What more could you ask for?
As mentioned in another post Val Thorens is a fantastic holiday destination in the 3 valleys area of the French Alps. One of the most popular places for young party animals over the winter season it’s a spectacular experience.
The area opened for tourism around forty years ago after a French Engineer, Pierre Schneblen saw the location as ideal for winter sports. Ever since the town and pistes have seen continuous, ongoing upgrades to property, lifts and runs, making it one of the most amazing places to spend a holiday in the cold months today.
One of the highest altitude resorts in Europe (you certainly feel it up here) means that the place has some top class mountain views, whilst also leaving you breathless at times. With nearly all of the slopes above 2,000m high, you feel like you are standing on the shoulders of a huge natural giant when you come here, the views are massively overwhelming and take even more of your breath away.
It has all you can ask for in terms of slopes too. Part of the Trois Vallees network, you can access around six hundred kilometres of piste from here. With slopes for all styles and levels of skier or snowboarder ready for action. Within the resort area is a superb beginners section with several green and blues available. The higher you go, the more choices you have. Reds and Blacks are dotted close to the town too but further up the mountain. A scary looking mogul run lies in full view of onlookers for those who dare too.
The awards prove how good it actually is too. in 2013 it won a full catalogue of them:
– Most Improved European Resort at the World Snow Awards
– Best in Europe
– Best in France
– Best in World
Our long travel to the resort was from Liverpool University. Chosing to go by coach is definitely not recommended! Regardless, this allowed for five days of skiing, and a 3 Valleys pass gave access to the countless runs across the region from Courchevel right over to Orelle. At an extra £50 for the week it was well worth it.Taking note now? You should be. This place is absolutely amazing.
As you can see from the map Les 3 Vallées is one of the biggest winter sports areas in the World.
From day one you are in absolute awe at how epic this place actually is. Staying in basic accomodation, Les Temples Du Soleil, a large 2* hotel with ski in/out access to the slopes was the choice.
Certain sacrifices were made as a result of this. For example, bit of a nightmare when you have to carry your skis up 12 flights of stairs because the lift is not working. For a 2* though it was impressive. Apart from the obvious “clean your own mess” rule the facilities were up to scratch. There is a kitchenette with dishwasher and en-suite and that allows basic needs to be satisfied. After all, the time spent in the room is only for sleeping, eating, pre-drinking etc anyway!
Just to mention, there is certainly more upmarket accommodation available in Val Thorens. In fact, there is somewhere to stay for pretty much everyone. Unless you don’t like heights, or can’t cope with snow.
The Hotel also had it’s own supermarket, 8 a Huit, 8 ’till 8 I presume. However it never seemed to be open in the afternoon, so the name lies a bit. Still a great place to get your baguettes for the day and a few croissants for a continental brekky though.
If you decide to travel to a resort like this I would recommend stopping at a supermarket at the bottom of the mountain first. Prices for food and booze are hiked up on the mountain so it is good to stock up in advance if you can. There’s a Super U on the main road just before you start the climb where cheap food and drink were plenty. You can buy bottles of cheap champagne for around 2€ at Super U which cost more than three or four times the price on the hill.
The skiing conditions? Perfect. The people? lovely. Most importantly, the Apres-ski? well. Being on a student holiday is a super opportunity to take advantage of the party life in Val-T and you will definitely not be disappointed! Highlights of what was around was a bar called Down Under, and the large club Malaysia which got busy later on in the night. Again student advice coming out here but drinks are way expensive for those on a budget. Hit a cheap bottle of delightful French champagne or wine before you go out to avoid the crazy prices. Watch yourself though, the high altitude may catch you out and make you drunk quicker than you would think. Some great nights out are to be had though, losing my fancy dress one night to a thieving rival Uni student was particularly funny, and cold.
The only problem you will face? Going back as soon as you can becomes one of your priorities. Every penny and minute you spend getting to this place is worth it. One of the brilliant holidays of life!The holiday with ski hire, lift pass, accommodation and travel came to just over £500 altogether with my University society. It is sensible to budget a fair bit more for you non-students, but corners can be cut. For example cheap accommodation is up for grabs on Air Bnb, and if flights are booked at the right time, April or May for the winter months, you can get a bargain.
Which is your favourite resort you’ve been to? Tweet me @1backpackerlife or comment below!