An independent guide to Val Thorens

View of Mt Blanc from Val Thorens

Val Thorens beginners area

Musaraigne magic carpet, Val Thorens
Musaraigne magic carpet/perspex tunnel, Val Thorens

This page covers the Val Thorens beginners area. Beginners usually start at the Rond Point des Pistes, and use the magic carpets and nursery slopes there. Then, Deux Lacs chairlift gives access to the main green run, also called Deux Lacs. Cascades chairlift, leading to the Deux Combes piste, is usually the next one to try. After that, there are some fairly easy blue runs. Read about the Val Thorens beginners area here.

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Skiing Made Easy

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Val Thorens beginners area: Rond Point des Pistes

Rond Point des Pistes, Val Thorens
Rond Point des Pistes, Val Thorens

The Rond Point des Pistes in Val Thorens has some gentle slopes which are ideal for complete beginners to get used to sliding a few metres. It's where most ski and snowboard lessons with ski schools start too, with meeting points for group lessons for adults, children, and snowboarding, and for private lessons.  

Val Thorens beginners area: getting to the Rond Point des Pistes

Val Thorens resort map (click to enlarge)  (Click to enlarge)

If you're staying in the lower part of Val Thorens, in the rue du Soleil, it's easy to get to the Rond Point des Pistes. You can walk directly onto the snow at the hairpin bend in the road by the Chamois d'Or; or, from Montana or Temples du Soleil, you can use the magic carpet lifts (Musaraigne and Campagnols, which open at 8.30am) to get up there. 

Castor & Pollux tunnel, Val Thorens
Castor & Pollux magic carpets/perspex tunnel

If you're a beginner staying in the middle or top part of resort, you'll have to walk from the place de Caron, down a short slope called La Voie Lactée (the Milky Way), to get to the Rond Point des Pistes. The easiest way to do it is to walk inside the Castor & Pollux tunnel, between the two magic carpets, on rubber matting. (There was a suggestion at one point that this was going to be stopped, but any ban isn't strictly enforced). Later in the week, beginners will be able to ski or board down La Voie Lactée.

To get back up to the place de Caron, take one of the two parallel magic carpets Castor and Pollux (no lift pass needed).

Val Thorens beginners area: Musaraigne and Campagnols

Part of the beginners area in Val Thorens
Beginners area by Musaraigne magic carpet

Once you've got your balance at the Rond Point des Pistes, you'll move onto the beginners' area (espace débutant ), which is served by two travelator or 'magic carpet' lifts. The lower one is Musaraigne (which means shrew), and the upper one is Campagnols (voles). They are in perspex tunnels, which are great for protecting you from the wind, but not so good as it gets warm in the spring, when it can feel like being in a greenhouse. No lift pass is needed for these magic carpets.

Val Thorens beginners' area - view of Rond Point des Pistes, Campagnol and Musaraigne, and ski school meeting points
Annotated map of the central beginners' area in Val Thorens - click to enlarge

The area by Musaraigne is easier; when you're confident there, move on to Campagnols. (If you start at Rond Point des Pistes, you may have no choice but to ski down Campagnols first, once, to get to Musaraigne).

If you're a beginner, try to avoid the piste in betweeen the two magic carpets, as it's a busy thoroughfare for confident skiers and boarders heading towards the rest of the lifts in the ski area.

When you can control your speed, and turn left and right, you're ready to take a chairlift and attempt a green run.

Val Thorens beginners area: green runs

Deux Lacs piste, Val Thorens
2 Lacs piste, Val Thorens

Deux Lacs (two lakes) is the first chairlift that beginners should take. Head past the bottom of Musaraigne, go by the Plein Sud chair (on the left), and you'll arrive at the departure point of Deux Lacs chairlift (on the right hand side of the piste). 

From the top of the Deux Lacs lift, turn left on Traversée des Deux Lacs. Almost immediately, there's a mountain restaurant - the Chalet des Deux Lacs.

Chalet des 2 Lacs
Chalet des 2 Lacs

Continue a little way past the mountain restaurant, then there are a couple of options - a left turn down the Espace Junior (recommended for the first descent), or straight on to the Chalets du Thorens and join the Combe de Thorens. Either way, you end up back at the Rond Point des Pistes. 

The easiest green runs are from Deux Lacs chair, but there's another green run from the top of the Cascades chairlift - Deux Combes. This is the next step in the progression.

Val Thorens beginners area: Funslope

Funslope, Val Thorens

New in January 2016, and starting at the junction of the Traversée des Deux Lacs and the Espace Junior, was the Funslope. It was an easy Skicross, suitable for children and lower level skiers. See what the Funslope was like in this video:

There was one section that was a bit too steep, and apparently there were too many accidents there. In 2018-19, it was re-routed, and it is now rubbish. It was really popular before, and now hardly anyone bothers skiing it - what a shame.

SETAM, the lift company, really need to look at making the Fun Slope fun again. As it is, it is one of the big failures of the 2018-19 season.

Val Thorens beginners area: Family Park

Family Park, Val Thorens
Family Park, Val Thorens

The easy part of the snowpark moved from Plateau to the Espace Junior in the 2018-19 season. It has some rolling bumps, easy jumps, and fairly easy boxes.

The Family Park is easily accessible in its current location, but it does mean that in busy periods, there are just too many people on the Espace Junior, which ideally ought to be a quiet piste suitable for beginners.

Now for a look at the easy blue runs.

Val Thorens beginners area: easy blue runs

Les Dalles piste, Val Thorens
Dalles piste & Chalet de la Marine

If you're progressing from greens to blues, Dalles is usually the next step after Deux Combes. Turn right at the top of Cascades chairlift to head down Dalles, towards the Chalet de la Marine mountain restaurant.

Moraine piste, Val Thorens
Moraine, Val Thorens

Other easy blues (starting with the easiest) are Gentiane, Linotte, Moraine, Blanchot, and Plein Sud. 

How difficult a run is can vary a lot, depending on the weather and snow conditions. Runs are generally easier first thing in the morning, too, when they have been pisted overnight. By the afternoon, they can get more chopped up. 

Pluviomètre piste, Val Thorens
Pluviomètre, Val Thorens

If you want to get to the top of the mountain, and ski down on a fairly easy blue, there's Tête Ronde, Niverolles, and Pluviometre.

I hope you make rapid progress in the Val Thorens beginners area.

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Ski schools in Val Thorens

ESF in Val Thorens

A guide to all the ski schools in Val Thorens, including the ESF, Prosneige, Ski Cool, Evolution 2, and Free School Attitude.

Val Thorens ski area

Signpost at the top of Cime de Caron, Val Thorens

The Val Thorens ski area section covers the beginners' area (including the green runs, and the easy blues), and the ski area sector by sector. There's a page dedicated to the snow park, Scross, and the slalom stadium. You can also find out about Val Thorens off piste itineraries, look at a piste map, and consult the Val Thorens ski pass prices. Finally, have a look at the ValThorensGuide to the Val Thorens mountain restaurants.

Musaraigne tunnel, Val Thorens2 Lacs piste, Val ThorensPluviometre, Val Thorens