Val is my all time favourite ski holiday destination; I don’t know if it’s the vast number of slopes, the beautiful scenery or the variety of restaurants on and off the slope that do it for me, but whatever it is, it works. Due to its location being so high up the French Alps (the town being at 1850m), I was able to feel quite smug this New Year when I saw all the sad snap chat stories of bare mountains and greenery, as we were lucky enough to have a fair amount of snow. However – no – there wasn’t enough for the usual off piste, deep snow escapades but we went for the alternative of embarrassing ourselves more publicly in the snow-park, where there is less powdered snow to break your fall and more people to mock you as you hit the compact ground. I’m pretty sure I heard a less than sympathetic “loserrr” as my friend hit the deck in quite a spectacular fashion, but don’t worry it was captured on the go-pro so “the bruises are worth the laughter” to quote my blue-bottomed sister.
All jokes aside Val has to be one of the best ski resorts and if you’re lucky enough to holiday there, there are some places you need to go, some things you need to do and some slopes you need to ski…
If your looking for the perfect location to take that obligatory panorama picture pretty much any mountain is fit for purpose in Val. but for the perfect shot id say the top of the Grand Mottes chair lift or the highest point of the Pisalas glacier are the best stops. This particular glacier offers a unique ‘couple goals’ opportunity with the T-bar which is effectively a button lift for two. On those perfect blue cloudless sky days it’s destination is the only place truly worthy for your Instagram.
Next up it has to be the notorious Folie Douce. After a long day of skiing its the best place to round up. You know when you’re near because you can hear it’s bouncing tunes and flamboyant singers from pretty much any where on Belvarde. As you get closer you can see the piles of discarded skis and poles backing half way up the mountain, people sat outside pre drinking from their hip flasks to dilute the steep mountain prices ( 8 euros for a beer!!??) and other skiers just slowing down to get a look/ take pictures of the party scenes. Christmas/New Year/Easter weeks are always busy, especially if the sun is shining. So as soon as a table becomes free- run. You haven’t experienced the Folie if you haven’t danced terribly on a table. Just unclip the top buckles on your boots and let loose, it doesn’t matter if you cant dance just blame it on the altitude (actually, just blame everything on the altitude). When it turns 5pm the live music (electric guitar, saxophone, the notorious singer, and DJ) and the fabulous dancers (no, not you) pack up and skiing or the bubble down the mountain follows. Next stop – aprés ski bar, Coco Rico. And if you want a night surrounded by Brits- Dick’s Tea Bar is for you, or for a more french atmosphere go to the Doudoune.
There are endless delicious places to eat in the resort. I’d have to say my favourite lunchtime self service stope is Marmots (the carbonara is to die for), or for a big lunch Le Signal restaurant is delicious. For a more casual dinner out I’d say Sur la Montagne which is a great family restaurant but if you want to properly treat yourself go to Le 1850; the meat is cooked on an open fire and it will change your life. Another one of my favourites is La Peau de Vache which is situated half way down La Face, one of the best black runs in 1850. But don’t worry if slaloms and sheet ice aren’t your strong points – there’s a chair lift right to the restaurant. Once you’re inside you’re surrounded by reindeer fur, cow skin and candles and you couldn’t ask for a better atmosphere, along with the friendliest staff that make each visit unique.
For me, Val is a ten out of ten every time; perfect weather or not, the slopes are always perfect, the folie is always packed and the food is always delicious.. What more could you want?!