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Skiing in Val Thorens

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Skiing Holidays in Val Thorens

For many discerning snowsports fans, Val Thorens is the ultimate French ski resort.

When you consider that it’s the jewel in the crown of the Three Valleys Ski Area in the Savoie region, the highest resort in Europe (at over 2300m) and offers easy access to over 600km of well-tended snow-sure pistes, it’s no wonder people rave about it.

But as well as the sublime scenery and unbeatable snow conditions, what distinguishes Val Thorens is the customer care, professionalism and convenience it offers guests at every turn. From the swift, modern lift systems to the comfortable accommodation and architectural ambience of its traditional and contemporary buildings, everything has been designed to maximise pleasure and minimise hassle – which is all you can ask for in a holistic French ski holiday experience.

Add an eclectic après-ski and restaurant scene to this heady recipe and it’s easy to understand why Val Thorens has been voted ‘Best Ski Resort In The World’ multiple times at the World Ski Awards.

A car-free resort, Val Thorens suits families with small children, as well as groups of friends, couples and solo skiers, and there are runs and activities for enthusiasts of all abilities. As well as the local and international cuisine on offer, you’ll find shops, pools, spas, and entertainment for kids of all ages.

The accommodation is split into seven sections, with the three main areas Soleil, Peclet and Les Balcons each offering unique charms.

All said, when you want a vibrant French Ski holiday with unbeatable snow conditions and fabulous facilities and atmosphere, Val Thorens is where it’s at.

Skiing in Val Thorens

The Three Valleys is the world’s largest ski area and Val Thorens is positioned perfectly on the west-facing slopes of the Tarentaise Valley in Savoie. Here are some tips to help you make the most of it:

  • There’s a huge range of red and blue runs for intermediate skiers – the wide, spacious Genepi run is a joy for those still building their confidence, while red runs such as the extended descent down towards Orelle in the Maurienne Valley offer a challenge that slightly more experienced visitors.m or those wishing to enjoy some peaceful skiing embrace.

  • The expansive blue runs back to the resort are the best places for novice skiers and snowboarders to find their feet and progress in a manageable manner.

  • The wider Three Valleys area connects seven resorts together, including firm favourites like Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Belleville, Meribel, Courchevel and La Tania and these combine into the inspirational aforementioned network of 600km of pristine pistes.

  • Piste grooming machines are in perpetual use to keep all slopes looking and feeling fabulous and some of the lifts in the Three Valleys area feature ‘Magnestick’ technology to ensure children are attached securely and safely until they reach the disembarkation point.

  • The high tech lift system will whisk you quickly and efficiently to stunning viewpoints where you’ll soon be gazing intently at an amazing vista of over 1,000 snow capped mountain tops.

Thanks to its peerless altitude, Val Thorens has an extended ski season that lasts from November until mid-May and the slopes are blessed by bountiful sunshine throughout.

Snowboarding in Val Thorens

If you’re a fan of freestyle snowboarding, you’ll be in your element in Val Thorens. Here are some of the highlights for boarders.

  • You can easily access the Meribel Valley using the Plein Sud chairlift where you will find plenty of wide pistes to perfect your carves.

  • Free riders should make a bee line for La Masse in Les Menuires and Le Cime de Caron to pit their wits and skill against challenging terrain.

  • You’ll find Val Thorens Snowpark in the Plateau area and it’s ideal for mastering jumps, jibbing, j-turns, side slipping and every other manoeuvre under the sun.

  • The Snowpark covers 70,000 square metres and features table-top jumps, an airbag, and quarter-pipe jumps. It’s a friendly and accessible atmosphere for all levels of boarders, but if you’re a bit more advanced, you might fancy entering one of the freestyle competitions held throughout the season.

  • The flatter slopes near the Rond point des Pistes are great for novice snowboarders, while green runs like the Deux Combes provide a logical next step once you’ve built up your confidence.

Snow Conditions in Val Thorens

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As the highest altitude resort in Europe, you can expect excellent snow conditions throughout the generous season at Val Thorens – in fact, it often experiences an influx of snow seekers from neighbouring resorts that don’t have its natural propensity for perfect powder. Here are some of the stats:

  • With a mighty resort height of 2300m, slopes at 1800 – 3230m, 150km of pistes in Val Thorens itself and 600km in the wider Three Valleys area, this resort couldn’t be better set up for superb snow sports and a supercharged, long-lasting season.

