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Val Thorens

Val Thorens Ski Resort Guide

Val Thorens, France

Rated: 4/5 (from 7 ratings)

Ski Area Highlights
Recommended ForFreeriders, Expert Skiers, Intermediates, Beginners, Snowboarders, Snowfall and Apres-Ski!
Total Piste Length140km
Highest Lift3,200m
Resort Height2,300m
 Nearest AirportsChambery and Annecy
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Val Thorens

Situated at the top of The Three Valleys, Val Thorens - at 2300 metres the highest resort in Europe- offers a complete range of skiing. Thanks to the altitude, it's pretty much guaranteed snow from the end of November through to the beginning of May.

Summary

The French ski resort of Val Thorens is in the French Alps at an altitude of 2,300m, with 140km of marked runs.

Val Thorens is part of the Three Valleys ski area with access to 600km of downhill skiing, with 497 marked pistes, served by a total of 180 ski lifts. In addition to the skiing in Val Thorens itself (140km of pisted ski runs), the appropriate ski Lift Pass will allow you to ski or snowboard in the other Three Valleys ski resorts of Courchevel, La Tania, Les Menuires, Méribel and Saint Martin de Belleville.

The ski resort itself is at 2,300m, so skiing or boarding back to the resort is usually possible. With ski lifts as high as 3,200m, skiing and snowboarding is assured throughout the season.

Snow and Weather

When will it snow in Val Thorens?

The next notable snow forecast is 9cm, expected on 4 December, with around 22cm forecast over the next 7 days.

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Snow this week

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Ski Area Stats

Val Thorens Ski Area

Piste and Lift Stats
Black Pistes
Expert Trails
 9 
Red Pistes
Intermediate Runs
29
Blue Pistes
Easy Trails
29
Green Pistes
Beginner Runs
11
Downhill
Total Length
140km
Cross Country
Total Length
5km
Ski Lifts
Number of Lifts
29

The Three Valleys Ski Area

Piste and Lift Stats
Black Pistes
Expert Trails
49
Red Pistes
Intermediate Runs
175
Blue Pistes
Easy Trails
207
Green Pistes
Beginner Runs
66
Downhill
Total Length
600km
Cross Country
Total Length
130km
Ski Lifts
Number of Lifts
180

Altitudes

Val Thorens Ski Area Heights

Lift Heights and Resort Altitude
Highest Lift3,200m
Resort Altitude (Val Thorens)2,300m
Lowest Piste1,850m
Max Vertical1,350m

Ratings & Suitability

Ratings for Val Thorens
Freeriders
Expert Skiers
Intermediate Skiers
Beginners
Snowboarding
Snow
Apres-Ski

Val Thorens Overview

Val Thorens represents the pinnacle of ski resort development to date - at least in terms of its altitude. The highest ski resort in Europe, located in a vast snowy bowl within the biggest ski area in the world.

Today it can claim to be a stylish 'village' and world class ski resort rather than a clutch of rather desolate, high altitude buildings as some imagine. The resort has been renewed using local wood and stone to designs inspired by traditional local Savoie architectural tradition.

More than 250 Million Euros have been spent in recent years in improving and expanding the resort and the local ski area. The whole has also been designed to a well-considered plan giving it a compact, largely pedestrianised centre where most of the public facilities (of which there are many!) are concentrated. This investment has helped the constant popularity of Val Thorens which now attracts some two million visitors annually (placing it in the world top 20 ski resorts by popularity as well as altitude) . It also boasts occupancy rate of around 90% on average through the season, making it the envy of many other famous ski resorts.

Val Thorens is also a pioneer of ultra-stable funitel lifts - large gondolas running between several parallel cables like cable cars, rather than just one, but continuing to circulate like a gondola rather than going back and forth like a cable car. The resort keeps installing ever more of these lifts which is particularly good news at such high altitudes.

Despite being north facing, the resort's altitude ensures it gets good sunshine with little over-shadowing it.

 Notable Ski Runs

The longest possible descent in Val Thorens is 12km long and the most difficult run is the 'Caron', which is 3km in length.

