With the ski season set to end on 5th May, there’s been an influx of visitors arriving in Val d’Isere determined to make the most of one final month’s access to snow and slopes. There’s still so much to do in Val d’Isere at this time of year. Spring is always a special time in this part of the French Alps, as longer and lighter days allow winter sports fans to really put in the hours atop layers of fresh snow. Indeed, for the past few years, March has seen more snowfall in the region than any other month, this tending to last well up to May with very little thawing in spite of marginally less freezing weather!
If these April holidaymakers are intent on maximising their time on the slopes and making the most of the daylight hours at their disposal, so too do they embrace the area’s Après-ski scene which isn’t so much winding down for the year as building toward an unforgettable climax.
No-one knows exactly why, but somehow rounding off an evening with drinking, dancing and generally raucous socialising has become a necessity for skiers the world over. Many are apparently unable even to wait until the end of their day’s activities. In Val d’Isere and throughout the rest of the Alps, it’s not uncommon to stumble upon skiers stopped in bars and still wearing all their gear en route to their last run of the day! Visitors to the region are serious about having good times and this is reflected in the bars and clubs that cater to them.
La Folie Douce is perhaps the most well known Après-ski spot in Val d’Isere. Proud to call itself the ‘highest club in Europe’, it’s also the first port of call for many. Between 3-5pm, its resident musicians offer revellers immersive, high energy performances, adding to the venue’s surreal, even carnivalesque atmosphere as table tops become dance floors and the place begins to buzz. For a high energy break in the afternoon, La Folie Douce can’t be beaten and paves the way nicely for an evening spent in Saloon. Situated at a much lower altitude, at the bottom of some beginners slopes and in close proximity to Val d’Isere’s high street, there’s a great party taking place at this easily accessible venue on a nightly basis. The club even provides a free ski-park service, so that patrons can leave their gear in safe hands as they enjoy the international bands, singers and DJs that it regularly hosts.
If what goes on in both these clubs is testament to the enthusiasm and vigour with which revellers in the area like to party, then Val d’Isere institution Dick’s Tea Bar is surely an indicator of their stamina. One of the best and biggest clubs in the region, it first opens its doors at 9am, allowing patrons the opportunity to start their day, and possibly recover from the previous night, with a hearty English breakfast. It continues to function as a popular bar and restaurant until the evening when it briefly closes to undergo a metamorphosis into a densely populated hot spot with a broad clientèle. In theory, one could spend an entire day at Dick’s without ever getting bored.
As the end of the season approaches, the atmosphere in these three spots is nothing short of electric and spending time in each is considered an essential part of any visitor’s itinerary before they explore further a boisterous world of theme nights, karaoke, live music and cocktails.