  • The highest point of the skiing accessible by lift is an amazing 3230m. There are two glaciers, and there’s lots of shaded north-facing terrain and plenty of snow making capacity, meaning it’s one of the most snow-sure resorts in the world.

  • In the most recent snow season, official statistics show that Val Thorens enjoyed a total snowfall of 726cm, 61 snowfall days, biggest snowfall of 35cm, maximum base depth of 384cm, average base depth of 186cm, maximum summit depth of 412cm and average summit depth of 233cm.

  • As you can see, it’s evidence that snow conditions are practically perfect and will satisfy the most pernickety powder hounds.

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Apres-Ski in Val Thorens

Val Thorens and après-ski go together like snowboards and half-pipes.

When you’ve had your fill of snowsports action for the day, there are some brilliant bars and nightclubs that will keep you busy so that you can party into the wee small hours and recover with a long lie in, sauna and shower the next morning if needed.

But you’ll find variety here too – as well as the livelier establishments that welcome all but are particularly aimed at younger skiers and the university ski trip set, there’s a handful of hip, sophisticated spots and traditional pubs where you can watch sports and have a few beers while blethering with friends and family.

Here are a few can’t miss après-ski highlights for revellers on the roof of Europe:

  • It’s almost mandatory to mention La Folie Douce in any run-down of Val Thorens après-ski attractions. It claims to host the highest dancefloor in Europe and at 2600m, the views are astounding. Be warned – after a few beers and signature shots accompanied by live DJs and table-top dancing, the altitude has been known to cause dizziness! Also, don’t forget that if you want to party in a more exclusive space call in advance and reserve your spot in the VIP area.

  • If you still want to party late into the night, try The Malaysia. It has a 700 square feet dance floor (which it claims is the largest in the Alps) and serves delicious cocktails to a suave clientele from 10pm to 4am.

  • Crewzer is a laid-back beer and burger joint operated with pride and passion by two local residents who are also obsessive freeriders – so you can be sure that they know exactly the type of food, drinks and ambience that hit the spot after an exciting, but exhausting, day on the slopes.

  • Fancy a convivial beer or three at the most elevated British bar in the Alps? Head to The Frog and Roast Beef for lively vibes, yet more dancing, and a traditional yard of ale challenge that’s certainly not for the faint-hearted!

Facilities in Val Thorens

With Europe’s highest zip line and a host of activities like ice driving, mud spas, swimming, bowling, the cinema and live music concerts, Val Thorens means good vibes for families, friends, couples and solo skiers.

As a purpose-built ski resort in one of the world’s most beautiful regions, it offers a wide range of wonderful accommodation options for visitors of all tastes and requirements, and is supported by a local ski and business community dedicated to offering excellent customer service.

Overall, Val Thorens facilities are first-rate, but the following information should provide even more peace of mind.

Ski Hire in Val Thorens

You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to ski rental in Val Thorens, with a plethora of professional businesses peppering the town centre. However, because Erna Low has been arranging ski holidays here for aeons, we recommend booking through us and we’ll make all of the arrangements with our trusted and long-standing partners at exceptional rates.

By integrating ski hire in your package, you’ll also have the convenience of a smooth pick up on arrival – with no need to queue with the rest of the patrons, you can grab your gear and get right out onto those famous slopes!

Ski Passes in Val Thorens

When you book your Val Thorens ski passes through Erna Low, we send them to you in advance so there is no queuing to pick them up after a long journey when you get to the resort.

You can add your ski passes to your package during the booking process, but if you need to include them after you’ve already booked accommodation with us, get in touch and we’ll make all the necessary arrangements. We’ll find you seasonal promotions, plus seniors over 75 and kids under 5 receive free passes (you may be asked for proof of age).

