Val Thorens (Savoie, 3 Valleys): 2300 – 3230 m – French ski resort, great for winter and summer holidays, with friends, with children, for families. The highest resort in Europe, Val Thorens has changed over the past few years. Thanks to its exceptional geographical position at the top of the 3 Valleys, Val Thorens has become very famous.
The history of the resort and its structure.
Founded more than 40 years ago, when ski holidays in the Alps were not yet developed and did not bring such income, the resort was founded by a group of enthusiasts – dreamers who then believed in success and were not mistaken in their forecasts.
Fragments of the history of the resort (based on materials courtesy of the local tourism office), timeline:
1969 – 1971: The birth of the idea and the emergence of the resort project
Val Thorens owes its existence to the Romantic engineer Pierre Schnebelen, back in the days when the success of ski resorts was in question. But this engineer and “dreamer” already had a lot of commercial experience in building such resorts and firmly believed in the success of new construction. He put all his knowledge and great effort not only to calculate everything correctly, but also to obtain all the necessary permits and approvals, as well as to find funding for such a daring and ambitious project of the highest mountain resort in Europe.
Great moral and administrative support was given to Pierre Schneblen by Joseph Fontanet, Mayor of the Valle de Belleville (la Vallée des Belleville), President of the General Council of Savoy and Minister, with the help of the director of SODEVAB (company for the development of the Valle de Belleville) Bernard Reverdy (Bernard Reverdy) and member of the General Council Ferdinand Martin (Ferdinand Martin). Pierre Josserand, a graduate of the School of Arts and Crafts, also provided assistance. Pierre Le Cernex, Michel Herenger, Francois Buisson, Jacques François, Georges Cumin and many other specialists and administrative workers also played a decisive role.
The initial implementation of the project was carried out by a small but very efficient team of specialists.
1971 – 1981: Bet on long-term development
In the spring of 1971, a “Protocol of Intentions” was signed between SODEVAB President Joseph Fontane and Henin Bank President Jean Lamey, which can be considered the date of the real founding of the Val Thorens resort.
The first and most difficult part, the construction of three ski lifts, was completed over the summer. The official opening took place on December 18, 1971. After this event, Marie Aline Josserand and Jean Hauteur became active in the sale of properties in this new resort.
In 1972, after leaving the French ski team, Jean Beranger opened a tourist information office, the French Ski School (ESF – École du Ski Français) and the Sports Club here.
In December 1972, Claude Loubet opens the first Le Gloulou restaurant in the resort.
1981 – 2010: Innovation and infrastructure development
At this time, the complex development of the entire resort infrastructure began, both in terms of technical support and in the field of development of recreation services.
1980: SODEVAB built and equipped the Sports Center
1981/ 1982: SETAM, despite the debts, began construction of the world’s largest cable car for climbing to a height of 3200 m: – the famous Cime Caron cable car (“Sim Karon”). Since then, Val-Thorens has been well positioned in the ranking of the best winter sports resorts.
1985: SETAM develops and finances an entire chain of hotels, and establishes the travel agency Val Thorens Tour to organize visits to the resort by tourists. The agency is actively engaged in servicing groups of tourists and actively cooperates with leading tour operators.
1987: Based on the experience gained in the maintenance and operation of facilities, including lifts, a single reservation center is created.
1990: Denis Creissels and SETAM engineers designed and patented the Funitel hoist system (double rope suspended cab with excellent wind resistance characteristics). This system was installed at the foot of the Peclet Glacier and became the first in the world. Under license from SETAM, lift manufacturers began to install it around the world.
1995: A chair lift with two boarding stations was built, which dramatically increased capacity and made it much more convenient for skiers (more time to board). At the same time, construction began on the world’s longest single-section cable car between Maurienne and the 3 Vallées via Orelle. This road not only facilitated access to the area, but also helped develop the real estate market in Orel.
2004: Young chef Jean Sulpice at l’Oxalys receives a prestigious Michelin star. He has made a significant contribution to the fact that Val Thorens has become a high-mountainous gastronomic Mecca and a role model for many restaurants. In 2009, Jean Sulpice received his second Michelin star for his services.
2007: SETAM installed two cabins (“gondolas”) operating in automatic “ESO” (unmanned operation): thanks to a video and security system, one driver controls two gondolas at once, as well as the Caron cable car).
Description of the resort, useful information
Located in the upper part of the Belleville valley, Val Thorens (2300 m) is one of the highest Alpine resorts. The altitude provides it with a very long and snowy season. On sunny days, skiing and snowboarding is possible for tourists with any level of training, there are slopes for both beginners and professionals. From the height of Mount Sim de Caron (Cime de Caron, 3195 m.) A picturesque view of the surroundings opens up. At the resort level, there is a well-developed system of shops, restaurants, various services and a large sports center. Evening rest “apres-ski” is well developed.
The main sports and recreation for adults and children (family holidays) here are:
– skiing, tobogganing, mountain biking….
– dog sledding and snowshoeing..
– bowling, thalassotherapy, music concerts, après-ski (apres-ski)…
Open daily from 10 am to 10 pm. Lots of halls in 7, 5000 sq. meters. Here you can go in for sports, restore physical fitness or improve your figure.
Aqua club. Swimming and game pools. Sports and recreational swimming and water games for children.
