You are here: Home | Europe | France | Resort Guide: Val Thorens
Resort Guide: Val Thorens
February 9th 2021 | By Matthew Williams
As Europe’s highest ski resort, Val Thorens has one of the longest ski seasons and some of the best snow, so you have made an excellent choice! In the guide below we will explore the resort, showing you what you can expect from the ski slopes to the accommodation on offer. We have also included some tips on travelling to the resort to ensure you have all the information you need to plan your trip to Val Thorens.
Val Thorens - What to expect
Not only is Val Thorens Europe’s highest ski resort at 2300m, it is also part of the Three Valleys, the world’s largest interlinked ski area!
This means that visitors to lofty Val Thorens can enjoy snow-sure slopes from the end of November until May and have easy access not just to Val Thorens, but the resorts of Courchevel and Méribel too.
In terms of facilities, you will find everything you could need at this resort. While Val Thorens is a purpose-built resort, it has been developed to fit its environment and has a lively apres-ski scene and is popular with students and families alike.
Most accommodation is either hotels or self-catered apartments and is split across the resorts three villages, Les Menuires, Val Thorens and Saint Martin de Belleville. More on this below.
Something for everyone – The slopes
With access to 319 pistes, 200 lifts and a snowpark, visitors to Val Thorens are spoilt for choice, no matter your level of experience.
For beginners the Rond Point des Pistes is a great place to start your adventure on the slopes, right next to the Val Thorens village. From here you have easy access to the beginner slopes from one of the two covered magic carpet lifts, Musaraigne and Campagnols. Complete beginners should start on the easier Musaraigne slope to find their feet before moving onto Campagnols and then one of the green slopes.
There are 11 green runs in Val Thorens and you have access to 9 more in the Belleville Valley with nice gentle slopes connecting the different pistes. This makes it easy for beginners to build confidence with plenty of opportunities to practice their skills and not get bored of going up and down the same slopes.
For the more advanced there 60 blue runs in the Belleville Valley and some of the world’s top rated red runs, such as the Jerusalem run. This slope runs from the top of the Pointe de la Masse and offers some unforgettable views over the surrounding peaks and valleys. As the resort is so high and gets so much snow there are also some fantastic off-piste areas to explore!
Val Thorens is also home to a brilliant snowpark on the Plateaux Pistes for those wanting to test their skills and try a kicker or even a rail. You will find a great range of freestyle options with small, medium and large tables, boxes, rails and air bag. The park is suitable for all levels with graded runs, just like the usual slopes from green to black.
Finding a school
No matter what your ski level is, whether you are a complete beginner or an experienced pro, it is always a good idea to have some lessons at a new resort. Lessons give you the chance to improve your skills and find the best spots in the resort with your knowledgeable tutor.
One of the first things to consider is whether you are looking for a private or a group lesson. While private lessons are more expensive, they are a great option if within your budget as you will get more personalised tutoring. That said, if you do your research and find a group lesson that is at the right level for you, you will still receive great teaching.
You will also need to find out where the lessons take place and where the meeting point is. It is no good choosing a school at the other end of the resort from your accommodation, especially if you are a complete beginner or are visiting with children. It is no fun trudging around with all your equipment! While there are free shuttle buses to transport you around the resort, it is better to choose a school near where you are staying.
Keep in mind that at Val Thorens there are a few free lifts for beginners, meaning you do not necessarily need to purchase a ski pass for the time you are first learning the ropes. This is a great way to save money!
Top tips for finding accommodation
There are plenty of different options when it comes to accommodation at Val Thorens and there are few things you can keep in mind to help you find the right option for your trip.
Budget is of course one of the most important considerations and the price of accommodation in Val Thorens generally depends on proximity to the slopes. If you want prime access with a ski-in-ski-out option, you will pay higher prices than options located a bit further away. Val Thorens has an excellent network of free shuttle buses, so staying a bit further out is not much of an inconvenience.
