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Val d'Isere/La Daille/Tignes good for families/beginners?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi, is Val d'Isere/La Daille/Tignes a good ski area for families and beginners? We went skiing last winter for the first time as a family and would love to go in Feb half term again, if we are able to without having to quarantine on our return to the UK. I have seen an apartment in the La Daille area that looks good and when looking at the piste map, I can see there are quite a lot of green slopes in this area. But I have also heard this ski area is best for intermediate/advanced skiers, hence my question. Thanks.
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A very expensive and expansive resort for beginners. Non of the areas are great for beginners.
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Thanks for your reply. Which resorts in the French alps would you recommend that is more suitable for beginners? We went to La Plagne last year and loved it, but would like to try a new area this year, if we can go.
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Alpe D’Huez. Sort of saucer shaped. Gentle slopes near the resort, getting steeper the further you go out.
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Thanks for your recommendation. Good value is important to us, but when I did some quick research I found that the lift pass in val d’Isère wasn’t too bad and neither was the accommodation I found. We don’t plan to go out for meals or drinks much.
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Val Cenis, lanslevillard area is very good for range of skiing, and particularly cost of lift pass compared to the "headline" ski domains.

Also has access right to the top on very usuable (for early ski skills) blue runs to enable use of the whole area. Very relaxed atmosphere and eating out , food in general, are reasonable cost. Extensive green level piste too.

Another in Tarantaise valley, Saite Foy, much smaller but alot to offer family skiing. Great intimate experience for any level of skier. Again, cost is usually a good balance there, with all accommodation in the ski station effectively on the snow. It's very very convenient for a mixed ability group with a really friendly atmosphere. Small but perfectly formed Very Happy

If you liked La Plagne, then Les Arcs is also very worthwhile considering. I've always felt that 1800mtr village has a great balance of snow access and other attributes.

Plus Morillon Les Esserts in the Grand Massif, again for smaller village (linked to larger area ) with very good early skills piste, and nice mix of friendly convenient attributes. One of the best and longest green rated slopes in France too, Marvel, to safely build ski skills.

We've been as a family to all of these. All quite different but very good experiences over family growing years.
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@Motherofthree, Val D’Isere has invested in making itself more beginner friendly in recent years. It has a couple of areas, up the mountain, which are suitable. The problem, I think, is that progression for 2nd and 3rd week skiers is not so good. The area also has a reputation for under grading pistes, eg the green piste into La Daille can be very challenging.

If you liked La Plagne and prefer to stick with France, maybe Courchevel (Moriond 1650 a good base). La Rosiere. Les Arcs is quite family friendly.

Lots of possibilities, with Italy and Austria having many good options, generally better value for families than the big French areas. Tend to be a bit less crowded in mid February than France.
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Thanks @ski3 for your tips, I will look into all of these. We are planning to drive from Surrey, stoping in an Airbnb on the way there and back, so somewhere which is easy to get to by car would be good too. Plus we want to stay in accommodation which is on the piste and close to the nearest lift, as we want to come back to the accommodation for lunch most days.


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Thu 26-11-20 8:06; edited 1 time in total
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Hi @PeakyB, thanks for your in debt information about the Val d’Isere area, very useful. We are looking for somewhere that we can drive to from the southeast, where we can stay in accommodation that is ski in ski out/on the piste, which offers good value for money, and that is good for families and beginners.
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Motherofthree wrote:
Hi @PeakyB, thanks for your in depth information about the Val d’Isere area, very useful. We are looking for somewhere that we can drive to from the southeast, where we can stay in accommodation that is ski in ski out/on the piste, which offers good value for money, and that is good for families and beginners.
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Motherofthree wrote:
Hi, is Val d'Isere/La Daille/Tignes a good ski area for families and beginners? .....I can see there are quite a lot of green slopes in this area.


I've been going to Val d'Isere for a lot of years. La Daille is just one end of Val d'Isere. Not the most attractive end but that's not what you are asking. For Val d'Isere there are indeed lots of green slopes and so long as you are prepared to use lifts to return to resort level, there is a ton of easy skiing. There are however no genuinely easy runs back to resort level, whatever the colour on the map. For example "Verte" into La Daille would be blue going on red in a lot of places.

For Tignes/Val Claret, there are easier runs to resort level, however they tend to be pretty busy, to be point of being a bit intimidating for that reason.

