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Val Thorens news, for the season 2012-13, all the latest news and developments from Val Thorens, including reports, photos and videos. Read the Val Thorens news here!

Val Thorens news 2013-14

We bring you all the latest Val Thorens news

Before the season, we report on any developments affecting Val Thorens, including new lifts, travel, and new hotels.

During the winter season, we'll bring you reports, photos, and videos, so you can see what's going on in resort. You'll also be able to get an idea of the snow conditions, in advance to a trip to Val Thorens. 

Read all the news from Val Thorens, and the Val Thorens snow reports, here.

(For news from last winter season, 2012-13, see our archived page Val Thorens news 2012-13. See also 3 Valleys news).

Val Thorens news 2013-14

Here you can find reports on the events in Val Thorens, and all the Val Thorens news from the season 2013-14. See our snow report for the latest conditions.

Val Thorens news: Quirky Accommodation blogs about Val Thorens

20th May 2014

Quirky Accommodation, the directory of unusual places to stay, has written about Val Thorens on its blog. The reviewers stayed at the 5 star Koh-i-Nor hotel, and enjoyed the late-season ski conditions. Read the Quirky Accommodation Val Thorens blog post here.

Val Thorens news: Cime de Caron evacuation drill video

Cime de Caron

2nd May 2014

If you've ever wondered what would happen if there was a technical problem with the Cime de Caron cable car, now you can see in the video below. SETAM, the lift company, has released a video showing a practice evacuation of lift company employees from the cable car. Ropes and karabiners are deployed to lower people down four by four, and they use what looks like a bag for life to carry skis down.

Val Thorens news: Avalanche on the Aiguille de Peclet, Val Thorens

29th April 2014

Col de Gebroulaz

There was an avalanche on the Aiguille de Péclet today, above the Glacier de Chaviere, near Val Thorens. A group of six touring skiers had crossed the glacier, and were walking up a couloir to the top of the Aiguille de Péclet, when a slab avalanche hit four of them, and carried them 150m down. Read more about the avalanche in Val Thorens 29th April 2014...

Val Thorens news: Slopestyle competitions

13th April 2014

Finals, French Cup Slopestyle

There were two Slopestyle events in the Val Thorens snowpark this weekend. The Finals of the French Cup Slopestyle took place on Saturday 12th April 2014. The winner of the men's competition was Nathan Gaidet, and Charlie Ledeux won the ladies' event. 

The French Championships in Slopestyle were held in Val Thorens on Sunday 13th April 2014, with the men's event won by Jérémy Pancras, Antoine Adelisse second, and Nathan Gaidet third. The ladies' competition was won by Emilie Cruz, with Elisa Musquet second, and Julie Legall third.

This is a short video of the French Cup Slopestyle event:

Val Thorens news: Tournoi des 6 Stations in Val Thorens

1st March 2014

Tournoi des 6 Stations, Val Thorens

The rugby tournament on snow, the 'Tournoi des 6 Stations', was in Val Thorens last night. The sevens rugby matches on snow were played in difficult conditions, with snow falling, and the temperature around -5C.

Whilst this is a great event, ValThorensGuide would comment that it wasn't perfectly organised. Billed as starting at 6pm, it was unfortunate that it began half an hour late. It was a Friday evening, and many of the families here would have been getting ready to leave at the end of the week. Plus, when it's a cold, snowy evening, why make people stand around for 30 minutes waiting? We didn't come wanting to listen to a third-rate comedian filling.

The rugby was good when it got going. See this short highlights video from the Valmorel-St Gevais match:

Val Thorens news: Olympic bronze medallist Chloe Trespeuch back in Val Thorens

28th February 2014

Chloe Trespeuch a Val Thorens

Chloe Trespeuch, who won the Olympic bronze medal in the women's snowboard cross, arrived back in Val Thorens this evening, to a warm welcome from the ski instructors, locals, and holidaymakers in Val Thorens. She was carried from the tourist office across place Caron, and gave a short speech from a podium.