Another thing to consider is how close you want to be the resort amenities. Val Thorens centre is well-known for having a lively apres-ski scene, so if this is going to be an important element of your trip, you will want to be staying nearby. The same can be said for those with self-catered accommodation needing to be near to shops and restaurants. Don’t forget about those free shuttle buses!
If you want peace and quiet then traditional village of St Martin de Belleville could be a great option with its quaint alpine streets. It is a popular choice for families and those looking to simply relax after a long day on the pistes.
Finally, make sure you do plenty of research before you book your accommodation. You will spend more time than you think there and it is important to choose the option that fits your requirements!
How to get to Val Thorens
During the winter months especially, Val Thorens is well-connected to international networks and you have plenty of transport options to choose from.
One of the most popular options is to take a flight to Geneva and then an airport transfer to Val Thorens. Geneva Airport offers a fantastic selection of flight networks across Europe and beyond with most European flights taking around 2 hours.
From the airport you will need to arrange a private or shared transfer to Val Thorens. The transfer can take around 2 hours 30 minutes or longer during the busier periods, especially at weekends.
Cool Runnings Airport Transfers offer a great service from Geneva with experienced, English speaking drivers in modern Volkswagen minibuses. They allow you to bring your ski and snowboard equipment at no extra charge, free child booster seats and offer flight tracking so they know if your flight is delayed. Cool Runnings offer a reliable service that will have you at your accommodation safe and sound. They also provide transfers from Grenoble, Lyon and Chambery to all the resorts in the Three Valleys and the Tarentaise Valley.
While for most people Geneva is the most convenient option, other airport options include Lyon, Grenoble and Chambery. Grenoble and Lyon are between 3 and 3 and a half hours from Val Thorens, while smaller Chambery is much closer at just 1 hour 40 minutes by private transfer from the resort.
Taking the train
If you want a more relaxed form of travel and want to reduce your impact on the environment, you can easily take the train to Moûtiers. This station is just an hour’s transfer from Val Thorens by private or shared transfer or you can also take a bus which will take slightly longer. Cool Runnings also offer transfers from Moûtiers to Val Thorens.
When taking the train you get more leg room, you can stand up and walk to the restaurant car and you can sit back and enjoy the stunning views across the French countryside. Train travel also allows you to take 2 bags included in your ticket and lower costs for transporting ski equipment than on a flight.
The are regular high-speed train connections to Moûtiers from London and Paris, ensuring you will have no difficulty in finding a convenient option. Just make sure to book in advance to find the best prices!
Travelling by coach
If you are on a budget, you may want to consider taking a long-distance coach to Val Thorens. With growing coach networks across Europe, travelling by coach has never been easier.
Companies such as Flixbus, Blablabus, Eurolines and Regiojet provide excellent connections between major cities. You can take the coach to Geneva, Lyon or Grenoble and then take a train, bus or private transfer to Val Thorens.
While this is one of the cheapest options, especially if you plan ahead and book in advance, it is also the longest journey. Make sure to bring plenty of snacks, warm clothing and things to keep you entertained!
Driving to Val Thorens
If you are looking for greater flexibility and want to visit some other destinations during your trip, then driving to Val Thorens could be a good option.
The resort is well-connected to major French motorways and the road up to the resort is regularly cleared of snow and is well-maintained. The last 40 km up to the resort is long and winding and you are advised to have snow chains fitted to ensure your safety.
Keep in mind that the most direct route from the north will require you to take the French toll roads. From the UK for example, this could cost you up to €80 each way plus the cost of the ferry or Eurotunnel transfer.
It is also a good idea to check whether your accommodation provides parking space or whether there are parking spaces nearby. It is not advised to drive around the resort as there are regular free shuttle buses.
We hope this short guide will help you plan your trip to stunning Val Thorens, but if you decide to choose another French resort instead, make sure to check out our other resort guides (at the bottom of the page).
Back to overview