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Val Thorens news, reports, latest information and snow conditions, and photos and videos

Val Thorens news 2011-12

Here you can find the Val Thorens news and reports from last winter season, 2011-12. December 2011 saw heavy snowfalls, getting the season off to a great start. In January 2012, we had good conditions, and a mixture of sunshine, and a litttle fresh snow. At the start of February, there were two European Cup skicross races (see the report below). The Easter holidays in the UK started the week beginning 31st March 2012, and the French school holidays started on 7th April. Dutch week was 28th April to 5th May 2012, traditionally the last busy week of the season. The resort stayed open until Tuesday 8th May, when the snow conditions were still good, and the tourist office laid on a BBQ to round off the season. 

Val Thorens news 2011-12

Here you can find reports on the events in Val Thorens, and all the Val Thorens news throughout the season.

Val Thorens news: end of the season 2011-12

Tuesday 8th May 2012 was the last day of the season. The snow conditions were still good, as you can see from the photo.

Val Thorens news, end of the season 2011-12

The tourist office laid on a free BBQ in place Caron to celebrate the end of a fantastic season.

Val Thorens news, end of the season 2011-12, tourist office BBQ

Val Thorens news, Val Thorens tourist office BBQ

Val Thorens news: Dutch week

It was Dutch week, from 28th April to 5th May 2012 - the usual end-of-season festival, when the Dutch celebrate their Queen's birthday.

Val Thorens news, Dutch week, Le Monde bar

Val Thorens news: more marmottes, Tuesday 1st May 2012

Val Thorens news: The Marmottes are out! Saturday 28th April 2012

The marmottes in Val Thorens usually come out of hibernation in the second half of April. This video stars two marmottes at the bottom of Plein Sud:

Val Thorens news: Easter holidays (posted Monday 9th April 2012)

It was a busy week from 31st March to 7th April, with UK and Belgian Easter holidays beginning. This week (beginning Saturday 7th April), the French school holidays have started. All 27 lifts are still open, and all 71 pistes. The conditions remain excellent, and it's forecast to snow down to 1000m on Tuesday night.

The Lac du Lou, the lake at the bottom of the Vallon du Lou off piste itinerary, is beginning to melt around the edges. At this time of year, skiers can try a little water skiing across the unfrozen sections of the lake (see this video).

Val Thorens news: Warm temperatures, and Eurotest in Les Menuires - report Saturday 31st March 2012

We've had a very warm week, with maximum temperatures about right for the end of May, but the snow has held up very well, and all 27 lifts and all 71 pistes remain open.

The Eurotest, part of the ski instructor's diploma, was held in the Belleville valley (in Les Menuires) in the week from 24th to 31st March. Professional ski racers act as 'openers', or 'forerunners', to set the pass time, and you can see some of them in action in this video:

Val Thorens news: French championships in skicross, Friday 23rd March 2012

Today, another top-class event took place on the Val Thorens skicross course - the French championships. See some of the action in this video:

Val Thorens news: Mrsoaroundtheworld in Val Thorens, 10-17th March 2012

Popular travel blogger, Mrs O of, was in Val Thorens last week. See her blogpost here.

Val Thorens news, March 2012, travel blog mrsoaroundtheworld

Val Thorens news: French Cup SlopeStyle (Coupe de France de SlopeStyle en ski)

On Saturday 10th March 2012, Val Thorens snowpark hosted a French Cup SlopeStyle event. Contestants execute a series of stunning jumps on the biggest kickers, one jump after another down the park. See these videos of the action:

Val Thorens news: Bordeaux snow - wine tasting on place Caron

Val Thorens news, March 2012, wine tasting, place Caron

Val Thorens news, wine tasting, place Caron

Bordeaux wines came to Val Thorens on Thursday 8th March 2012, with tastings, and mini-courses guided by a professional wine taster. 

The event was accompanied by light snowfalls, and the hosts braved the weather dressed as bunches of grapes (see photo).

Other events this week included a firework show, an organised snowball fight, a children's show, and an evening slalom race.

This was the last week of the French school holidays. Next week, things get back to normal. 

The snow on Thursday 8th March may also be the last that we see for a week or so, with an anticyclone forecast to stay for a few days from Friday 9th, bringing warm, sunny weather.

Val Thorens news: Evening slalom on the Val Thorens slalom stadium, Friday 2nd March 2012

The school holidays are well under way - 3 weeks gone, 1 week to go. In the week to Saturday 3rd March, we had sunshine and very warm temperatures (about right for the end of April, not the beginning of March, and close to a record for the time of year). 

There are always special events at this time of the season, and on Friday 2nd March, there was an extra 'chamois' (a slalom race, open to anyone, with forerunners from the ESF) in the evening - see the video below.