Chloe Trespeuch carried across place Caron   Chloe Trespeuch, bronze medal

Val Thorens news: Olympic champion Jean-Frédéric Chapuis returns to Val Thorens

26th February 2014

Jean-Frédéric Chapuis, Skicross Olympic gold medallist 2014, in Val Thorens

Jean-Frédéric Chapuis, the Olympic Skicross gold medallist, returned to Val Thorens for the first time since his triumph in Sochi at the 2014 Winter Games. He walked out of the tourist office on place Caron, between two lines of ski instructors, then stood on a podium to receive the applause of the gathered crowd. 

Chapuis made a short speech, and this was followed by a speech from the Mayor of St Martin de Belleville. (The sound system wasn't very good, and it wasn't possible to hear what anyone said).

Welcome for Jean-Frédéric Chapuis in Val Thorens, 26th February 2014   Jean-Frédéric Chapuis, in Val Thorens

See this short video of the welcome for the Olympic Champion on 26th February 2014:

Val Thorens news: Orelle-Val Thorens zipwire open

22nd February 2014

Zip wire, Val Thorens

The new zipwire in Val Thorens opened on Tuesday 18th February 2014. The staff operating it said today that they have so far had around a hundred customers. The zipwire goes from the top of the Bouchet chairlift in Orelle, across the Pierre Lory valley, to the arrival point at the top of the Funitel de Thorens. It's 1300m long, and descends 250m from the departure to the arrival. It costs €50.

Here's a short video:

Val Thorens news: Jean-Fred Chapuis, Olympic Champion

20th February 2014

Congratulations to Jean-Fred Chapuis of Val Thorens, who today won the gold medal in the men's skicross at the Winter Olympics 2014 in Sochi. 

Chapuis led in the early stages of the final, before being overtaken by his teammate Arnaud Bovolenta, then sliding past him again. France took all the medals, with Bovolenta in silver, and Jonathan Midol in bronze. The other finalist, Brady Leman of Canada, fell shortly before the end of the race, to finish fourth.

See the video on this report from France TV Info, with the action plus scenes of celebration from Le Bowling Val Thorens.

Val Thorens news: Olympic send-off for Val Thorens athletes

2nd February 2014

Skicross, Val Thorens

Val Thorens is sending three athletes to the Olympic Games 2014 in Sochi. Read about Adrien Théaux, Chloé Trespeuch, and Jean-Fred Chapuis, the Olympians from Val Thorens, and see their programme, and that of some of the British Olympic athletes.

Val Thorens news: Olympic champions the Goitschel sisters honoured 50 years on

2nd February 2014

Goitschel Sports, Val Thorens

There was a celebration of the Goitschel sisters in Val Thorens on Sunday 2nd February 2014, fifty years after their exploits at the 1964 Olympic Games in Innsbruck.

On 1st February 1964, Christine Goitschel won the Olympic slalom, ahead of her sister Marielle (who had been the favourite). Two days later, the order was reversed, with Marielle taking gold in the giant slalom, and Christine silver. They were just 18 (Christine) and 19 (Marielle) years old at the time.

The Goitschel sisters came from Val d' Isere, but were amongst the pioneers of the resort of Val Thorens, settling there right from the beginning in 1972. Christine married Jean Béranger, the French national team coach, and he became the first director of Val Thorens tourist office. 

On Sunday, the sisters were officially decorated with the honour of Officer of the Légion d' Honneur. See the photo in this report in Le Dauphiné.

Val Thorens news: SFR Tour freestyle skiing

26th January 2014

SFR Tour freestyle skiing, Val Thorens

Val Thorens hosted a freestyle skiing event in the snowpark, from Wednesday 22nd to Saturday 25th January 2014. (Saturday was an extra day, to make up for time lost to bad weather. There was bright sunshine on Saturday). 

Here's our short video of some of the riders on the kickers and rails:

Val Thorens news: Val Thorens to host another Skicross World Cup

10th January 2014

Val Thorens is to host another Skicross World Cup in the coming week, from Monday 13th to Friday 17th January 2014. It has been organised to compensate for two cancelled races, in Megeve and Bischofswiesen. The climax of the event will be the semi-finals and finals on Thursday 16th and Friday 17th January.

