As the highest ski resort in Europe and located in the heart of the Trois Vallées (Three Valleys), this is the largest ski area in the world. Val Thorens is blessed with an unbeatable combination of slopes, high-quality accommodation and off-piste facilities.
At 2300m the resort is guaranteed show throughout the season; you can check the latest snow report in Val Thorens here. The view from the top of the mountain is truly breath-taking. On a clear day, you can see more than 1000 mountaintops across the Belleville Valley. And when the weather closes in, the height of the village allows it to stay above cloud level, giving it a magical, mystical feeling as though you are floating in the clouds.
Unlike other resorts in the Trois Vallées, such as Courchevel and Meribel, Val Thorens was purpose-built as a ski resort. That means it has a wide range of slopes to suit all types of skiers. Val Thorens itself can claim more than 140 km of pistes and links to a further 600 km as part of the Trois Vallées network.
Living in Val Thorens
The village of Val Thorens provides 140 km of pistes, but skiers here also have access to another 160 km which runs down either side of the Belleville Valley. And that’s before considering the 300 km of pistes over the ridge in Meribel and Courchevel which form part of the Trois Vallées network.
With such a wide range of slopes, there is something for skiers of all abilities. Beginners are well catered for by gentle nursery slopes located around the Rond Point Des Pistes. When they are ready to progress, there is a range of green and blue level slopes easily accessed by the Cascades and Deux Lacs chairlifts from the village.
Expert level skiers will find one red and two black runs around Caron Peak which are accessible by cable car from the village. A range of off-piste runs also start from here which lead down to the village of Orelle. In time for the 2018/19 season, a new black run has been created below the village in Boismint.
Off-piste skiers are advised to check the weather before setting off. You can find the local weather report for Val Thorens here.
Things to do in Val Thorens
Val Thorens is famous for its upmarket hotels which cater for the large number of wealthy travellers who descend on the village each year. But there is also plenty of half-board accommodation aimed at twenty-somethings who are here to take advantage of the wide range of skiing available.
After a hard day’s skiing on the slopes, there is still plenty of things to do in Val Thorens. The village nightlife offers a range of nightclubs which cater for younger revellers. The upmarket hotels host plenty of sophisticated bars where the more refined can enjoy a quiet drink after dinner. The centre of the village also plays host to a varied collection of après-ski entertainment options including a bowling alley, cinema and sports centre.
The village itself is relatively compact which makes living in Val Thorens a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Everything you need is within easy walking distance and all the major hotels and apartment complexes have direct ski-in-ski-out access to the slopes. The slopes themselves are easily accessed by one of 33 ski lifts which connect the Trois Vallées.
Investment potential in Val Thorens
The village of Val Thorens has benefitted from continuous investment since it first opened in 1971. Each year, infrastructure improvements are made to improve access to the slopes and provide accommodation for the ever-increasing number of travellers.
For the 2018/19 season, the flagship investment was the installation of a new 10-seat fast gondola which replaces the outdated La Moraine chairlift. This is one of the first fully automated gondola systems installed in France and will dramatically increase capacity up the mountain, allowing 2800 people per hour to access the piste.
Because Val Thorens is relatively new there is no traditional architecture as such, but many of the buildings are designed in a sympathetic Savoyard style. So, while it may be relatively new, it looks and feels like a traditional French ski resort. There is even a village church which plays host to a range of events throughout the year.
For investors looking at buying a property in Val Thorens there are always large numbers of apartments and villas available. These range from one-bed studio flats to luxury five-bed villas complete with spa and direct ski-in-ski-out access. Property prices in Val Thorens are above average for the region. A small studio will set you back around €140,000, while a luxury villa will cost upwards of €3 million.
Transport to Val Thorens
As you would expect sitting atop a mountain, Val Thorens is not the easiest resort to get to, but with amazing landscapes surrounding you on your way up the valley, the trip is far from unpleasant. The nearest airport is Chambéry which is just 90 km (90 mins) away and provides seasonal connections around Europe. For international connections, Geneva airport is 122 km (2h 30 mins) away and served by most major airlines.
The nearest train station is Moûtiers, which is 37 km (45 mins) away. This provides onward SNCF connections to Paris, Lyon and Chambray. A regular shuttle bus service runs from the station entrance to Val Thorens every hour during the ski season.
With a continuous program of investment, along with an unbeatable range of hotels and accommodation, it is easy to see why Val Thorens is considered an investment hotspot right now. The village already offers more than any other resort in the region and there is no sign of investment letting up. So, while property here is expensive, Val Thorens is a safe bet for the future.