Val Thorens’ list of superlatives is endless. To name a few, it wins the accolade for being the highest ski resort in Europe (with 99% of its terrain over 2000m no less), the highest part of the 3 Valleys ski area (which also happens to be one of the biggest linked ski areas in the world), as well as for having the longest toboggan run in France, the highest 2-Michelin starred restaurant, the highest ice driving circuits in Europe and the highest mountain zip wire in the world! November 2016: news just in - Val Thorens has been named the World's Best Ski Resort 2016 at the World Ski Awards! [caption id="attachment_9601" align="aligncenter" width="700"]New in Val Thorens Val Thorens - the ultimate ski-in/ski-out, high altitude resort? (image: C Cattin)[/caption] The resort of Val Thorens has been undergoing something of a revolution in the last decade, at times seeming unrecognisable from its former self. In the last 5 years alone, it has gone from having zero 5-star hotels to four, three of which were brand new and purpose built with the very best facilities. It’s easy to see why Val Thorens has become so popular as a (very!) high altitude snow-sure resort with a great range of accommodation, plenty of activities, and of course, awesome skiing. Whilst all this this makes Val Thorens one of the most exciting ski destinations in Europe, the pace of these recent changes means it can be hard to keep up with what’s going on! So here’s a quick roundup of what we can look forward to in Val Thorens for Winter 2016/17.
  • For the first time in a number of years no brand new hotels are being built, but there is a buzz around the newest development. The old Hotel Mercure is being entirely refurbished and will reopen in November as the 4-star Hotel Fahrenheit Seven (the hotel’s name comes from the exact temperature which is apparently required to create the perfect snowflake, equivalent to -13.89oC). Rooted in local history, the Fahrenheit Seven promises to be a lively hotspot for locals and holidaymakers alike and will be perfect for welcoming groups and families with the possibility of interconnecting rooms to sleep up to 6. The chic hotel has a vintage style and will offer a wide variety of facilities including restaurants, outdoor après-ski bars (bear in mind the hotel’s manager was one of the founders of the legendary Folie Douce in Val Thorens!) and a Scandinavian-inspired wellness area. One of the aspects we’re particularly excited about is the dedicated “ski area” which includes a ski shop, ski room plus a small café/bar reserved for hotel guests and their ski instructors where you can enjoy a quick coffee before hitting the slopes – or a well-deserved beer whilst taking off your ski boots!
[caption id="attachment_9594" align="aligncenter" width="451"]New in Val Thorens Hotel Farenheit Seven's vintage room style[/caption]
  • Having overhauled its accommodation in recent years, Val Thorens’ focus has now turned to reinventing the après scene, aiming for something to suit all tastes. Though both located in Hotel Fahrenheit Seven, in contrast to the aforementioned lively outdoor bar, après is a refined affair at Le Zinc wine bar with over 150 wines to choose from as well as cheese or charcuterie sharing platters and live music three times a week. For a more laid back vibe, Le Crewzer is the newest spot, offering beers from around the world, sharing platters and burgers with snowboarding, surfing and skating videos broadcast live.
  • Val Thorens is also turning into a foodie’s paradise; cookery lessons are now on offer at the Maison brasserie and Winter 2016/17 will see the launch of a 200m2foodie lounge”, Aurelie’s Chilled-Out Tea Room on Place Caron, which is set to be a hub for relaxation in the resort centre: half gallery/shop and half gourmet café, it will also offer yoga classes for non-skiers in the morning and young children can enjoy some down time in the book corner.
[caption id="attachment_9598" align="aligncenter" width="551"]New in Val Thorens Book a cookery course at La Maison this winter[/caption]
  • For anyone who doesn’t ski, the resort continues to widen its appeal with alternative après activities as well as a host of options that should keep non-skiers of all ages entertained throughout the day – the focus being on fun, relaxation and spending time with family or friends. Dog sledding, ice driving, yoga classes, snowshoeing, mountain biking on snow, Segway rides, soft play areas, tobogganing, not to mention spas, Val Thorens has it all – it even has an Escape Box! This year, car racing lovers may want to check out the new Driv’Inn area in the Caron Gallery which has been fitted with 3 state of the art Ellip6 driving simulators – you can even have races with a network of players either on-site or at other Ellip6 sites.
[caption id="attachment_9597" align="aligncenter" width="549"]New in Val Thorens Alternative après - Segway on snow![/caption]
  • On the slopes, the resort’s lift pass company is continuing to invest millions in upgrading the infrastructure to improve the experience for skiers and boarders. The resort’s safety team have also developed the Ski Flux system, the first of its kind in France, to give real-time information on how busy the runs are – further information such as varying snow levels on specific runs and geolocalised weather reports will also be available, allowing you to plan your day to get the best conditions and avoid the masses!
  • For those with their own transport or wishing to plan a multi-resort holiday, you might also be interested to know the 3 Valleys launch a new lift pass this winter, the Alpine Signature Skipass, which will give unlimited access to the 3 Valleys (Val Thorens, Courchevel, Méribel, Les Menuires & St Martin de Belleville), Paradiski (Les Arcs & La Plagne) and Espace Killy (Val d’Isère & Tignes) ski areas – a whopping 1325km of runs in total! Could you ski the lot? It sounds like a fun challenge….

Experience everything Val Thorens has to offer this winter:

  • As Val Thorens’ popularity soars, so does the choice of ski schools on offer, many of which are offering innovative experiences to clients looking for a change from the traditional ski lessons – this year Ski Cool ski school is offering kids the chance to fly like a superhero! Kitted out with wingjump suits which attach like a cape to your ski poles, these inflate as you pick up speed, giving a light, gliding feeling as if being carried by the air. Not only does this sound like a lot of fun (can’t they do adult classes too?), but it also helps kids improve their technique apparently. One session is included as standard as part of most kids group lessons (excluding beginners) for children aged 5-12 years, and private sessions can also be booked – we’d advise early booking!
  • And finally, an exciting development for Ski Independence clients travelling to Val Thorens is that we will now send any pre-booked lift passes directly to your house with your travel documents before your holiday even begins.* What does this mean? No more paper vouchers and - best of all - no need to queue at the lift pass office in resort. Just remember to take your lift passes with you and you can get on the slopes as early as you like!
With all of this on offer and much more, Val Thorens really is the ultimate destination for a great ski holiday for all, when both on and off the pistes. To arrange your very own ski holiday to Val Thorens this winter, simply get in touch with our team of Ski Specialists. You can call them on 0131 243 8097 or request a tailor-made quotation online. *Subject to conditions