Val Thorens is the highest resort in the Three Valleys ski area (and in Europe), at 2300m. It was 'born' on 18th December 1971, when the first three draglifts opened, and it has developed and flourished since then. The resort of Val Thorens now has around 25,500 beds. New hotels are superbly insulated and built to high standards of luxury.
There's everything you'd expect in a modern ski village - a tourist office, a post office, banks, a medical centre, a church, car parks, a cinema, and a radio station. There's also a good sports centre and swimming pool. Val Thorens has a twice-weekly market. Although it's a compact resort, the free shuttle bus can come in useful, and runs from morning to evening in the winter.
Read about the resort of Val Thorens here.
Here's a map of the resort of Val Thorens (click on the map to enlarge):
Or see a Val Thorens Resort Map page, for different maps showing hotels, apartments, restaurants, bars, and banks.
Val Thorens tourist office is in the Maison de Val Thorens, which is the big building on the snowy place de Caron. They're open from 0900-1215 and 1400-1730 Monday to Saturday (but only until 1700 on Fridays) during the Winter season.
They can answer questions about the resort, and they are multi-lingual - as well as French and English, there are staff who speak, German, Italian, and Spanish. Most of the time they are friendly and helpful.
There's a selection of booklets and leaflets - among the more useful are:
By the tourist office counter is a children's play area, and a space for changing babies' nappies.
The tourist office in Val Thorens offers internet connection - free wifi.
There is also free wifi at some of the lift stations (including Funitel Péclet, Plein Sud, Pionniers, Moraine, Portette, Funitel 3 Vallées, Plateau, Cime de Caron, and Cairn; wifi is available at the bottom of Rosael chair in Orelle, and reaches to the terrace of the Chalet Chinal Donat mountain restaurant). Internet access is during the skiing day only, from 9am to 5pm. The ski pass offices at Forum, Olympiades, and Montana also have free wifi.
Most of the cafés and bars in Val Thorens offer free wifi as long as you buy something, so that might be a good option if you're using your own laptop, tablet, or mobile phone. Try, for example, O'Connells bar, La Piscine pizzeria, or Pizzburger; or Le Bowling.
The Post Office, La Poste, is also in the Maison de Val Thorens. As well as dealing with post and selling stamps, they have mobile phone packages, they do foreign exchange, and there's a cashpoint.
The opening times during the winter season are:
Tip: often everyone goes to the Post Office at the same time, just before they close, so to avoid queuing, visit earlier if possible.
There are four banks in Val Thorens, all of them in the middle or top part of the resort. Three of them have cashpoints (Crédit Agricole, Banque Populaire, and Banque de Savoie).
There are no banks at the bottom of Val Thorens, but there is a cashpoint under the Cheval Blanc arch, in the rue du Soleil.
See locations and opening times of the banks in Val Thorens.
There's a market in Grand Rue (near the church) every Tuesday and Thursday, in the winter and summer seasons. There are stalls with local cheeses and meats, locally produced honey, fleeces and other clothes, craft items, and more.
Read about Val Thorens market.
The sports centre in Val Thorens is being completely rebuilt and renovated, and is expected to reopen fully for Winter 2022-23.
It will have sport facilities including a gym, and tennis and squash courts; an aqua-club with a swimming pool, saunas, steam room and jacuzzis; a children's fun park with trampolines; and a well-being area for massages and treatments.
Some activities and facilities will be closed during the renovation, but available instead in Les Menuires.
Read more about Val Thorens sports centre.
The main medical centre in Val Thorens has its own building in place Péclet, new in December 2016. There are four doctors, and they deal with any injuries or illnesses that do not require hospitalisation. (They will assess patients, and send them to Moûtiers hospital if necessary).
The opening hours are 0900-1800, and outside of those hours there is a doctor on call. Phone the centre's number +33 479 00 00 37 in the first instance.
There is another doctor in the medical centre in the rue du Soleil, towards the bottom of the resort. Opening hours are 0900-1200 and 1500-1800, and the phone number +33 479 00 74 39.
You will have to pay for any consultation, and claim the money back on your insurance afterwards.