Val Thorens news: Carnival madness, Sunday 19th February 2012

The resort put on a batacuda group (Brazilian rhythms) parading through the streets, as part of the Carnival celebrations. See photo below.

Val Thorens news, carnival madness, batacuda group, February 2012

Val Thorens news: French school holidays

The French school holidays started on 11th February. It's one of the busiest times of the season, and the resort will be close to full until 11th March, when the holidays end.

Val Thorens news: European Cup Skicross No.2, Friday 10th February 2012

A second skicross European Cup took place on Friday 10th February - see the video below. The men's event was won by Bastien Midol of France, with Peter Whelan of Great Britain in 13th place. Priscillia Annen of Switzerland won the women's event, and Emily Sarsfield of Great Britain was 17th.

Val Thorens news: European Cup Skicross No.1, Thursday 9th February 2012

This big skicross event took place on the ski/boardercross course in Val Thorens. You can get an idea of the course and the skiing from the video here:

The winner of the men's event was Lucas Dandeville of France. Meryll Boulangeat, also of France, won the women's event, with Emily Sarsfield of Great Britain in a good 17th place.

Val Thorens news: Cold temperatures on the weekend of Saturday 4th February 2012

We've had very cold temperatures at the end of the week and this weekend. On Saturday night, we'll have a low of -24 C. The cold weather is forecast to continue into the coming week.

Val Thorens news: Snowfalls on Tuesday 31st January 2012

We had more snowfalls on Monday night, and Tuesday 31st January. There were great conditions for off piste skiing in the following days, as you can see from this video of a route lower down the Belleville valley, to the village of Béranger.

Val Thorens news: Ice sculpture, Wednesday 25th January 2012. Can you tell what it is yet?

The tourist office organized a free ice sculputre session in place Caron, with a sculptor helping keen amateurs to make works of art out of blocks of ice. Some of the results are less Michelangelo, more Rolf Harris, but it was a fun event.

Val Thorens news: Freestyle ski training on Sunday 22nd January 2012

After the snowfalls on Friday and Saturday, there was plenty of soft, fresh snow around at the start of this week. It made ideal conditions for some freestyle ski training, with soft landings even when the jumps weren't 100% perfect. Here's a video of some local kids practising jumps on a kicker in Val Thorens, near the Plateau draglift.

Val Thorens news: Saturday 21st January - road closure

The road up the Belleville valley will be closed in 2 places, for an hour each time, in the early hours of Saturday morning, in order to make it safe from avalanches. The closures will be:

Val Thorens news: Saturday 14th January - great weather for off piste skiing

Saturday was in the middle of about 10 days of good weather, with an anticyclone producing sunshine and blue skies. The avalanche risk is currently low, and the conditions make for good off piste skiing. Here's a video of the Geffriand itinerary on Saturday:

Val Thorens news: Wednesday 11th January 2012 - clearing snow from a roof, place des Arolles, Val Thorens

Val Thorens news: 7-14th January 2012

We have an anticyclone place, and it looks like being sunny all week. The conditions are excellent for the skiers and boarders here at the moment. This is a video of the Cime de Caron cable car, in the sunshine one day this week.

Several British universities are here, including Kent, East Anglia and Reading. Some of the students are having lessons with the ESF.

Val Thorens news, January 2012, British University ski lessons

Val Thorens news: Friday 6th January 2012 -  calm after the storm!

The ski area has been closed all day today. The road has been closed too, but is likely to open about 8pm. You can see the storm last night, and the aftermath (mainly snow clearing, snowballs, and sledging) this morning, in this video.

The cumulative snowfall this winter is now 4m80 (compared with 2m30 in the whole of winter 2010/11).

Val Thorens news: Thursday 5th January 2012 - snow storm and road closure

There are snowfalls with high winds on Thursday evening. The avalanche risk is 5/5, and there have been some avalanches onto the road, which was closed between Val Thorens and Les Menuires around 4.30pm on Thursday. (It's unlikely to open before Friday morning). The resort is advising people not to go outside, and especially to avoid walking near to slopes and banks, which could avalanche.

Val Thorens news: New Year show

Here's a short video of the DJ and lights show in the place de Caron on New Year's Eve.

Val Thorens news: big snowfalls on New Year's Eve 2011

It snowed a lot on Friday night, and Saturday 31st December 2011. The avalanche risk was at a maximum 5 out of 5 on Saturday morning. Here are some photos from around resort.

And here's a video from around resort on the morning of Saturday 31st December.

Christmas week news from Val Thorens

After snow on Christmas Eve, we had glorious sunny weather from Christmas Day, for 4 days. More snow is forecast for the end of the week. There were carol singers in place Caron on the 25th, and a torchlit descent on Boxing Day.

