At 2,300m, Val Thorens is the highest resort in Europe. More importantly, 99% of the terrain is higher than 2000 metres and the Sommet des 3 Vallees at 3,230 metres has highest piste in the Three Valleys, making it really reliable for early season skiing.
There are some terrific après bars and clubs to celebrate the start of the season - we can’t fail to mention the famous Folie Douce, which has “the highest dance floor in the world”.
If extensive, high altitude skiing is at the top of your Christmas list, Val Thorens is a fantastic place to spend a cool Yule. Recent years have seen loads of festive events like visits from Father Christmas, fireworks and torch lit descents to make things extra special.
True to Val Tho’s lively après scene, it will be absolutely buzzing here around New Year. There are usually some terrific events at the bars and clubs and if they decide to do ‘Valtho Crazy Night’ again, you can expect fireworks displays, snow shows and much more.
December Snow History
Average snow depth
Average snow depth
December ski rating
Val Thorens is a normally a very reliable resort early on in the season. In fact, the tourist office is so confident of its snow sureness that in they’ve been known to offer a “snow guarantee” from November through to May. Historically, December has had an average snow depth of 116cm at the highest lift station on the Sommet des 3 Vallees (3,200m) and 66cm at resort level. Temperatures are usually low enough for good skiing conditions, with an average of 1.4°C and highs of 5.5 and lows of -2.6 at resort level.
Val Thorens is an intermediate skier’s paradise with interlinked reds and blues peppered all over the place. The red run, Col, starts on the 3,130m Glacier de Thorens, making it a good bet for early season snow. At the top of the Moraine lift, Col feeds into Moraine and Genepi, two gentle blue runs. We also like the cruisey blue Pluviometre, which is long and varied. The 3,000m+ snow sure Péclet glacier runs, Christine (red) and Tête Ronde (blue) have a vertical drop of over 700 metres, which provide plenty of variation (Chalet de la Marine is a fantastic mountain restaurant on the Tête Ronde, with a cosy fireplace and tasty food if you need to warm up and refuel).
If visibility is poor, you might want to stay at runs below/near the tree line. There aren’t many in Val Thorens itself, but you’ll find a whole host of interlinked red and blue runs either side of Les Menuires (1850m), which should provide a bit of cover. The sunny terrain around Boismant, which has intermediate runs such as Boismant (red) and Blanchot (blue), is usually good to ski first thing in the morning. There are some challengingly steep black runs at Cime de Caron, including Cristaux and Combe de Caron. Both start at 3,200m, so they should have a good depth of snow even at the start of the season. If conditions are icy, ski some of the south facing black runs in the neighbouring Meribel valley, such as the famous Face.
During particularly busy weeks like Christmas and New Year, you’ll be glad to know that Val Thorens has a brilliant lift system thanks to 20 million euros of investment. The lifts can carry 65,470 skiers and snowboarders per hour, which means that queues should rarely be an issue.
There are normally loads of interesting events taking place at Val Thorens in December. If sliding sideways is your passion and you fancy testing the latest gear from up to 30 leading brands, see if Rock on Snowboard Tour is taking place this year.
All sorts of competitions like the FIS Skicross World Cup take place at Val Thorens throughout the season and it’s well worth finding out if anything’s on while you’re there – the atmosphere can be great and watching the pros at the top of their game is an adrenaline rush in itself.
True to French tradition, lots of festive celebrations take place on Christmas Eve when Val Tho usually pulls out all the stops with a whole host of events. Past years have included visits from Father Christmas, torch lit descents, fireworks, elf fanfares and snow shows at the bottom of the piste.
This is one of the best resorts in the Alps for partying in the new year, on New Year’s Eve, the ‘Val Tho Crazy Night’ at Place Caron has featured live music, DJ’s, videos, torch lit descents, freestyle shows and fireworks in previous years. The bars and clubs are often very lively here and will be firing on all cylinders with some awesome New Years parties at venues like Malaysia and Eclipse. Klub Summit is “the highest club in the world” if you fancy seeing in the New Year from dizzying heights. It’s definitely worth scoping out the bars and clubs ahead of time to find a venue and book tickets, as many places will probably be sold out closer to the time.