I just spent a week in Val d’Isere and it was one of the best snowboarding trips I’ve done in a long time. We had (mostly) incredible conditions with a ton of fresh powder. And I once again found myself eating my weight in baguettes while in France….
We flew into Grenoble and arrived into Val d’Isere after a 3 hour bus ride to find it snowing, much to our delight. The snow fell all night, and we awoke to blue skies and fresh powder – aka “the dream.” From there on out the weather turned, and the snow came again but this time did not let up for over 2 days. In the space of 48 hours, around 5 FEET of snow fell, which is more than they had all season so far. As you can imagine, this made for some fun runs, but also some perilous ones. On the second day of snowfall, most of the mountain was shut down, and all of Tignes was closed after an avalanche fell across a blue piste run. Thankfully no one was hurt in the avalanche, but it certainly shook us up a bit for the rest of the trip. By the end of the week, the sun had come out again and we enjoyed some really fun off piste powder runs as well as a few beers in the sun.
On to the good stuff, eh? I’ll start with the airport – which was not the best place for vegans. We flew out of Manchester, and our terminal only had a few dining options. The restaurant we went to (already forgot the name!) didn’t have any vegan options, so I made up my own dish using sides. What I ended up with was a hash brown, mushroom, avocado sandwich. Not too bad actually! If I’d had time before we left, I probably would have made my own pack up though.
I’ve been to France quite a lot in the past few years, so I know not to expect much in the way of vegan food. Most meals on the mountain consisted of salad, chips and beer, and sometimes a baguette. Not that I’m complaining too much, as it’s a pretty solid vegan lunch, but it would be nice to have more options. That said, the Folie Deuce does make a mean ratatouille. They also have other veggie options but no other vegan ones.
We booked a chalet hotel through SkiWorld this year, and for a £35 supplement they will make you vegan meals all week. Breakfast tended to be the same thing every day – either porridge or cooked mushrooms and tomatoes. One day I did get a hashbrown though so that’s nice! Each evening I was served a 3-course vegan meal and it was something different every night – and it was all really good (apart from one meal on the last day): risotto, ratatouille, filo parcels, creamy soups, chickpea curry…. and loads of veg. Oh, and all the baguettes and wine you could stomach. They even made me a vegan flapjack for afternoon tea after getting in from the slopes. So needless to say, I did not go hungry and was impressed by the meals they put together for me. My only complaint was that the dishes were sometimes a bit dry, especially as I’m big on my sauces. If you book with any of the big ski tour operators including Ingham’s and Crystal, they are all usually very amenable to catering for a vegan diet for a small fee.
In the town of Val d’Isere itself, there are a few places you can get a vegan meal. For our one night out, we headed to L’Arbre de Vie which translates to “The Tree of Life.” On the menu they had one vegan option which was a veggie stir fry, and a veggie option of a falafel burger which could be made vegan as well. I went for the veggie stirfry. It was good, but far too healthy for a meal out. It was also something I would make at home on a weeknight so for €16 it was not worth it. The chips I had on the side were good though!
There is a great vegan-friendly cafe in the village called Arctic Cafe that does lots of veggie and vegan options. We stopped in there one afternoon for a juice and coffee but didn’t get to sample the food unfortunately. Some of the dishes they have on offer include avocado toast, courgetti, soups, veggie burgers, sandwiches, vegan bowls and more.
We had a late lunch one day at Le Petite Danois where Andrew and I split a falafel burger. We made it vegan by swapping the yogurt for guacamole and it wasn’t bad. Nothing to rave about, but definitely edible. They also do a veggie breakfast, falafel wrap and a chickpea sweet potato curry (which appears to be vegan from what I can tell). In addition to the food, I really enjoyed this bar for the apres ski – they have good happy hour specials and a live band on from 5-7pm. Most people go straight from the slope to the bar so there is a lot of dancing in ski and snowboard boots!
There is another small takeout nearby to Petite Danois which attached to Bar Alex and has an incredible sounding tofu steak burger on the menu, but unfortunately they were closed the one day we wanted to go there for lunch.
In all we had an amazing trip and I’m already looking forward to next year. I don’t think we’ll ever get that lucky again with the powder, but one can hope!
Check out my video below for some highlights of our trip 🙂