It's the school holidays and the resort is full of families, it's getting a little warmer, the days are a little longer, and the snow is already deep in resort.
With the school holidays in full force, on the slopes and throughout town it's buzzing with activity. Val d'Isère lays on plenty of entertainment, with regular events and parties going on in the bars, hotels and clubs around town.
Read on for a look at what we like to do in resort throughout February.
What are the snow & weather conditions like in Val d'Isère in February?
In February, the snow has already arrived. It is about as snowy as the season gets and occupying the middle month of the season, February benefits from all the early-season snow whilst suffering none of the inevitable melt-off that occurs towards springtime. The average daily temperatures are low with an average high of -1ºC and a low of -9ºC, but typically less harsh and frosty than January and historically there are more powder and bluebird days than in any other month of the year with an average of eight snowy days.
What's on in Val d'Isère in February?
Alpine Ski Races
Every winter, Val d'Isère is the setting of some of the most nail-bitting, action-filled alpine ski races of the season. In February, you'll get the chance to watch the Lowlander FIS Race, including Super G, Giant Slalom and Slalom courses, as well as the Ladies Night Tour.
For this 14th February, take your pick of the best in town with the ultimate fine dining experience at the Michelin-starred La Table de l'Ours where chef Antoine Gras serves contemporary dishes inspired by French regional cuisine. Or if this is beyond the budget, worry not, Val d'Isère is full of great gourmet options. If you are after some entertainment while you eat, many places will put on live music, or you could head out after your dinner.
Val d'Isère Carnival
Carnival is big in France and Val d'Isère is no exception. This year’s parade will get you in the spirit of things, there will be free face painting workshops at the tourist office, and the centre of town will be closed to traffic for the duration of the parade which starts at the church before making its way into town. Alongside the parade, there will be Airstar illuminations, hot drinks and live music. The parade is on between 18:00-19:30, if you’re in town it’ll be hard to miss and you shouldn’t!
School holiday Skiing
February is a popular month for families so the slopes are noticeably busier as soon as the four-week French school holidays begin. Fortunately, the Tignes-Val d'Isère ski area is so vast, that even in high season you can find quiet slopes and minimal lift queues. Here are our insider's top tips for the school holidays:
- It will be almost impossible to book private lessons over this period, group lessons are the best option. Make sure to get your ski and snowboard lessons booked well in advance to avoid disappointment.
- If you're not in ski school, be an early bird. Arrive at the lifts before they open so that you get up and away before the ski school classes set out around 09:15.
- Ski over lunchtime. The slopes are calmer between 12:00 and 14:00 while the French take a leisurely lunch break.
- Pre-book your lunch and avoid the queues. Some restaurants offer a Click & Collect service. It's the best way to avoid the queues and make the most of your time in the mountains.
- Seek out the peripheral areas. Try to avoid the busy main ski areas closer to the resorts and head to the edges of the valley. A bit of exploring never hurt anyone and you may find quieter lifts outside the main hubs.
- Get off-piste. Competent off-piste skiers can book a local mountain guide and explore the vast off-piste areas in the valley or even go touring to find complete solitude in the backcountry.
Things to Do
February is traditionally the most popular month for family ski holidays and Val d'Isère knows how to cater to the little ones. There will be tonnes of activities and entertainment both on and off the slopes including Snake Gliss, Airboarding and Yooner sledging on the Savonnette beginner's piste, or visits to the local farm. The centre of Val d'Isère will also be pedestrianised every Thursday from 18:00 as light shows, performances and DJ sets take over, turning the resort into a giant open-air party for all ages.
One of the most popular events in Val d'Isère is the stunning torchlit descents on the Face de Bellevarde, a spectacle not to be missed. The instructors of ESF Val d’Isère put on a show to show off their skills, accompanied by a torchlit descent of the Face de Bellevarde (or La Daille). After this, you’ll be able to enjoy a fireworks show and warm up with some vin chaud or hot chocolate.
Bars & Clubs
Fun at La Folie Douce
Val d'Isère has a reputation for crazy clubbing and La Folie Douce is party central on the slopes. Enjoy their themed parties and go back to the roots of House music after you've tucked into some delicious oysters or steak tartare at their La Fruitière restaurant. Or perhaps you're more of a burger and hot-dogs kind of person? Then Le Butcher is your place.
While February is probably the busiest month in Val d'Isère, there should be more than enough space for everyone. Follow the tips above and you should be able to avoid the worst of the queues and bottlenecks and find yourself riding great snow under often-sunny skies – the perfect mix. Bon ski!