On the whole, I think families and beginners might be better served somewhere else less busy and less expensive.
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I’d certainly check out Espace San Bernardo, aka La Rosiere/Les Eucherts (on the French side). A very nice family vibe and perfect for beginners and intermediates, some nice restaurants, ice rink. Lots of friendly runs but enough to progress on. There’s a button lift linking them to Italy which gets a bad press but isn’t that bad, and some people never even get that far. We’ve taken the kids (now 13&10) there twice in recent years and they really enjoyed it. They love Tignes/Vd as well but I’d recommend checking it out.
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Motherofthree wrote:
Thanks @ski3 for your tips, I will look into all of these. We are planning to drive from Surrey, stopping in an Airbnb on the way there and back, so somewhere which is easy to get to by car would be good too. Plus we want to stay in accommodation which is on the piste and close to the nearest lift, as we want to come back to the accommodation for lunch most days.


Another tip for Morillon then, linked to Samoens and the Grand massif - good skiing and dead easy drive down.
As stated earlier Marvel is one of the best runs you will ever do!!
I love Val D'Isere and the "green triangle" runs are fab and you could really progress on them but as said skiing back to resort isn't the easiest.
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@Motherofthree, The beginner areas on Solaise and Belleverde will often have some the piste conditions in France due to their altitude and aspect which is quite a big plus point. As others have mentioned the green and blue runs back to the bottom, Verte*, Diebold, Santons** and Piste L, can be tricky although they are not necessarily mis-graded. Santons in particular is great run in the middle of the day but one to be avoided from 3pm onwards when it becomes heavily mogulled and very busy. You can always take the lift down but if you were repeatedly having to do that then you might wonder if there might have been somewhere better to go. The more adventurous you are the better a choice it is. I spent my first two weeks of skiing in Val d'Isere and don't believe that I would have had more fun anywhere else.

*Never gets steep but has some narrow sections and crosses a red which makes it seem intimidating. The lower half is a means to an end rather than a great piste in itself
**Now graded red but as far as I can tell this is just to discourage beginners from joining the afternoon carnage. Without the crowds heading back to Val and subsequent moguls it is definitely blue
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Motherofthree wrote:
Thanks @ski3 for your tips, I will look into all of these. We are planning to drive from Surrey, stoping in an Airbnb on the way there and back, so somewhere which is easy to get to by car would be good too. Plus we want to stay in accommodation which is on the piste and close to the nearest lift, as we want to come back to the accommodation for lunch most days.


Same for us ordinarily, join M25 at Reigate and onward from there to tunnel etc, normal journey for us as children have grown up.

The immediate access is certainly good with family as you've normally got some tooing-and-froing with a family. That's one element all of those have with ease.
For Sainte Foy , appartments Etoile de Cime is very good and next to the snow and the toboggan run where all the families end up late afternoon.
Also (but generally slightly more cost) Le Ferme overlooks the initial pistes for beginners. Both are effectively ski in and out too.
It's a particularly easy ski area to use too and have got a few family introduced to skiing there. There's alot of side pieces of skiing that the kids like there too, the ski schools take them all through these which they love, each having a different name.

Driving ease would favour Maurienne valley and Val Cenis as it's a very easy drive up the valley with much less traffic than Tarantaise at busy holiday times.

Parking for all but Les Arcs I've listed is not charged if you don't mind outside parking. Although Etoile de Cime has particularly good underground with direct access bookable.
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 Poster: A snowHead
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@Motherofthree, don't under estimate how long it will take you to get back to your apartment for lunch, either because you are still quite slow skiers or need to get a lift back down, then rack skis, get out of boots etc. By returning fir lunch you will limit yourself to a very small ski area so you might as well choose a small resort...or save an extra couple of hundred quid in advance and lunch on the mountain to enjoy the wider experience. Some places do have picnic rooms in huts which might be worth looking for
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Les Gets always seems to get mentioned as a good family resort if you want to stick to France. I've always associated Italy with families though. I'm guessing a little bit cheaper than any of the major resorts in France too.
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Been doing family trips driving to France for many years. If you've been to La Plagne already you've been to one of the best (IMO the best) option but ADH is a good shout - been there several times too. We stayed in Oz-en-Oisan.
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We drive from Surrey to the alps a few times a year. Assuming you have three kids I'd recommend the Novotel in Beaune as an overnight hotel as it has some larger suite rooms that sleep five and is family orientated. On the way back Reims Tinqueux is a good place to stop and there is a Novotel there plus other chains Ibis etc.

