Snow-capped roofs and mountains make up the backdrop of this magical wonderland, Val Thorens. You may think that skiing on the white-powered slopes is the only activity in the area but there are loads of other fun things to do if you feel like taking a break from your skis.
Cover Picture By: C.Ducruet
Non-Ski Activities in Val Thorens
Val Thorens is a charming ski resort located in the French Savoie region of the French Alps. Surrounded by six mountain peaks offering excellent skiing in France, it’s no surprise the area draws in many beginner and pro skiers from around the globe.
But that’s not all this stunning area has to offer, whether you are an adrenaline junkie or keen to indulge in some downtime, you’ll find what you’re looking for here. With an ever-growing list of non-skiing activities for both family and solo travel, check out the top non-ski activities that you shouldn’t miss in Val Thorens.
1. Bee Flying: Double Zip Line
You don’t want to miss this zip line through the mountains in Val Thorens as an adrenaline-inducing activity. The zip line is suspended 65m in the air and stretches for 1800m through stunning scenery. The double line means that you’ll be able to enjoy the ride alongside your travel buddy.
Tickets are 35€ and you can easily purchase them from the automatic terminals at the start of the zipline. The best bit is this activity is available in both the winter and summer months. During the winter you’ll feel as though you are flying through the snowy mountaintops and in summer you’ll be awed by the lush greenery.
Tip: If you are on a summer trip through France and want to see more lush surroundings, check out this guide on top things to do in Chatel, France.
Bee Flying Additional Information
- Open hours; Daily from 9.45 am – 4 pm
- Min Height; 1.40 meters
- Min Age; 14 years old
2. Bouchet Zip Line
Fancy flying even higher and on your own, then you have to try Bouchet Zipline. At a starting altitude of 3200m (10498ft), this zipline takes you flying across the Glacier du Bouchet at speeds up to 100kms an hour. Finishing up at the top of the Funitel de Thorens at 3000m (9842ft).
The sensation is similar to flying through the sky like a soaring Eagle and I could not agree more. The Bouchet Zipline is 1300m in length and should take you 1 minute and 30 seconds to complete, depending on your speed.
I am not going to lie, my heart was pumping when I stepped onto the ledge of the zipline. But once I got going, I had a fantastic time flying through the air above the skiers taking in the incredible views. This activity is definitely for all those adventurers looking for an adrenaline rush.
Tickets are €55 and they can be purchased from the top of the Bouchet – Orelle chair lift, where the zipline starts. The best bit is it can be done by anyone from 8 to 88 years old.
If you are Skiing/Snowboarding and want to go on Bouchet zipline
When skiing or snowboarding to the Bouchet zipline, your equipment will be strapped into a harness, with a section on your back, If you are taking a backpack, then it will go on the front of you on your lap. As for your helmet, one will be provided if you don’t have one already with you.
Bouchet Additional Information
- Open hours; 10 am and 4.45 pm
- Duration – 1min 30sec’s of pure excitement
- Weight Requirement – Minimum 40 kg / maximum 120 kg
- Max Height – 250 m
- Start and End Point– Top of the Bouchet chairlift in the Orelle resort (3230m)
3. Stay overnight in an Igloo
Spending a night in an Igloo is not only a unique activity but like no other Val Thorens accommodation experience. The beds are made of ice and the average temperature in the Igloo is 0 degrees Celsius. Don’t worry because you sleep on a large animal skin blanket in a specially made duvet designed for polar exhibitions.
You should not even feel the cold and it is a similar experience to when we stayed in the Ice-hotel in Kiruna Sweden. The Igloo Village can sleep up to eight people per night with rooms being either 2 people or 4 people. Included is a snowshoe walk with a mountain guide, dinner, 1/3 wine, as well as the overnight stay and breakfast in the morning.
