Magical March is here. As we put the madness of the half-term holidays behind us a chilled party vibe settles on the town. We enjoy longer, warmer days with some great skiing and long lazy lunches in the sunshine.
With fewer families around you also tend to find far fewer ski schools on the hill which, of course, also means an end to those long, snaking trails of beginners making their way down. It also makes for much quieter lift lines. So, all in all, an ideal month to visit Val d'Isère to make the most of the near-perfect conditions.
Read on for a look at what we like to get up to when spring arrives in town.
What's the weather like in Val d'Isère in March?
In terms of weather, you can normally expect pretty mixed conditions this month. You can be making sunny powder turns one minute then be in the middle of a storm the next. Don’t think just because we’re nearing the end of winter that means the end of the snow. There is regular snowfall - on average eight days - and temperatures still dip below freezing at night to freshen it up. In March the average daytime temperatures generally fall between a high of 1°C and a low of -6ºC, getting around six hours of sunshine. March riding usually gives us the best of both worlds – regular top-ups interspersed with sunny days. The ideal mix.
What's on in Val d'Isère in March?
St. Patrick’s Day
March might be considered the party month here in Val d'Isère. Longer days and warmer weather make for better après ski, while more adults and fewer children mean bigger nights in the bars. Of course, one of the biggest parties of the season is on 17th March. For St. Patrick’s Day, even the beer turns green as the bars try to outdo each other with Irish themed nights. Expect promotions on Irish drinks, fancy dress and lots of live renditions of the Irish Rover.
Floodlit Dual Dynastar Trophy
Dynastar presents a Dual Slalom Race open to all at the Savonnette piste. This evening event is designed to give anyone the experience of ski racing. Skiers go head-to-head on parallel slalom courses in a straight knockout competition. There are limited places; 16 for men, 16 and children and 16 for women, with a pair of skis up for grabs from Dynastar for the winners in each category. Even if you aren’t competing, watching skiers race each other down the slopes is exhilarating. Entry is free, you just have to sign up at the tourist office.
This four-day festival will see a series of classical music concerts held in the Baroque church in Val d'Isère. Featuring internationally renowned musicians, this is a great little event in an intimate setting for classical music fans and a great alternative to the usual après if you want a more relaxed evening after skiing. Works by Schubert, Haydn, Debussy, Chopin, Mozart, Dvorak and Ravel can be expected.
European Snow Pride
The only wintersports Gay Pride event in Europe takes place in neighbouring Tignes. The week-long celebration will involve plenty partying on and off the slopes with big-name DJs taking to the stage. You can buy an event pass with or without a ski pass or even book your entire holiday via their website.
GEM Altigliss Challenge
One of the world's biggest student ski competitions comes to Val d'Isère this month. Organised by Grenoble's management school, Altigliss incorporates more traditional wintersports like slalom and Super-G racing with challenges like orienteering or sledging. The atmosphere is sure to be intense and fun.
Speed Riding World Meet
Combining paragliding and skiing, speed riding is an exhilarating sport that allows you to explore the whole mountain, even spots you can't reach on touring skis. For two weeks in March, the best speed riders in the world will gather in Val d'Isère to socialise, test new gear and ski together. There will be workshops and clinics as well as private coaching sessions for all levels.
Check out our events calendar for more information on what's on in resort during March.
Now is a great time to take a private lesson or join a group ski or snowboard lesson, with the quieter slopes there's less queues and the softening snow makes for a much kinder landing.
Things to Do
Learn how the avalanche blasting system works
After all the snow that's fallen in Val d'Isère, you may want to know how the pisteurs secure the ski area. "Go backstage" as it were, and gain some insight into all the hard work required to run one of the world's biggest and best ski resorts. Learn about how the ski area run and is made safe from avalanches. They will show you around the cable car and explain how the CATEX (explosives transport cable) works. It’s a fun and informative break from skiing or something to do if the weather isn’t great.
Bars & Clubs
When the lifts close for the day hundreds of skiers / revellers head down the slopes to find an après-ski party, and Val d'Isère has a bit of a reputation for parties and, when you look at the list of après sessions and club nights, it's easy to see why.
All month, all season even, there’s a host of weekly shindigs on and off the slopes. The Folie Douce hosts its famous on-mountain après parties daily, and when you’re done on the slopes, keep the good times rolling with après at Cocorico and, if you’re not partied out by then, head to Doudoune nightclub which is open until late every day.
One thing's for sure, you won't have far to stumble in your ski boots to find a jug of beer and some good snacks before you head home for dinner...or not! It's much easier to get a last-minute table for dinner now the school holiday crowds aren't here.