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Val D'Isere - France

REVIEWS

By Valerie M. Rademacher

You might not know it, but Val d'Isere in the "Haute Savoie" is a world class ski resort and it is the biggest ski resort in Europe. It has so many slopes that you could ski through for a week without taking the same slope twice.

Val d'Isere is also the location for the 1992 Olympic downhill race and and grant slalom. Consequently, the town where Val d'Isere is located has changed, for the better. For one, access by car from Geneva, Switzerland, has been reduced to two and a half hours. For those who fly in by plane, public buses leave frequently from the Geneva airport. As for accommodations, there are apartments for rent as well as bed and breakfasts, but they do need to be reserved in advance. The ski passes will probably make the biggest dent in your budget, but it is worth it. With the opening of a train lift, you can reach one mountain top in five minutes and waiting times have been reduced significantly.

However, if you are claustrophobic and abhor being pressed together like sardines, three seat chair-lifts leave from every gondola station. In the last years however, despite being 1850 meters high in altitude, snow has been sparse at Christmas time, and the normally highly enjoyable "off-piste" skiing was disappointing. The best time to go is in February and March when snow is abundant. "Apres-ski" life ranges from English pubs to French nightclubs. Val d'Isere attracts mostly British and French skiers. If you like to ski, and want to find out how good you really are, Val d'Isere is just the place for you.

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