Why Val Thorens Ski Resort?
- Literally something for everyone: older and young, beginner to expert, skier/snowboarder or non-skier
- The highest ski resort in Europe, meaning snow-sure slopes from November to May
- Gateway to over 600km of varied (and pretty amazing!) slopes in the 3 Valleys
- Accommodation to suit all: ski enthusiasts, families, groups & couples - from more basic to the last word in luxury
- Plenty of doorstep or ski-in/ski-out possibilities
- 'Famille Plus' resort - good children’s facilities and great for families
- A very vibrant and outgoing ski resort with fabulous day and nightlife
Val Thorens (3 Vallees) Information
Multiple winners of the World's Best Ski Resort & France's Best Ski Resort.
Val Thorens is a well-established and vibrant purpose-built ski resort created in 1971 at a height of 2300m and about 1km long and half that wide. Although Val Thorens isn't a small village off the beaten track, it still manages to retain tradition in its appearance (not a high-rise concrete jungle) and combines the best of skiing with the best of atmospheres. Although Val Thorens is a high-energy resort and you can throw yourself right in the middle of everything, you can still find accommodation in quieter areas within the resort which may be better suited to younger families or those appreciating more moments of calm.
Val Thorens is lucky enough to hold an exceptional position on a sunny, west-facing mountainside in the Tarentaise area of the Northern French Alps, boasting stunning views of over 1000 summits in the Alps (the 360 degree views from the top of the Cime Caron cable cable in Val Thorens are something else and can't be missed! Open to pedestrians too).
There is a varied choice of ski accommodation from the last word in luxury with their own spas and swimming pools to large standard self-catering apartments sleeping up to 18 people, plus cosy and more traditional hotels - all of which offer either doorstep, ski-in or ski-out skiing possibilities. It has something for all budgets, party size and demographics.
Areas within Val Thorens...
The ski resort of Val Thorens is split up into 7 areas, the main 3 being Soleil, Péclet and Les Balcons. With skiing in mind and for your complete convenience, each area has its own amenities close by such as shops, restaurants/bars, ski hire shops, ESF ski school office/kindergarten and lift pass office – meaning that your chosen ski accommodation will never be too far from all the important amenities that you need during your ski holiday.
- Les Balcons - has a mini-supermarket, restaurants and a ski hire shop. The ESF ski school and lift pass offices are a short 10-minute walk downhill (allow a little longer to walk back!)
- Soleil - here you will find one of the main shopping centres, restaurants, ski hire shop, the main ESF ski school office/kindergarten and lift pass office
- Péclet - the other shopping centre is located here, along with the ski hire shop, ESF ski school office/Kindergarten, lift pass office, restaurants and the main selection of après-ski bars
Val Thorens ski area
Val Thorens is part of the 3 Valleys ski area (the largest ski area in the world), which many skiers rightly regard as the greatest intermediate ski-playground in the world (but don't be put off if you are a beginner or total expert because Val Thorens literally has plenty of slopes for all levels and masses of free-ride and off-piste opportunities). This impressive lift-linked ski area is formed of 8 ski resorts:
- Val Thorens
- Les Menuires
- Saint Martin de Belleville
- La Tania
Les 3 Vallées, as it's called in French, offers you over 600km of high altitude and snow-sure ski slopes (150km just in Val Thorens itself) - every ski enthusiast’s dream! Amazing skiing can be had right from the beginning of the winter season in the Les 3 Vallées ski area and there is something for everyone - no matter what your style or ability. Renowned for its superb quality of snow and modern high-tech ski lift system which is ever-evolving, Val Thorens is a perfect ski resort for everyone.
The 3 Valleys benefit from excellent snow coverage - the minimum altitude level for skiing is 1300m (at Courchevel Le Praz) and the maximum is 3230m. This means that a huge 85% of the ski area is located above 1800m. The 3 Valleys offer wide ski runs that are maintained nightly by nearly 100 piste grooming machines. In Val Thorens you spend most of your time skiing at altitudes between 2300m and 3200m which is pretty exceptional.
And starting this winter 21/22, there will be a new link between Orelle and Val Thorens which creates a new entry point from the Maurienne Valley (and Italy) to the 3 Vallées. For the first time in Val Thorens’ history, the summit of Cime Caron at 3,200m will be directly accessible from Orelle thanks to the construction of two new cable cars called “Orelle” and “Orelle-Caron”. It means visitors will be able to access Val Thorens directly from the motorway either on skis or by foot!
