Photo: Ot Val Thorens/ C. Cattin
The Ultimate Guide to Val Thorens
Issue 36 / 08 May 2020

The Ultimate Guide to Val Thorens

Discover all you need to know about the high-altitude resort of Val Thorens in the 3 Valleys.

Alicia Bryan

Where is Val Thorens?

Located at the highest point of Les Trois Vallées, Val Thorens is one of the highest altitude resorts in Europe, guaranteeing large quantities of snow throughout the season. Linked with Courchevel, Méribel and Les Menuires, this beautiful ski station provides skiers with over 600 km of pistes to explore.

At just 1 hour 45 minutes from Chambéry Airport, Val Thorens is fairly new to the ski scene having been purpose-built in 1969 by the ambitious property developer and contractor Pierre Schnebelen. With the first three drag lifts opening on 18th December 1971, today Val Thorens has become one of the most successful ski resorts in the Alps open from mid-November to early May.

Top Events in Val Thorens

A much-anticipated event for both locals and holidaymakers alike, the Grande Prèmiere marks the start of the winter season in Val Thorens with the opportunity to test a variety of skis, snowboards and accessories for the up and coming ski season.

In December, Val Thorens welcomes the Andros Trophy, France’s most prestigious ice-racing series. This exciting event was established in 1990 and attracts some of the best drivers, car manufacturers and petrol heads from around the world. For fans of skiing, the month of December also sees the best ski cross competitors in the world descend on Val Thorens for the Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup. A freestyle skiing competition, this event is made up of six races taking place across four venues within 17 days.

In February, the Tournoi des 6 Stations rugby tournament sees Val Thorens along with the surrounding stations in the 3 Valleys compete in short games of Sevens Rugby on snow. Music lovers can enjoy Festival’Tho, an electro festival held over three days at the end of March and the Jazz à Val Thorens Festival, a delightful music programme inspired by blues, hip-hop and funk with 17 concerts taking place throughout the resort over three days in April.

Where to Eat & Drink in Val Thorens

With a large variety of dining establishments to choose from, you will certainly never go hungry in Val Thorens. For exceptional food and breathtaking views, a visit to Chez Pépé Nicolas is a must. This elegant restaurant can be found on the piste between Val Thorens and Menuires providing guests with outstanding views of the Masse summit. Homemade dishes on the Savoie menu have a modern twist and are prepared with locally sourced produce.

Set on the snow front, make a reservation if you wish to dine at Au Mazot. A typical Savoyard restaurant with an intimate atmosphere and rustic wooden decor, Au Mazot serves fresh and regional products such as succulent lamb shank and chocolate fondant dessert.

For a Michelin-starred treat, try the hotel Pashmina’s, Les Explorateurs, where chef Josselin Jean Blanc invites you an incredible culinary odyssey in a decor inspired by great mountaineering expeditions.

For a lively atmosphere, Steakhouse Club 72 in the centre of Val Thorens provides live music every evening with late serving until 11 pm, so enjoy a cocktail or two and finish the night with a decadent dessert. If you are looking to relax after a day on the slopes, Alpen Art has a cosy atmosphere with incredible cappuccinos and homemade desserts.

Famous for its après ski, Val Thorens has a vast number of bars and clubs to offer with the main night scene found on the Rue de Gebroulaz. If you’re looking for the perfect spot to party above the resort, La Folie Douce is a popular choice as is the 360 bar on the main home run. Both Klub Summit and Malaysia in town are great venues in which to dance the night away.

Where to Stay in Val Thorens

Built on mountain slopes, the majority of Val Thoren’s properties provide guests with outstanding valley views. Ideal for those wanting a property close to the slopes, Chalet La Datcha is no exception with a private south-facing terrace overlooking onto both the Glacier de Péclet and Cime de Caron Mountain. With large spa facilities including an indoor jacuzzi, pool and massage rooms, this luxury chalet also has a home cinema and amusement arcade complete with foosball and a Formula 1 simulator.

Situated at the top of Val Thorens along with Chalet Orlov and Cullinan, it comes as no surprise that Chalet Golden Jubilee also provides guests with magnificent mountain views. Built into the mountainside from natural materials including volcanic stones and larch, this luxury chalet is able to accommodate 12 guests across several bedrooms which also have south-facing balconies. Following a long day on the slopes, the chalet’s private spa area is a welcome sight complete with a private indoor pool and Jacuzzi, while the spacious open plan living and dining area is the perfect spot to come together for an aperitif before dinner.

For further information on where to stay take a look at our collection of luxury chalets in Val Thorens.

Winter in Val Thorens

With an altitude reaching 3,230m, as well as one of the fastest lift systems in the world, Val Thorens is extremely popular with skiers across the globe. Part of the Three Vallées, this resort has something for every level of skier with plenty of terrain to be explored. For beginner skiers, Val Thorens has four carpet lifts with numerous blue runs to progress to, including the gentle Corniche run which leads to the bottom of the Péclat sector. Intermediates will love the local slopes full of exhilarating red runs with some steeper more challenging sections on Mauriennaise, while advanced skiers can really make the most of backcountry skiing and take on the steep descents on the Aiguille de Péclet.

Should you wish to try some alternative winter activities, Val Thorens also offers snow mountain biking and tobogganing, as well as ice climbing and ice driving for the adrenaline seekers of the group.

Summer in Val Thorens

Discover the French Alps in summer with everything from rafting to archery available in Val Thorens. For an adrenaline-fuelled day out, explore over 300 km of mountain bike trails or fly high above the resort with a course in paragliding. From Lac de Lou to Vanoise’s Glaciers, lovers of nature will revel in the Alpine hikes this resort has to offer with something suitable for every level.

When staying in Val Thorens, remember to pick up a multi-activity card to benefit from discounts on numerous summer activities including mini-golf, tennis and even ballroom dancing lessons!

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