@ski3 and others have made good suggestions above. I would definitely recommend going for the more family orientated resorts.

La Rosiere would be a very good option. It would be easy to ski back for lunch to Hotel Alparena appartments, Les Cimes Blanches or Les Balcons which I would rank in that order in terms of luxury. We have stayed in Alparena and Cimes Blanches and both are very good. Alparena is right on the piste and recently built. It has an outdoor cafe at the edge of the piste if you can't face taking your boots off to go back to the apartment Toofy Grin

We have stayed in Chalets de Flambeau in Val Cenis and that is at the foot of the piste next to ski school meeting point. you could easily ski back for lunch. It is a bit of a walk to the main village for evening restaurants but nice if you like to be in peaceful surroundings.

Morillon - ideal slopes for beginners and excellent mountain eateries. Accommodation a bit more basic. In the Grand Massif area which can get busy at half term.

Sainte Foy - As @ski3 says L'etoile des Cimes would be a good base. Ideal for families and beginners. The only thing I don't like about Sainte Foy is that there are so many Brits there it does not feel that French.

Valmorel - lovely family resort which has everything you need in one street at the foot of the slopes. Residence Anitea would be a good place to stay.

Les Saisies - Beautiful ski area with lots of gentle wooded runs and fantastic views of Mont Blanc. Les Chalets des Cimes would probably be the best residence for being near the resort centre and ski school. We have booked Residence Amaya for a different week but that might be less well located for ski school. I like the fact that Les Saisies is very French but your children might find that there are not many other British kids in ski school. My two managed ok and were only 5 and 8 at the time.

If you are thinking of booking through a tour operator I would highly recommend Peak Retreats who we have used for over 10 years. They are offering very flexible booking conditions this year given that everything is so uncertain.
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Motherofthree,

I think you would enjoy Tignes. We went there with a couple who had only done a previous week's skiing and they loved it. The skiing on the "Tignes side" is generally less steep than that in Val D, though our friends did ski the whole area over the course of a week.
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Cool @Motherofthree, we originally learnt to ski (as adults) in Val d'Isere a good few years ago and as has been said some runs can be challenging for beginners. However, in recent years, the resort has done a lot of work, especially on the Solaise side to improve the teaching areas which then lead on to a great selection of blues for progression. Skiing to resort is very limited for beginners and so downloading via lift is the best option. I recommend posting on the "View from Val d'Isere and the Espace Killy" thread over in snow reports and asking Steve Angus who is a VdI instructor and is always happy to answer questions.

La Rosiere is a great family resort which is linked to La Thuile (via long drag lift) in Italy. However, returning for lunch would potentially limit your potential to explore this area. Personally, I prefer the skiing in Italy to La Ros and the food and drink on that side is better and good value too. La Rosiere may be a quieter resort during peak weeks.
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I cant be fussed to read through everyone's replies Has anyone mentioned Les Gets is a nice family resort.
Its not as expensive as Tignes and VDI. There's plenty of easy runs linked all over giving you the feeling of skiing skiing all over the mountain as opposed to just up and down.

I've skied VDI and Tignes alot and love it there but go for the extensive off piste but this past season we based our trips in Morzine and Les Get as my girls aged 4 and 6 are getting/have got better and could ski almost everywhere in Les Gets/Morzine with us in the afternoons
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Thank you all for your very helpful replies, I’ve got a lot of research to do now! Really hoping the quarantine restrictions when coming back to the UK from France will change between now and February, so that we are able to go!
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Morzine and Les Gets have had a shout out in the Portes du Soleil, I'd also chuck Avoriaz in to the mix.

Ski in ski out for virtually the entire village, no cars in the village, walking or horse drawn carriages. Lots of easy runs accesible right from the village, and lots of areas to explore as ski level improves.

