(1300m - 3200m)
Val Thorens is a major league resort and part of the famous linked Three Valleys network which consists of 600 kms of skiable pistes. Being the highest resort in Europe good snow is guaranteed from December to April. With extensive local slopes to suit all needs, from beginner to off piste, Val Thorens caters for all abilities particularly as the slopes are linked with those at Meribel, Courchevel and Les Menuires. The only drawback is that given its height it can be a bleak place to ski which means there is little shelter on offer should storms or clouds roll in.
- Snow sure
- Extensive area
Resort at a glance
|Ski Range||1300m - 3200m|
From Val Thorens lifts fan out in all directions giving access to a wide variety of slopes. Access to the lifts in the village is made easy with a connecting piste running right through the village as well as one along the front of the resort.
Val Thorens is an intermediates' paradise with blue and red runs to suit those who are slightly timid or those who are more confident. Certainly confident intermediates will want to take the Peclet gondola to the runs just beneath the Glacier de Peclet. Here there are some long reds that lead back down to the resort and the runs, Lac Blanc and Beranger Haut should be tried. The Glacier de Peclet can be reached by the Glacier chairlift and serves a single black run that experts will enjoy.
Confident intermediates will also want to take the Morraine chairlift followed by the Col chairlift to the Glacier de Thorens. Here there is a great red run that leads into two lovely blue runs, Morraine and Genepi. For those who are less confident simply ignore the Col chairlift and ski the blues. Further across the mountain the Portette chairlift accesses some more blue and red runs that should be tried by intermediate skiers.
For those intermediates wanting more of a challenge and steeper runs try taking the Grand Fond gondola and Cime Caron cable car. There are some very challenging red runs here as well as some unbelievable views. From the top of the Grand Fond gondola intermediates can now ski down a red run, Mauriennaise, into a quiet often under used area, Orelle. Orelle can also be accessed from the top of Cime Caron cable car via the black run, Combe Rosael. At Orelle several chairlifts access some lovely quiet red and blue runs. From Orelle the Roseal chairlift take you back to the Col de Rosael where blue and red runs lead back to Val Thorens.
Just outside the village but connected by the blue Cairn piste is the quiet Boismint sector which also has superb intermediate terrain. From the Boismint sector the nearby resort of Les Menuires is reached by blue runs.
Finally those wishing to explore the Three Valleys can take lifts heading out north from Val Thorens where you will reach the link to Meribel at Mont de la Chambre. To ski back to Val Thorens from the link at Mont de la Chambre involves blue or red runs. At Mont de la Chambre you also have the option to ski several alternative routes down to Les Menuires.
Experts looking for suitable terrain will enjoy the Glacier run at the top of the Glacier de Peclet and the Cascades run served by the Cascades chairlift. There are also excellent black runs from the Cime de Caron. The long Combe de Caron heads back towards the resort, whilst the excellent Combe Rosael is an alternative route to the Orelle sector.
Beginners are well catered for in Val Thorens with nursery slopes and several green runs next to the resort. Given the height of the resort these slopes nearly always have good snow covering which is a big plus. From these slopes beginners will want to head for the blue slopes close to the village and then on to those served by the Morraine chairlift when confidence and ability improves.
Val Thorens has some of the highest apres ski in Europe and there is something to suit all tastes. The Frog and Roast Beef claims to be the highest British pub in Europe, it’s nice and lively and has great music.
The Rhum Box is a little quieter and they have the most amazing selection of flavours of rum to choose from, O’Connells is one of the local Irish pubs in the resort, the Red Fox specialises in afternoon karaoke and don’t miss the Folie Douce with live music and a party atmosphere.
If you are looking to boogie the night away then visit Dicks Tea Bar - which claims to be the highest nightclub in Europe, it also has live music and DJs. Another late night choice is the Malaysia cellar bar, but this classy venue does come with a price tag.
Val Thorens has a host of different cuisines to tempt you - everything from traditional Savoyarde specialities to Mexican and Thai along with pizzas, pastas and even a Michelin starred restaurant.
The Michelin starred restaurant is L'Oxalys, it has 2 Michelin stars and is on the expensive side but well worth the trip if budgets allow, they do a delicious range of modern Savoyarde cuisine and also have a cookery class on Sunday afternoons if you want to learn a few tricks of the trade.
For more Savoyarde delights then try La Fondue where you will be served up, surprisingly enough, fondue and raclette. Auberge des Balcons is also good for this type of cuisine. For more local flavours then don’t miss Le Vieux Chalet who serve up rustic family recipes and who could forget Table du Roy, the upmarket restaurant connected to Hotel Fitz Roy, perfect for something a bit special.
Then for something completely different there is El Gringo - a lively Mexican restaurant, serving margaritas and tasty Tex Mex food, and also John’s American Restaurant with delicious burgers, steaks and spare ribs, yum!
If you are not a skier or boarder then there isn’t a huge amount to do in Val Thorens. It does have a local sports centre with a pool, gym, hot tubs and sauna. There is also a bowling alley and small cinema along with a twice weekly street market.
You can also try your hand at ice driving, whizz down the longest toboggan run in France, or even give mountain biking on snow a chance which takes place at the bottom of the Péclet Glacier - you do have to be fairly fit for this though.
For something a little less energetic then head back to the sports centre and visit the Aquaclub Val Thorens with its river showers, balneo pool, water massaging beds and Australian saunas. If you wish to pamper yourself then the Fitz Roy Hotel has a private spa with pool, sauna and plenty of treatments.
As with most French resorts, the ESF have a presence here and offer tuition for all ages and all abilities. Group lessons start from €109 for 5 half days, private lessons start from €42 per hour depending on season time, they also offer freeride and freestyle courses and competition / race camps. Their meeting point is normally at the Roint point des pistes but do check on booking.
Also in Val Thorens is Prosneige who again offer tuition to all ages and levels. Group lessons start from €159 for 6 half days, private lessons start from €42 per hour depending on season time, they also offer freestyle and handiski along with ice climbing and snow shoeing. Do check their meeting point on booking.
Where to stay in Val Thorens, France
Redefining luxury and style, this 5 star hotel is full of modern contemporary touches with delicious cuisine and doorstep skiing to boot, the ultimate escape will be hard to leave.