SPA: visitors aged 16 and over are offered saunas, a hammam, a jacuzzi, access to 2 pools, including a “balneological” one – for rest and relaxation.
Family club: for those who want to spend holidays with their children. Water procedures and a pool with dividing lanes for sports swimming and a “paddling pool” for children (play with jets and fountains).
Sports: under the guidance of experienced instructors, classes are held for children from 6 months of age according to the programs: “swimming babies”, “aqua kids”, “little dolphins”, private swimming lessons, etc.
Starting from the age of 16, there are many activities to the music: aqua aerobics, aquabike, swimming, etc.
Beauty and health SPA salons
The resort has several first-class beauty salons and spas, with swimming pools, massage rooms and all the infrastructure. The most popular are:
ALTAPURA SPA PURE ALTITUDE ***** (1,000 sq. meters to improve health, relaxation, fitness and recovery after sports.
LE SPA (A whole world of beauty and relaxation. New for the season – exclusive treatments and massages from famous brands such as Cinq Mondes® and Phyt’s®. A unique SPA experience in a soulful atmosphere under the stars.)
PASHMINA SPA BY L’OCCITANE (SPA-salon from L’OCCITANE – wonderful moments of tranquility, pleasure and enjoyment in the heart of the resort. Three spa treatment rooms, a warm pool with a charming view of the mountains, a sauna made of real old wood, a Turkish bath, poly-sensor shower and Jacuzzi…)
LE SPA DU KOH-I NOR (Pleasant smell, meditative music, dim light, refined interior, noble and natural interior materials combined with Valmont skin care cosmetics..).
the entire list of SPA salons, in total more than 18 (!) complexes for every taste
In addition to classic winter sports like skiing, sledding, skating, the resort offers unusual and adventurous activities such as:
“La Tyrolienne” or “Flight of the Eagle”
This is 1,300 meters of gliding flight, 105 seconds of pure pleasure with breathtaking mountain panoramas … From the highest point of the Three Valleys resort (altitude 3230 meters) to the top station of the Bouchet lift (“Bouchet”) in the Orel ski area. Ridge of Val Thorens at an altitude of 3000 m with the top of Funitel de Thorens. STOR and SETAM organized the route between Maurienne and Tarentaise – by air, as eagles do. They stretched a steel cable along which, in a special suit (“cradle”), like a bird of prey, you can fly over the mountainous expanses at speeds sometimes up to 100 km. per hour at a height of 250 meters… For only 50 Euro you will feel like a real Eagle. (Age restrictions – not younger than 8 years and not older than 88, weight not more than 120 kg.)
Paraglider or “French Airborne Troops”
Try yourself as a French skydiver. At your feet is the Belleville valley, above which Mont Blanc rises. Start from 3,000 meters with a descent of 650 meters. Accompanied by experienced instructors with state diplomas. Hey, former paratroopers, don’t forget your hats!
Paramotor or “Special Operations Forces” in French
Feel like a member of an international special team with the French pilot instructor Timothy Green. On a paraglider equipped with a special screw motor like James Bond, at a speed of 35 km/h you will make a reconnaissance flight through the valley among the massifs of Maurienne, Tarentaise and Vanoise, and your instructor will show you the elements of aero-acrobatics. Your task will be to fly around an unfamiliar area in 20-30 minutes and bring home to your friends the video footage captured during the flight.
Access from the airfield (accessible by the Moutière lift, from the top to the right) every day from 09:30 to 15:45 Sunset flights available on request. Flight cost: €120 // Video recording on SD card memory (4GB card included): €50
What to take with you:
– Warm gloves and clothes or uniform (you can use the one in which you served)
– Helmet (can be rented at Ski Cool school) or “own”.
Helicopter. Scouting – sightseeing type.
Helicopter flights have now become not only the prerogative of the Airborne Forces, they have become the norm of the tourism. Under the guidance of pilot-instructor Christian Bluejon, Chevalier of the Order of the Legion of Honor, you will be able to make a “reconnaissance” flight in the mountains.
The cost of the tour is 119 Euro per person (as part of a combined group). If you are going to fly with your company, then the price of a flight, an individual tour:
– “Three Valleys” – 1300 Euro (15-20 minutes, capacity from 1 to 6 people)
– flight over Mont Blanc (“Roof of the World”) – 2300 Euro (35-40 minutes, capacity 1-6 people)
Restaurants. French cuisine.
The most exotic restaurant is Yurt. A real yurt of the inhabitants of Alaska, Chukotka and Mongolia. The ascent here is on a snowmobile or a snowcat. Dishes traditionally on an old frying pan. It is worth noting the stunning view of the surroundings, the mountains. The official name is “Chalet de la Marine”. Open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday evenings or by appointment.
The best hotels in the resort
The resort has a large selection of hotels for every taste. Most of them are in modern style. Book a hotel. Information about hotels, programs, festivals is on the official website, see below.
Official website of the resort Val Thorens
All detailed information about hotels, programs, festivals is on the official website of the resort www.valthorens.com (in English or French)
How to get to Val Thorens:
Transfer from Lyon airport, minibus (car) with English-speaking guide
– from Chambéry Airport (Foantia), transfer and mini-tours
– from Grenoble or Lyon, private transfer to hotel and sightseeing tours
– Geneva International airport (Switzerland) or RR station
– Milan and Turin (Italy)