Val Thorens

Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe and often has the best snow. It’s a modern, stylish resort that is also a convenient base for exploring the rest of the 3 Valleys, the largest lift-linked ski area in the world.

Sitting pretty at the head of the Belleville Valley, at 2300m Val Thorens, or ‘VT‘, is the highest ski resort in Europe and many of its lifts ascend to over 3000m. For skiers and boarders this means there is often good skiing here even in a poor season, and good snow helps everyone, whether they are beginners learning how to turn, intermediates appreciating crisp firm pistes, or experts looking for well preserved powder.

The sheer extent of Les 3 Vallées is also breathtaking. The Belleville valley alone contains three connected ski-resorts (Val Thorens, Les Menuires and St Martin de Belleville), 8 peaks above 3000m, over 70 ski lifts and about 300km of pistes. Rather illogically, it also contains more than one valley, because it covers the slopes between Val Thorens and Orelle – the mysterious “Fourth Valley” which includes the highest point of the whole 3 Valleys lift network, the aptly named 3230m ‘Sommet des 3 Vallees’.

But the Belleville valley is just the start of the skiing available. Two lifts away from the centre of VT is the Col de la Chambre, from where you can ski all the way down to Meribel, 1400m below, if you don’t stop to sample some of that valley’s best skiing. And from there it only takes two more lifts to reach Courchevel.

And Val Thorens is more than just a base station. The resort is not exactly pretty – it’s too modern for that – but it’s compact, car-free (except for arrivals and departures), and has some good bars and restaurants and a wide choice of ski schools. It’s also surprisingly sunny: its slopes span outwards in all directions but the village mostly faces south and west. And it’s very convenient: almost all the accommodation is ski-in/ski-out.

The only problems are in poor weather; there are no trees nearby and a north-facing ridge above Val Thorens is no place to be in a blizzard. When a storm blows in, the top lifts often have to close. But you would be very unlucky if this happens frequently during your stay. A much more common experience is to step out of a lift at around 3000m, and gaze across the mountain tops, taking in one of the most beautiful views in the Alps.

Val Thorens Pros & Cons

+ High altitude and snow-sure
+ Good variety of local slopes
+ Easy access to the huge 3 Valleys area
+ Convenient ski-in, ski-out resort

– Bleak and cold in bad weather
– Lacks charm and authenticity
– Crowded if the other 3 Valleys are short of snow.



Val Thorens Resort Stats

Base: 2300m
Peak: 3230m
Vertical: 1830m
Ski Area: 600km
Longest Run: 12km
Beginner: 57% %
Intermediate: 33% %
Advanced: 10% %
Number of ski lifts: 156
Lift Capacity: 282,000
Ski Season Starts: Late Nov
Ski Season Ends: Early May
Nearest Airport: Chambery
Transfer Time: 1 hour 30 mins

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Val Thorens Resort Ratings

Ski Area star rating
Lift System star rating
Snowsure star rating
Beginner star rating
Intermediate star rating
Advanced star rating
Scenery star rating
Charm star rating
Apres Ski star rating
Other Activities star rating
Getting There star rating

Total Ratings = 11

Ratings sum = 42

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