By this time we had established a tradition of traveling to Europe more-or-less every other year with a PVS ski trip led by Bob & Margaret Wyckoff. In 1985 the trip was to two areas in France: Val d'Isere and Alpe d'Huez. Val d'Isere was famous as the home of Jean-Claude Killy. Alpe d'Huez is famous for a particularly grueling section of the Tour de France.

Brussels Hotel

The PVS group was sufficiently large that we stayed in two different hotels while in Val d'Isere. Jim and I were assigned to the Brussels, which fronted the slopes.

The food was delicious, but we were highly amused by the presence of a proctor, for lack of a better word, who oversaw the dining room and undertook such duties as counting the rolls that were delivered to each table at dinner.


The rest of the PVS group stayed in the Christiana, shown here to the left of the notch.

I'm sure it was also nice.

The village of Val d'Isere largely consists of hotels and other tourist facilities, but there is also a real village with churches and homes – and the occasional cow-shed!

It is one of the few areas in Europe that provide an approximation of ski-in-ski-out accommodations.

Val d'Isers

This wide-open area was in a little valley that separated the ski domain of Val d'Isere with that of the next village over - Tignes. My notes call it Secteur Bellevarde. To get a feeling for the huge size of the area follow the link to see the piste map.

Unfortunately on this particular trip, there was a bug going around that many skiers picked up. Unfortunately I was one although Jim escaped. One of my vivid memories of the trip was sitting in the laundromat (we travel light and always plan on washing clothes at least twice on such trips) with a miserable fever.

Not that I stayed off the slopes any more than was absolutely necessary!


On this particular day we had skied over to Tignes for lunch.

The view of the mountains from the restaurant was spectacular.

La Grand Casse

This is the Palet area of Tignes with the peak of La Grand Casse in the background.

There is also glacier skiing nearby on La Grand Motte, but we didn't make it over in that area. The combined Val d'Isere/Tignes area is much too large to cover in a mere week.

Tignes itself comprises several different villages: Val Claret, Tignes-le-Lac, Tignes 2100, Tignes 1800 & Tignes Les Breviers. (The 2100 & 1800 refer to their altitudes in meters.)

L'Aiguille Percee

This formation is called the "needle's eye" for obvious reasons.

While skiing down from here we stopped to watch a group of young skiers take turns at a jump. One did a complete (and apparently unexpected) back flip as he came off the jump, landed on his skis and glided off – screaming in glee the entire time – to the applause and cheers of his companions.

It was fun to watch, but we were not inspired to emulate the feat.

Val Claret

According to my notes this is taken from L'Aiguille Percée looking toward Val Claret. The village would be hidden in the valley.

Toviere Lavachet

We are working our way back to Val d'Isere from Tignes. Bellevarde is in front of us and the way to Tignes is off to the right.


This view is looking down the Bellevarde area toward the village of La Daille, which is out of sight in the valley.

There are also many villages on the Val d'Isere side of the area: Le Fornet, Le Laisnante, Le Crêt and La Daille are all accessible on skis. We didn't visit any of them on this trip. We did ski to Le Fornet on a subsequent visit several years later.

After a delightful week in Val d'Isere (set aside the flu), we piled onto the bus for our next destination: Alpe d'Huez. Come with us.