Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe, located in the French Alps at 2300 m altitude. It is located in the commune of Saint-Martin-de-Belleville in the Savoie dÃ©partement.
The humungous altitude means the resort has a very long season with the ski infrastructure typically closing in early-middle May. Many of its slopes face north and north-west, providing for good snow conditions. This means that the slopes are not as sunny, so the resort tends to attract a crowd more interested in skiing than "terracing". However, the resort itself faces south, and many people enjoy sitting outside in the sunshine outside when they have finished skiing.
While there is some evidence of pre-tourism structures and huts used by shepherds in the Alpine pastures, it is safe to say that Val Thorens is a purpose-built ski resort. Some of the original late-1970s and 1980s architecture is being redesigned to give the village a more alpine look. More recent construction has attempted to avoid modern architectural design in favour of chalet style wooden structures. Lodging is mainly based on self-catering apartments. There are also 10 hotels, including one 4-star hotel, and more than 50 restaurants, including 1 starred Michelin dining at L'Oxalys restaurant. Many of the hotels and residences are ski in, ski out.
Val Thorens is surrounded by several high peaks near or over 3000 m and a number of its cable cars and chair lifts go almost as high. The highest skiable peaks are Pointe du Bouchet (3220m) and Cime de Caron (3200m), with its cable car of the same name, one of the biggest in the world with its capacity of 150+1 passengers. The skiing is varied and offers something for all levels of ability. Ski schools provides instruction for children in reserved areas. The Snowpark has areas for all levels: bordercross, big air, snow tubing, quarter, handrails...
Val Thorens is the most international ski resort in France: more than 70% of its visitors are foreigners. While one will find people from all over the world in Val Thorens, Dutch, British, Belgian, German and Scandinavian tourists make up the majority.