Family Ski Holiday to Val d’Isère with Ski Beat

Family Ski Holiday to Val d’Isère with Ski Beat

It was in the early days of our relationship that my now-wife and I went on our first trip together, a wonderful Ski Beat holiday to Les Arcs. Fast forward five years and it seemed only fitting that we traveled back to France with Ski Beat, but this time to Val d’Isère. Our first family ski holiday with our 2-year-old daughter.

Anyone with children will probably know that it is not easy traveling with a toddler, especially a ski trip, but Ski Beat runs a slick operation with fantastic communication before and during the trip. At the airport, there were even representatives at departure as well as arrival to offer advice and information.

We flew BA from Gatwick to Lyon before a coach transfer to Val d’Isère. It was a 3-hour transfer but the coach was comfortable, and we were lucky (and the rest of the coach) that our daughter slept most of the journey.

Our transfer coach was too big for the small village road in front of the chalet and had to park up on the main road. This was not a problem as it was a short walk to the chalet, and the Ski Beat team were there to give a hand for those who needed it with luggage.

chalet cristal exterior ski beat family holiday at La Daille

Chalet Crystal 4 at La Daille

Our accommodation for the week was Chalet Crystal 4 at La Daille. Our chalet was actually part of a large building that is split into different chalets. We had a large triple room with a decent-sized bathroom featuring a large walk-in shower. We also appreciated the appropriately sized wall-mounted TV and plug sockets that included USB connections. The cherry on top of the cake was a balcony with a view of the mountain runs of La Daille.

The chalet has a wonderful large communal area that felt warm, inviting, and friendly. The big sofas embracing the beautiful traditional log fireplace offering the perfect place for the chalet guests to get together after a hard day’s skiing. There is also a dining room section and well-equipped kitchen.

Not that we had to spend much time in the kitchen as our friendly and attentive chalet host not only made us breakfast and dinner but also afternoon tea and cakes. Both me and my wife are vegan, and one of the main reasons I love Ski Beat is how well they cater for us. Far from being an afterthought, our meals were varied and delicious. The cakes are freshly made, and during one evening we even had our own vegan cheese plate.

Ski Beat vegan cheese plate

The overall feel of the chalet is traditional with a modern twist. The large wooden paneling gave the chalet warmth with a familiar Alpine ambiance.

Of course, a ski chalet is pointless without good access to the slopes. Just a short walk to the La Daille gondola that whisks you up to Bellegarde side of the mountain. From here you have full access to the Espace Killy ski area, with the main area of Val d’Isère one side and Tignes the other.

Also, only a short walk away is the Funicular (a train that takes you directly up or down the mountain) that takes you up to the main hub above Val d’Isere. I don’t know if it is just me, but the Val d’Isere emblem on the funicular made me feel like I was being taken up to a villain’s secret HQ in a Bond film!

There is also the option of hopping on a free bus for a 10-minute ride to the main Val d’Isere area. The buses are frequent and run until late at night. I never had a problem getting on one, but they can get very crowded during peak times.

La Daille Funicular - Ski Beat holiday

Val d’Isère Village

The main village part of the resort is wonderful for beginners with baby slopes accessed via free ski lifts. It is an easily accessible wide circular area where the main ski lifts and gondolas whisk you up the mountains on either side, as well as where the ski schools meet and where the Piou Piou club for toddlers is located. The main entrance to the resort is through an arcade of high-end shops, and there are bars and restaurants all around the base area. There were lots of people milling around, but it did not seem crowded and had a friendly vibe.

It is here that we decide to let my daughter cut her teeth on a snowboard (not literally!). I had bought her a Burton Riglet snowboard, which is designed for toddlers with a pull-out cord to pull the board along.

For her to get used to the experience of the board, I had been pulling her around my kitchen at home in the months leading up to the trip. This had been successful, and she seemed to enjoy the sensation.

Unfortunately, this was very different on the snow! She really did not want to get on it at all. So, with a heavy heart, I decided that she was not ready for snowboarding just yet, and I turned to the dark side and bought her skis.

The skis were a hit as my wife skied with her by holding her up in between her legs as they both slid down gentle slopes.

Family Ski Holiday to Val d’Isère with Ski Beat

Although she only wanted to do this a couple of times, it was a good introduction to skiing, and I feel it will benefit her in years to come.

Val d’Isère was perfect for this as there are not many resorts with such easy access to a ski area without having to go up ski lifts.

The base area of Val d’Isere is a hub of activity with restaurants and bars. It really does have something for everyone (apart from a lack of vegan food on offer). You can even go for a swim in an indoor swimming complex if you fancy something different to skiing. The resort has character, and I especially liked the arched fronted arcade lined with fashion brand shops that you can walk through to the main entrance to the ski area.

La Daille

La Daille is the gateway to Val d’Isère. It is not exactly a typically attractive French village with its high-rise apartment blocks and a busy main road, but the incredible panoramic scenic mountain views and easy access to the lifts more than make up for this.

There are a couple of decent après bars in La Daille such as Bar La Rosee Blanche, which is at the bottom of the slopes. I had a lunchtime drink there and enjoyed watching the skiers navigate the slopes. For more entertainment, there is the option of heading into Val d’Isère village. There is also a couple of decent ski hire shops and a decent mini-supermarket within easy reach.

Espace Killy Ski Area

The Espace Killy ski area is an expansive ski domain that encompasses the renowned resorts of Val d’Isère and Tignes. It is an extensive terrain with runs reaching up to 3,450 meters thanks to both Val and Tignes being Glacier resorts.

