Towering over the Three Valleys region at 2300m, Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe, and a spectacular "top of the world" experience. It's so far from the hustle, bustle, and stress of everyday life that you'll possibly forget there's a world at all outside the valleys. The resort is surrounded by several high peaks close to and over 3000 m, and quite a few of its cable cars and chair lifts go almost as high.
The snow is almost always in amazing condition, and if you love the freedom of skiing off-piste, the opportunities are endless. From the top of the Cine Caron, the widest panorama in Europe opens up in front of you: the horizon reveals more than 1000 French, Swiss and Italian Alpine summits. The cable car that will zip you there is one of the biggest in the world with a capacity of 150+1 passengers. Being traffic-free and so high up, nearly anywhere in Val Thorens that you choose to stay will let you ski right to your door. Temperatures can get a little chilly to say the least, but there's usually a good dollop of sun to warm the bones.
As well as fantastic skiing (including 6 ski lift equipped glaciers) so close you can taste it, the entire Three Valleys ski area is laid out at your feet. It'll take you around 15 minutes to get to Les Menuires, 45 minutes to Méribel, and around 1hr 15 to Courchevel; it's all about wildly varied terrain and incomparable convenience. The whole area is one giant natural fun park (snow parks and half pipes included), and there really is something for everyone here.
While not as raging après-ski as some of the other Three Valley resorts, there's still a lot going on, and if you're a bit sporty you'll love it - there's a huge newly renovated indoor sports complex and Aqua Club where you can play tennis on one of three courts, work out in the gym or try your hand at squash. Simply waking and looking out at the world dwarfed below you will blow you away. With a huge amount of snow from November to May, Val Thorens is a resort for those of you that want to get away from the world and immerse yourself in amazing skiing.
More on Val Thornes:
Val Thornes for Different Ski Abilities
There's absolutely everything for everyone here, no matter what their skill level. This vast snowy bowl has a special junior area for beginners, and scattered around the resort are several gentle greens for you to warm up on. The sheer amount of snow will make it easier to learn - a softer landing always gives you extra confidence!
Like most the resorts in the Three Valleys are, Val Thorens caters particularly well to intermediates. One favourite, Jerusualem, is tucked away, which is why the run is always quiet, and usually keeps excellent snow. This perfect intermediate run is rolling with gentle and steep sections, and the off-piste to either side is safe and gentle - ideal for first forays into powder.
Advanced skiers will love the big moguls and access to the Maurienne Valley for off-piste fun. Red run Allamande winds from the top of 3 Marches down towards the resort of Les Menuires, and has enough twists, turns and steep bits to keep everyone happy. All three runs from the top of the Cime de Caron are also excellent. Black Combe de Caron and red Col de l'Audzin run back towards Val Thorens, but a stand-out is the black Combe Rosael which takes you to the gorgeous ‘fourth valley'. It's seriously steep, so don't attempt it if the snow is icy. The Snow park has areas for all levels: bordercross, big air, snow tubing, quarter pipe, handrails...
Val Thornes Ski Schools
As a Family Plus Mountain resort, Val Thorens goes out of its way to work well for children and their parents. To allow parents to ski in complete tranquillity, the children's gardens accept little ones from the age of three months, with a crèche, snow sport area, games room, rest room and restaurant. The older children can start to enjoy the pleasures of skiing thanks to different fun circuits: junior area, snow park, boardercross... And to vary the pleasure, the resort offers lots of other activities: toboggan run, water sports centre, torchlight descents, children shows...
Prosneige Ski & Snowboard School
Prosneige Ski & Snowboard School is present in the largest and highest ski areas in the world: Les Menuires and Val Thorens. They offer everything including small group sizes, quality of teaching and instruction from a dynamic, professional and ambitious team. For children, adults, snowboarders, telemarkers, cross-country skiers, freestylers, freeriders and sit-skiers - Prosneige offers something for everyone. Children from 3 years will love the private children’s garden with ‘magic carpet’. There are also full day lessons with Lunch Club for children and activities organized in the Fun Park. All lessons are taught in your own language.
Après Ski and Off the Mountain Activities
There are restaurants, bars and cafes to keep you well fed and watered and some good late-night venues for a spot of clubbing. In the main resort is the famous Malaysia Club on Place Caron, allegedly the biggest nightclub in the Alps. El Gringo's Café is spread over three floors and has regular DJ's, live music and reggae nights. Le Saloon Bar always equals a massive party - they're big on live music and après-ski there is always something going on. In Val Thorens alone there are over 70 restaurants and bars offering Savoyard specialities such as tartiflette, raclette and fondues as well as traditional and regional French cuisine. Last year Jean Sulpice gained Europe's highest Michelin Star for his cuisine at the Oxalys. Le Rendez-Vous is particularly good and has a good selection on their children's menu. The finest also include the Fitz Roy Hotel, Restaurant des Trois Vallées and Le Bellevillois. There are also some good mountain restaurants and it's easy to ski over to Méribel for lunch. Val Thorens also provides shows for everyone, every week throughout the winter. There are street shows and plays, fire eaters, giant teddy bears, bands and clowns or illusionists out to dazzle and amaze. Three not to be missed: "Christmas Magic" and its fairytale world, "Carnival Follies" with its parades and "Easter in the snow". Traditional torchlight descents are followed by firework displays.
off the mountain
Because of the extensive slopes here, you may not ever want to take a day off. But if your legs are burnt out from the long, wow-factor runs, there's plenty on offer. Val Thorens has the longest toboggan run in France (6 km), and an enormous indoor leisure centre with more than 7500 m2 dedicated to fitness and well-being. The Sports Centre offers tennis, squash, badminton, basket ball and more, as well as a 180 m2 room for weight training and a fitness room. If you don't fancy getting sporty on your day off, relax at one of the premium spas. The beauty institutes, spas, keep-fit centres will give you a chance to pause, renew your energy and wind down. Also look out for: snowshoe outings, glacier outings, bowling, motorsports and air sports.
How to get to Val Thornes
Fly into one of several airports close to Val Thorens. Choose from Lyon Saint-Exupéry (183 km), Geneva-Cointrin (159 km), Chambéry - Savoie (112 km), Chambéry - Savoie (112 km)
The nearest railway station lies in Moûtiers (37 km). Bus and taxi connexions to Val Thorens are available.
TGV Paris / Moûtiers: 4 hours
From European main cities:
TGV : direct from London (Eurostar), Brussels (Thalys)...
TGV from Lyon/St-Exupéry
Geneva railway station
SNCF (French railways) national booking: +33(0)8 92 35 35 35
SNCF, VAL THORENS office: +33(0)4 79 00 05 33
Prices, booking and timetable: www.voyages-sncf.com
Moûtiers - Val Thorens connexion : Altibus.com
Call Centre: +33(0)820 320 368 (0.15€/min)
Rates: Not available yet
Booking is compulsory 48h before your trip.
Book your coach ticket on line: altibus.com
Altibus will pick you up from Moûtiers Gare Routiere.