Although Le Chardon and our other luxury ski chalets close for a well-earned break over the summer, life in Val d’Isere goes on. Off-season visitors enjoy activities that are also available at the beginning and end of the ski season, when the snow can be a little thin on the lower slopes.
For example, there’s mountain walking with experienced guides, covering the same trails you’d enjoy skiing or snow-shoeing during the height of winter. Or try quad-driving or trial-biking over dedicated routes – a fun, action-packed way to see the slopes on some of the highest trails in Europe. If you want to see them from the comfort of a seat you can take a helicopter ride around the mountains, wheeling across peaks and over glaciers.
If, on the other hand, you’re really tough, the Col d’Iseran road is closed for a day every year to all traffic but bikes so that serious cyclists can scale the climb of 900m over a distance of 17km; coming back down must be an exhilarating experience! More adventurous riders can take to the mountain biking trails, though these are only for very experienced riders – think “black run on a bike”…. It’s not a sport for the faint-hearted.
If you can’t keep away from the mountains, rock-climbing, canyoning and Via Ferrata routes keep you – literally – in touch with them. For those looking for something gentler, more relaxed, there’s fishing, horse riding or farm visits.
But really everyone’s just waiting for the return of the snow, Val d’Isere’s raison d’être. The season starts again in December 2012; see you there!