Planning your family ski holiday in Val d’Isere

Tuesday, 30th October, 2018

There’s a lot to do when it comes to planning a family vacation, and skiing holidays can mean require even more organisation than usual. Specialist transfers, equipment hire and ski passes alongside accommodation, travel and childcare all need to be in place to make the most of a trip, so we’ve put together some tips on how to plan your Val d’Isere skiing holiday to perfection and ensure you’re not stuck up a mountain without a paddle. Or worse, not up a mountain at all.

Booking your accommodation
Despite a wide range of excellent hotels and chalets in Val d’Isere, the popularity of the resorts means competition can be stiff for the best accommodation, particularly in the peak weeks. If you’re travelling outside the school holidays you’ll definitely have more choice, but don’t go thinking you’re guaranteed suitable accommodation for your family or group. We really wouldn’t recommend hanging about, unless you’re the sort that likes to live on the edge and hope for a last minute bargain. Your risk!

Some of the best chalet companies are Consensio, Le Chardon, Hip Hideouts, Simply Val d’Isere, YSE and Val d’Isere location.

Hotels include Le Blizzard, Kandahar, Avenue Lodge and, for real decadence, Les Barmes de l’Ours.

Booking your transfers
Whether you are arriving by plane or by the Eurostar ski train, it’s wise to book your transfer to your resort sooner rather than later to ensure a car is waiting to whisk you up the mountain; queuing for a ride with hundreds of disembarking passengers at 7am is not much of a start to the day! Snowdrome and Summit both provide transfers to Val d’Isere.

Hiring ski equipment
It’s easy to hire ski equipment in Val d’Isere. Mountainproshop and Snowberry and rent ski wear and equipment for adults and children and both have locations in the centre of Val d’Isere, while Snowberry has a second location by the main ski lifts. But do get your ski equipment booked and confirmed in advance – you never know who’s going to turn up before you and there are occasions when the ski hire companies run out of a certain size. It’s no fun trudging around the resorts trying to find the right size skis, boots or thermals when you’d rather be on the slopes.

Booking ski passes
You can book your Val d’Isere ski passes in advance for collection when you arrive at the resort: simply click this link for Val d’Isere ski passes to reserve. Chalet operators will also generally organise ski passes for their guests.

Hiring baby equipment
Parents will be delighted to know that baby equipment is available to hire in Val d’Isere and you can reserve everything you need ahead of time. Again, chalet companies will often arrange to have the equipment collected and ready for their guests when they arrive. If you’re not in a chalet but you have childcare booked with Jelly & Ice Cream, then we will deliver your baby equipment (usually your nanny will bring whatever you’ve ordered to your introductory meeting).

Travelling to Val d’Isere

By plane
The airports at Geneva, Lyon, Grenoble and Chambery are all good for accessing the Val d’Isere, although most transfers are from Geneva or Lyon. If you want to drive yourself from the airport to your resort you’ll find all the major car hire companies in the arrivals halls. You’ll almost certainly get the best deal by booking in advance with an online broker than directly with the car hire company. Try websites like rentalcars.com or economycarrentals.com

By train
The Eurostar ski train takes you direct from Central London to Bourges on an overnight service arriving just in time for breakfast. If you want to minimise the amount of getting on and off various modes of transport, the Eurostar ski train is a really good option and the journey through the French countryside is also really beautiful. All you need to do is book your Val d’Isere transfer from Bourges and you’re away!  

By car
Driving through France and the Alps is a wonderful beginning and end to a Val d’Isere skiing holiday, with nobody’s schedule to work to but your own. If you are taking your own car all the way, remember to check French highway rules around compulsory emergency equipment that you need have in your car.

Remember that you will need a parking space at your accommodation, so check first with your hotel or chalet company. Parking in the streets in Val d’Isere will result in a penalty ticket or, if you’re particularly unlucky, in being towed away! Many chalets in an around Val d’Isere come with parking spaces and some hotels do have limited spots, but don’t chance it!

Booking restaurants
Ski season is busy, particularly in the peak weeks but also in the shoulder. So if you’d like to get in a few special meals during your ski holiday, or if you simply have a few favourite or recommended places you’d like to try, we’d advise booking a table wherever you can. That doesn’t mean you can’t be impulsive on some evenings, but there’s a difference between voluntary spontaneity and enforced trudging around on an empty stomach. Here are some of our favourite restaurants in Val d’Isere.

Le lodge is fun and has good food that’s well-priced (think steaks, pizza, pasta, fish,etc). The lovely Taverne d’Alsace at the Kandahar Hotel serves well-priced Alsace food. L’Atelier d’Edmond is a Michelin star restaurant in Le Fornet. La Casa Scara is an authentic Italian. And for some classic French fondue, head for La Luge at the Blizzard Hotel.

Booking your childcare
Whether you need a full time nanny or occasional babysitting, booking your childcare in advance means not having your ski holiday disrupted by frantically phoning around after you’ve arrived in Val d’Isere. Jelly and Ice Cream is the largest supplier of nannies in the French Alps and can supply you with a wonderful holiday companion for your children.

If you are traveling in the peak weeks you really need to get all your childcare dates confirmed right away as we hardly ever have any spare slots, even for an evening’s babysitting. If you’re traveling outside of these times it’s easier to be more ad hoc, but there are many families who rely too heavily on spur-of-the-moment childcare and end up with none. So do book in advance to ensure your time in Val d’Isere is spent out on the slopes, enjoying the après ski and having wonderfully social evenings, rather than missing out on the skiing because you’re looking after the kids – it does happen!