You’ll be met on the slopes by one of the hotel team who will accompany you on a short walk to the Igloo Village. On arrival, indulge in a delicious traditional fondue and learn about the history of the Igloo Village and its construction. Enjoy a nightcap in the bar before retiring to your igloo for a night of rest on a bed made of ice. Wear your thermal underwear to keep warm while you sleep.
- Price includes; Overnight stay, cheese fondue dinner, and breakfast
- Duration; 7 pm to 8.30 am the next day
- Be sure to bring; warm clothes, gloves, and a beanie
4. Visit the Igloo Village
Don’t worry if you don’t want to stay in Igloo because you can still visit the Igloo Village. This mini-hotel has an ice bar, restaurant, rooms, and corridors all sculpted from scratch using snow and ice. There are a couple of activities you can do at the Igloo Village while in Val Thorens.
Every Wednesday night the restaurant offers either a frosty aperitif or a cheese fondue using local cheeses. The Ice Bar is open daily from 10 am -5 pm during winter and anyone is welcome. As it is positioned just off an easy green slope both skiers and none-skiers can access the Igloo Village easily.
Ice cave new for the season
A new addition to the Igloo Village for the winter season is a themed Ice Cave. The ice cave will be 150m big and will feature around 20 ice sculptures that relate to pirates. It will be €2 per person to access the cave. If you are looking for things to do that are family friendly in Val Thorens this is a great choice.
5. Ice Climb a frozen waterfall
What better way to get up close and personal with the icy slopes than to try your hands at ice climbing? This thrilling activity is sure to get your heart racing as you discover the frozen waterfall climb in Val Thorens.
Take a guided excursion with professionals who will teach you how to use ice axes and crampons for your climbing experience. You’ll be left in awe of the majestic and untouched mountain setting as you climb. On the way up, be sure to take a moment to soak in the unique panoramic view of Val Thorens’ resort town.
There are two main companies offering guided ice-climbing on the waterfalls during winter, Evolution 2 and Maison des guides. Both companies also offer a range of other winter activities in Val Thorens as well as skiing and guiding. You can even try your hand at ice climbing in Val d’lsere or Tignes with Maison des guides.
- Price includes; Equipment like ice-axes etc, plus snowshoes to the waterfall
- Duration; Roughly 4hrs
6. Ice Diving
Ice diving is certainly not an activity that you’d think of doing while on a winter holiday in Val Thorens. But it’s definitely something to consider especially if you love diving and unique experiences. This thrilling underwater activity is done in a drysuit, waterproof gloves, and masks to protect you from the icy water.
After snowshoeing to the Lac du Lou Lake, you will be completely equipped and given a safety briefing before free diving 45 minutes under the ice. Once under, be mesmerized by the light through the ice, while watching your own bubbles getting caught on the ice above.
This is a half day activity and is a great way to break up your skiing holiday in the French Alps. The minimum age is 16 yrs and prices range from €180 to €250 per person. This is done through Evolution 2, which also offers other activities in Val Thorens like Ice Climbing.
7. The Cosmojet Toboggan Run
Wondering what to do with children in Val Thorens, then add this none-ski activity Tobogganing to your list. The whole family can jump on a sled and head down the Cosmojet a 6km toboggan run. Have fun racing your friends and family around all the twists and turns while sliding down the mountain. The Toboggan run has recently been redesigned to enhance your experience by using a space theme.
The Cosmojet toboggan run starts at the foot of the Peclet glacier and finishes up in the centre of Val Thorens making it easy to walk back. Make sure to rug up as the Peclet glacier is at an altitude of 3000mts and it can get cold.
8. Evening Toboggan Run
Not only can you do the Toboggan run in the day but also in the evenings too. This is great if you want to do this with others who don’t want to miss out on skiing during the day. The evening toboggan run is open between 4.45 pm until 6 pm on Monday to Friday during winter.
Tickets for the evening toboggan will need to be purchased during the day at the ticket office. You will also need to pick up your sled and equipment before 5 pm at Chalet Cosmojet. I think this is a fun activity to do at the end of the day before you have dinner.
