Val Thorens sits proudly at the head of the Three Valleys ski area at a mighty 2,300m. It continues to maintain its status as the highest resort in the Alps, and offers up a great variety of high-altitude terrain. The success of this resort is down not only to its amazing altitude, but also to its position in a very snow-sure bowl which pretty much guarantees skiing from November to May, making it one of the longest seasons in the Alps.
Val Thorens was constructed during the boom of alpine development and has come to be known as a cluster of frozen concrete blocks at the end of a long, steep road. But if you thought that’s all it was, you’d be mistaken.
The first ski lift in Val Thorens was a drag lift installed in 1971 and the first ski school, ESF Val Thorens, opened the following year in 1972.
As things have progressed and the town has grown in both size and popularity, many people have cried out for a prettier stay, and Val Thorens has listened. Much of the stark grey concrete-slab-architecture has been updated and clad with wood and traditional stone, slowly reshaping the manmade landscape into something altogether nicer to look at.
More than €250,000,000 has been spent in recent years to improve the resort and skiing. The centre is now largely pedestrianised and packed with great bars and restaurants, stylish boutiques, and brilliant facilities like spas and gyms, as well as offering up lots of other things to when skiing isn’t on the agenda.
VT is the most visited international ski resort in France with over 70% of its visitors coming from outside of the country. Although skiers from all over the world visit Val Thorens most foreign tourists come from the UK, Scandinavia, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
At this height, wind can sometimes be a problem, but it’s one that Val Thorens has tackled by installing funitels — ultra-stable cable-car styled gondolas that are less affected by wind than other forms of lifts. This means that even in bad weather, Val Thorens keeps powering on. This all helps its constant popularity, and allows the 2 million annual visitors ski when few other resorts are running.
Val Thorens is sometimes called the crown of the Three Valleys, and that’s apt for one simple reason. In the alpine skiing world, Val Thorens reigns as king.
Val Thorens highlights: Rated as one of the top 20 resorts in the world for both altitude and popularity, Val Thorens caters to everyone from beginners to pros, and offers more than nearly any other resort in terms of accommodation options, snow surety, and lift infrastructure.
Val Thorens is best for: Those who don’t want to compromise on anything. Val Thorens isn’t the cheapest resort, but it’s one of the most snow-sure, one of the highest, and pound-for-pound, one of the best. The figures don’t lie. Val Thorens reigns supreme on nearly every scale.
Ski and Snowboard Guide to Val Thorens:
Once somewhat utilitarian in terms of appearance, Val Thorens has been revamping its image, building facades and accommodation offering over the last decade or so and in the last few years it's won numerous "best ski resort" awards.
Val Thorens is a winter wonderland and a paradise for skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Part of the enormous Les 3 Vallées ski area if you decide to go for a full pass you'll have access to over 600km of pistes including the neighbouring resorts of Courchevel, Meribel, La Tania!
That said you don't have to go in to the neighbouring valleys to have a great time - beginners, intermediates, freestylers, snow-shoers, cross-country skiers, freeriders, ski touring fanatics - everyone is catered for in Val Thorens.
Val Thorens’ highest lift is the Cime Caron at 3,200m. It’s one of six high points on the resort side of the bowl, all of which are lofty in their own right. On the other side, there’s another bowl with three more high points, all of which offer their own routes down. Those with the Val Thorens or Three Valleys pass will be able to ski both sides, bringing the total length of the runs in Val Thorens alone up to 140km.
For beginners, the family areas and nursery slopes above the village provide a great learning environment, and the varied lift structure of both drags and chairs gives those with all capabilities a solid platform to progress into the surrounding mountains.
The pistes available are long and diverse, meaning Val Thorens has something for everyone. The lowest of the six high points is the Col de la Chambre, which, as well as giving access to Meribel and Courchevel, also provides some long blues that are manageable for all abilities.
Further up, under the Aiguille de Peclet, you’ll find a mix of blue and red runs that are slightly more challenging. The next along, atop the Glacier de Thorens, you’ll find a red dropping into a pair of blues, along with a terrain park.
