Patrick Thorne

17 Nov 15

Val Thorens Resort Guide

Patrick Thorne

17 Nov 15

Recently voted the world’s best ski resort in an annual poll, Val Thorens is also one of the youngest, created in the early 1970s after resort designers had really perfected their art.

Val Thorens today represents the best in ski resort developments with guaranteed snow, a vast ski area outside your door (the world’s biggest in fact) and a vibrant resort base, all designed for maximum convenience and minimum hassle.

Now thriving under the tagline ‘Live United’, Val Thorens has grown into one of the best resorts on the planet, with great skiing and boarding, excellent resort facilities, including loads of bars and restaurants, and a huge range of accommodation right up to five stars.

It’s also a true 21st Century resort with ever more exciting things to do on offer besides skiing and boarding – you’ll find the world’s highest zip wire here for example – and there’s also total connectivity to the online world.


The highest ski resort in Europe, its slopes crowned by a glacier and covered by a massive snowmaking operation, there are few ski areas in the world more snowsure than Val Thorens.

99% of runs are located above 2000m – that means the bottom of the slopes are higher than the top of the slopes at many other ski areas.

One of the first resorts to open each season in mid-November, Val Thorens is also one of the last to close nearly six months later in mid-May, and its’s so sure there’ll be good cover all season long that it even operates a snow guarantee!

Val Thorens Resort Guide

Big Skiing

It doesn’t get any bigger than the 3 Valleys, with their 600km (375 miles) of fully lift-linked ski runs for all ability levels.  Val Thorens sits at the top of it all but you can ski over to other famous areas like Courchevel or Meribel for lunch if you like.

But if you’ve never skied or boarded before, don’t feel daunted, as Val Thorens has state-of-the-art beginner slopes and specialist ski schools on hand, and a special low-price beginner pass that gives access to the terrain you need.

On the other hand, if you want to get off those 600km of pistes and hit the powder, Val Thorens is also a freeride Mecca, with endless itineraries to explore with a guide.

Val Thorens is also a top choice for fun parks and has just opened a new 900 metre long Fun Slope with more than 50 obstacles to bounce off as you whizz down.  But if you want to learn your skills first, there’s a seven hectare ‘Easy Park’ full of manageable hits where you can build your ability level, or if you’re already a maestro, the Expert Park has some of the biggest and best terrain features in the world.

SkiCross is yet another strength, with a World Cup stadium designed to be accessible to as many people as possible.  There’s a 1.4 kilometre-long course to fly down, equipped with a timer system and five cameras located along the course so you can take home a souvenir of your achievements and share the video on your social networks.

Val Thorens Resort Guide

More Than Just Skiing

Val Thorens offers more and more fun things to do besides skiing and boarding and it hit the headlines a few seasons back when it opened Europe’s highest zipline – 1.3km long and accessible to skiers and boarders. But this is also home to France’s longest toboggan run – at six kilometres in length, it’s the place to try things like driving on an ice circuit or mountain biking down the piste as the ski slopes close for the day.  Then there are Segways on snow, ice karts to spin around in, helicopter flights, even a motorised paraglider or perhaps dive through the ice for some scuba in a frozen lake – it’s all possible in Val Thorens.

There are lots of chilled out activities too – a snowshoe hike with yoga perhaps or a session in one of the many spas?

Val Thorens Resort Guide

Party Central

Val Thorens is one of the top resorts for a night out in the French Alps with an ever lengthening list of bars and clubs to check out.

As the slopes close, parties often develop on the terraces at a number of slopeside venues including the Panda Bar, Tango Bar, and the 360 Bar. There is also a giant Folie Douce bar with dancing, DJs and cabaret acts on the slopes.

Then there are a number of famous venues to check out including The Frog and Roastbeef (or just ‘The Frog’ to those in the know), which is Europe’s highest pub, and got its name from the French man and English woman who set it up 20 years ago. Café Snesko, a Danish bar, is another top choice.

Later on Le Malaysia with its 700 square metres of dance floors opens up at 10pm each night and keeps rocking through to 4am.  L’Eclipse also has a great dance floor and sometimes live music instead of the usual DJ set.  There’s a big screen in there too.  Klub Summit claims the title of Europe’s highest night club.

Val Thorens Resort Guide

Hi Tec As Well as High Altitude

The ‘Live United’ tag Val Thorens lives by is underwritten by having interconnectivity of all aspects of its operations built in to its DNA.

For visitors this has lots of advantages, including no less than 18 (and counting) free public wifi zones throughout the resort.

Photos posted from the slopes on Instagram and Twitter are added to the images provided by the resort’s webcams and geolocation provides the exact day and location of each ‘fancam’ photo.

Val Thorens Resort Guide

Convenience and Clever Ideas

Val Thorens manages to come up with cool ideas that other resorts don’t.  The latest, the VTPass, a smartphone app that is a combination of a member’s card and a pass book, not only provides access to exclusive services, but also helps you forge even stronger links with their resort, including before and after your stay, as well as providing personalised services during it. VTPass holders have exclusive access to a resort expert 24 hours a day via a new telephone service and get many benefits including free Wi-Fi access for two devices during their holiday, as well asa second run free on France’s longest toboggan run.

Another smart idea has been named BlaBlaSki. The idea, taken from the trend for car-sharing and apartment-sharing is ski lesson-sharing.  But rather than just get put in a ski school group on arrival, an online service at www.ski-cool.com allows you to find others of your ability and interests looking for lessons at the same time.  A lesson for up to five people costs €62 Euros per hour, so use the service to find friends and you can cut your cost to €12.40 a lesson.

And another good idea – www.united-ski-delivery.com – offers a delivery service for skis, boots, poles and accessories to your resort accommodation. The service’s operator is available 7am to 9pm daily during the week and from 7am to midnight at the weekend and will even come out to the slopes if there’s a problem with your gear.

Val Thorens Resort Guide

If you’ve not yet visited Val Thorens, this should be the season. It opens on 21st November 2015 and the season lasts until 8 May 2016.

Whether you’re a newbie looking to learn the ropes in skiing’s heartland, or an expert keen to get more out of the Alps’ best-loved resorts, Hotels.com have put together a series of interactive guides to help you plan your next ski trip.

Visit http://uk.hotels.com/deals/ski-holidays/ for more details.