What you need to know about Kids wanting to do the Cosmojet Toboggan
Children from 5-9 years old can accompany an adult over 18yrs on the Cosmojet Toboggan sled and are free. Once the child is 10 yrs old they will need to be over 1.25 m tall before they are allowed to use a sled on their own. This is due to safety regulation reasons.
Make sure to take your ski gloves with you for both the day and evening Toboggan to keep warm. I wear Leki women’s ski gloves they are a little pricey but fantastic for kicking the cold out.
Cosmojet Toboggan Additional Information
- Open hours; Tues-Fri: 12.15 am-4 pm and Mon-Sun: 10 am – 4 pm
- Evening hours; Tues-Fri: 4.45 am- 6 pm
- Duration; 45 minutes
- Free for children between the age of 5 and 9 when on an adult’s sled.
- The ticket includes; catching the chairlift up to the starting point of the toboggan, as well as your sled.
9. Fat Bike Riding
One of the coolest things to do in Val Thorens is mountain biking on the snow with a Fat bike. The purposely built bike with electrical assistance will give you an exhilarating experience. You will start at an altitude of 3000m before hurtling down the mountain experiencing a 700m height drop.
ESF offers several types of Fat Bike experiences, afternoon sessions from 3 pm – 5 pm and night rides from 5 pm – 7 pm. They also offer fat bike riding with fondue evening held every Thursday. All experience is accompanied by a qualified instructor and the duration is 45 minutes. Except for the fondue evening which is a 4hr experience.
Fat Bike Riding Additional Information
- Open hours; Daily from 3 pm – 5 pm and 5 pm – 7 pm
- Duration; 45 minutes
- Price includes: Bike & protection gloves
10. Slide down on Snake Gliss
New for the winter season in Val Thorens is a fun activity called the Snake Gliss. It is where 10 sleds are tied to one another and you slide down the mountain together. Don’t worry though as there is a guide on the front sled to make sure you are safe. This is similar to a Val Thorens toboggan activity; the only difference is that you are attached to others as opposed to riding down solo.
This is a great way for large groups or families from the age of 7 and up to enjoy some fun on the slopes. Note that you do need to be physically fit for this activity as the snake gliss catapults into a rapid descent down the mountain. This is a great activity to enjoy after skiing and only costs €30 to join in the winter fun.
Snake Gliss Additional Information
- Open hours; Mon-Fri at 5 pm
- Duration; 45 minutes
- Max; There are only 40 spots available per week during winter
11. Paragliding over Val Thorens
One of the activities that I do recommend in Val Thorens during winter is tandem paragliding on skis. It is such an amazing experience and a wonderful way to see Val Thorens and 3 Vallees from a different angle. If you have tandem paraglided before you know that it is thrilling, scary, and exciting all at the same time.
The main difference in winter is that you are taking off and landing with your skis on the snow. You will depart from 3000m, taking in stunning views before descending to 650m and landing on your skis, and gliding along. Taking off on skis is much easier than trying to run and take off with a parachute, I know because I have tried it in both winter and summer.
I did a Tandem Paraglide in La Clusaz during winter and absolutely loved every minute of it. I personally think this is one of the top things to do in the Val Thoren ski resort. There are several companies that offer Tandem Paraglide, which you check out on the Val Thorens Tourism site.
Check beforehand if you can take your GoPro, as some companies don’t allow it.
- Duration – 15-30 mins depending on wind
- Getting there; You will arrive at your departure points via chairlift.
- Price; from €80 – €100 Per person
12. Go-Karting on Ice
One of the many activities that families and groups can do in Val Thorens is ice karting. The Alain Prost circuit is a 225m long and 5 meters wide ice track built for fun. You are bound to make loads of memories as you get used to the sensation of sliding around on the ice.
Guests as young as 7 years old are able to join in on the ice karting which costs 50 euros pp and is open daily during winter. Ice karting is a lot of fun and makes winter snow holidays for non-skiers worth it in Val Thorens.