The Col de Thorens at 3,002m has blues and reds and the Sommet des 3 Valleys has the same. From the Cime Caron peak, you’ll find the most advanced descents — a long red and black which will get the hearts of even the most seasoned riders pumping.
The lowest point merges Val Thorens with Les Menuires at 1,850m at the bottom of Plan de l’eau, meaning that Val Thorens sports a maximum vertical of 1,350m. And that’s not including the runs that flow past Les Menuires and down to Saint Martin de Belleville some three-quarters of a kilometre below.
With 78 runs on offer, served by 29 fast and reliable lifts, Val Thorens offers the perfect blend of on and off-piste, of gentle and challenging, and of breathtaking and enjoyable.
Children can learn to ski from 3 years old in Val Thorens either in group lessons or with a private instructor. They'll start off on the nursery slopes on the snowfront near the ski school meeting points.
First-time and beginner skiers: There's also no need for first-time skiers to buy a lift pass on day one as there is a free nursery slope on the snowfront aka the Rond Point des Pistes. You'll find two dedicated pistes for those learning to ski, Musaraigne and Campanols, served by "magic carpets" - travelator style belts enclosed in perspex tunnels. There is also a great variety of gentle green and blue runs — especially those down from the Caron gondola and Pionniers/Plein Sud lifts — give a great introduction to the sport and allow for quick progression.
Intermediate skiers: Intermediates will love the high descents, terrain and snowparks, and the long, winding blues and reds. The Pluviometre and Chasse down from the 3 Vallees gondola is a great route, as is the Voismint and Plan de l’Eau down from the Boismint chair on the other side. From Cime Caron, the Col de l’Audzin is one of the best reds in the whole resort. Christine another beautiful high-altitude blue piste which starts all the way up the mountain at nearly 3000m, offering stunning views of the Alpine surroundings.
Expert skiers: Experts will want to head for the highest peaks and plunge down the Comb de Caron, a long and steep black that drops you at the Cime Caron gondola. From each of the peaks, a variety of steep terrain is on offer, as is a host of inviting off-piste, where the high altitude guarantees nearly bottomless powder. The snowpark is also one of the best in the Alps, so teens and expert freestyle skiers and snowboarders are well catered for.
Top Tips From Val Thoren's Best Ski and Snowboard Instructors:
- Don't buy a lift pass on day one if you're a first time skier - the beginner ski area is free!
- There's more to Val Thorens than just skiing - try the world's highest zipline or the world's longest toboggan run!
- Decide if you need to buy a full 3 Valleys ski pass, it's a hard day's skiing to go to Courchevel and back and VT has 140km of pistes of its' own.
- Instead of bringing your own skis or snowboard from home you can pre-order online from a shop like Intersport to make sure you have the season's best ski gear waiting for you when you arrive in resort - easy peasy!
- If you have children make sure to book in advance for holiday ski lessons - Val Thorens can get busy at half term and Christmas. Don't miss out getting the spot you want!
Top Ski And Snowboard Schools in Val Thorens:
Prosneige Ski School Val Thorens: From beginner ski lessons to off-piste ski guiding Prosneige offers small group lesson sizes and has a high number of multilingual instructors .
Evolution 2 Val Thorens: Founded in 1987, Evolution 2 shook up how skiing is taught in France and many of their principles and methods of teaching have been replicated by many a ski school all over Europe.
ESF Val Thorens: No matter your wants or level, the professional instructors at ESF Val Thorens are more than happy to share their love for winter sports with you as you tear down the slopes of the 3 Vallées with total peace of mind.
SkiCool Val Thorens: Ski Cool is a small-scale ski and snowboard school, founded in 1981. Whether it’s your first step onto the snow or you are an experienced skier looking to improve your skills, time with a Ski Cool instructor will take your abilities to the next level.
