Over 80 years of skiing in Val d'Isere
Tue March 14, 2017
The History of Val d'Isere
In the Tarentaise Valley of the French Alps, near the Italian border, lies the skiing town and commune of Val d’Isere. The site of ski competitions and Olympic events, the Val d’Isere attracts hundreds of thousands yearly. However, the area was not always a luxurious vacation spot for winter sport enthusiasts.
The region of the Tarentaise Valley has been occupied since Roman times, but it did not receive parish recognition until 1637, and the first church was not built until 1664. It still stands in the centre of town today.
The first hotels and ski lift
The area transformed into a sparsely occupied farming village over time. In 1888, improvements to the single mountain road that led to the village facilitated the development of the first hotel, the Auberge Morris. Two more hotels opened in the decades that followed, the Hotel Parisien in 1900 and the Hotel Bellevue in 1919.
In 1929, Jacques Mouflier made the trek up the mountains to Val d’Isere, where he found a town seemingly unaffected by the hustle and bustle of modern life. Inspired by the beautiful lushness and snowy mountaintops, Mouflier set about convincing the locals that the town could best be used as a ski resort.
In 1932, the Hotel de Paris opened, and two years later the first ski lift was completed to bring ski enthusiasts up the Solaise slope. In 1940, the first cable car was completed. Roadway improvement projects were completed on the main access road, including the construction of a tunnel, and on the Iseran road to the town of Bonneval. Work halted during World War II, but resumed afterwards and helped turn the town from an agrarian village to an internationally renowned ski resort.
The Espace Killy
French ski racer Jean-Claude Killy learned his craft on the slopes of the Val d’Isere ski resort in the 50s and 60s. In 1968, lift company Société des Téléphériques de Val d'Isere struck a deal with the lift company in Tignes and their neighbours at Tignes, allowing them to link the Val d’Isere and Tignes ski resorts, helping bring increased attention and visitors to the region. The area near the lifts is named l'Espace Killy, after Killy’s skiing accomplishments.
In 1972, several more drag lifts, chair lifts and an additional cable car were added to connect to Le Fornet.
Killy successfully campaigned to involve Val d’Isere in hosting the men’s downhill race for the 1992 Albertville Winter Olympics, and in the years leading up to the games, the town underwent massive renovations and beautification projects. The race was held on the Face du Bellevarde, known as The Face.
Sporting events in Val d'Isere
Since the 1992 Olympics, Val d’isere has become internationally recognized as a prime ski resort, and has hosted multiple games and events since then.
In 2007, the commune was the starting spot for Stage 9 of the Tour de France. In 2009, it hosted the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. In addition, the resort annually hosts races in the FIS Alpines Ski World Cup. Since 2004, it has also hosted the student competition event, the GEM Altigliss challenge.
Thousands of tourists visit Val d’Isere annually today to take advantage of the snowy alps.
VIP SKI in Val d'Isere
Val d'Isere is home to our largest collection of chalets, with 23 dotted around the resort. All of our team are familiar with the resort so get in touch today on and you could be spending your next ski holiday in this fantastic resort.