Seeking some fresh powder this season? As the highest ski resort in Europe at 2,300m, in Val Thorens it’s all but guaranteed. With Val Thoren’s ski season offering 171 uninterrupted days of skiing, there’s a reason it’s been voted the best resort in the world four times over.
November’s opening weekend, La Grand Première, sees over 60 of the world’s top ski and snowboard brands descend on the village, showcasing some 5,000 products up for testing. If you prefer things a little quieter than the 14,000 strong crowd that hits the slopes that weekend, however, there’s plenty of occasion between now and the 5th of May closing date to get your fix. Read on for our weekend ski guide to Val Thorens.
Dressing for Val Thorens…
Ski straight into apres-ski in style on the slopes this season with Citizen Femme’s essential tips for mountain style, by Lisa Haynes.
Where to stay
Voted World’s Best New Ski Hotel 2017 and France’s Best Ski Hotel 2018, Fahrenheit 7 not only boasts luxurious rooms worthy of an interiors magazine, but the after-hours action to rival any of the resort’s bars. After last year’s wild parties gained it something of a reputation across Les 3 Vallées, the hotel’s Le Zinc bar boasts a stellar line-up of DJs and live music throughout the season. Guests can also learn how to tune their own skis thanks to the onsite Fahrenheit 7 Wax Room, offering a behind the scenes lesson in ski tuning every Thursday. Rooms from €150 for a double with breakfast. Website
The Scandi-cool of the Altapura is hard to resist. Its 61 rooms and 27 suites are bedecked in blonde wood, cowhides, sheepskin and woollen tweed, with large bay windows overlooking the snow-covered Alps. The cosy lounge boasts the lure of a post-prandial cocktail or two in front of the fire and the gastronomy is something else; not only does it boast an impressive buffet of delicious dishes cooked to order, but La Dairy offers traditional fondues made by master cheesemaker Frédéric Royer from Boujon cheese dairy, as well as their refined fine dining bistro Les Enfants Terribles. Classic rooms from €218 per night. Website
For a romantic night underneath the stars, check into Hotel Pashmina’s Igloo Pod, a geodesic tent used for polar expeditions situated on the roof of the hotel. With a wood stove, private hot tub, unrivalled view and no TV or wifi, it’s an experience like no other. From €370. Website
Brand new this season, the Chalet Cocoon concept from VT natives Maud and Jean-Paul Delettre comprises 10 luxury apartments in Les Balcons area of the resort. Each equipped with its own wellbeing area, sauna and jacuzzi, the communal area boasts a swimming lane and group workroom, while hotelier service can be adapted to guests’ needs, from catering to home massage. Rates from €2,366 per week. Website
Les Chalets du Koh I Nor
For the absolute ultimate in luxury, the Hotel Koh I Nor has opened the doors to three new private chalets that are the height of exclusivity. Perched away from the bustle at the very top of the resort the trio – ranging from 300m² to 340m² and hosting between 8 and 12 guests – feature fitness rooms, home cinemas, spas and ski rooms with open plan living spaces and the most breathtaking panoramic views of the mountains. Rates start from €10,000 per week. Website
Where to eat
Deliciously indulgent as it may be, the meat and cheese-heavy alpine diet aren’t particularly conducive to visiting veggies. The addition of Supernova to Val Thorens’ roster of restaurants last season offers a welcome respite to those wanting something a little lighter from their dining. The concept store and bistro offer organic homemade vegetarian and vegan food, drinks and snacks; try the veggie lasagne, you won’t be disappointed. Instagram
La Fruitière at La Folie Douce
La Folie Douce is undoubtedly a legendary location on the alpine party scene – with eight locations it’s hard to miss – but the Val Thorens outpost’s gourmet restaurant La Fruitière adds another dimension to the brand’s offering. With a new menu presented by Chef Damien de Valukoff including such treats as Savoie rainbow trout, hay-smoked guinea fowl with tater tots and plenty of local cheeses, it’s the perfect mountaintop lunch date. Website
Alpen Art Val Thorens
Part gallery, part concept store, part restaurant, Alpen Art has it all. With local products, ripened cheeses and cured meats, a deli and vast selection of Savoie wines, its bubbling fondue is an absolute must. After all, would it even be a ski trip without one? Website
What to do
With 150km of runs the obvious answer is hit the slopes; as part of Les 3 Vallées with Méribel and Courchevel, Val Thorens makes up the world’s biggest ski area. There is however plenty else to keep one entertained should the legs need a day of rest…
Unwind in an Alpine Spa
Is there any better way to indulge after a day on the snow than with a spa session in one of the most beautiful settings in the Alps? With a slope-view sauna, rooftop hot tub and poolside relaxation area drowning in sunshine from its floor to ceiling windows, the Hotel Pashmina’s L’Occitane spa
At the other end of the resort, Hôtel
See Val Thorens from above
Take to the air and see Val Thorens from a whole new perspective. La Moutière airstrip is the starting point for an adventure like no other as you take to the air in a microlight; don’t forget the GoPro. www.flyunited.today
This season also sees a new thrill to seek in the form of Europe’s highest zipline, the Cascade de Tyrolienne. A glide over 1,300m in breathtaking surroundings, from the 3 Valleys peak at 3,230 m, at the top of the Bouchet chairlift in the Orelle resort, over to the Val Thorens crest at the top of the Thorens Funitel and landing in the Place Caron at the heart of the resort. Website
Find your ski serenity
Val Thoren’s My Serenity campaign aims to encourage its holidaymakers to adopt stress-combatting techniques to make their time on the slopes as positive as possible. Created by the resort in collaboration with doctor Philippe Rodet, a specialist in stress management and supervision, visitors can pick up a guide to the products, activities, approaches and experiences that contribute to lowering stress levels. Stressed out skiers can sign up to a Ski Serenity session with Caroline Vincent; a practitioner of Chinese medicine, this Val Thorens French Ski School instructor divides her time between teaching and sessions that combine ski touring and Qi-Gong. In the afternoon she gives massages in her Val Thorens practice and is also running three new workshops themed around meditation and walking. A mountain enthusiast with a real love for wide open spaces she offers mindful ski touring sessions on the Val Thorens ski area, for a 100% relaxing holiday. From €37.50 per person.
Give your skills a check-up
Good riders can always benefit from a snow sports professional casting an eye over their technique. Ski Cool offers snow sports devotees a 30-minute analysis of their skills, providing an evaluation on what to improve. 3 tips, 30 minutes, €30.
The ski school has also signed up to the My Serenity campaign with its Ski Therapy sessions; learn some valuable moves, tips and breathing exercises to relieve any stress and anxiety you may have about the slopes. Website
How to get there
The closest airport is Chambéry Savoie Mont Blanc airport with weekly direct flights from 8 airports in the UK on British Airways and Fly Be.
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Any Questions or Tips to add?