Val Thorens, France, is the highest village in Europe at 2,300 to 3,230m, part of the world’s largest skiing area, 3 Valleys, consisting also of Meribel and Courchevel, which calls itself the World’s Ski Capital.
Val Thorens has been voted the Best Ski Resort in France and the Hotel Altapura the France’s Best Ski Hotel in 2022. 3 Valleys have been voted the world’s best ski resort in 2022.
It’s the place of the best skiing of my life, and I ski there every year.
The reasons why I love the area so much are:
- There are 162 ski lifts and hundreds of ski slopes – you cannot ever possibly ski down every single of them during a week!
- The French Alps are not as spiky as the Swiss Alps meaning that the skiing down takes longer
- The snow is virtually guaranteed
- The area is so large that even during the schools’ vacation periods, there are virtually no queues at most lifts
- The French are impossible creative with every year offering something new.
When to come
The best skiing is in January, right after the Christmas / New Year peak season because:
- They are just after the XMAS/New Year peak season → lowest prices
- The snow is best – the snow in March is usually more slashy
- The period is off the European school holidays – the area is largely empty
The interactive map is available here or below.
Jiri’s Skiing video of 2020
I have always stayed in the hotel Altapura, a ski-in, ski-out 5* hotel, nominated the best French ski hotel for a number of years and I have always been most happy. You can stay cheaper with Airbnb, hotels.com or in a chalet.
How to Get in
From the US or Asia, I recommend flying to either Paris or Geneva and staying there for a few days to overcome the jet lag, and also to better handle any possible flight delay complications – you cannot really book a train from the airport unless you know with certainty when you arrive and rebooking transfer to the hotel on the same day is virtually impossible. A hotel stay solves this problem.
Then, travel to Moutiers-Salins by train and from Moutiers arrange a hotel transfer. The best way to book the train is using the trainline.com.
- The ski tickets are usually extra – some hotels include it in the accommodation – always ask for the ski pass for the entire 3 Valleys.
- Ski rental is extra
- The French red slopes are equal to black slopes in Switzerland. The French black slopes would be called off-piste in Switzerland.
- Skiing the entire day requires top agility – I usually use Voke to stay alert.
- I recommend renting the skis but bringing your own ski boots with customized liners.