from Val d'Isere - heading up the Olympic lift the "easy" option home is Santons, which is a tricky gully followed by a very long flat. Returning from Solaise lift is via Plan/M, which does have gradient but is tricky and gets chopped up. Both are classified as red (Santons was sensibly reclassified last season). I would advise inexperienced skiers and boarders to avoid those pistes at the end of the day, either by downloading on the lift, or skiing down into Le Fornet / Le Daille and getting the free bus home.

In VT it gets a bit flat just above the main run through the village from the Orelle side, but that doesn't last for that long. The runs down from the Meribel side are better, but get slushy.

I've stayed in Val d'Isere twice, both times happened to be right on a piste, but not necessarily the piste you'd pick (one was on the flat bit of Santons). VT has lots of accommodation right on the main piste, and there's more in Les Menuires (which is a long chair ride away from the top of VT)
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Having skied and stayed in both resorts with a non skiing wife, my vote would also be for Val D. Happy wife, happy life😀
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pam w wrote:
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.


It's a very attractive town, more so than a LOT of French resorts.



Hardly "ghastly" rolling eyes
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Matter of taste, obviously. It's certainly better than SOME purpose built French resorts.
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Matter of taste indeed.
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I’m struggling to understand assertions that in late March/early April, the snowsports on offer for the group described by the OP are significantly better in 3V (from a Val T base) than EK (from a Val D base).

Should the OP ever appear on this thread again, anyone able to explain objectively to them please?
snowHead
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Looks like Ferrari vs Lamborghini debate and colleagues are nitpicking....
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@RedorDead,
If that helps, VT will be more Avoriaz-like, just a bit bigger and higher up (in my experience higher altitude = worse sleep). Val d’Isere in that respect would feel newer
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
PeakyB wrote:
I’m struggling to understand assertions that in late March/early April, the snowsports on offer for the group described by the OP are significantly better in 3V (from a Val T base) than EK (from a Val D base).

Should the OP ever appear on this thread again, anyone able to explain objectively to them please?
snowHead


Well EK may be as good but then a better resort for comparison purposes would be Tignes - better access to the higher terrain, not as difficult home runs etc. I think the core assumption skiing wise is that lower altitudes may be vulnerable getting into April. If we said where's better Meribel or VT at that time the answer would usually be VT. The objections to VT based on moonscape/no trees are less valid when it comes to April because true multi day pea souper storms are rarer then (although pre EOSB clearly suffered this year). Essentially VDI probably has a longer commute and more difficult return from high quality snow in April than VT.

(disclaimer : not really that familiar with VDI at that time of year)
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:

It's a very attractive town


Welcome to snowheads - where any resort outside Austria or Italy is "ghastly" and not chocolate-box enough

Quote:

Looks like Ferrari vs Lamborghini debate and colleagues are nitpicking....


Pretty much.

Quote:

higher altitude = worse sleep


VT village altitude shouldn't be an issue for most healthy people.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
I think the core assumption skiing wise is that lower altitudes may be vulnerable getting into April. If we said where's better Meribel or VT at that time the answer would usually be VT. The objections to VT based on moonscape/no trees are less valid when it comes to April because true multi day pea souper storms are rarer then (although pre EOSB clearly suffered this year). Essentially VDI probably has a longer commute and more difficult return from high quality snow in April than VT.


With the exception of 2017, I think I have skied on or around the first week of April pretty much every year for the last 20 years.
Although multi day pea soupers are rare they are not unheard of, however on at least half those occasions I have been glad at least on one day of having tree level skiing and on several occasions it has given me some great skiing of fresh powder when conditions higher have been unpleasant.
The commutes to the glaciers may take a little time but to decent north facing skiing over 2500m which is generally what is required is very quick.
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Essentially VDI probably has a longer commute and more difficult return from high quality snow in April than VT.


I seem to remember from Steve Angus' posts that Santons frequently gets closed in the afternoons in April due to avalanche risk. Without Santons, the options back from Tignes to Val d'Isere are black runs (Le Face or the black that runs next to Santons, but I think that gets closed even more frequently), Olympique gondola down, or bus from La Daille. Personally I'd get the bus, but it doesn't really count as ski-in/ski-out if you need to get a bus home.
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thelem wrote:
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Essentially VDI probably has a longer commute and more difficult return from high quality snow in April than VT.