- Open hours; Dec-Jan: 8 am-7 pm and Feb-Mar: 8 am – 7.30 pm
- Duration; 20 minutes
13. Ice Driving
Another activity to get the heart racing, slide, and glide on the Alain Prost Ice Circuit is Ice driving. You can learn how to drive on the ice with a professional or take an exhilarating ride with one. From 16 years old and up, you can experience this fantastic experience.
There are various driving lessons on offer, you can do a 4-module driving school or private lessons on ice. If you are feeling brave, you can try what the school calls, ‘baptism of piloting’, where you take the passenger seat and enjoy a series of 5 exhilarating tours aboard a Subaru Impreza.
This is also a great activity to do if you are skiing for a week and want to take a break from the slopes.
- Open hours; Dec-Jan: 8 am-7 pm and Feb-Mar: 8 am – 7.30 pm
- Duration; 20 minutes
Wellness activities in Val Thorens
How about doing one of the many Wellness activities that are on offer in Val Thorens during winter. Wellness activities are not only great for the body but also for the soul and can connect you to nature.
14. Yoga Class Outside in the Fresh Air
There is no better way to start (or end) the day than with a yoga session, it’s not just good for the soul but for your body too. And in Val Thorens, you can do this with the snowy peaks surrounding you. Breathe in the crisp fresh air as you are guided through breath work, meditation and movement.
Yoga connects the mind and body through movement and has many health and mental benefits. If you are hitting the slopes on your skis this is a great way to stretch and release any muscular tension. It also helps you better withstand impacts and prevent injury while skiing or snowboarding.
Claire Bernier a yoga teacher offers both group and private sessions in Val Thorens.
15. Try One of the Wellness Spas
A Val Thorens winter holiday isn’t complete without a pamper session or two at a Wellness Spa. Whether you are relaxing in the alps or spending your days hitting the slopes, adding a visit to one of them should be high up on your list of the best things to do in France.
There are a variety of wellness spas in Val Thorens that offer a special skier’s package in winter. Which usually includes a massage to make you feel rejuvenated, plus use of the spa’s facilities to relax. The Wellness Spa also offers guest passes to use the facilities, like the swimming pools, jacuzzis, and steam rooms. What’s a better way to end your day than being pampered?
⇒ Remember don’t forget to take your swimwear
Here are some of the Wellness Spa that offer these services;
- Spa By L’Occitane – Hotel Le Pashmina
- Altapura Spa Pure Altitude – Hotel Altapura
- Le Spa Du Koh – I Nor
Other related winter activities ideas in Val Thorens
Here are just a few other related things you can do in Val Thorens during the winter season, like the snowmobile or even the dog sleds. I also suggest checking out the activities offered in Les Menuires in the 3 Valleés. Not only is it the neighbouring resort but it is super easy to get to for skiers and non-skiers.
- Sled dogs
- Apré ski
- Outdoor escape game
- Laser game in the P1 underground parking garage
- Ice Skating
- Paramotoring flight
⇒ Make sure to have the right winter insurance for your activities in Val Thorens, check here for a free quote.
Cancellation of non-ski activities in Val Thorens
Being one of the highest ski resorts in Europe at an altitude of 2300 meters, Val Thorens can have unpredictable weather. This means that the non-ski activities in and around Val Thorens during winter can sometimes be cancelled. This can be anything from high winds or bad snow conditions like whiteouts, so please check before heading to your activity.
This will save any disappointment !!
Discover the ski runs, best pubs, and accommodation and top things to do and tips in our winter guide on Val Thorens.
Thank you for reading this article on Top Non-Ski Activities You Shouldn’t Miss in Val Thorens. You don’t have to be a skier or snowboarder to enjoy going to a ski resort for a winter holiday.
There really are so many amazing things you can do, plus all the yummy restaurants to try across the 3 Valleés.
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Disclaimer: Some of the pictures have been provided by the Val Thorens & 3 Valleés tourist office.