You’ve come to Val d’Isère to ski, obviously, but what is there to do if you fancy a change? The answer is: an amazing amount.
Sadly you’ve missed the Polo Masters tour. Polo on snow gives meaning to the cliché “a whole new ball-game”. But not to worry – there’s plenty more fun coming up. The clubs continue pumping out the dance hits, but for classical music lovers there’s an intimate treat in the form of Classicaval, which has two sessions. Opus 1 runs from January 24th to 26th, and Opus 2 from March 12th to 15th. Concerts take place in the lovely baroque Saint-Bernard de Menthon church. More details can be found at the Tourist Office, or phone +33 479 06 06 60.
Looking ahead to February 14th, Val d’Isère celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the 1992 Winter Olympic Games. The fun will include an open race on the Bellevarde Face, following part of the famous downhill course. That night the joint will be jumping at an Olympic-themed party hosted by a DJ, followed by fireworks and a lightshow in the Olympic colours; a great way to celebrate St Valentine’s Day.
Between January 29th and February 17th head out of the village to watch the BMW X Drive Tour 2012, when selected customers and journalists get to try their skill at driving BMWs up hill and down in heavy snow. There’s much good-natured shouting and banter, skidding, wheel-spinning – it’s all good clean fun! You can get a flavour from videos of previous events at http://www.bmwblog.com/2010/02/05/bmw-x1-live-tour-in-the-snow-joy-is-xdrive/. If you feel inspired you can try it yourself on Val d’Isère’s ice-driving circuit.
For something a little less energetic, take in the lights. Watch skiers fizz down the mountain in a torchlight descent, or “ooh” and “aah” – mulled wine in hand – at the fabulous firework displays, snow spectaculars and fire-juggling shows held throughout the season.
For indoor fun there’s the sport and leisure centre, with a gym, badminton, basketball and squash courts, swimming pool, massage jets, saunas both indoors and out – and a lounge bar and boutique to revive you afterwards. Or you could take classes in patisserie, or a tour (in French) to watch local craftspeople spinning yarn, tanning hides or making jewellery; go to the cinema, with its constantly-changing repertoire of films; or follow the snowshoe trail to visit Baroque buildings in the area with a knowledgeable guide from the Foundation for International Mountain Cultural Action.
As you can see, there’s much more than skiing in Val d’Isère!