Every Thursday, the main street between the 2 roundabouts is closed to all traffic and the area becomes a pedestrianised winter fairground. Jugglers, stilt walkers, ice sculptors, acrobats, Savoyarde musicians, old fashioned wooden toys and games
There’s been a weekly street market in Val d’isère for generations and although it’s moved around a bit over the years it now takes place every Monday in and around the Val Village area, basically between the main street and the nursery slopes. Well worth a browse, you’ll find everything from local produce and fabrics to huge stands of pick-and-mix sweets and cosy sheepskin slippers.
Most weeks in high season there’s a fireworks display, though to call these a “fireworks display” does seem like a bit of an understatement – these are full-on pyrotechnics spectaculars! Sometimes they’re for a special event – New Year, Valentine’s Day, the finals of a big race or other event. Sometimes they’re combined with a torchlit descent or some other display. Sometimes they’re even for someone getting married. And sometimes they’re for no real reason at all except that it’s a busy-ish weeks and there are lots of clients to appreciate them. Whatever the reason they’re not to be missed!
In addition to the “normal” fireworks displays, every now and then for particularly special events or sometimes in memory of pisteurs or instructors from years gone by there’s also a torchlit descent. Hundreds of the local instructors ski down the famous Face de Bellevarde in the pitch dark carrying flaming torches – can you spot the ones who fall? Sometimes the instructors can invite a friend or client along as well so maybe you’ll be lucky.
Have you ever wondered how they make artificial snow, what goes on in the pisteurs huts or what those funny tubes on the side of the mountain are? Well, this is your chance to find out! Join a free guided tour of the workings of the Olympic lift and the new state of the art underground snow factory. The visit takes about 2 hours and takes place most Thursdays during the season with explanations given in both French and English.
Or what about visiting the Securité des Pistes station on the L piste where you’ll learn, among other things how they control avalanches? This one’s most Tuesdays in low season. Both of these are great for inquisitive children as well as adults, sign up at the Tourist Office by 3pm the day before.
Most Thursdays and quite often at other times there are music concerts on the big stage in the middle of the main street or the smaller one in the square in front of the tourist office. Sometimes there is children’s entertainment here earlier in the day and there are also bigger “spectacles” for children or adults including magic shows and the like in the amphitheatre at the conference centre.
Once every few weeks there’s an American-style cross country relay race. Teams of two ski a lap each for 20 minutes and those who cover the most laps in the time allowed are the winners. These guys are super fit! It’s on the snow square by the ESF office and there’s usually free vin chaud to keep you warm.