…that isn’t skiing. Sorry to throw you in at the deep end there (and how icy, icy cold the water feels), but if you’re reading this article, then you probably know that Val Thorens is pretty famous for the ol’ slope shredding. In fact, it’s Europe’s highest ski resort and the reason to visit.
So, we’ll park the plankers to one side for a minute and focus on all the other great activities available away from the skis. There’s fun, frolics and frivolity to be found there, too. So whether you’re a park rat or pro, and simply looking for something else from the snow, these are for you; our 5 IDEAL things to do in Val Thorens.
TOBOGGANING DOWN THE COSMOJET
Not content with being the highest ski resort in Europe and having the highest zipline on the continent, too (more on that later), there is also a new addition to the superlative collecting; Cosmojet, the longest toboggan ride in, you guessed it, Europe. Standing at an altitude of 3’000 metres, this is 45 minutes downhill designed for all the family; anyone over five is allowed on, it’s free for those aged between five and ten, and those above that age are allowed their own sled. The smaller ones can share with an adult.
Should the thrill of two sleds not be enough to satisfy the adrenaline junkie in you, then how about hurtling down the slopes on two wheels? Yep, mountain biking on the snow, downhill and fast is becoming increasingly popular in Val Thorens and we can understand why. It’s hair raising and the views are simply spectacular. This one takes place once the slopes are shut (at around 5pm each day) for standard skiing, meaning there’s a surprising serenity to found on the descent. Though it’s recommended only for skilled mountain bikers, all the equipment is provided; phew. We weren’t looking forward to lugging our bike on the plane along with our skis!
All of that thrill seeking can get pretty tiring, and the apres-ski always seems to turn into a session, make no mistake. While you’re in Val Thorens you should also make time to simply relax, kick back and enjoy the calm; it needn’t be a mile-a-minute every moment of your trip. So, embrace the superb Val thorens accommodation, much of which lies at the foot of the piste with brilliant views and providing the quintessential, immersive chalet experience. Get a roaring fire going, pour a glass of something red and local, and rest those weary bones before another day on the slopes tomorrow.
Opened in 2014 and immediately taking the title of Europe’s highest, the zipline at Val Thorens is yet another reason to pitch up on the slopes with your adrenaline braced. Yep, this is 1.6km and 1 minute 45 seconds of pure terror; in the best possible way, of course. Short, sweet and so satisfying, you’ll definitely return for round two. And three. And four. With speeds reaching 100km/h, this isn’t one for the faint-hearted.
And breathe…you’ve put your nerves through a lot, and it’s only natural to want to unwind in style. Fortunately, the apres-ski at Val Thorens is vast and varied. The restaurant scene is superb, with good, honest French fare rubbing shoulders with fine dining. Some of our favourites include La Cepe, which serves local produce like wild mushrooms and fish caught from nearby lakes cooked with a humble appreciation of the ingredients, all in unpretentious, cosy surrounds. A must visit. Also brilliant is Le Bistrot du Praz. If you were to imagine the typical setting for apres-ski (roaring fire, oak furnishings, dimly lit by candle), then this restaurant would be it. The food ticks the boxes for those wanting to get fed, too, and is hearty and replenishing after a day on the slopes.
After dinner, some drinks? Be sure to check out the ‘dancefloor on top of the world’, Folie Douce, as well as Bar 360, both offering stunning views and a raucous vibe.