Sitting at an altitude of 2300m, Val Thorens is not only the highest resort in The Three Valleys, but in the whole of Europe. Its height, and resulting snow reliability, plus links to the largest ski area in the world make it an extremely popular destination, and its reputation as a party town enhances its appeal further still.
As with all France’s high altitude resorts, Val Thorens is purpose built and is therefore not the prettiest, but if you can look beyond the concrete, it’s got a lot going for it.
The resort has an abundance of excellent pistes to suit all abilities including a massive beginner’s area near the base. The steeper slopes are higher up and there’s plenty there to keep more advanced riders occupied for hours… and that’s without even venturing into the rest of The Three Valleys! The area also has fantastic bowls and couloirs for those looking to head off piste. For the best of the untouched pow head over to the quieter ‘fourth valley’ of Orelle, although it is advisable to take a guide. The only downside to Val Thorens’ altitude is the inevitable lack of trees, which means that visibility can be bad when the weather closes in.
VT has improved their park facilities massively over the past few years and they now have one of the best parks in Europe. There are kickers to suit all abilities, a quarter pipe and loads of different jib features including pole jams, tyre jibs, street rails, boxes and whoops, and thanks to the resort’s altitude and extensive snow making facilities, it’s all up and running by early December.
The resort is also renowned for its party atmosphere and it all kicks off early on at the famous mountain bar, La Folie Douce (descendent of the original in Val d’Isère). By mid afternoon the terrace swarms with elated skiers and boarders who’ve been lured in off the slopes by the dance beats which resonate around the valley. When the lifts stop, the party comes to an abrupt end and the masses make their way shakily back down the hill to continue the fun in one of VT’s many bars and clubs. The Frog and Roast Beef and The Red Fox both have good happy hours from 4.30 – 6pm and are popular with the Brits, but there are loads more options is you’d prefer to party with a more pan-European crowd.
Val Thorens is also much more affordable than its neighbouring resorts of Courchevel and Meribel which makes it an even more appealing option for the average rider.
A snow-sure, affordable mountain playground that’s as much fun off the slopes as it is on… what’s not to like?!