Ski Alpine Charms
Val d'Isere - Espace Killy, France
Val d'Isere's Hamlets
Val d'Isere is made up of a number of small charming little 'hamlets' namely :Le Cret, Le Joseray, Le Chatelard, La Legettaz, Le Laisinant, Le Daille and Le Fornet. More recently the area of Les Carats (millionaire's row as it's locally known!) has developed it's own character and charm. The hamlets of La Daille and Le Fornet are the largest of these areas, and essentially 'villages' in their own right.
Le Cret is one of the earliest and most charismatic areas of Val d'Isere. Nestled into the hillside, this area is situated in between La Daille and the village centre and offers it's residents some spectacular scenery over the Espace Killly.
Le Joseray, La Legettaz and Le Chatelard are located about 5 minutes from the centre of the village, through the tunnel that leads from the main roundabout. These areas are all located within close proximity of each other and offer further residential accommodation in the form of apartments and chalets (some of them luxurious). All are ideally located at the bottom of the Manchet valley providing excellent skiing convenience as the Santons piste offers many who stay here the possibility of skiing back to their front door.
Le Laisinant is a small hamlet situated at the top end of Val d'Isere before the village of Le Fornet. The new Laisiant Express chairlift was opened during the winter 2005/06 season taking skiers to the top of the Solaise and Le Fornet skiing areas. When skiing conditions permit you can ski right back to your door in this area using the Piste 'L' route.
After passing through all the mountain tunnels and just before reaching Val d'Isere village you pass through the resort of La Daille. Although there are some older converted wooden chalets here, in the main it does look a little unsightly with a number of high rise apartment blocks surrounding them. On the flip side, La Daille provides some good 'value for money' self-catering and chalet accommodation. Being located at the base of the piste there's never more than a 2-3 minute walk from your apartment to the slopes that link you to the entire Espace Killy lift system. It's also only a 5 minute bus journey into the centre of town and with the free bus provding an excellent service into the night..
5kms out of town beyond Val d'Isere is the beautiful quiet little hamlet of 'Le Fornet'. Often ignored by holiday makers because it lies outside of town, Le Fornet has a picture postcard appearence where chalets tend to be more chic and expensive, built to traditional savoyard stone and wood designs. In the summer the area marks the start of the Col d'Iseran which winds it way up the mountain hillside. When winter arrives the Col is completely covered by snow and the area of Le Fornet opens up some of the Espace Killy's best off-piste skiing. The accessibility, numerous gullies and bowls available here make it a firm favourite with many off-piste skiers and boarders alike. Off the side of the piste under the Cascades Chairlift there is a gentle wide open powder pitch that due to the altitude and quiet nature of Le Fornet stays fresh longer than most other areas in Val. A twenty minute hike from the top of the Signal drag lift of the will offer great runs like Point Pers and Col Pers. However, it's also a highly dangerous area with sections that are prone to large avalanches so is not recommended without the skills of a qualified mountain guide.