Val Thorens news: warmest ever first 10 days in January

10th January 2014

Today's 5pm bulletin from Météo France's local office in Bourg St Maurice states that the first 10 days in January 2014 have broken records for warmth. 

Three times in those 10 days, the thermometer has hit 13.3C, which equals the record temperature for this time of year, recorded on 10th January 2007. The average temperature for the 10 days at the start of January 2014 was 9.3C, which is the highest ever since records began.

Val Thorens news: Zip-wire update

8th January 2014

Zip wire arrival point, Val Thorens

Work was going on on the zip-wire yesterday. The departure (top of Bouchet) and arrival (top of Funitel Grand Fond) points are ready, and the wire is being installed. There are rolls of wire at either end, and yesterday, a join in the wire was being made, with the wire laid on the valley floor.

Allowing time for the obligatory tests, it seems that the zip-wire will be ready in about a month's time.

Val Thorens news: Christmas and New Year events

8th January 2014

The busy holiday weeks are over, and Val Thorens is back to normal. This week is quieter, but with quite a few Russians in resort. This is a short video of the torchlit descent at New Year and the fireworks at Christmas:

Val Thorens news: avalanche

27th December 2013

There was an avalanche in the Boismint sector of Val Thorens around 10am today, Friday 27th December 2013. Reports, for example in Liberation, state that a group of seven skiers set off the avalanche. Three skiers were caught, two of them up to the waist. The third skier was buried under 1m50 of snow. When he was dug out, he had stopped breathing, but he was resuscitated, and taken to Moutiers hospital. Local reports suggest it was the ski instructor leading a group.

Read more about the avalanche in Val Thorens on 27th December 2013...

Val Thorens news: Val Thorens named best ski resort in Europe

25th December 2013

Best European Ski Resort 2014, Val Thorens

Val Thorens has won another award, this time being named Best Ski Resort 2014 by European Best Destinations. 

The competition was amongst 13 ski resorts, and voting by members of the public took place over 10 days. Val Thorens came first, winning 16.4% of the 27,438 votes cast.

European Best Destinations is a non-profit-making organisation based in Brussels, which works with tourist offices to help promote European holiday destinations, especially online.

Val Thorens news: Jean-Fred Chapuis third in World Cup Skicross in Val Thorens

15th December 2013

The semi-finals and finals of the World Cup Skicross in Val Thorens took place today. In the women's race, the winner was Katrin Mueller of Switzerland, with Sanna Luedi of Switzerland second, and Ophelie David of France third. Emily Sarsfield of Britain was thirtieth.

Andreas Matt of Austria won the men's race, Victor Oehling Norberg of Sweden was second, and Jean-Fred Chapuis of Val Thorens and France was third. See our video highlights of the race:

Val Thorens news: World Cup Skicross in Val Thorens

13th December 2013

World Cup Skicross training, Val Thorens, 13th December 2013

The athletes are in resort, and the course is ready. Yesterday and today are training days at the World Cup Skicross event in Val Thorens, then tomorrow, Saturday 14th December 2013, the qualifications take place. The semi-finals and finals are on Sunday 15th December 2013.

Val Thorens news: Trophée Andros in Val Thorens

8th December 2013

Trophée Andros, Val Thorens, 8th December 2013

It was the Trophée Andros in Val Thorens this weekend, 7th & 8th December 2013. The races took place on the ice circuit on Saturday evening and Sunday lunchtime. 

Jean-Philippe Dayraut won both of the Trophée Andros races, and Christophe Ferrier won both electric car races; Maxime Emery won the first 'pilot bike' race, and Johnathan Montgarny won the second.  See a little of the racing on this short video:

Val Thorens news: chamois escape avalanche

5th December 2013 shows footage from the end of April 2013 of a herd of chamois escaping an avalanche above the Refuge du Roc de la Peche, near Pralognan. See the video of the chamois.

Val Thorens news: building the new zip-wire

5th December 2013

Helicopter, Val Thorens

A team of helicopters has been working this week in Val Thorens. They have been flying to the top of the Funitel de Thorens. ValThorensGuide believes that they've been putting in the concrete foundations for the new zip-wire.