Think it would suit a family well.
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I visited Val d’Isere as a beginner/ early improver for my first 2 weeks. I had done 2 days in Morzine and could get down most blues too by this point. We stayed close to the rond point rather than la Daille which gives far more choice for lessons etc than la Daille but there is plenty to do. That bowl of greens on Bellevarde is easy and very quiet (I was there at Easter). There is also plenty on the Solaise side in the Madeleine area. I really like it there. And this was before they upgraded the Solaise lift. But given you are all at an early stage I reckon you could spare yourself such an arduous transfer and still find plenty of good skiing. Unless you are going at Easter (which thanks to covid looks like a safer bet).
Personally I found the skiing much much busier in Avoriaz (and this was a sunny Saturday in January last year). I wouldn’t like to think what Morzine and Avoriaz would be like at half term. Friends I know with places there always rent out at half term (they make most cash, true, but always complain the resorts are too busy for their liking!!)
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@Skimum1, everywhere is busy at half term.
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I’d say if you’re all beginners, go to a smaller, more family-oriented resort. In France, Les Gets, La plagne, La Rosiere are generally setup for families as such with facilities and many relatively well-graded runs. Also, Italy. Or most bits we have been to...Madonna, Sauze, Sestriere.
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@Motherofthree, who knows?

Our eldest and youngest kids skied in Val d'Isere / Tignes aged 3-5 and were fine. But you do need to pick the route carefully and avoid (or at least be prepared for) the difficulties.

As someone else has said the greens up at Solaise and Bellvard are excellent. They are actually well groomed wide runs that gently slope downhill. But there are always a few blues and the occasional green in just about any resort that can give the unwary a nasty fright- these are usually 'home runs' down to the valley floor- village. Narrow, icy.

Whilst la Rosiere is popular with UK families I'd say it is rubbish- South facing = icy or slush. Also windy and the food is awful.
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We did Valmenier a few years back, its linked with Valloire and you may be better there are more Brits esp if you need ski school.
It was a nice area, a number of areas you can ski to and some really lovely long easy runs.
We stayed right on the piste in Valmenier which was handy but we didn't hear much English so maybe not as useful for a family
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We stayed in TIgnes le lac in 2019. I will admit that 2 of our kids are not absolute beginners, but one basically was.

What we really liked from a family perspective:

1) there are a lot of ski schools in Tignes so you don't have to go with ESF who we found did no suit our kids. We used Ultimate and they were great!
2) Le Lac as an area is pretty flat, so you aren't having to lug kids and their gear up and down his. Pretty it isn't, but flat it pretty much is;
3) The Lagoon/The Leisure Centre (with trampolines)/the ice castle there was a lot for our kids to do once their lessons ended;
4) the free skiing area - there is are a couple of runs around Tignes Le Lac that are free and you can use the Le Rosset lift and one next to the Palafour whcih gives you 2 or 3 runs. Perfect if your kids are beginners and you an to ski an afternoon with them outside of their lessons. Our youngest was 5 and we spent the first and last days on these runs. His lessons were mainly on the flattish area near Le Lavachet and he didn't need a lift pass.

We have skied Les 2 Alpes/Meribel/La Tania and Tignes with our kids. It was the best of them all because if you get the accommodation right everything is an easy walk and with kids that is pretty important.
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1. Courchevel 1850
2. La Rosiere
3. Avoriaz
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Whitegold wrote:
1. Courchevel 1850
2. La Rosiere
3. Avoriaz


.....random selection of French resorts......
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Tignes / Val d'Isere is a great area, but doesn't sound like a great choice for your requirements. Accommodation can call itself ski-in/ski-out, but if you're not happy with the pistes to the accommodation then you'll find yourself having to take lifts instead. You'll also be paying for a large ski area that you're not using. If you really want to go for Tignes / Val d'Isere I'd say Tignes Le Lac has the easiest run back to resort, but it's still a blue and you could find yourself lapping it all week.

I'd look at Alpe d'Huez. The Marcel's farm and Chez Roger areas are great for beginners and families, and both end in the main village. Do check where your accommodation is within the village, because while there is some on the snow front, there are many more that you would need to get a lift to/from. The green run that goes from DMC 1800 to Centre Station is only there to get you home - it's not an interesting route that you would choose to ski.

Val Thorens could be an option too, because it has a variety of green/blue runs that come out in the resort centre with easy access to lots of accommodation. It's not cheap though.
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definitely les coches in paradiski great place to learn lots of low cost slope side accomodation good bars and restaurants at bottom and great evening bars and restaurants ticks all boxes for 2nd or 3rd week skieers
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I like Morzine. It's livelier than Le Gets and if the snow conditions are not good you can ski in Avoriaz which is a lot higher altitude.
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