I seem to remember from Steve Angus' posts that Santons frequently gets closed in the afternoons in April due to avalanche risk. Without Santons, the options back from Tignes to Val d'Isere are black runs (Le Face or the black that runs next to Santons, but I think that gets closed even more frequently), Olympique gondola down, or bus from La Daille. Personally I'd get the bus, but it doesn't really count as ski-in/ski-out if you need to get a bus home.


It counts if you have one (or more) at the Rosée Blanche before getting the bus snowHead
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bar shaker wrote:
thelem wrote:
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Essentially VDI probably has a longer commute and more difficult return from high quality snow in April than VT.


I seem to remember from Steve Angus' posts that Santons frequently gets closed in the afternoons in April due to avalanche risk. Without Santons, the options back from Tignes to Val d'Isere are black runs (Le Face or the black that runs next to Santons, but I think that gets closed even more frequently), Olympique gondola down, or bus from La Daille. Personally I'd get the bus, but it doesn't really count as ski-in/ski-out if you need to get a bus home.


It counts if you have one (or more) at the Rosée Blanche before getting the bus snowHead


Or just stay in La Daille.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
muppet wrote:
bar shaker wrote:
thelem wrote:
Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
Essentially VDI probably has a longer commute and more difficult return from high quality snow in April than VT.


I seem to remember from Steve Angus' posts that Santons frequently gets closed in the afternoons in April due to avalanche risk. Without Santons, the options back from Tignes to Val d'Isere are black runs (Le Face or the black that runs next to Santons, but I think that gets closed even more frequently), Olympique gondola down, or bus from La Daille. Personally I'd get the bus, but it doesn't really count as ski-in/ski-out if you need to get a bus home.


It counts if you have one (or more) at the Rosée Blanche before getting the bus snowHead


Or just stay in La Daille.


So go to Val d'Isere rather than Val Thorens because the town is prettier and that'll suit the either not-going or happy-with-Avoriaz non-skier, although the skiing in Val Thorens is better suited to the skiiers... and then stay in La Daille. Laughing
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Yes the general rule of thumb in favour of high altitude late season is sound enough.
We also know aspect, ‘snow management’ and weight of traffic are big factors.

I’ve skied both EK and 3V into April many times. Nothing wrong with either. Actually, even as late April turns to early May, I’ve enjoyed excellent snow right across EK and down to Les Brevieres, several times.

Come mid April in 3V, I check conditions carefully before setting off for the Meribel Valley and south facing Les Menuires slopes. They can be an overcrowded slushfest. But if they’re OK, then the chances of finding good snow in the Courchevel sector are very good.

I think for this group, if you stick within Val T v Val D, then Val T just wins on slopes and snow alone.

If EK v 3V, then EK is better. I’m assuming the group would want to explore the whole area.

La Daille is a great base and there are a few ski in/out properties just above what will be the brand new gondola base come December.
snowHead
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Is there now a reliably straightforward way of skiing down to La Daille? Rather than the famous green (sic) run? Generally speaking, Val d'Isere is not the obvious choice for somebody for whom not being able to ski down to their accommodation (or near it) at the end of the day is a problem. Personally, it doesn't bother me to sit in a gondola and watch people struggle!
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There's a few options into La Daille. I don't remember them being hugely different from each other, despite being graded from green to red. They are basically just slightly different routes down the same mountainside and there are several places you can change between runs. Even the red runs are easier than any run into VdI.
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@PeakyB, to be clear, I don't inherently prefer one area over the other and would personally be very happy to go to either (though I'd prefer to stay in Tignes). I'd also very happily go back to La Plagne at that time of year. But the Val d'Isere home slopes don't concern me and I'm also relaxed about walking/bussing to the slopes. My argument that VT is better for the OP is based on them having a relative beginner in their party for whom the home slopes are likely to represent a challenge, and considering ski in ski out a must.
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@pam w,
I don't think the green run to La Daille is as bad as a lot of people think, because most people don't actually follow it but skip off into blues and reds with which it intersects.
Having said that for the early intermediate keen to ski to resort level at the end of the day Val d'Isere is not ideal I'd agree.
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@pam w, I agree parts of the green to La Daille could be challenging for a boarder with 3 weeks experience. More so though when icy or hard pack, which is very unlikely late March onwards.

EK v 3V? Nice problem to have to choose.
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