Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe, which means a very long season, and very reliable snow. It sits in the middle ground between family resort and party town, with enough of each to suit a wide range of ski holiday. It’s also part of Les Trois Vallées ski area, the largest linked ski area in the world, so not matter how many miles you put under your skis in a day, you will have a lot more to see and explore.
Whether it’s your first visit, or one of many, Val Thorens will hold your interest and offer something to challenge your skill level, or feed that hunger for a chill run from peak to valley.
Val Thorens sits in the Parc National de la Vanoise, just west of the Italian border with France, and is best reached by flying into Lyon or Geneva and taking a train or bus from there to the resort.
There is a wide range of accommodations on offer, from single rooms to chalets. Availability varies according to time of year, and can be difficult to find around popular holiday dates. Check out Hôtel Le Val Thorens or Hôtel Le Fitz Roy for highly rated rooms under £250 a night, or look over the budget offerings, like Résidence Arcelle, Glaciers, or Apartment Les Lauziéres.3.
The town offers indoor shopping arcades and a variety of spas, as well as a wide range of après Ski activities. It’s easy enough to get around the resort itself on foot, and other centres, like Les Menuires and Saint-Martin-de-Belleville, are easily accessible by bus or taxi.
The ski area itself offers something for all levels of skill, but is heavily geared toward intermediate skiers, from those just off the green slopes, to those toying with the idea of hitting their first black runs – and everything in between. There is a wide choice of areas to ski, so you won’t run out of new scenery or cool new spots to discover and explore.
This is a high-altitude resort, so that means two great things: A long season, and great snow from one end of it to the other. Opening around 17 Nov and going through to 5 May, this resort is ready to be your first trip of the season, your last, or both.
There is always a party happening here, though it isn’t known as an all-out party town. If you’re into mixing some chilled-out time with friends to your thumping dance floor experience, the resort offers a nice mix of the two. Throw in some activities and your ski holiday will be a well-rounded, heady mix of varied fun and ski-time.
Your choices for nightclubs will include Malaysia, Klub Summit, and Baramix. Malaysia has been there the longest, and provides entertainment in the form of DJs ad live bands. Klub Summit mixes pop, rock and disco music with an international crowd, and has VIP sections for those buying by the bottle. Baramix is a smaller place, easy going early in the evening and then ramping it up to club mode as the night goes on.
There are several bars there too, mostly lined up along ‘rue de la soif’ – roughly translated as ‘thirsty street.’ These range from pub-style establishments like O’Connells, and The Frog and Roastbeef, to louder spots like Café Snesko, Saloon, and Le Monde. If you’re missing your sports fix, Downunder has most of the main events on, every day.
If you’re looking for a focus on food, there are several excellent restaurants to choose from – or try them all in turn. From La Fruitiére, a chic, spot with fine food and a large outdoor terrace for good weather eating, to the Chalet de la Marine, with a self-service area on the lower floor and a full service bistro on the upper floor.
For a laid back atmosphere high on the mountain, try Les Aiguilles de Péclet in top of the Funitel Péclet.
The area has some great activities on offer, including dogsled rides, ice diving, snowshoeing, zip-lining, tobogganing, helicopter rides and – when you need to unwind from all of that – spas and yoga. There are indoor activities too, at the Val Thorens’ Sports Centre: trampolining, badminton, squash, tennis, swimming, and a wide variety of training and lifting equipment.