At an altitude of 2300 meters, Val Thorens ski resort in 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, 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.
Val Thorens in Winter
Val Thorens ski resort forms part of the famous 3 Vallees (also known as the 3 Valleys) in France. It is one of the biggest ski areas in the world. The ski area covers over 600klms 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 (2 people), 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.
Cable car connecting Orelle – Val Thorens
Two cable cars will be introduced this season called the “Orelle” and “TC Orelle-Caron” replacing the “3 Vallees Express” They will give direct access between Orelle and Val Thorens by cable car, skiing or foot. One of the other cool things is that the top of the Cime Caron is at 3200 meters, giving you 360 degree views of the stunning Alps.
It should take you 20 minutes from Orelle to Cime Caron and Orelle to Val Thorens 40 minutes. This means it gives visitors a large range in options for restaurants, bars, activities, and accommodations to choose from while in the 3 Valleés.
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 is 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
Make sure to have the right sports insurance for your next ski holiday, check directly here for a free quote.
Tips on where to ski in Val Thorens
On a clear day, 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.
Check out the blue slope apart of the Plein Sud sector, called La Corniche. It is a great slope for groups of mixed levels and for families. It is also a great way to get back from the other resorts in the 3 Vallees.
If you can, try to get up for the first lift of the morning and ski on the glaciers. The views are amazing and the runs down are great especially when the snow is fresh. The best spots for early morning skiing are the Cime Caron, Col De Rosael, or the Col De Thorens
Things to do in winter in Val Thorens
There are lots of amazing activities that you can do during the winter in Val Thorens, other than skiing. You can try your hand at zipline, ice-karting with friends, or even Toboggan with family. The best bit is most of these activities are offered all day, so you don’t have to miss out on Skiing.
⇒ Here are some good suggestions for day backpacks for skiing or snowboarding, all are reasonably priced.
Fly along the Bee Double Zip Line
New for the winter season is the adrenaline activity La Bee a double zipline that you can enjoy with ski friends. Suspended 65m in the air, you can race alongside each other down an 1800m zipline through stunning scenery. Before finishing up in the heart of the Val Thorens village.
Tickets are only 35€ pp which can be easily purchased from automatic terminals at the start of the zip line. Just like the Zipline in Chatel France and Pays de Gex, this activity is available in both the winter and summer months. In the winter season, you’ll feel as though you are flying through the snowy mountaintops. During the summer you’ll be awed by the lush greenery through the mountains.
Additional Information about La Bee Flying
- Open hours; Daily from 9.45 am – 4 pm
- Min Height; 1.40 meters
- Min Age; 14 years old
Looking for things to do to get your heart running and want to try ziplining at a high altitude then add Bouchet to your winter activity. They say that the sensation is to be similar to being an Eagle flying. 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, before ziplining 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).
Tickets are €55 and they can be purchased from the top of the Bouchet – Orelle chair lift, where the zipline starts. If you are skiing or snowboarding, your gear will be strapped into a harness on your back. As for your helmet, one will be provided if you don’t have one already with you.
The Ia Tyrolienne zipline can be stopped in case of high winds or bad snow conditions.
Experiencing the Bouchet zipline
Experiencing Bouch was scary and fun all at the same time and when you watch the clip, you can even see me shaking my head saying no. Once I took off there was a slight drop over the edge before it got faster and faster. The views were amazing and when l looked down everyone underneath me looked like ants. I would definitely do it again in a heartbeat!
Bouchet Zipline additional Information
- Open hours – 10 am and 4.45 pm
- Duration – 1min 30sec’s of pure excitement
- Age Requirement – 8 to 88
- Max Height – 250 m
Ride down the Cosmoje Toboggan Run
Looking for something to do off the slope that is exciting for everyone is the Cosmoje Toboggan run. A purposely built 6km (3.7 miles) run that has lots of twists and bends to enjoy. This none-ski activity is not only for the family but also for groups too.
The Cosmoje toboggan is located at the foot of the Peclet glacier at an altitude of 3000mts. It starts at the top of the Peclet Cable Car and finishes in the centre of Val Thorens making it easy to get back. Your ticket includes catching the chairlift up to the starting point, as well as your sled. All you need to do is turn up with warm waterproof clothes.
