Val D’Isere Men’s Downhill
Where? Top of the FuniVal down to La Daille at the far end of Val d’Isère.
When? All season. In fact the only time you can’t do it is when the real ski race takes place, in January.
What is it? A top-to-bottom classic, with a vertical decent of over a Km. Exiting the funicular train at the summit, turn right and take the ‘OK’ run. It’s steep and (more often than not) smooth as hell. Then cut across and take the ‘Stade de Slalom’ piste, a fenced-in section through the trees that opens out into a whopper of a finishing straight. You can see the official finishing line from a mile off, it’s just a case of how early you dare point that nose straight down and absorb the bumps created by gutless skiers. By the time you fly out across the run-out there’ll be tears streaming behind your goggles.
Will I need a helmet? Depends. If you’re racing your mates after a pint in the Folly Deuce it could be advisable. If you’re just passing through then there’s no need really.
Can I do it in fancy dress? If you really wanna dress up, try donning one of those catsuits you see the downhill skiers wearing for minimum wind resistance. You’ll look a prat when you get back on the funicular though. Alternatively grab a jester hat – this is Val d’Isère so you’ll fit right in.
What chance do I have of winning it? Well they don’t allow snowboarders in the big January race, so chances are you won’t win that. The rest of the time it depends how quick your mates are, or whether you’re up against notorious local George ‘The Canonball’ Blomfield.
How fast am I likely to go? Fast enough to think, “Catch an edge now and I’m going to die.”