Val Thorens ski area
Here, we cover the Val Thorens ski area, including the beginners area, an overview of the ski area sector by sector, the snowpark (plus information on the skier/boardercross and slalom stadium), off piste itineraries, a piste map, and the ski pass prices. There's also a mountain restaurants section, news on what's new for 2014-15, and a list of the pistes and lifts.
Read about the Val Thorens ski area here.
Val Thorens ski area
Beginners usually start at the Rond Point des Pistes, as it's a mainly flat area, with some slight inclines, which are ideal for the first steps. Our beginners area page tells you how to get to the Rond Point des Pistes, depending on where your hotel is, and has a map.
Adjacent to the Rond Point des Pistes are the nursery slopes and travelator lifts, known as 'magic carpets'. The two magic carpets by the nursery slopes are Campagnols and Musaraigne. Using the slopes next to them, you can practise speed control, and turning left and right.
When you're confident on the beginners' slopes by the magic carpets, you move on to the first chairlift, Deux Lacs, which takes you to a green run - Traversée des Deux Lacs, with a choice part way down between the Espace Junior and the Combe de Thorens.
Cascades chairlift is usually the next one, which gives access to a marginally more difficult green, Deux Combes. Beyond, that, there are some easy blue runs, which we list on our beginners area page.
Read more about the Val Thorens beginners area...
There are different sectors in the Val Thorens-Orelle ski area.
Our ski area overview begins with the sunny slopes of Plein Sud, which has easy blues such as Plein Sud and Pluviometre, and more challenging pistes higher up, including Goitschel, which is categorised black. Plein Sud is where you can drink and dance in the afternoon, at the Folie Douce.
The Péclet sector has the Funitel Péclet at its heart, taking skiers up to 3000m, and a choice of three red runs, and one blue. Above it is Glacier (an old, three-man chair, and a steep, black piste).
The Moraine sector has a long, wide blue (Moraine), with an alternative parallel run (Génépi). From the top of Moraine chair, you can go up again with Col chairlift. At the summit, there are wonderful views on a clear day. Col is also the name of the piste that descends.
Montée du fond
It can be cold in the north-facing Montée du Fond sector, but the snow there is often unbeatable. Low down in this part of the ski area is the Moutière chairlift, which is well-used, and can get busy. Higher up are two funitel lifts, the Grand Fond, and the Funitel de Thorens. In between, in terms of altitude, are the parallel Plateau draglifts, which serve the snowpark (covered on a separate snowpark page).
The Caron cable car, in the Caron sector, was the largest cable car in the world when it was built in 1982. It's still hugely impressive, taking you up to 3200m. At the top, there's a viewpoint, the Freeride Cafe Caron, one red and three black pistes, and access to many off piste itineraries.
One of the pistes down from the Cime de Caron, Combe de Rosael, leads to the Rosael sector, on the Maurienne side of the ski area. It's also accessible from the top of the Funitel Grand Fond (this is the easier access). Rosael often has sunshine and quieter pistes. There's a fast 6-seater chairlift in Rosael, called Peyron (which was new for the 2013-14 season). They also installed a zip-wire from the top of another chairlift, Bouchet, to the top of the Funitel de Thorens.
Finally, Boismint is towards the bottom of the Val Thorens ski area, and catches the sun early in the day. The run down Blanchot and Tétras can be exhilarating. The Plan de l' Eau chairlift is to be replaced for the 2014-15 season.
Read our Val Thorens ski area overview...
Val Thorens ski area: snowpark, ski cross, and slalom stadium
Val Thorens has a great snowpark, with jumps organised into four lanes - green, blue, red, and black. From 2015-16, there'll be an Expert Park on the skier's right of the Plateau piste, and an Easy Park on the left. The Expert Park hosts top-class competitions, such as the French Championships SlopeStyle 2013:
Ski cross (Jean-Frédéric Chapuis)
The ski cross (or boardercross) in Val Thorens is truly an attraction of the resort. In December 2012, it hosted a first World Cup ski cross event, and there was another World Cup ski cross in December 2013. Val Thorens seems to be becoming a fixture on the calendar. When it's not being used for competitions, it's open to anyone.
