As soon as my Ohio friends Maria Lechman and Sylvia Stirsman heard about the Chagrin Valley Ski Club‘s trip to Val d’Isere, we knew we had to sign up together. This charming ski resort town nestled in the French Alps is known for its stunning mountain views, fresh powder, and incredible ski runs.
After a long flight from Cleveland, we landed in Paris and then took a quick hop over to Geneva Switzerland before boarding a comfortable bus to our destination. As we traveled along the winding roads that led us to Val d’Isere, we couldn’t help but marvel at the breathtaking scenery surrounding us.
As we checked into the Hotel Kandahar, we couldn’t help but feel grateful for the cozy and welcoming atmosphere. The staff greeted us with warm smiles and made us feel right at home after our long journey.
After a relaxing group dinner, we headed to bed, excited for the day ahead. We woke up early, eager to hit the slopes and experience all that Val d’Isere had to offer. Click on thumbnail to view image
Arriving in Val d’ Isere
Skiing Val d’Isere
Maria, Sylvia and I began in the Solaise area, and were thrilled to find the conditions perfect for skiing. With no crowds and fresh powder, we felt like we had the mountain to ourselves. We continued to the Glacier chairlift where we had spectacular views of the surrounding peaks.
After a morning of skiing, we stopped for a well-deserved break at the Datcha Restaurant. This cozy and inviting restaurant offered more panoramic views of the surrounding mountains and a menu filled with delicious French cuisine. The sheepskin rugs kept us cozy and warm, out on the terrace despite the chilly weather.
After lunch, we were feeling rejuvenated and ready for more skiing. We spent the afternoon exploring the vast ski runs, enjoying the fresh powder and the thrill of the mountain.
As the day drew to a close, we headed back to our hotel to join the Chagrin Valley Ski Club for a welcome party. We were greeted with warm smiles and delicious food, and we couldn’t help but feel grateful for the sense of community that the club offered. We shared stories of our day on the mountain, laughed, and enjoyed another incredible meal.
Another day we skied with Nicola, Maria’s friend from Annecy, France, whom she had not seen for 12 years. The four of us had fun exploring new mountain terrain together, on the Glacier Du Pisaillas, while Maria and Nicola had a wonderful time reminiscing. Click on thumbnail to view image
Exploring Val d’ Isere
We left the mountain early due to zero visibility and decided to explore the historic town of Val d’Isere. Val d’Isere has a rich history that dates back to the 11th century. Originally a small farming village, it wasn’t until the 1930s that skiing became a popular pastime in the area. Since then, Val d’Isere has become one of the premier ski destinations in Europe, attracting skiers and snowboarders from all over the world.
We had the chance to explore some of the historic sites that make Val d’Isere so special. One of our favorite sites was the Chapel of Saint Bernard de Menthon. This stunning church dates back to the 17th century and is dedicated to Saint Bernard, the patron saint of skiers. It’s an impressive structure with beautiful frescoes and stained glass windows, and it’s definitely worth a visit for anyone interested in the history of the town.
Of course, no trip to Val d’Isere would be complete without sampling some of the local cuisine, and we certainly did that! One of the highlights of our trip was lunch at the Brasserie Grand Cocor. This cozy eatery offers a range of classic French dishes, and we were blown away by the quality of the food. The service was excellent too, and we left feeling completely satisfied.
We also spent some time exploring the local market. The market is a great place to experience the local culture and meet some of the friendly locals who call Val d’Isere home.
In the evening, we had a fabulous dinner at the Crepe Val’s. This charming restaurant specializes in savory and sweet crepes, and we couldn’t resist trying their famous flaming Grand Marnier crepe for dessert. It was simply delicious, and we savored every bite. We also experienced their famous apres dinner drink, Genepi, which is known to be good for your health.
As the sun began to set, we were treated to a beautiful display of night lights, and the Laser light show on the mountain was something very special. We stood in awe as the mountain was illuminated with colorful lights, creating a truly magical atmosphere. Click on thumbnail to view image
Skiing La Grande Motte
One of the highlights of our trip was skiing the magnificent La Grande Motte Glacier. This natural wonder is the highest skiable glacier in Europe and boasts a fascinating history. Did you know that the glacier dates back to the last Ice Age and was once used as a training ground for the French Olympic ski team? It’s amazing to think that we were skiing on the same slopes that trained world-class athletes!
To reach the top of the glacier, we took the Funicular. This impressive cable car took us up to 3,032 meters above sea level, where we were greeted with stunning panoramic views of the surrounding mountains. We stopped at The Panoramic Lodge for lunch, which was an experience in itself. The restaurant offers some of the most delicious regional cuisine, and the views from the terrace are simply breathtaking.
After our lunch break, we continued our ascent to the summit of the glacier, where we were rewarded with even more breathtaking views. From here, we could see the highest peaks in the entire range, and the vast expanse of the glacier stretched out before us.
As we made our way down the glacier, we couldn’t help but feel a sense of exhilaration. With no other people in sight, we had the vast open runs all to ourselves. The ski run down to the village of Tignes was truly magnificent, with stunning scenery at every turn.
But our adventure didn’t end there! From Tignes, we made our way to the Funival, a cable car, in La Daille, that took us up to the Ski Party. Here, we experienced one of the most amazing après-ski parties we’ve ever been to, thanks to La Folie Douce. This renowned entertainment group puts on a show like no other, complete with music, dancing, and acrobatics. The atmosphere was absolutely electric