If you fancy sampling the snow in Europe’s highest ski resort, let easyJet holidays whisk you away to upmarket Val Thorens. Sitting pretty at 2,230m, this attractive resort enjoys easy access to the vast Les Trois Vallées ski area and one of the longest seasons in the French Alps, running right through from mid-November to early May. Ideal for serious skiers and snowboarders, as well as glamorous après-ski fans.
The purpose-built resort is surrounded by a horseshoe of dramatic mountains and sits way above the tree line. Since it started life as a ski resort in the 1970s, Val Thorens has grown into an increasingly sophisticated and scenic resort, with wooden-clad buildings, high-end spas and even Michelin-starred dining.
At this altitude, much of the accommodation is ski in, ski out, situated conveniently next to the slopes. You’ll find luxurious hotels and catered chalets, along with family-friendly apartments.
Val Thorens boasts a fantastic location at the top of Les Trois Vallées ski area. It’s the largest in the world, with a staggering 600km of perfectly-groomed piste to enjoy. It’s safe to say there’s plenty of choice for all abilities! Add in plenty of off-piste action, a couple of snow parks and what is billed as “the most beautiful view in the Alps” and you’re basically in snow heaven.
While a Les Trois Vallées lift pass gives you an amazing choice of runs and the chance to ski in other top resorts like Courcheval and Meribel, it can take time to travel through this huge area and you can save money and time by simply purchasing a lift pass for the local Val Thorens area.
The Val Thorens ski area has 150km of pistes with:
11 green runs
29 blue runs
29 red runs
9 black runs
There are 29 ski lifts in this local area and the resort operates more Funitel high-speed gondolas than most other alpine resorts, making for quick and easy transport up the mountain.
You’ll find a good choice of ski and snowboard schools in Val Thorens, and plenty of English-speaking instructors. The renowned ESF is among the options. Their Piou Piou Kids Club teaches children aged 3+ to ski, and you can also book group or private tuition.
Activities off the slope
Val Thorens has numerous attractions for non-skiers or those who like to mix things up a bit on their holidays. Whether you want to relax in a spa or try an exciting new winter sport, the resort has endless choices.
The Sports Centre in the centre of Val Thorens is a firm family favourite, with a massive swimming pool, a balneo pool, Jacuzzis, Turkish baths, saunas, river showers, a spa, a fun park, gym and indoor facilities for tennis, squash and football to enjoy.
For something a bit different, why not try one of the resort’s most popular new activities, mountain biking on the Péclet Glacier? Racing along the 6km-long “Tête Ronde” at 3000m above sea level is certainly an experience to remember! Bikes and protective clothing are provided, along with a glass of vin chaud at the end of your ride.
Tobogganing is a hit with young and old alike, so take the chance to slide down France’s longest toboggan run right here in Val Thorens. Start at the top of the Funitel Péclet and descend 6km, all the way back down to the resort. This exhilarating run is open every day from 10am to 3pm, as well as three evenings a week.
If you prefer the idea of something more relaxing, Val Thorens is home to some indulgent spas, perfect for treating yourself to some well-deserved pampering. Enjoy a traditional Japanese tea massage at the exquisite spa in Hotel Val Thorens, or check out the brand-new spa area at Hotel Koh-I-Nor with its pools, steam rooms, sauna, salt wall and ice fountain. And Le Hameau du Kashmir’s spa has not one, but three types of sauna: classic, infra-red and Russian-style ‘bane’.
If bad weather strikes, you can stay entertained in the resort’s two shopping malls or relax at the cinema. There’s also a bowling alley, paintball course and adrenaline-fuelled ice driving course to try. And when the clouds clear, why not take to the skies and enjoy the spectacular views with a tandem paragliding experience? Or try the world’s highest zip wire for speeds of up to 100km an hour and some serious thrills!
Val Thorens knows how to show its visitors a good time, whether they want Michelin-starred fine dining or live music and beers.
The resort’s 45 restaurants cater to a range of tastes, with traditional Savoyard cuisine featuring highly on many menus. Enjoy hot melting cheese fondue, delicious raclette and local cured meats. All great, hearty choices at this altitude. If you’ve had your fill of meat and cheese, you’ll also find international cuisines from burgers to Tex-Mex on offer.
For authentic regional dishes, head to the aptly-named La Fondue for a cheese-fest to remember on its scenic terrace. La Chaudron Magique is another top Savoyard choice. For something less cheesy, head to either of the John’s Restaurants for delicious Scandinavian seafood or spicy Tex-Mex.
For upmarket and stylish dining, you’ve got two Michelin-starred establishments to choose from: two-starred Jean Sulpice Restaurant and three-starred La Bouitte Restaurant. Both take the local cuisine to dizzy new heights with creative twists and the finest ingredients.
When it comes to bars and clubs, Val Thorens offers up a vibrant selection. Start your après-ski early at the slope-side La Folie Douce with its afternoon music and famous table-top dancing. Bar 360 is an equally lively option. For a taste of home, the Frog and Roast Beef is a good old-fashioned pub.
Later on, you’ve got some thumping nightclubs to enjoy. Malaysia is the biggest, regularly hosting world-class DJs like Calvin Harris, while Klub Summit plays a crowd-pleasing party mix of music until 4am.