Trois Vallées Resorts Winter Sports. Is Val Thorens One of the Best Places to Ski?
As mentioned in a previous article about Courchevel*, France’s 3 Valleys are the largest slope linked place in the World for sliding down snowy mountains at exciting speed on snowboard or ski.Val Thorens is only one of the winter holiday destinations within them. And what a destination it is.
The area is fourty three years old in 2016 and has been providing simply awesome holidays for millions of snow lovers every single season. Whether you are a young and single party loving creature, or a romantic couple, or even a young family there are some excellent memories to be made here.
Small Beginnings in Val Thorens
A similar age to the network it belongs to, the area was discovered as a place of interest in the 1960’s, just as cold weather sport was beginning to catch the attention of nearly everyone. It was decided a haven for tourists would be constructed here to attract more tourists to the region.After a bit of red tape and organisation, construction for an access road from the highway was completed in 1969, and 1971 saw the first openings of actual lifts in the town.
Property and leisure facilities were quick to follow, with a school for beginners, and a restaurant coming just 12 months later.Amazing fact. There was actually summer skiing available up here from the beginning, on the glacier next to the town. This continued all the way to the end of the 80’s, when melting and deteriorating visitor numbers led to the decision to switch to a winter ski only location. Did someone say global warming?
All the way to the present day developments and property have continued to be built here, and VT has grown in popularity and quality as a result.For example in 2004 one of the chefs in the resort became the youngest in France to receive a Michelin star, really showing what the food industry was capable of on the mountain.
The highest resort in Europe at 2300m, it continues to win awards and nominations every year due to the superb all round experience available for visitors. It has shown in the awards won over time. Some of the recent ones include best in World, best in France, most improved and best in Europe. A major advantage of the high altitude means that snow is pretty much guarenteed all season, which usually runs November to May.
Visiting Val Thorens Today
Nearly at the top of the Tarentaise Valley, the vibe here is very party orientated. If you love to après-ski, splash out and generally drink and be crazy this is where it’s at. Personally, I was in the Snowriders society at University and the volume of stupid stories you would hear from adventures here was unreal. So freshers week, at high altitude, with snow. Pretty much that. With the largest nightclub in the alps here too you will find many people with similar vibes in VT.It’s also great for people of all abilities on the slopes, which attracts many young families. With plenty of Green and Blue runs dotted about close to the amenities, and the more advanced of us taking lifts further up the mountain can find an ample number of reds and blacks to fight down also./
A fantastic positive about taking a holiday here? It’s almost entirely a ski to your door resort. You have the ability to stay on piste right up to the front door of your accommodation at the majority of places to stay here, which is a big bonus. Who wants to have to carry boards and equipment and take buses to the slopes after all?
Another fantastic advantage of a snowy holiday here; The 3 valleys pass. When you purchase one, it gives you access to the full network of slopes in this part of the alps so you are truly spoilt for choice as you fly over the mountains. At peak times these can cost more than €250 however so make sure you budget, as they are definitely worth it. Lift pass rates and information can be found at the skipass page.
The longest toboggan run in the whole of France is situated here. At about six kilometres it takes approx 8 minutes to ascend to the top! Going back down you are able to enjoy around 45 minutes of decent, brilliant for the kids. A price for a run is €14-15 and includes safety helmet in case you overdo it.
There are approximately forty bars, and more than sixty restaurants here. Far too many to go to in only one visit. Catering for all needs and price ranges, from fast food to à la carte Michelin Star dining. Hungry mid piste session? Do not fear. There are 11 eateries to take a break at on the slopes.
Val Thorens Accomodation
What are the options? I hear you cry out. Something for everyone really. From slope side chalet hotels with basic amenities to 5* luxurious spa accommodation. The best tip? Book early. In addition, look into private rental sites like Air Bnb. There are some superb deals to be had if you know where to look and when to be booked.As for getting there? Booking for a winter sports trip there are many ways to arrive including:
- – Air airport then coach or private transfers
- – Train and Coach
- – Fly and drive
- – Drive (road trip!)
Flying is most recommended as it takes the least amount of time. It is advised to arrange your flights early however, towards April time when they are released is good. This again keeps your costs low. Alternatively you can hop on rail & coach link to resort, but this takes a hell of a lot longer. If you don’t mind the lengthy commute it can save you money though.
If you do choose to get a coach transfer from an airport or train station don’t expect to be able to book it until close to the start of the season, as bookings usually are not released until around August. Same again with your equipment hire. If you have to hire, it is another thing you will not be able to arrange until near to the start of the period, so bear this in mind too.
*The recent article about Courchevel can be found here.
Where do you like enjoy a vacation when it is cold and miserable? Tweet me @1backpackerlife or get in touch on instagram with Lifetime Backpacker!