Val Thorens news: new for 2013/14, la Maison Blanche

4th December 2013

Owner of la Maison Blanche, Val Thorens

A restaurant in the centre of Val Thorens, which had been le Galoubet since 1981, has been completely renovated over the summer, and re-named la Maison Blanche. We have an interview with co-owner Fabien Barrau (pictured above), who explains his hopes for the new restaurant. Read more about la Maison Blanche...

Val Thorens news: new snow-clearing machine!

29th November 2013

Snow-clearing machine, Val Thorens

Val Thorens has got a new, all-singing, all-dancing, snow-clearing machine! The mayor was in town to inaugurate it today.

Val Thorens news: FIS slalom races in Val Thorens, November 2013

29th November 2013

FIS slalom Val Thorens 29th November 2013

There were FIS slalom races on the Stade Yannick Richard in Val Thorens on Thursday 28th & Friday 29th November 2013. 

On Thursday, Pol Carreras of Spain was the winner, with Simon Steimle and Martin Stricker, both of Switzerland, in second and third. Corentin Aurard of Val Thorens was 8th.

Val Thorens news: FIS giant slalom races in Val Thorens, November 2013

27th November 2013

FIS giant slalom 27th November 2013 Val Thorens   Giant slalom, Val Thorens, 27th November 2013

Val Thorens is hosting FIS races this week, with giant slalom races on Tuesday 26th & Wednesday 27th November, and slalom races due to take place on Thursday 28th & Friday 29th November. 

The winner of Tuesday's giant slalom was Urs Kryenbuehl of Switzerland, with Thibaut Favrot of France in second, and Marc Gehrig of Switzerland in third. On Wednesday, first and second places were reversed, and Amaury Genoud of Switzerland was third. Corentin Aurard of Val Thorens was 28th.

Val Thorens news: opening weekend

26th November 2013

Val Thorens on 23rd November 2013  View from Funitel Peclet, November 2013

Val Thorens opened on the weekend of 23rd & 24th November 2013. (In fact, a couple of lifts had already been open from Wednesday). The Ski Force Winter Tour was in town, offering skiers the chance to test the latest models of skis. The conditions were excellent, with plenty of snow, and cold weather and sunshine.

Val Thorens news: Val Thorens wins two awards

26th November 2013

Val Thorens won two awards in November.

On Friday 1st November 2013, it was given the title of most improved European ski resort at the World Snow Awards, held at the Broadway Members Club in Fulham.

Then on 16th November 2013 in Kitzbuhel, at the World Ski Awards (part of the World Travel Awards, which has been going for 20 years), Val Thorens was voted best ski resort in France, and best ski resort in the world 2013.

Val Thorens news: snowfalls

10th November 2013

Snowfalls Sunday 10th November 2013

It was snowing today, Sunday 10th November, in Val Thorens. At 4pm, there was about 60cm of fresh snow. The lift company, SETAM, are due to send out the piste bashers in the next couple of days. Then, even if it gets windy or warm, the snow will stay firmly where we need it, on the pistes!

Val Thorens 11th November 2013

Val Thorens news: sports centre to open 23rd November 2013

5th November 2013

The sports centre is due to open for the winter season on 23rd November 2013. It will stay open for the whole winter season, until 11th May 2014, when the lifts close. 

The price increases are generally modest, with the exception of table tennis, which goes up from €5 to €8 per person for an hour - a whopping 60% more than last year.

All the prices and opening times are on our Val Thorens sports centre page.

Val Thorens news: Zip wire in Val Thorens

28th October 2013

The zip wire from Orelle to Val Thorens, which was rumoured at the end of last season, has been confirmed (p2, ski pass price booklet). 

It runs from the top of Bouchet, the upper chairlift in Orelle (and the highest in the 3 Valleys), across the Pierre Lory valley, to the top of the Funitel Grand Fond. The distance is 1300m, and the difference in height from start to finish, 250m. The views up there are stunning, and there will be quite a 'void' under you, as you zip over the valley. It should be quite an experience.