Val Thorens skiing info
The large beginner's area is perfect for first-time and low-level skiers and boarders due to its wide slopes. The access is free, so you don't have to worry about investing in a lift pass until you are more comfortable on the snow. This is also where the ski lessons take place for beginners.
The 4 covered magic carpets lead to special ski areas just for beginners, not only making it convenient and easy for them to get to the ski slopes but also allowing them to progress at their own pace and gain confidence away from the more experienced and high-speed skiers.
Once you’ve mastered the beginner’s area and feel ready for your first gentle green run, the Deux Lacs chairlift is the best to take. From the top turn left onto the slope Traversée des Deux Lacs. Here you can either turn left again down the Espace Junior slope or continue to the 'Chalet de Thorens' and take the Combe de Thorens – either route will take you back down to the 'Rond Point des Pistes' where all the lower beginner runs are that you would have practised on. These are the main green runs in Val Thorens.
Once you are ready to progress to blue slopes, the Cascades chairlift is usually the next step. At the top, turn right down the slope Dalles. Other easy blues are Gentiane, Linotte, Moraine, Blanchot and Plein Sud. If you want to get to the top of the mountain and ski down on a fairly easy blue, there's Tête Ronde, Niverolles and Pluviometre.
Always remember that the weather and snow conditions will vary the degree of difficulty of a run. Generally runs will be easier first thing in the morning as they have been groomed overnight. By the afternoon they may be less smooth with many bumpy areas created by the constant flow of skiers and boarders.
Val Thorens has some of the best intermediate terrain in the whole of Les 3 Vallées. By taking the big Péclet gondola to Péclet Glacier or heading to the 'Pointe de Thorens' you will find a great selection of red runs. And don't forget Val Thorens also offers great access to the rest of Les 3 Vallées, with blue and red runs that will take you down to explore Les Menuires and Méribel.
The local slopes are great for the competent intermediate with fast lifts and red runs starting from high up. The red runs in the lower Boismint sector are excellent and it's usually quieter too (there are lots of easy off-piste adjacent as well).
Remember, that although Val Thorens is high it doesn't necessarily mean steep in all places. Val Thorens is very much an intermediates playground with an abundance of blue and red runs. The slopes are entirely open (and therefore exposed to the elements) except down in the lower Boismint sector where you will find a few trees.
Advanced, off-piste & ski touring
Val Thorens also offers some great runs for experts. The Cimes de Caron cable car will lead you to great black runs down the front of the mountain or down further into the Maurienne Valley.
For those who want to try off-piste skiing for the very first time in Val Thorens, the Pierre Lory run is definitely the best. For the more adventurous off-piste skiers there is the famous Lac du Lou run, which has a challenging 1400m vertical drop.
Val Thorens together with the Belleville Valley and Les 3 Vallées are regarded as some of the top places in the French Alps for off-piste skiing. For many people off-piste is the very best of skiing and boarding: perfectly fresh powder snow; that tranquil feeling of solitude and pure freedom; away from the crowds, pistes and lifts; surrounded by real natural beauty – nothing beats it and Val Thorens has it all.
As always we highly recommend hiring a mountain guide or instructor to find the best possible off-piste skiing that Les Menuires and Les 3 Vallées have to offer, ensuring your safety along the way.
Starting this winter 21/22, there will be a new secure and marked zone in the Borgne sector dedicated to ski touring. Without any ski lifts around and a departure from the “Plein Sud” sector, this ski touring zone is made up of one ascent slope, groomed and prepared, and two slopes to descend, one of which is unpisted. This new area is a place to discover or practice ski touring safely, in a natural but
marked zone, far from the crowds. This natural space, accessible by the “Pionniers” or “Plein Sud” ski lifts, is perfect for groups to practice avalanche prevention and mountain safety training where they can learn how to use equipment such as avalanche detectors, probes and shovels. The zone will also be linked to the “Camille” slope, an existing ski touring route for those who want to extend and prolong their ascent.
First tracks: a hike up in ski touring gear to watch the sunrise and have breakfast higher up. As the French saying goes: the mountain belongs to he who gets up early Bookable in resort.