Ski and Snowboard Lessons in Val Thorens
SkiBro brings together the best ski schools Val Thorens has to offer as well as the best independent ski and snowboard instructors, mountain guides on a single easy to use platform. Enter your requirements to find the provider that is best matched to your needs, check out providers' profile videos and past client reviews, and instant book online in just a few clicks.
As it attracts customers and instructors from all over the world so ski lessons are readily available in English, French, Dutch, Russian, Italian, German, Spanish... you won't have much any finding a multilingual ski instructor in Val Thorens! For your lessons you can bring your own skis or snowboard, or hire skis within resort. The choice is yours!
Learn to ski and snowboard in Val Thorens
Ski School Group Lessons and Private Ski and Snowboard Instructors in Val Thorens:
Enjoy peace of mind by booking your ski and snowboard lessons through SkiBro with our best-price guarantee; free and easy cancellation; a huge choice of fully-certified ski schools and instructors; online booking system and fantastic customer support team.
Whether you're after children's group ski lessons, teen group ski lessons, adult group ski lessons, beginner ski lessons, off-piste clinics, group snowboard lessons, private ski lessons or anything in between - SkiBro has the perfect ski instructor or group ski lesson for you in Val Thorens!
Children’s Group Ski Lessons Val Thorens
From a three-year-old’s the first steps on snow in the children’s snow garden to teenagers confidently crushing black runs and getting in to the snowpark you’ll find ski lessons for children of all ages and ability in Val Thorens (which can come in handy when you suddenly realise your kids have become better skiers than you!).
We’re probably (more than) a bit biased but at SkiBro we think that properly laying the foundation for a lifetime on the slopes - free of bad habits - is one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their children.
SkiBro’s partner ski schools and instructors are all fully certified and have years of experience providing kids’ ski lessons that focus not only on technical instruction but also fun and safety.
Children’s ski lessons tend to book up very quickly during peak school holiday periods like half-term and christmas break, so make sure to book early during these times to avoid disappointment.
Adult Group Ski Lessons Val Thorens
Did you know that nearly a third of all group ski lessons are beginner adult group lessons? It sounds surprising but group ski lessons are a great way to learn to ski; surrounded by other people of a similar age and ability level who are also trying something new.
Group lessons are also great for progressing from a beginner skier to a more independent intermediate. With quality coaching for a few hours each day you can spend your mornings working on your technique before grabbing a bite to eat and explore everything the mountain has to offer with your friends and family in the afternoons.
Private Ski Lessons Val Thorens
Private instruction is just that – a ski instructor solely devoted to you (and any friends or family you choose to invite) for a given period of time.
These lessons are offered both by formal ski and snowboard schools as well as by freelance instructors – certified independent instructors working for themselves or in loose collectives.
A private ski instructor in Val Thorens can offer you a level of flexibility and individual attention beyond what group lessons can. For some people one short, intensive, session with a private instructor will teach them more than they’d get from a full week of group lessons.
For many people, however, the inverse would be true and the repetition and additional practice in group lessons is invaluable.
Off-Piste Guiding Val Thorens
Considered by those who get into it as skiing in its purest (and most fun!) form, freeride (also known as off piste or backcountry) skiing is the pursuit of skiing all over the mountain, unrestricted by the edge of the piste in a variety of snow conditions.
A good day’s freeride skiing might involve long descents down wide open mountain faces, steep couloirs and adventures through the trees, far away from the crowded pistes. In addition to private ski instructors and mountain guides you can sometimes find camps and courses designed to give upper-intermediate skiers their first taste of off-piste delights in Val Thorens. Be careful though, the white powder can be quite addictive.
Snowboard Lessons Val Thorens
From ‘never-evers’ to semi-pros you’ll find a snowboard lesson in Val Thorens designed to take you riding to the next level. If you’re thinking small, think big. And if you’re thinking big- think bigger! If you’re new to a resort or even if you’re returning to an old favourite, a top snowboard instructor or group snowboard lessons will help you unlock local secrets of the area that you’ll wish you knew about years ago! Flatland tricks, jibbing, carving trenches, slaying powder – stop being a slave to your snowboard and learn to master it!