It'll cost €50, payable at the departure point, and that price includes your 'flight' and transportation of your skis. It's subject to weather conditions.

Pierre Lory valley

Val Thorens news: New chairlift named 'les Pionniers'

22nd October 2013

The chair which will replace 3 Vallées 1 from the start of the 2013-14 winter season is to be named 'Les Pionniers'. Val Thorens announced the name of the new chairlift on 10th October 2013. It honours the pioneers of the resort - those who planned and founded Val Thorens forty years ago. 

Les Pionniers is a modern detachable 6-seater lift, with an unusual feature: it will also four specially-designed 4-person gondolas, which will give pedestrian access to the south-facing slopes, and particularly to the Folie Douce. 

It has also been confirmed that a new 4-seater detachable chairlift will be in place at Deux Lacs for the start of the winter season; and the Peyron chairlift in Orelle has been upgraded to a detachable 6-seater.

Val Thorens has announced two name changes. The Funitel Bouquetin becomes the Funitel 3 Vallées, and the 3 Vallées 2 chairlift is re-named '3 Vallées' - so it just loses the number '2' from its name. 

Finally, the rumoured zip wire between the top of Bouchet and the top of the Funitel de Thorens has been confirmed...but that deserves a separate post.

Val Thorens news: Tour de France 2014 route in the UK

3rd October 2013

Tour de France 2014 route in the UK

It's not strictly related to Val Thorens, but here at ValThorensGuide, we're excited about the Tour de France 2014, which starts with three stages in the the UK. Hedgehog Cycling has details of the route of the 2014 Tour de France in the UK, along with photos and videos. Why not ride Stage 1 of the Tour de France 2014, as a warm-up for your ski holiday?

Val Thorens news: EU to end mobile roaming charges

13th September 2013

Mobile roaming in Europe

The EU Commission has proposed legislation that would eventually end roaming charges within the EU, according to recent reports, including from the BBC. 

From July 2014, customers would no longer have to pay for incoming calls. Two years later, all roaming charges would be outlawed. 

The big networks (Vodafone, Orange, O2, and Telefonica) would have to give their customers the same rate throughout the EU for calls, texts, and internet, rather than charging them more when they are away from home. That would cost them £7 billion, the companies say.

Val Thorens news: analysis of the 2012/13 season

23rd August 2013

Last winter season was 'satisfactory' in terms of visitors, according to Grégory Guzzo, director of the Val Thorens tourist office. He made the comments in a report published in Belleville Info, the newsletter of the Commune of St Martin de Belleville. 

Visitor numbers were slightly up on the previous season, with the increase due to the new accommodation opened for 2012/13 (plus 460 beds). (These extra beds replace other accommodation previously lost, bringing Val Thorens back to the capacity that it had in the past). As a percentage of the total number of beds in hotels and residences (23,978), the average occupancy was down 2%, at 81%.

Christmas and New Year were 18.6% up on 2011/12, due to a more favourable calendar; the six weeks in January and February before the half term holidays were up 2%; visitors during the half term holidays were down 2.4%; and April and May were also down. In total, there were nearly 1.9 million visitor nights spent in Val Thorens, and 1.6 million skier days.

The trend is towards last-minute bookings, with people checking rates and the weather and snow conditions, then deciding shortly before travelling.

Val Thorens news: new Club Med construction advances

15th August 2013

Club Med construction site, Val Thorens, August 2013

The construction of the new Club Med is well under way. The new hotel, which is next door to the Altineige (visible to the right of the photo), will take two summers to build. This was the state of the site on 11th August 2013.

See an impression of the completed building.

Val Thorens news: Eurostar ski train bookings open

13th August 2013

St Pancras station clock

Eurostar have announced the timetable for their winter ski train, and opened for bookings. Trains will run from 20th December 2013 to 12th April 2014, so taking in Christmas, and the first week of the school Easter holidays. There's a night train (leaving London and Ashford on Friday night, and arriving in Moutiers early on Saturday morning), and a Saturday daytime train. The lowest prices are unchanged since last year. Read the full details on our Val Thorens trains page...

