The resort of Val Thorens is "the gateway" to the world's largest ski area which embraces 600km, 336 pistes, 200 ski lifts and 25 summits. It is the highest ski station in Europe (2300m), located well above the tree line but linked into the vastness of the Trois Vallees region. It boasts great snow and a long season and is especially popular for those who enjoy spring skiing in brilliant sunshine.
As a consequence of so called "Global Warming) or Climate Change Val Thorens is offering a "snow guarantee" from Christmas through to May with 75 per cent of the ski area's ski lifts will be open from 25th December until May 1. IF - due to lack of snow - this figure is NOT reached, on average during a week, one or several skiing days will be offered at the end of a persons holiday or during the following winter!
The resort of Val Thorens-Orelle offers the following: 72 ski runs of which thered are 10 green; 28 blue; 26 red and 8 black. However, the region as a whole offers the skier 34 black runs in the area as well as 336 pistes. If you are more a novice or intermediate skier, then you have no fewer than 135 blue runs with a further 49 green runs for those still finding their skiing legs! But for the better skier there are 118 red and the 34 black runs which are really challenging. For the coming season Val Thorens has two new gondolas. The old Cairn and Caron gondolas have been replaced with 2 new 8-seater gondolas and these allow skis to be carried INSIDE. There will also be specially adapted access for disabled skiers and there will be a new blue piste created under the gondola starting from the resort with easy access to the lower part of the ski area. The lift company - SETAM - has invested 20 million Euros (Tarentaise-Maurienne Lift Company) making it the most important ski lift investment in France in 2007!
Skiing usually starts mid-November and continues through to May and to ensure this is possible considerable investment has been made in extending snow making equipment and the provision of an additional 352 snow machines.
There is also a new "hands-free" lift pass which is also rechargable. This can be obtained from the resort's internet.
The Val Thorens toboggan piste is a real experience as it is the longest in Europe.A 6km-long journey with a fall of 700m through a natural valley and it will be floodlit for the 2009-10 season two evenings each week (on Wednesday and Friday).
The resort is at the top of the Vallee des Balleville and you pass through the ski resorts of Saint-Martin and Les Menuires before arriving at Val Thorens so when you want to ski elsewhere for the day, nothing could be simpler. You have a choice of skiing via Les Menuires down the "spine" of the mountains to the delightful and picturesque village of Saint Martin (a good place for lunch) or to have a day-long adventure by first skiing to Meribel-Mottaret and then taking the gondola linking over to Courcheval. There is a breathtaking long run down to Courchveal 1850m and the final stages of this piste is through the trees.
Val Thorens has plenty going on in the evenings. There are shops, a super leisure centre with an adequate swimming pool, table tennis and snooker, numerous bars in the resort - some of which are run by Brits, Dutch and Danes! Night clubs ensure those who do not like an early night are well catered for but judging from the amount of skiing, most will want to turn-in before midnight and get a few hours sleep in readiness for a hard days "piste bashing" the following day. If you fancy a spot of swimming there are no fewer than eight and the sports centre is the biggest in the Alps.
In the past couple of years there has been the replacement of the old Cairn and Caron gondolas by two new automatic 8-seater gondolas. Capacity has been doubled. A new tobogganing area which is completely safe for children (from the age of 2 years) and is located right in the heart of the resort. There is also a new snowpark which provides entertainment for everyone at the Plateau sector and can be accessed by several ski lifts.
The Fitz Roy - the only 4* hotel in Val Thorens - has been enlarged and renovated in time for the opening of the new season with modernised bedrooms and family apartments. The Novotel hotel becomes the Mecure.
For the adventurous amongst you, there is one more aspect of Val Thorens to be discovered. Ice-car racing. If you have ever wanted to learn how to drive - and control - a car on ice/snow covered roads, well Val Thorens has a specially designed track just for this. During the winter events with international drivers thrill the crowds with races but for the visitor, experts are on hand to show you how a car should be controlled. A great experience well worth missing a couple of hours on the piste for!
You can travel by train from the UK into the Tarentaise and then bus transfer; you can drive in around 10 hours, or there is the opportunity of flying to Chambery (73 miles), Lyon (120 miles) or Geneve. Alternatively, you can ride Eurostar to Moutiers railway station which is 20 miles from the resort.
The resort closes early May.Special Offer:
We have teamed up with PV Holidays, leading supplier of French Skiing accommodation to offer a Christmas offer of one night free with every booking.