Do the Cosmoje toboggan in the evening
How about doing the Comsojet toboggan in the evening, so it doesn’t affect your skiing or snowboarding time. It is a fantastic activity to do at the end of the day before you have dinner. The evening toboggan runs every Monday to Friday during winter from 4.45 pm until 6 pm.
For the evening toboggan run, tickets must be purchased during the day, when the office is open. You also will need to pick up your sled and equipment before 5 pm from Chalet Cosmojet.
Helmets and gloves are COMPULSORY for everyone, so, please make sure to take them with you.
Additional Information about the Luge
- 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 (Evening run must be booked in advance)
- Duration – 45 Minutes
- Price– Day 17.30 € Per Person (Day) and 23.50€ Per Person (Evening)
- Free for children between the age of 5 and 9 when on an adult’s sled.
Learn to Ice Driving
Want to take a break from skiing and snowboarding but still want to get heart racing, then try Ice driving in Subaru Impreza. You can either learn how to drive on ice or you can take an exhilarating ride with a professional around the ice circuit. From 16 years old and up, you can experience this fantastic experience.
Driving lessons can be done through a 4-module driving school or by taking private lessons on ice. If you want to take a ride with a professional is known as ‘baptism of piloting’, where you are strapped in and taken for a series of 5 exhilarating on the circuit.
- Open hours; Dec-Jan: 8 am-7 pm and Feb-Mar: 8 am – 7.30 pm
- Duration; 20 minutes
Try Ice Karting
If you love go-karting then you definitely have to try ice karting, which creates a whole leave of different sensations. The Alain Prost circuit is a purposely built ice track that is 225m long and 5 meters wide. This is one of the many activities that families and groups can do in Val Thorens with guests as young as 7 being able to join.
You are guaranteed to have a lot of fun sliding around on the ice with a go-kart and racing each other. Ice karting costs 50 euros pp and is open daily during winter.
Make sure to take your ski gloves with you for the ice karting to keep out the cold. I wear Leki women’s ski gloves they are a little pricey but fantastic and of great quality.
- Open hours; Dec-Jan: 8 am-7 pm and Feb-Mar: 8 am – 7.30 pm
- Duration; 20 minutes
Val Thorens Accommodation
As Val Thorens is a purposely built Ski Resort most of the accommodation and hotels are ski-in ski-out. Even a lot of the chalets and privately owned apartments that you can rent have close access to the slopes. There is definitely no shortage of different types of accommodation and hotels available in Val Thorens village.
If you want to expand your options for places to stay, think about hotels or chalets in either Les Menuires or Orelle. Both ski resorts can access Val Thorens ski area easily via chairlift.
Here are just a few suggestions of accommodation and hotels available in Val Thorens during winter.
Val Thorens Ski-in Ski-out accommodation Alberta Hotel
Alberta Hotel is a stylish modern ski-in and ski-out hotel, situated right on the main ski slope of Val Thorens. Most of the main chairlifts, cable chairs are only 100mts -200mts away, which you ski to from the hotel. In the afternoon, you take the easy Bleuets slope back to Alberta Hotel.
The hotel Rooms
Our modern room was cosy with a balcony directly on the ski slope which was really cool and you could see the ice wall. I forgot a couple of times to close the blinds when getting changed and remember that the skiers could see. The room also had good Free-Wifi that worked well in the room and a small desk. As well as a small cupboard for your ski gear and bathroom.
Le Fitz Roy a luxury Hotel in Val Thorens.
Le Fitz Roy is a luxury 5-star hotel located directly on the slopes of Val Thorens. It has been recently renovated to create a new reception, gym, ski room, and wine cellar. They have also added another restaurant and a living room that gives you direct access to the slopes. Making the Le Fitz Roy the perfect choice in regards to a luxury ski in ski out accommodation.
Check availability and prices here for Le Fitz Roy hotel winter season
Sleep in an Igloo for a unique accommodation experience in Val Thorens
Want to try a unique accommodation experience in Val Thorens during the winter. Then spend a night sleeping on ice in an Igloo at the Igloo Village. You will be on an animal skin blanket in a duvet specially designed for polar exhibitions. This is to keep you warm in the 0 degrees average temperature in the Igloo. An experience can be had at the Ice-hotel in Kiruna Sweden.
The Igloo rooms can sleep two, three, or 4 people and offers dinner and breakfast with your overnight stay. Someone from the hotel team will accompany you for the 15-minute walk to the Igloo Village. On arrival, indulge in a traditional fondue, learn about the Igloo Village before a nightcap in the bar and retire to your igloo.
