At an altitude of 2300 meters, Val Thorens ski resort France is considered to be the highest in Europe. Due to the altitude this purposely built ski in and ski out Ski Resort, pretty much guarantees snow as early as November (or earlier sometimes) and as late as May. Meaning it has one of the longest ski seasons in Europe.
Val Thorens ski resort provides something for everyone looking to have a fun packed ski holiday in France. It is great for families, for beginners and advanced skiers who are looking to create those fresh lines off piste. Not to mention any avid skiers and boarders chasing that first bit of snow at the start and end of the season.
Table of Contents
- Val Thorens Ski Resort
- Ski Runs & Pass Areas
- Ski for FREE in other Ski Resorts around the world
- Overview of the Val Thorens Ski Resort Area
- Zip line (La Tyrolienne)
- Ride down the Luge the Longest Toboggan Run in Europe
- How to get to Val Thorens from Geneva
- Top Tips for Val Thorens Ski Resort
- Is Val Thorens worth taking a ski holiday too?
- Other French Ski Resorts
Val Thorens Ski Resort
Val Thorens ski resort forms part of the 3 Vallees (or also known as the 3 Valleys) in France and is considered to be one of the biggest ski areas in the world. The ski area covers over 600klms of slopes that are interlinked across 8 Ski resorts in the French Alps, with some of them being renowned like Courchevel and Meribel ski resorts.
Having already been to the other two main resorts in the 3 Vallees before, it was only a question of time (and money) until I would get to experience Val Thorens Ski Resort and the all-important slopes and apres ski myself.
Fast forward a few years and I have now been twice to Val Thorens Ski Resort and it keeps getting better every time I go.
Ski Runs & Pass Areas
Val Thorens Passes
Ski passes are available for Val Thorens – Orelle Area, Belleville Valley Pass (Les Menuires, Val Thorens & Orelle) or for the 3 Vallees Area (Les Menuires, Saint Martin, Meribel, Courchevel, Val Thorens, La Tania, Orelle, Brides Les Bains).
Like with Les Menuires Ski Resort, you can also get different types of group passes Duo (2people), Tribu (3 People & more) and Family Pass ( 2 adults + 2 children (5 to 17 years old)). Both children under 5 years and Seniors over 75 years can ski for free.
Make sure you have the right travel insurance for hitting the ski slopes in the Alps. Compare the best holiday insurance for FREE
Ski for FREE in other Ski Resorts around the world
As of the 2017 season, the ‘3 Vallées SEASON Skipass holders’ have gone into an agreement with other Ski Resorts around the world to offer free lift passes for up to 3 consecutive days in the following Ski Resorts:
- Skiga Kogen (Japan)
- Mount Buller (Australia) (Where I learned to ski :-))
- La Parva & Valle Nevdo (Chili) &
- Vail Resorts (USA)
For SEASON Skipass holders of the above resorts, they are entitled to 3 consecutive days in one of the 3 Vallées resorts (Courchevel, La Tania, Méribel, Brides-les-Bains, Les Menuires, Saint Martin de Belleville, Val Thorens, Orelle).
If you are interested in discovering more of the 3 Vallees interlinked ski resorts Les Menuires Ski Resort is a great option. It is located next to Val Thorens Ski Resort and easy to ski to and from either ski resort.
Overview of the Val Thorens Ski Resort Area
- They are long and wide in most parts
- 150kms of Ski Slopes
- 83 (11 green / 34 blue / 29 red / 9 blacks )
- Plenty of on and off-piste skiing, especially after a fresh dump of snow
- Lots of places for kids to ski and there is also a familypark
- Most places are ski-in and ski-out
- 31 Ski Lifts
- 18 Free Wi-Fi Zones (So you can share your trip to VT on Social Media)
Read More – 6 Top Tips for Saving Money for a Ski Weekend
If it is a clear day and you are a confident skier, head up to one of the highest points Cime Caron (3200m) and take either the black or red slope back. The views are amazing all the way back to Val Thorens Ski Resort.
Zip line (La Tyrolienne)
I am not going to lie, my heart was pumping when I stepped onto the ledge of the zipline known as ‘The La Tyrolienne’. They say that the sensation is to be similar to an Eagle, hence the half man half eagle on the ticket. The Zipline is 1300m in length and the flight will take you 1 minute 30 seconds to complete, depending on your speed.