Skiing

Located at the top of the world's biggest ski area, guests at Val Thorens have doorstep access to up to 600km (375 miles) of piste divided in to nearly 300 ski runs for all standards, served by 200 lifts. Due to the resort's altitude, skiing can be offered for six months of the year, normally from November, if conditions are right, to mid-May.

Val Thorens has a modern and efficient ski lift infrastructure with a number of Funitel style lifts (high speed gondolas).

All levels of skiers have a seemingly endless choice of skiing.

Val Thorens for Beginners

Beginners will find many wide gentle slopes around the resort itself especially for them, with some lifts free for first-timers.

There is a 40 hectares area for beginners, equipped with no less than four roof-covered magic carpets. The area has been designed not only to provide first-class facilities for first timers, but also improved access to the Cascades chairlift, getting progressing beginner skiers on to more green and blue slopes.

Val Thorens for Intermediates

Intermediate level skiers have the most choice of all with over 200 runs in the Trois Vallees categorised Red or Blue. Skier numbers are dispersed throughout the area making queues a rarity, and allowing lots of mileage to be clocked up!

Val Thorens for Expert

It's perhaps advanced and expert winter sports enthusiasts who will feel the benefits of the area the most, simply because such a choice is more of a rarity for them. They will be drawn to the powder fields on the Peclet and Chavière glaciers and the famous mogul slopes of the Cîme de Caron black, and they're just for starters.

Ski Schools

The French ski school, with around 200 instructors, offers tuition in all disciplines, including Moguls and Telemark.

There are a variety of pistes to suit all levels of skier ability, from Beginner to Expert.

Snowboarding

The main snowpark is situated on the Plateau sector and is accessed by several ski lifts. 5 zones (beginners, intermediates, experts, Boarder-Cross and Jump Air) make up this large area filled with different fun modules: raised bumps, whoops, hand rails, boxes, a table top, wall ride and a big air.

Location and Map

Where is Val Thorens?

This ski resort is in the French Alps in The Three Valleys, Savoie.

Map

Tap Show Map in Full Screen for Full-Screen, or see J2Ski's Resort map, showing Hotels and Ski Shops.

How to get there

 By Air

The nearest airport to Val Thorens is Chambery, 90 minutes drive away.

Annecy, Geneva, Lyon St-Exupéry and Lyon Bron airports are all within three hours drive.

Infrastructure

Ski Lift Capacity

The 29 ski lifts are able to uplift 53,000 skiers and snowboarders every hour.

Snow Making

Snow-making is available, on 100km of ski runs, with 395 snow cannons.

Season Dates

When is Val Thorens open?

 Opened : November 21, 2020.

 Closes : May 8, 2021.

Usual opening is late November, and usual closing is Early May.

NOTE:- Ski area, lift and piste opening is subject to Current Snow Conditions.

Piste Map

Val Thorens Piste Map
Val Thorens

COVID-19 / Coronavirus

We don't yet have specific details of the COVID-19 precautions being taken in Val Thorens, but they are likely to include most of the following :-

  • Face masks required on lifts, and in shops.
  • Social distancing in public areas.
  • Reduced lift capacity.
  • Extensive disinfection / sanitization.

French Ski Resort COVID-19 Measures describes further measures that may also be applied.

Visit the Val Thorens Tourist Office for the latest.

Talking about Val Thorens

Mentions in recent J2Ski News Items and Snow Reports from our users...

Aprés Ski

Highly regarded for its après ski options, Val Thorens has over 130 bars and restaurants to choose from, along with a sports centre and swimming pool and a cinema which shows films in English. You can also try the longest toboggan run in France, ice driving, snowmobiling or check out the bowling complex with pool hall.

About 70% of guests at the resort are non-French, with a good proportion of those being German or Dutch, thus helping to contribute to a lively atmosphere at venues. The Malaysia has a reputation for live music and there are several nightclubs.

History and Development

Val Thorens has continued to evolve since its opening in 1971.

It was one of the first ski areas to offer Wi-Fi internet access back in 2003.

Val Thorens