Make sure to take your thermal underwear to sleep in and keep warm.
Have a drink or fondue at the Igloo Village
You can still visit the Igloo Village in Val Thorens for a drink and dinner if you don’t want to stay. This mini ice hotel has an ice bar, restaurant, and igloo rooms and new for this season is an ice cave. Every year before the Igloo village is built and sculpted from snow and ice from scratch to represent a different theme.
The Ice Bar is open daily from 10 am -5 pm during the winter season in Val Thorens and anyone is welcome. Making it a great spot to take a break from skiing and can be accessed easily by skiers and non-skiers. On Wednesday nights the restaurant offers either a frosty aperitif or a cheese fondue, using local cheeses.
Val Thorens lively Après ski scene
Val Thorens has a very lively après-ski scene and nightlife that attracts people endlessly every winter season. What better way to end the day than having drinks, singing along to classics, and dancing on the tables while taking in the atmosphere. This is a great thing to do in Val Thorens for everyone in a group, who are skiers and non-skiers.
Here are some of the best après-ski bars in Val Thorens that are worth a visit
La Folie Douce Val thorens Apres ski
La Folie Douce is one of the most popular après-ski bars in Val Thorens and the whole of the 3 Vallees. Located at the top of Pionniers and Pleins Sud high speed chairlift it’s super easy to get to from the centre of the resort. La Folie Douce is known for its ambience, DJs, sax players, and its colorful dancers.
The only downside I think is being charged to use the toilet, especially considering it is a pricey place to drink.
One of the best bars in Val Thorens, Tango
Tango is a cool bar with live music that offers a happy hour and stunning views of the Alps. It is located at the Langley Hotel in the heart of the resort and not far from the slopes. This is a great bar if you are looking to watch the sunset with drinks in a relaxing atmosphere.
I never got a chance to make it to this bar but I heard that drinks are reasonably priced. That’s why I added to my suggestion of the best bars in Val Thorens.
How to get to Val Thorens from Geneva
The best Airport to get to Val Thorens
The closest and best airport to get to Val Thorens is Geneva, which offers the largest selection of international flights. Other options are Chambery, Lyon, and Grenoble but they are smaller, and flights are not as regular meaning they may cost more. The best way to get from Geneva to Val Thorens during winter are either via bus, car or transfer, as there are no direct trains.
Most major airlines fly into Geneva and should be able to take your ski boot bags as carry on for your flight. From the UK, airlines like SwissAir and EasyJet have multi direct flights a day, which you can check for free here.
Beware that Geneva Airport has three arrivals areas, two on the Swiss side and one on the French side.
Catching the Bus from Geneva airport
The local ski bus Altibus from Geneva Airport, takes around 3 and a half hrs, including the stopover and change. You can get this bus from both Chambery and Lyon airports to Val Thorens. 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.
Getting a transfer from Geneva to Val Thorens
Private transfers from Geneva to Val Thorens can be expensive. If there are two of you, I would suggest going in a shared transfer as there is a lot on offer from Geneva. It is also probably the most convenient way to get to Val Thorens Ski Resort. In a group then I would consider doing a private transfer and splitting the bill. If you have booked a package deal transfers are usually included in your ski holiday.
Book a private transfer direct from Geneva Airport to Val Thorens
Driving or hiring a car to Val Thorens
If you are comfortable driving in the snow and there is a group of you travelling together. Then I suggest hiring a car for Val Thorens from Gevena and splitting the costs. Val Thorens has underground public parking that is available at a fee if your accommodation does not offer it.
Is Val Thorens worth it in winter for a skiing holiday?
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.
It is worth going for a week to Val Thorens
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
- 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’s transfer from Geneva airport
Make sure to have the right insurance for your winter holiday in Val Thorens, check here for a free quote.
Thank you for reading this article about Val Thorens, it is a fantastic ski resort for a winter holiday. I hope I was able to help you to decide on the top things to do and where to stay in Val Thorens. If you want to discover even more amazing activities off the slopes then there is a more in-depth guide on top non-ski experiences in Val Thorens.
Have you been to Val Thorens Ski Resort or the 3 Vallées in winter before? I would love to hear about your experiences or anything else I can add.
If you liked this Guide on Val Thorens, please, share!
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.