|Val d'IsÃ¨re is a famous ski resort and a commune located (45ÂÂ°27? N 6ÂÂ°58? E) in the Savoie dÃ©partement, in France, 5 km (3 miles) from the border with Italy. Population (1999): 1,628.
The Face du Bellevarde was the scene of the men's downhill race as part of the 1992 Winter Olympics.
Val d'IsÃ¨re will host the 2009 FIS Alpine skiing World Championship.
Val d'IsÃ¨re is most recognisable by its charming "chalet" architecture. Along with nearby Tignes, (and to a lesser extent Val Claret and Tignes-les-BreviÃ¨res), the area forms part of the "l'Espace Killy," the self-titled "Most Beautiful Ski Area in the World." Beauty aside, the combined space is one of the largest ski areas in the world. Supposedly, it would take in the neighborhood of two weeks to ski every one of its 140-plus slopes.
The glacier de pissaillas (Pissaillas Glacier) offers summer skiing, as well as the usual winter fare. Summer skiing has not operated recently as the glacier has shrunk due to the affects of climate change. Snow cannons are placed on certain slopes to accommodate heavy skiing. The ski slopes themselves are equipped with a high-volume gondola, able to transport standing skiiers, traditional chair lifts--some with windshields and many detachable, button/disc-pulls, tow-ropes, and a few t-bars. There are both groomed slopes and backcountry (off-piste) skiing.
Tignes possesses more of the same, with a funicular shuttling skiers up through one of the mountains to the Grande Motte glacier. The slopes in both areas cover all four of the French slope difficulty designations: from green (very easy) through blue, red, and black (very difficult). In the village, aprÃ¨s-ski (nightlife) is lively, with a good selection of bars and clubs. A shuttle runs past most resorts, providing free transport throughout the town proper. There are numerous shops for clothing and ski goods, as well as a small grocer.