You start at an altitude higher than 3200m (10498ft) from the top of the Bouchet chairlift in Orelle, then you zipline over the Glacier du Bouchet at speeds up to 100kms an hour (like an eagle). Finishing at the top of the Funitel de Thorens in Val Thorens which is 3000 (9842ft).
The Ia Tyrolienne zipline can be stopped in case of high winds or bad snow conditions.
Taking your Skis/Snowboard on the Tyrolienne zipline
If you are skiing or snowboarding to the la Tyrolienne zipline, your gear will be strapped into a harness, with a section on your back. If you have a backpack, then that goes on the front of you. Once adjusted and comfortable you head outside to the takeoff point of the Zipline. There you will be in a sitting position ready for takeoff.
The la Tyrolienne zipline experience
The la Tyrolienne zipline was a very adrenalating, experience, once I took off it just got faster and faster, and then there was a slight drop. I quickly shut my eyes and then opened them again to take in the views, when l looked down everyone underneath me looked like ants.
When you watch the clip, you can even see me shaking my head saying l don’t want to go. It didn’t help that l am the first person of the day to do it because they had a break in the fog. However, I would do it again in a heartbeat!
Here are some good suggestions for day backpacks for skiing or snowboarding, all are reasonably priced.
Additional Information about La Tyrolienne
- Open hours – 10am and 4.45pm
- Duration – 1min 30sec’s of pure excitement
- Price– 52 € Per Adult
- You purchase the tickets on site at the top of the Bouchet – Orelle chair lift.
- Age Requirement – 8 to 88
- 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) and finishes at the top of the Thorens Funitel (3000m)
- Helmet – If you don’t have a helmet, one will be provided for you.
Ride down the Luge the Longest Toboggan Run in Europe
Looking for something to do off the slope that is exciting, then how about the Luge Toboggan run? A 6km (3.7 miles). It is considered to be the longest toboggan run in Europe. With all the twists and bends down the purposely built run, this activity is not only for the kids but for the adults too.
Where the Luge starts and finishes
The Luge toboggan is located at the foot of the Peclet glacier at an altitude of 3000mts. The Luge starts at the top of the Peclet Cable Car and finished in the centre of Val Thorens Ski Resort. Your ticket includes catching the chairlift up to the starting point of the toboggan, as well as your sledge. All you need to do is turn up with warm waterproof clothes.
- It is free for children between the age of 5 and 10 and under 1.25 m tall, riding with an adult (above 18).
Do the Luge toboggan in the evening
How about doing the Luge toboggan in the evening, so it doesn’t affect your skiing or snowboarding time. The toboggan run is open during the evenings from Monday to Friday at 4.45pm until 6pm.
Be aware that booking is mandatory and tickets will have to be purchased on the day and your toboggan will need to be picked up from the ticket office. Also, you will have to pick up your Toboggan before 5pm, otherwise, you cannot do the run.
Additional Information about the Luge
- Opening Hours– Mon to Fri from 12:15 am to 4:00 pm (Day)
- Sat to Sun from 10 am to 4 pm
- Mon to Fri from 4: 00 pm to 6:00 pm (Evening)
- Duration – 45 Minutes
- Price– Day 15.50 € Per Person (Day) and 23.50€ Per Person (Evening)
- What to bring – Helmets and gloves are COMPULSORY for everyone.
- Minimum Age – 5 and Above
- Start Point– Access is via the Péclet funitel.
- Only children over 10 years old and over 1.25 m tall are allowed to use a sled on their own.
- Another fun option for the family is Family Ice Driving
Accommodation in Val Thorens
With over 260million invested in diversifying the accommodation in Val Thorens Ski Resort over the last 6 years, there is definitely no shortage of different types of accommodation. You can even stay in an Igloo pod with a Finnish hot tub at one of the 5 Star hotels.
The best bit is that because it is a purposely built Ski Resort most of the accommodation is ski-in ski-out, which is definitely a bonus.
Alberta Hotel is a stylish modern ski-in and ski-out hotel, situated right on the main ski slope, near Val Thorens slalom stadium. The hotel has definitely taken advantage of the views with both the bar and restaurant overlooking the ski slopes. It was nice looking at the slopes, while enjoying my continental breakfast.