Spa and Pool in Val Thorens

As you might expect, Val Thorens is well-appointed when it comes to spa and pool facilities. For starters, at the plush Le Hameau du Kashmir accommodation, you’ll find three different types of saunas and a lovely warm pool whilst the 5* Hotel Koh-I-Nor has a lovely spa area with several pools, steam rooms, saunas, experience showers and an ice fountain. Furthermore, the popular Residence L’Oxalys boasts two spas, each of which has its own pool, sauna, jacuzzi and steam room (one are is for private bookings only), while the Spa at Hotel le Val Thorens is also amazing, with a 15m indoor swimming pool offering marvellous mountain views, a Turkish steam room and Scandinavian sauna. But don’t forget the Val Thorens Sports Centre – its 7500 square metre Aquaclub features river showers, an artificial solarium, jacuzzis, balneo pool, two regular swimming pools, a weight training room, Funpark for kids and much more.

Shops in Val Thorens

Whether you need everyday essentials or want to spoil yourself with a spot of retail therapy, there are shops aplenty in Val Thorens. For everything from milk and cheese to rotisserie chicken and delicious pastries, Sherpa Supermarche in Galerie Peclet has you covered, but if you want the trendiest snowboards, boots and gear from big brands like Drake, Jones, Roxy, Burton, Volkom, Oakley and Neef, Ride and Style at Galerie Caron is the place to max out your credit card. Meanwhile, Orion has a stellar choice of menswear from brands like Phil Peter, edgier fashions from the likes of Obey and a host of gadgets for the man who has everything. Finally, Galerie Caron also has a dedicated store for internationally-renowned brand The North Face, which is handy when you want to pick up a technical ski jacket or a cool hoodie to sport in the bar of an evening.

Facilities for Children in Val Thorens

Val Thorens has a reputation for one of the best resorts for grown-up pleasure seekers, but that’s balanced out by plenty of fab facilities for families with kids of all ages. Get the lowdown below.

Ski Schools in Val Thorens

There’s a wide choice of independent instructors and ski schools in Val Thorens and we can easily advise on the best choice for skiers of different ability levels. Kids as young as aged 3-5 are accepted at many of the resorts ski schools, but if you’re bringing younger children, childcare facilities are also available too.

Prosneige Ski School meets below the Rond Point des Pistes near the bottom of the resort and teaches children aged 3 plus to ski and snowboard. It holds a mini medal ceremony at the end of each week with awards for the kids to take home. It also caters for teens and adults of all levels and offers specialist lessons in handiskiing, night time skiing and freeriding.

Meanwhile, New Generation Ski School particularly focuses on UK visitors, with all lessons taught in English by highly qualified and passionate instructors. It accepts all ages and levels of skiers – from small children to teenage novices and intermediate adults.

Entertainment in Val Thorens

There are plenty of thrilling activities to keep kids entertained in Val Thorens – for instance, they can try the longest toboggan run in Europe, or a 1km Fun Slope with 50 wild obstacles like snow tunnels, bridges, spirals and banked corners. Val Thorens Sports Centre also has indoor activities like trampolining, as well as a children’s pool where your water babies can enjoy gentle sprays and waterfalls.

Childcare in Val Thorens

ESF Ski School offers childcare for children from 3 months to 4 years old, GirlsSchool has a Kids VIP service that includes ski and snowboard lessons and fun activities from 9am to 5pm with lunch included, and the Alpine Child Care website connects parents with au pairs and babysitters to make arrangements before you leave home.

Val Thorens Mountain Info

Val Thorens is surrounded by no less than 6 mountain peaks above 3000m high, including two ski-able peaks – the 3200m Cime de Caron and the 3000m Pointe du Bouchet. The resort shares its immediate ski area with Orelle, and there’s a combined 150km of slopes and 78 pistes.

But it’s also part of the Three Valleys ski area, where the largest peak is the Aiguille de Pechet, with an awe-inspiring 3562m summit. Three Valleys is the largest ski area in the world – it’s four times the size of Paris and has over 600km of pistes, 337 runs, 4 glaciers and 180 ski lifts.

This is a completely snow-sure resort with sublime scenery and perhaps the best snow conditions and quality anywhere on Earth.

Val Thorens Mountain Stats

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Val Thorens Piste Map

Val Thorens Piste Map

Travel Info

Distance to Calais:
995.4 km
Driving time to Calais:
9h 4m
Approx tolls from Calais:
Gateway Airports:
Geneva, Chambery, Grenoble, Lyon St-Exupery