Val Thorens is all about the snow
Towering above Europe’s finest skiing resorts, at 2300m Val Thorens is the highest resort on the continent. A plethora of recent awards confirms Val Thorens’s position as the leading French and international ski resort.
On the slopes
Val Thorens is one of the few resorts able to offer snow from November to May (171 skiing days) and it has something for everyone – off-piste powder to corduroy groomed piste; gentle green slopes to boarder cross runs; wildlife walks to airbeds in the snowpark.
Ski & Snowboard
The beginner’s area has been organised to provide a dedicated 40ha area with easy access to green and blue runs. Equipped with three, roofed “magic carpets”, the beginner’s zone is a fun area to learn in. Youngsters have their own enclosed area on the edge of the slopes and ESF (l’Ecole du Ski Français) also organises daily child-care facilities. New “Easy Rider” labels mark areas where you can learn and have fun in safety.
The Familypark has jib modules with easy fun jumps for beginners. For the more experienced the Snowpark provides a busy, varied and creative area with over 20 modules (rails, boxes, jibs) for all levels.
Intermediate and advanced skiers and boarders can be carried as high as 3200m to a variety of glacier slopes, black runs or an enticing off-piste experience. There are slopes on the four points of the compass, north-facing for the warm days or south-facing for the cold days. Our experience is that they provide plenty of interest for a week, even into April. High mileage carvers may extend their ski pass to access the rest of “Les 3 Vallées” ski area (600km of piste). Two lifts will to take you to Méribel and Les Menuires.
The lifts can move over 66,000 people/hr, but 80% of the skiers are on 20% of the runs. To minimise queues “Ski Flux” provides real-time information on how busy the slopes are. Data is collected by 10 sensors on the runs and presented where runs intersect. In the Grand Fond area four giant screens provide information on snow-levels, geo-localised weather reports and itinerary tips.
Cross-country & walking
Cross-country skiing opportunities on prepared tracks are limited in Val Thorens. There are cross-country tracks between Les Menuires and St-Martin that are nice. A free shuttle bus will bring you back up the hill. There are growing numbers of fit souls skinning up the mountain on ski-touring expeditions. For a taster there is a marked circuit next to the village. Skin up the 1.5km circuit and ski down Plein Sud.
Walkers have a few trails and may use 13 of the lifts. There are organised walks for views and wildlife spotting. Or take a walk towards Les Menuires one afternoon to let your legs recover.
Looking for something else? Try the 6km toboggan run, a downhill run on a mountain-bike (once the skiers have left for the evening), a ski-tour at sunset, ice-climbing on a frozen waterfall or ice-diving in Lac du Lou. For spectacular views try the highest zip-wire in Europe or, with a lower adrenalin level, a girocopter flight.
I have not mentioned everything, and the list grows each year. If there is any activity you would like to do please ask and I will let you know who provides it in Val Thorens.
Off the slopes
It is not all about the skiing. The village caters for rest and relaxation too, for example bowling, shopping, concerts and cinema outings. Or enjoy a spa and massage to assist recovery. The Sports Centre contains a leisure pool, sauna, gym and soft play area (perfect for the children).
There are many bars and restaurants (from fast-food to Michelin-starred chefs) to choose from and even a couple of nightclubs for later on. Not all the clubbing is off the slopes or later on. La Folie Douce is an open-air club on the slopes that we often see bouncing from mid-afternoon. If you prefer to stay in, several supermarkets and boulangeries give you the option to buy and prepare your own fresh food.
In the summer time
It is not quite all about the snow, from mid July to September Val Thorens comes back to life. Quite the opposite of a beach holiday:
Outdoors in nature
- archery, fishing, miniature golf, paint ball, tennis, yoga
- cycling*, mountain biking
- climbing, mountain adventure (Go-Ape in the mountains)
- guided outings – quad, buggy, motorbike
- hiking – paths, guided, via feratta
- rides – donkey, pony, horse
- paragliding, rafting, summer sledging
* The hill into Val Thorens was chosen as the fifth toughest climb in the Tour de France’s history by Chris Boardman and Ned Boulting. The Tour will return in 2019.
In case it snows (even in July) there is always the sports and leisure centre. Or explore the local culture and heritage in the valley by visiting a local farm, water mill and/or churches. Or join an arts and crafts course.
We can help with details and contacts for booking ski passes, equipment, lessons, etc. - CLICK HERE
For more information on the layout of Val Thorens - CLICK HERE
To download a map of Val Thorens - CLICK HERE (.pdf).
Activity images on this page with kind permission of Val Thorens Tourist Office.
Ski area – in numbers
|Val Thorens - Orelle:||150km piste,
99% between 2000m and 3230m
|Les 3 Vallées:||over 600km,
the biggest ski area in the world, 400km2
|Number of slopes:||83|
|2 free Easy Rider zones|
|Capacity:||over 66,000 people per hour|
|cable car||funitels||gondola lifts|
|fast chairlifts||equipped with double boarding||chairlifts|
|drag-lifts||rope tow||magic carpets|
|Snow cannons:||453, covering 40% of the ski area|
|snowpark||familypark||6km toboggan run|
|ski-cross||boarder-cross||very high zip-wire|
|snow mountain-biking run||ice-climbing||ice-driving course|
|Pedestrians:||4 paths||13 ski-lifts|