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Almanac: Val d'Isère

Almanac: Val d'Isère

By John Fry
posted: 12/15/2001

  • Getting There
  • Whether you choose to fly to Geneva (Swissair) or Lyon (Delta), the key to reaching Val d'Isère is to remember that you must first travel to the village of Bourg St. Maurice. From here, the road up to Val is a steep, switchback ascent. The four-hour bus trip, from the Lyon airport to Val, is $75 round-trip.
  • When To Go
  • Lift skiing runs Sept. 29-May 5. Summer skiing on the Grande Motte and Pissaillas glaciers is from June 14 to Sept. 8.
  • Sleeping In
  • The four-star hotels, Blizzard and Christiania, offer rooms along with superb dinners and breakfasts, from $1,100 to $1,600 a week in high season. A double room in a two-star hotel like Lauzes costs from $80 to $165 per night. Four people can squeeze into an apartment, with kitchenette, at Alpina Lodge for $1,200 for the week. One of Val's best hotels is the huge Club Med (888-943-9415). For Val info, go to Lodging in Tignes is priced lower (
  • Dining Out
  • You could eat in a different restaurant every day on the mountain and every night in town and wish you had more time. Don't miss Chalet du Cret and Toit du Monde, a restaurant blending Asian and French cuisine. The Haute Savoie region is renowned for its cheeses: Reblochon (imagine a golden blend of brie and camembert), Tomme de Savoie, Beaufort, Cindres and chevre. American-style burgers and breakfasts can be found at Killy-owned Quiksilver.
  • Après-Ski
  • The Kandahar Hotel has an basement Alsatian brasserie. For years, Killy had his own table here. Hardcore skiers head to the Brasserie du Grand Concor, better known as Café des Sports. Its walls are lined with photos of history's greatest skiers: Killy, Stenmark, Klammer. Late night, hit Club 21.
  • Kicking Back
  • Enjoy a Savoie beer or a petit verre de Genepi on the terrace of Clochetons, or a dozen other hostelries. For afternoon tea, sample the pastries at Maison Chevallot.
  • Activities
  • More than you can handle: cross-country skiing, ice climbing, parapente. Drive a dog sled; walk on paths in the national park. On Monday, traditional outdoor market day, alleys and streets are filled with stands of steeply discounted goods.
  • Vital Stats
  • Espace Killy is 25,000 acres, served by 110 lifts. The 129 pistes are groomed daily. Highest point: Grande Motte, 11,400 feet. Six-day adult lift ticket, with insurance card: $165. One-day ticket: $35. Contact: Tourism Office, BP 228, 73155 Val d'Isère, France. Phone: 001-334-79-06060.

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