Val Thorens news reports - torchlit descent Boxing Day 2011

Val Thorens news: Friday 23rd December 2011, opening of the Funitel de Thorens

€6.5 million was spent on the new lift, the Funitel de Thorens, and it opened for the first time this afternoon. It's a good piece of kit! It's as fast as the Funitel Bouquetin, and goes from the top of Portette, up to the ridge that divides the Val Thorens side from Pierre Lory/ Maurienne side.

They've made 2 new pistes. The blue run goes back down towards Portette, and the red leads over towards Moraine/Genepi and the Caribou restaurant. We tested the red today. The verdict? Don't ski the piste for the moment, it's got lots of rocks and stones on it, and will spoil your skis. On the other hand, there's plenty of good skiing off the side of the piste.

Funitel de Thorens, opening on 23rd December 2011

Val Thorens news: torchlit descent and fireworks Thursday 22nd December 2011Val Thorens torchlit descent 22nd December 2011

The Christmas celebrations began early in Val Thorens, with a torchlit descent by the instructors of the ESF, which was also open to the public. Money was raised from those participating, for a charity called Music for Life, here adapted to Ski for Life. It helps children throughout the world with preventable diseases.

The descent was followed by foggy fireworks - just about visible, and definitely audible!

There was a lot of snowy weather this week, but Friday 23rd December is forecast to be a sunny day, and should make a good finale for this week's skiers and boarders.

On Christmas Eve, there'll be a choir singing French and English carols at place Caron, with free mulled wine and hot chocolate available.

Val Thorens news: Ski Force Winter Tour 17th/18th December 2011Ski Force Winter Tour, ski test event, December 2011, Val Thorens

Postponed from November, the Ski Force Winter Tour came to Val Thorens on the weekend of 17th/18th December 2011. It's an event that travels to Val Thorens, Val d' Isere, Alpe d' Huez, and Le Grand Bornand, to let people test out the latest skis from the biggest ski brands.

Present were Dynastar, Fischer, Salomon, Head, Elan, K2, Nordica, Rossignol, Scott, Volkl, Atomic, Blizzard and more (16 ski manufacturers altogether).

Borrowing skis to test on the SFWT is completely free, you just have to leave a card or document as a deposit, so they know you're going to bring the skis back!

Conditions were excellent on Saturday 17th December 2011, with plenty of soft, fresh snow, and even a few brief moments of sunshine in the afternoon. At the time of writing the forecast looks not too bad for Sunday 18th December, with light snow showers, but perhaps the odd break in the clouds too.

It's a perfect opportunity to try out the latest models, if you're considering buying some skis, but not sure which to go for.

Val Thorens news: heavy snow Friday 16th December 2011

We've had heavy snow today, and it's been windy, so it's kept everyone busy clearing the roads (see video). As of 6pm on Friday, the road between Les Menuires and Val Thorens has been temporarily closed, due to poor visibility and large quantities of snow.

Val Thorens news: Ski and Boarder Week 10th-17th December 2011

Ski and Boarder Week brings a lot of people to Val Thorens, especially German skiers and boarders.There are lots of music events, including an opening concert on Sunday evening, and a DJ at the Chalet de Thorens every afternoon. They've set up an Easy Fun Park on the Voie Lactée (see video). On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the experts from the SFR Freeskiing Tour will be in town, competing in the snowpark.

Val Thorens news: Varsity week 2011

 Zenith ski shop

Oxford and Cambridge Universities are here this week (3-10 December 2011) for the Varsity ski trip. There are about 4000 students in resort, having a great week. Of them, about 500 are beginners, taking ski or boarding lessons at the start of the week. There are the traditional Oxford v Cambridge slalom and giant slalom races, for the best skiers. Evening entertainment is laid on, too, with events such as a silent disco, and a comedy night headlined by Marcus Brigstocke.

Heavy snowfalls have coincided with varsity week.

Val Thorens news: Trophée Andros

The Trophée Andros (car racing on the ice circuit) took place on the weekend of 3rd/4th December 2011. The first day of competition was won by Benjamin Riviere, with Alain Prost only in 9th place. On the second day, Olivier Panis was the winner, and he was also the overall winner of the event, in front of Dayraut, with Alain Prost 8th, and Jacques Villeneuve 9th.

In the electric car competition, Christophe Ferrier came 1st, and Nicolas Prost 2nd.

Trophée Andros

Val Thorens news: FIS races

The FIS races from Tuesday 29th November to Friday 2nd December did not take place in Val Thorens, due to lack of snow on the Stade.

Val Thorens news: Rock On Snowboard Tour (26th/27th November 2011)rock on tour tent

The Rock On Snowboard Tour came to Val Thorens on the weekend of 26th/27th November. Early season snow conditions weren't great this year, and the resort only opened on Thursday 24th November. Nevertheless, the piste service had done a great job, making snow, and getting some of the pistes ready.