24 Mar Val d'Isere's Vallee Perdue
Literally translated, Vallee Perdue is the Lost Valley. But ‘lost' it is not. Even before Leo Taillefer immortalised it by winning Go Pro's Line of the Winter for the first time in 2015, it was certainly not lost. (Watch it if you haven't already by the way) It's even marked on the piste map!
So what is the big deal?
Well going off piste always feels a little daring. Like breaking the rules. Stepping on to the lawn even though the sign says ‘Keep off the grass'. But Vallee Perdue is off piste with a twist. It's not the powder hunting, pure snow, untracked mountain type of off piste. It's more of a canyon winding, squeeze through the rocks, navigate the lumps and emerge victorious kind of off piste. It feels like an adventure. Nature's adventure.
10M wide for the most part, there are sections that those with broad shoulders will struggle to get through. And as an adventure it keeps on giving. While Piste M will largely look and feel like Piste M from one year to the next – same gradient and width, usually piste bashed – you know what you're going to get. With Vallee Perdue on the other hand, you never know how it'll be; the snow base and seasonal snowfall determines the width of the skiable canyon, the narrowness of key sections, obstacles and so on. In fact in some years, there have been drops of 2M or so where any normal human being has to remove his / her skis and gingerly climb down before continuing on. In others, there has been a limbo section which is decidedly entertaining! Be aware, with limited snowfall, you might find it's more of a walk than a ski!
Then there's the silence.
Skiing in a canyon deadens the sound for miles around. No yelps from right and left, swishes as skis carve up the corduroy, pole clashes or the hum of ski lifts. Time it right and it's just you, your skis and your friends.
Even more pleasingly, although you can nail it in one if you're a pro like Leo, it's surprisingly doable. A good intermediate can tackle the Lost Valley without too much difficulty and still feel a good sense of achievement at the end. So what are you waiting for? Adventure awaits.
How to find Vallee Perdue?
Vallee Perdue is on the La Daille side of Val d'Isere – sandwiched between the red Triffolet run and a tree lined green, aptly named “Verte”. To access, ski down past the Tommeuse lift on the green, you'll see a gully off to the left and that's the top entry point.
At the end you drop out into La Daille – the perfect pit stop for a well earned ‘pression'.