Slalom stadium (Yannick Richard)
For expert skiers, who love getting away from the pistes, lifts, and the crowds, we have an off piste section. It includes safety considerations, contacts for local guides, information on the relevant guidebooks, and tips on where to buy or rent off piste equipment in Val Thorens.
There are also descriptions of some of the best off piste itineraries in Val Thorens, the Belleville Valley, and the Three Valleys, with photos and videos. These include the Lac du Lou, and the Combe sans Nom in Val Thorens, the Geffriand and the Col de la Fenetre in the Belleville Valley, and the Raffort in Méribel.
Read about the Val Thorens off piste itineraries...
We have the prices for Val Thorens, Belleville, and Three Valley passes. See the latest Val Thorens ski pass prices...
Our guide to all the Val Thorens mountain restaurants. Some of the best are the Chalet de la Marine, la Fruitière, and les Aiguilles de Péclet. There's also an entry for the ever-popular Folie Douce. Read about Val Thorens mountain restaurants...
We report on the latest plans for the Val Thorens ski area. The main innovation on the piste for the 2015-16 winter season is the creation of an easy skiercross type course, with rolling bumps, banked corners, and a tunnel - ideal for kids and lower level skiers and boarders. It's to be called Fun Slope.
There's also to be a new red run, piste de la Chasse, in the Plein Sud sector, which will link the bottom of Pluviometre to Chalet Chez Pépé Nicolas, boulevard Cumin, and (I believe) the plan de l' Eau chairlift.
Finally, the Service des Pistes are planning to accommodate touring skiing in the early morning and late afternoon (outside lift opening times) by opening up a specified (different on each occasion) area for that purpose.
Val Thorens probably isn't the very best resort for walking, but the lift company and the tourist office have made an effort in recent years to create some walkers' paths. Certain lifts can be used by pedestrians.
You can consult the resort's map of pedestrian circuits. It shows the walking routes for the whole of the Belleville Valley. The main routes are below.
This popular path (number 7 on the map) goes from the back of the Altineige, or the garage, and shadows the boulevard des Echauds piste, arriving at the mid-station of the Bruyeres telecabine in Les Menuires. Return by the same route.
Deux Lacs path
The Deux Lacs path (route number 10 on the map) starts near the Toboggan chalet, and runs parallel to the Espace Junior, on the right of it. Then you turn left, crossing the Espace Junior, and go downhill towards the departure point of the Moraine chairlift. From there, turn left again, on the path to the right of the Combe de Thorens, and you return to the start point at the Toboggan chalet.
Also starting from the Toboggan chalet, the Moutiere path (number 11 on the map) takes you on the same route as the Deux Lacs path, initially. Then, it branches off to the right, and skirts round the left hand side of one of the two lakes. It comes out onto the 'Traversée des 2 Lacs' piste near the Deux Lacs restaurant. From here, it goes along the right hand side of the Linotte piste, past the top of the Moutiere chair, then downhill and round the reservoir. Once the circuit of the reservoir (with nice views of the Belleville Valley) is completed, return to the Toboggan chalet by the same route.
The Marine path (number 12 on the map) starts from the top of Cascades chairlift, and is downhill only. (You can see the prices of pedestrian passes via our Val Thorens ski pass prices page). From the top of the chair, you turn left, and the path curves round to the left, and passes back under the chair. It then goes to the Chalet de la Marine. Here, you cross the Dalles piste, and take the path which follows the left fork of the piste, past the Tete Ronde lake, to the Chalets du Thorens. The Combe de Thorens takes you back to the Toboggan chalet.
We also have information about the lifts open to pedestrians on our walking page. Read more about walking in Val Thorens...
We hope you have a great time exploring the Val Thorens ski area.