Val Thorens news: Crystal ski industry report 2013

8th August 2013

Crystal ski industry report graph 2012-13

There's good news for the ski industry at last. The UK market had been declining every winter since 2007/08, but in 2012/13 there was a 1% increase on the previous year. 

Within the overall market, there was a 1% increase in both tour operator and independent traveller numbers. The schools market was down, but university student numbers were slightly up.

France showed a marginal increase in its share of the market, up from 34.6% to 34.8%. Crystal remains the largest tour operator, carrying 177,000 passengers (compared with 169,000 in 2011/12). Inghams were second, with 89,000 customers (up from 86,000).

Val Thorens news: update - replacement of 3 Valleys 1 chairlift

5th August 2013

Sketch of proposed new 3V1 chairlift, Val Thorens

The proposed replacement of the 3 Valleys 1 chairlift has been confirmed. The existing chair, which dates from 1984, will make way for a 6-seater detachable chairlift, taking skiers more swiftly up the mountain. A special feature will be two cabins allowing pedestrians to take the lift, giving them access to the popular Folie Douce.

Val Thorens' tourist office is inviting people to participate in the naming of the new lift, by making suggestions via Facebook

For full details of the improvements to the ski area and lifts in summer 2013, see what's new for 2013/14 in Val Thorens.

Val Thorens news: ski pass prices for 2013-14

22nd June 2013

The lift company, SETAM, has published the ski pass prices for 2013-14. 

There's a new price category, 'duo', which gives a small discount when two adults buy ski passes together. 

Otherwise, prices for adult passes have risen by about 7% on 2012-13. This comes on top of big rises last year. For example, the adult daily rate for a Val Thorens pass has increased from €44 to €47 (+6.8%), and the 6 day rate is up from €207 to €222 (+7.2%). 

The daily adult Three Valleys rate went up from €53 to €57 (+7.5%), and the 6 day rate from €260 to €277 (+6.5%). There are similar rises in the Belleville pass prices. The duo category goes some way to reducing the impact of the increases.

See all the prices for Val Thorens, Three Valleys, and Belleville ski passes...

Val Thorens news: lights out in spring and autumn

12th June 2013

Street lights in the Belleville Valley will be extinguished between midnight and 5am, from 20th May to 30th June, and 1st September to 18th November 2013. This is a measure to save energy and money, reduce light pollution, and encourage biodiversity.

Val Thorens news: results of the 'Ambassadors of Respect' campaign

12th June 2013

Val Thorens employed people to act as so-called 'respect ambassadors' during winter 2012-13. There were eight ambassadors in the quiet periods, and sixteen in the busiest weeks. They were dressed in flourescent gilets, and deployed in pairs (male/female). 

The objective was to reduce noise in resort at night, and to encourage greater respect for other people. They were also there to provide information and directions, and to accompany home any late-night revellers who might be lost and unable to find their dwelling. They worked in collaboration with the gendarmes, police municipal, and the pompiers.

They recorded interactions with 61,232 people. Complaints about noise at night were down by 80% on the previous winter. 

The cost of €285,000 was split amongst the lift company (SETAM), the local authority, and the central government.

Val Thorens news: Darwin Airline offers flights from Cambridge to Geneva

10th June 2013

Darwin Airline is to begin offering flights from Cambridge to Geneva, from September 2013. Cambridge News reports that the city has the fastest growing economy in the UK, which is no doubt one of the reasons for the new transport link. 

A look at the airline's timetable suggests there will be six flights a week (three out to Geneva, and three back, with the flights on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays).

From December 2013, ski tour operator Inghams will be working with Darwin, using the Saturday flights to Geneva for its ski package holiday programme. 

Val Thorens news: what's new in the Val Thorens ski area for 2013/14

27th May 2013

Val Thorens ski area news 2013 - Deux Lacs

The lift company, SETAM, is investing around €12 million in the Val Thorens ski area in summer 2013. Lifts being replaced include Peyron, in Orelle, 2 Lacs, and Three Valleys 2. Read what's new in the Val Thorens ski area for 2013/14...