Any visitor from the UK should make sure to take a Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This replaces the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). A GHIC is valid in the EU and Switzerland, just as an EHIC was. Why the name-change? Dishonest Brexit propaganda by the Conservative government, trying to make it look as though there are new benefits when there are not.
Ski holiday insurance is recommended in addition to a GHIC.The emergency numbers in France are:
Note that there are defibrilators in the Maison de Val Thorens, the sports centre office, and at the top of the Boismint, Grand Fond and Peclet lifts; and there is one at the lift company's 'central'. near the Rond Point des Pistes.
The pharmacy is in the upper shopping centre, the Galerie Péclet. During the ski season, it's open from 0830 to 1930 non-stop, 7 days a week.
Contact them on +33 479 00 02 72.
The church in Val Thorens is interdenominational. There's a Mass once a week, and special services at Christmas and Easter. Check the tourist office's weekly events leaflet for timings.
As well as church services, there are classical and jazz concerts, at 1830 on Tuesdays in the Winter - see events. (The concerts are free, but a collection is usually taken).
The radio station for the valley, Radio Val Thorens Les Menuires, is on 92.3FM in Les Menuires and 101FM in Val Thorens. There's a local programme in the morning (8-10am) and evening (5-6.30pm), and the rest of the time they take a feed from Paris.
They broadcast a weather forecast and the piste and lift information several times a day, and traffic information on Saturdays.
The cinema Lac Blanc in Val Thorens is in Grande Rue. It often shows French films, or American films dubbed into French (version francaise - VF); occasionally there are films in original English version, with French subtitles (version originale - VO).
Tel: +33 479 00 01 51
Val Thorens is quite compact, and it's usually possible to walk anywhere you want to go. Sometimes, though, if you're carrying luggage or ski equipment, or if you're with small children, you may wish to make use of the resort shuttle. It runs from 8am to 8pm every day, in the winter season.
Read about the Val Thorens resort shuttle bus.
Parking in Val Thorens is in one of the resort's car parks, run by Valthoparc, or in your hotel or apartment's parking.
Val Thorens is a semi-pedestrian resort, which means you may drive through resort, and stop to unload your luggage outside your hotel, apartment, or chalet. You must then park your vehicle in a designated parking - either your hotel's car park, or one of the parkings run by Valthoparc.
You're not allowed to leave your car parked in the street, and if you do, it will eventually get towed away to the pound. The fee for recovering it is very expensive. On Saturday and Sunday, the Municipal Police do the rounds, putting warning notices on cars, but they do not usually tow them away unless they are obstructing traffic. From Monday morning, any car parked on the street will be towed away.
You can book online with Valthoparc (and by booking, you ensure you get a space in the parking of your choice, which is important in busy holiday periods). 5, 6, or 7 nights in one of the covered car parks cost €82.50-€85 (2021-22 prices). It's €5 cheaper for the open car parks. Book on Valthoparc's website.
Valet Parking is also available and quite a lot more expensive - but come on, you can manage to park your car and walk back to your hotel.
The Club des Sports de Val Thorens is the local sports club, which includes the ski club. The office is in the Maison de Val Thorens.
The main purpose of the Club is to train the local kids for competitions in downhill skiing, freestyle skiing, and snowboarding. It also has sections dedicated to cycling and pétanque. They have a fan club to support the current champions.
Downhill and Super G specialist Adrien Théaux races in the Alpine skiing World Cup, and has a number of podium finishes, including a victory; Jean-Fred Chapuis is 2014 Olympic Skicross champion, and won the overall World Cup title (globe de cristal) three years running; and Chloé Trespeuch is Olympic Boardercross bronze medallist.The Club des Sports in Val Thorens also:
Contact them on +33 479 00 01 08.
I hope you have a great time in the resort of Val Thorens.
Skiing Made Easy is a Kindle ebook and paperback. It's a practical guide to learning to ski, based on many happy seasons of ski teaching in Val Thorens. Most of the demonstrations are performed by my friend and fellow Val Thorens ski instructor Marina.
'This is the book I wish I'd had when I started skiing' - Amazon reviewer.
BCA Tracker 4 Avalanche Safety transceiver.
£304.99 on Amazon as at 10th November 2021.