Top 5 Ski Runs for Advanced Skiers In Val d'Isere
Thu January 25, 2024
If you're a confident skier heading to Val d'Isere, you'll want to make sure you don't miss these five runs selected by the team of Ski Instructors at New Generation Ski School in Val d'Isere. They're not necessarily the hardest pistes, but they're definitely the most fun.
Read on for a description of each run and helpful tips on how best to ski them from the pros...
How To Ski The Arcelle Piste In Val d’Isere (Red)
This free-flowing red piste is often overlooked. Tucked at the top of the Manchet Valley, it's a run to nowhere, so ignored by anyone wanting to "travel" across the Espace Killy.
The first third is the perfect place to pick up the speed and practise carving. Split into three steeper pitches followed by gentle sections. You'll be able to push yourself safely, knowing there is a section to regroup and, if needed, regain control.
The middle third is nice and wide with a consistent gradient. This is another excellent place for advanced skiers to practise long carved turns, but the pitch doesn't change, so work on controlling your speed with your turn shape. If you want to take it easier, this is a great place to practise short turns.
With a little dog leg, the final third is the steepest pitch of the run. It's worth scrubbing a little speed as a sharpish right-hand turn can be crowded with people regrouping.
There is nothing not to love about this run. It's quiet, has a great rhythm and can be enjoyed by intermediate and advanced skiers, so it is perfect if you're skiing as a mixed group.
Despite not going anywhere, the lift back out of the Manchet Valley is the modern Manchet Express, so you'll be back at the top in no time. We regularly lap this run with our Advanced Ski Courses.
Why We Love Skiing The Coupe du Monde "OK" Piste (Red)
It is one of several red runs above La Daille, perfect for advanced skiers seeking a challenge. The OK is a famous downhill course that lets you test your skills on a world-class racing slope.
The piste descends more than 1000m in altitude from the top of the Bellevarde at 2800m to La Daille at 1785m. World Cup skiers make it top to bottom in about 1 minute 45 seconds.
Don't just ski this run once. You'll find incredible rollers, open sections and exciting turns as you ski the run. Learn these and build a picture in your mind. Work out which rollers you can jump off, where you can let your skis run and crank some incredible carved turns and where you need to scrub the speed and get back on top of things.
Then, put it all together. Have a go at skiing from top to bottom. You won't regret it.
The Best Time To Ski Piste S In Val d’Isere (Black)
An ungroomed black run feared by students on their BASI (British Association of Snowsports Instructors) exams, Piste S is a complete change of pace from the previous fast and flowing runs. The moguls here only get bigger as the season goes on. If you want a challenge, look no further.
We suggest skiing this run later in the day once the sun has had a chance to soften the snow. If you find yourself at the top of Piste S after heavy snow, beware. It might look lovely and smooth, but the bumps are right there, lurking beneath the surface.
We have a whole article on skiing moguls if you want some tips.
How To Master The Plan - Rhone Alpes - Combe Martin Pistes (Red and Black)
Yes - it's technically three pistes, but they link together perfectly to form a continuous run from the top of Solaise to the snow front. Plan is a steep red run perfect for short turns. Please keep your eyes peeled for other skiers, as it can be busy.
We love skiing on the right-hand side of the piste as this is often a little quieter with better snow. It also makes it easier to find the junction to Rhone Alpes.
Rhone Alpes is an excellent black run for those jumping from red to black. It has steep sections followed by flatter runouts, is nice and quiet and is regularly groomed by the piste bashers. Confident black run skiers won't be bored as they can test themselves on the steep sections with a great safety net if it doesn't go to plan.
Combe Martin is steep, often bumpy and right under the lift, so you always have an audience. We love this run, as you can see from the top right to the bottom. Stop at the top and practise picking and visualising your line. Then ski it with intent, turn where you planned, and fight to keep that rhythm rather than react to each turn individually. Building that rhythm and skiing with intent is a significant part of improving your skills.
How To Ski The Legendary La Face "Stade Olympique de Bellevarde" In Val d’Isere (Black)
It's an obvious run to include on the list, and you've probably already decided to ski it. So here are our top tips.
This iconic black run was designed for the men's Olympic downhill at the 1992 Winter Olympics. La Face plunges down the mountain from the top of the Bellevarde cable car, offering steep, challenging terrain with a vertical drop of over 900 metres. When skiing this run with clients, we often break it into three main sections.
The Cable Car to the Road: This top section starts super cruisy. It's not steep compared to the rest of the run and has some brilliant sweeping corners and fun rollers. As you exit the second sweeping left-hand turn, start to kill some speed. As you approach the sharp right-hand turn onto the road, the run gets steeper and narrower. If you're with a group and know you have a couple of nervous skiers, you can take some time and regroup on the far right-hand side of the piste in the middle of the second sweeping left. The piste is wide here, and you'll spot an obvious place to stop. The right-hand turn onto the road is sharp. Make sure you're ready. The Road is a short, narrow section that takes you to the top of the Wall.
The Wall to the Pylon: The Wall is the steepest section of the run, dropping away sharply to the left from the road. It's nice and wide but best skied early in the day before it gets bumped up. A word of warning: at the bottom of the Wall, there is a prominent roller. Make sure you're in control of your speed. We have seen people so focused on surviving the steep section that they don't even realise it's there. They hit it at speed and go flying. Between this roller and the pylon, you have another two steep sections followed by incredibly fun rollers.
The Pylon to the Snowfront: The Home Straight. Consistently steep, nice and wide, with just one roller to worry about. It's the perfect place to nail those short slalom turns. This section is used for the men's World Cup Slalom at the start of the season. The piste is often injected with water to make the snow firmer (icier). It takes a good few snowfalls for the fresh snow to cover this, so be cautious early in the season.
Which ski run will you tackle first?