Most of the main chairlifts, cable chairs are only 100mts -200mts away from the hotel. All you need to do is go out the ski-locker room allocated at the bottom of the Alberta Hotel and ski down.
Our modern room was cosy with a balcony and direct views of the Val Thorens ski slope. It actually felt like we were on the ski slope from the bed, we were that close. I forgot a couple of times to close the blinds when I was getting changed and remember that the skiers outside could see. I did love waking up with the views of the ski slopes and the ice wall that was in the distance.
The room also had good Free-Wifi that worked really well, power outlets and a small desk, this is always a bonus when travelling.
Skiing back to your hotel
I think the best way back to the hotel is to take the easy blur run Bleuets. However, you will need to pick up a bit of speed at the end, so you can ski straight up to the hotel ski-locker room door.
How to get to Val Thorens from Geneva
The closest international airports to Val Thorens Ski Resort are Chambery, Lyon, Geneva and Grenoble. The best way to get to Val Thorens are either via bus, car or transfer, as there are no direct trains. Beware that Geneva Airport has three arrivals areas, two on the Swiss side and one on the French side.
How about these suggestions for ski boot bags that you should be able to use as carry on for your flight.
⇒ If you like to get a FREE, easy and fast comparison of flights, then try out Skyscanner’s flight comparison site.
Catching the Bus from Geneva airport
My husband took the local ski bus Altibus which takes around 3 and a half hrs (including the stopover to change) from Geneva Aiport. You can get this bus from both Chambery and Lyon airport as well.
If you do take the Altibus for your return on a Saturday or Sunday, you will need to confirm your return ticket 48 hours in advance via phone or at the ticket counter located in Val Thorens Ski Resort bus station.
Transfer and car hire
Beware it is really expensive to organise private transfer to Val Thorens Ski Resort when you are not in a group. If you have booked a package deal check to make sure the company have organised a transfer for you.
If you are comfortable driving in Europe and the snow, look at hiring a car and splitting the costs. You can get a FREE, easy and fast comparison of hiring a car, then try out Skyscanner’s car comparison site.
La Folie Douce – Val Thorens Ski Resort
Top Tips for Val Thorens Ski Resort
- Check out the new blue slope that has been added to the Plein Sud sector, called La Corniche. This would be great for a group of mixed levels or families. It is also a great way to get back from the other resorts in the 3 Vallees.
- Experience the very lively La Folie Douce at the end of the day at least once. Even if you are not into Apres ski, you can stand outside and take in the atmosphere to see.
- Check with the airline that you are travelling with because some of them allow you to check your skis on the plane for free.
- If you can, try to get up for the first lift of the morning and ski on the glaciers. The view is amazing and the runs down are great especially when the snow is fresh. Best spots at the Cime Caron, Col De Rosael or the Col De Thorens
- Head over to Visit the other resorts Les Menuires Ski Resort which can do if you have a Belleville Valley Pass or 3 Vallees ski pass.
- You can never have too much Snow Gear
Is Val Thorens worth taking a ski holiday too?
Personally, I think Val Thorens Ski Resort is worth going to on a ski holiday and l would go back again. It is an amazing place, good for both families and groups and super easy to get around.
Being the highest resort, there is plenty of snow even late into the season. When the weather gets a little unpredictable at that attitude, there are plenty of restaurants and bars to choose from.
Next time, I would go for a week, as I found it a long way to go for a few days. This is not a problem because there are a lot of areas to ski on and off the piste, especially with the chairlift linking Les Menuires Ski Resort. Not to mention it is already part of one of the biggest ski areas in Europe at 600klms.
Other French Ski Resorts
If you are interested in discovering other Ski Resorts in France, feel free to read my following ski articles. All are great options for a French ski holiday with either family or friends.
La Clusaz Ski Resort – Annecy is only 30mins away
Val d’Isère Ski Resort – Famous for apres ski and fine dining
Les Gets – Within an hour transfer from Geneva airport
Chatel – You can ski between France and Switzerland as it is on the border
Thank you for reading this article about Val Thorens Ski Resort France. I hope it helped you to decide on things to do while on your ski holiday to Val Thorens.
Have you been to Val Thorens Ski Resort France or the 3 Vallees area before? I would love to hear your experiences in the comments below.
Disclaimer: Even though I was there as a guest of the Val Thorens tourist office. All views are my own and based on my own experience.