Although there are gentle blue runs throughout the resort, I personally feel that unless you have been treated with good snow conditions, the area is best suited for good level intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders. This is because even the scenic blue runs such as Verte that starts at the top of the Bellevarde peak and descends to La Daille can be challenging at the end of the day as it is often icy and hard-packed.

Family Ski Holiday to Val d’Isère with Ski Beat

Both the Olympic black run down to La Daille and the infamous La Face down to Val d’Isère will challenge even the most advanced riders. La Face de Bellevarde is one of the most famous runs in the Espace Killy, hosting the men’s downhill event during the 1992 Albertville Olympics. This challenging black run starts from the top of the Bellevarde peak and descends steeply down the face of the mountain, offering stunning views of Val d’Isère along the way. With its steep pitches, icy moguls, and technical sections, La Face is a true test of skill and nerve for expert skiers and snowboarders.

Not realizing that the slope I was about to embark on was La Face, I decided to head up the Gondola first thing in the morning and snowboard back down just to get loosened up. It is fair to say that my legs were truly warmed up when I got down to the bottom!

I loved the whole ski area, especially over at Tignes where the majority of runs are long and wide. The Espace Killy has a varied amount of interesting and technical runs with even the reds being more challenging than many other resorts in France. Especially those running down to the resorts such as the Mangard down to La Daille.

The Le Fornet Glacier du Pissailas offers a unique skiing/snowboarding experience with its high-altitude terrain and breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks. Accessed via the thrilling Leissières chairlift, nicknamed the ‘up and over’ lift because it takes you up to the cliff top then sharply down the other side. It feels more like a roller-coaster than ski lift and has the most incredible views. This expansive glacier offers a variety of runs ranging from gentle blues to challenging blacks. Skiers can enjoy long, sweeping descents on wide-open slopes, with the option to explore off-piste terrain for those seeking adventure. Word of warning for snowboarders, the last ascent is via a long and steep T-Bar but well worth the effort.

As mentioned, beginners will probably want to stick to the runs at the base level.


The whole area has amazing off-piste opportunities almost immediately off certain ski lifts or from diverting off the side of pistes.

On our first day, we were treated to fresh powder, and I managed to still find fresh lines even in the afternoon.

Unfortunately, by the second day, the powder had turned crusty or icy so was as much fun as snowboarding through a gravel pit!

So not much more to report, but from previous experiences from when I stayed at Tignes, I can safely say that it is a winter wonderland for the powder hounds if the conditions are good.

Ski Beat family holiday val d'isere off piste

The Parks

There are several terrain parks catering to skiers and snowboarders of varying skill levels. These parks offer a range of features and obstacles for riders to practice and showcase their skills.

One notable terrain park in Val d’Isère is the Valpark, located on the slopes of Bellevarde. This park is designed for freestyle enthusiasts and features a variety of jumps, rails, and boxes, suitable for all levels from beginners to advanced riders. It’s a great place for riders to progress and hone their tricks in a safe and controlled environment.

In Tignes, there are multiple terrain parks spread across the resort, including the Gliss’ Park, which is located in the Val Claret area. Gliss’ Park offers a mix of features such as jumps, rails, and boxes, designed to cater to riders of different abilities. There’s also the Tignes Park, located near the Palafour chairlift, which features larger jumps and more advanced features for experienced riders looking to push their limits.

Additionally, both resorts offer dedicated areas for beginners and kids to learn and practice freestyle skiing and snowboarding in a safe and fun environment. These areas typically include smaller features and obstacles suitable for those who are new to freestyle riding.

Nowadays, the only parks I am used to are the ones with swings and roundabouts, but I did try out a couple of the boardercross tracks which were well designed and fun. I also lapped a run of medium kickers in Tignes just to get some airtime. The transition from one run to the other was seamless without breaking stride. The only gripe I had was that the landing area on the last kicker was too steep and I really overcooked it on the first attempt with a sketchy landing.

Ski Beat

What I love about Ski Beat is the personalized feel and attention to detail. Straight away from the booking experience, it is a slick, highly professional, and well-oiled operation that only a large and experienced company can do. But, on the flip side, the design of the chalets with a big emphasis on a cozy communal area and staff that always wants to go the extra mile is something you would normally only find in small family-run establishments.

For such a premium service and quality of food, you would expect to pay premium prices, but anyone booking a ski holiday with Ski Beat will be pleasantly surprised.

Ski Beat family holiday val d'isere chalet

Lastly, my wife and I were very nervous about taking our little girl on our first family ski holiday but we found the whole experience to be wonderful. Our room was comfortable for the three of us and “G”, as our chalet host is fondly known as, went out of her way to ensure that our daughter had meals to suit her at times that were out of the normal schedule.

I am sure there may be cynics out there that maybe thinking that this was only the case because we were reviewing the experience, but from my years of experience of spotting when people are faking it, I truly believe that we were not experiencing any special treatment and everyone gets treated the same.

Ski Beat is delightfully family-friendly and we were made to feel included and part of the group from not only the staff but the majority of guests as well.

A wonderful holiday with wonderful memories that I hope will set my daughter up for enjoying my beloved sport of snowboarding (or dare I say it, skiing!) on return trips with Ski Beat.

Ski Beat Info

Ski Beat has catered ski chalets in seven of France’s highest altitude ski resorts with prices from £806pp, including 7 nights’ accommodation, return flights and transfers, based on two sharing.

A week’s stay in Chalet Cristal costs from £992pp. Prices includes chalet hosts to prepare cooked breakfast, afternoon tea with home made cakes, three course evening meals with wine, return flights from Manchester or Gatwick and transfers.