The Highest Ski Resort in Europe

By | Category: Travel destinations

Outside today it is raining. If summer has gone should I think of the ski season? Barely two months after Val Thorens closed after the last season this, the highest resort in Europe, is out there seeing travel agents and asking them to persuade us to go there rather than elsewhere. And there is still snow there:- at least on the peaks
And why not? Although there is still an overall decline in the skiing market according to the annual report from Crystal the best weeks at the best resorts will require early booking. One of the advantages of Val Thorens is that, with it being 2,300 metres high and with such a long season, November till May, you have a much wider choice of dates when you can ski. In fact the resort actually gives you a snow guarantee during the season, a guarantee that 80% of the slopes will be open. In fact just 10 days ago there was still snow on the peaks there and we are now in July!
As part of Les 3 Vallees this is the biggest skiing area in the world. It’s more famous neighbours, Courcheval and Meribel, might be better known but that means Val Thorens has developed more to make it as attractive to the visitor as possible. Evening toboggan rides with mulled wine, saucisson and cheese at the end of it; ice driving on the Alain Prost circuit; a Mongolian yurt perched atop the Dalles bleu run and the highest cookery lessons in the world! Val Thorens has 72 slopes of which are fifth are designed for beginners and thirty per cent for the experienced. It’s success is shown by the fact that the area has over 23,000 beds available during the skiing season. Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, it is one of the youngest of the French ski resorts and is the first to open and the last to close. And from some hotels it is less than 100 yards to the slopes
Seventy per cent of the visitors to the area are international but the number from Britain and Ireland could be higher. The experienced skiers might know the place but many still go for the more well known names. The Dutch and the Belgians are more likely visitors.
In summer, the area is not so crowded and it caters for walkers and cyclists. People go up to the area to cool down from the heat of summer in the valleys; to take early morning walks on the glacier (there are guides for those that want them) and enjoy the mountain air and the views. Increasingly they are visiting for what the travel industry calls wellness breaks; healthy holidays incuding access to hydro-massage, saunas, spas and the Turkish baths that hotels have been quick to install.
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image courtesy of Val Thorens Tourist Office

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