Val d’Isere for Non-Skiers
I’m currently in Val d’Isère on my second ski season and throughout the whole time I have skied, from secondary school age, my parents have never visited or skied with me. Their main is excuse is “because we can’t ski!” So this is my pitch to them and any non-skier on why you shouldn’t hesitate to come to a ski resort, especially Val d’Isère, even if you can’t ski!
It is common for many ski resorts to have a sports centre and Val d’Isère is no exception. Val d’Isère is home to its very own Centre Aquasportif. This high quality facility houses a whole range of activities to keep those non-skiers entertained. The Centre Aquasportif is split into four different ‘worlds.’ The first of these is the Beach World, which is a leisure pool with river currents, water cannons, massaging jets and bubble baths. This is a great way to keep both the children and husbands occupied! The Spa World will appeal to those looking for a relaxing getaway as it has both traditional and infra-red saunas, steam baths and jacuzzis. Spa world goes hand in hand with the Well-being World, where you can treat yourselves to a variety of massages and beauty treatments. Finally there is the Sports World, in which you can challenge yourself to seven different grades of climbing wall, smash a shuttlecock around in the sports hall or put yourself through your paces in the gym which overlooks the swimming pool. So for my parents, this is a perfect opportunity for mum to get herself a massage whilst I beat my dad at badminton, as I always do!
When the sun is shining, Val d’Isère is perfect for a spot of wildlife watching. Why not get yourself some snow shoes and venture up the Col d’Isèran in the hope that you might see the famous Val d’Isère eagle or even a Chamois. The Col d’Isèran is a part of the Vanoise National Park and the guards of the park often invite visitors to the resort to join them on the path which runs from the Le Fornet area of Val d’Isère, in search of Chamois and Ibex.
There are over 24km of marked path for walkers to enjoy in Val d’Isère. When walking up the Col d’Isèran you will be walking on the same tracks that are followed by many cyclists and mountain bikers in the summer. The Col d’Isèran is the highest pass in the Alps at 2764 metres high and the climb has been used multiple times in the Tour de France, mostly recently in 2007. My mum loves to drag dad along on walks and with this path once being a part of the Tour de France he is much more likely to come along, being a keen cyclist himself.
If you’re looking for something a bit more exciting, Ski Total work very closely with Evolution 2 in Val d’Isère, who offer an amazing dog sledding experience. You will be whisked away up the Manchet Valley in your own sled pulled by competition standard dogs. The guide steering the sled will talk to you about the history of Val d’Isère, whilst pointing out the diversity of wildlife which the Manchet Valley has to offer. Afterwards you can treat yourself to a chocolat chaud at the nearby Clochetons restaurant. My father being the competitive sort would no doubt see this as an opportunity to go faster than anyone else in a sled and my mum would love to see the happy dogs bouncing around, keen to show you the magical mountainside.
You may not know but Val d’Isère used to be home to a large number of dairy farms, however times have changed and there is only one left, nestled in the Manchet Valley. Ferme de l’Adroit is the last working dairy farm in Val d’Isère and is well worth a visit during the winter as well as the summer. Not only can you pet the cows, but you can see how they make the cheese that is used for the fantastic fondues and raclettes that are served up in the Ferme de l’Adroit restaurant. You can also try your hand at milking the cows yourself! Head to the restaurant (after washing your hands obviously) where there is a glass window so you can see into the cowshed whilst dining; the smell won’t ruin your dinner though as the glass is extra thick!
Now you know that there a plentiful options for non-skiers in Val d’Isère. So mum and dad, with all these exciting activities to try, why wouldn’t you come to Val d’Isère to visit your son?!
Elliot has been working for Ski Total for two seasons, previously in Alpe d’Huez. He is currently a Resort Representative in Val d’Isere. He has skied since he was 15 years old and has a passion for the mountains. Elliot will be working in Morzine in the summer and has a visa to go to Canada next winter.