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Val Thorens

3.7
Ski Areas · Outdoor Activities · Nightlife
Val Thorens, located in the Tarentaise Valley, Savoie, French Alps, is the highest ski resort in Europe, at 2300 m altitude. It is located in the commune of Saint-Martin-de-Belleville in the Savoie département. The resort forms part of the 3 vallées linked ski area which, with over 600 km of piste, is the largest linked ski area in the world.ResortIn the 1960s the potential of Val Thorens to be transformed from summer pasture into a location for a purpose built ski area was noted. Prior to this the development of Les Menuires at 1850m was begun in 1967. In 1969 the access road was extended up to Val Thorens so that development of the resort could start. In 1971 the first of 3 drag lifts was installed, followed in 1972 by the opening of the first ski school. Like many 1960s purpose built resorts in the French Alps, Val Thorens suffered from a lack of architectural guidelines in the early days, leading to an over-dependence on concrete. New and renovated developments now have to meet much stricter design guidelines and the use of traditional materials is sought.AccessThe nearest airports are Chambéry, Lyon and Geneva. They have a transfer time of 2 hours, 2 hours 45 mins and 3 hrs 15 mins respectively. Alternatively the resort is nearly 1 hour from Moutiers for the snow train.SkiingGiven the high altitude of Val Thorens and the Glacier de Péclet the often large volume of snow means that the resort is usually open from mid-November until early May. The highest ski-able peaks are Pointe du Bouchet (3220 m) and Cime de Caron (3200 m), with its cable car of the same name, one of the biggest in the world with a capacity of 150+1 passengers.
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