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48 HOURS IN VAL THORENS - Katie Bamber, Val Thorens
Thursday April 26, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

An amazing season, a last chance to get a piece of it + a mission to make it as easy going as skiing can be. PlanetSKI is in Val Thorens.

 

 

A quest to check out the remaining snow (and long it will stay) in the Alps, meant a swiftly booked flight to Geneva, a gorgeous drive through summery Annecy, and the nostalgic winding ascent into the snowy mountains.

Val Thorens is home for two days. My first (and last) impression?

There is SO MUCH SNOW.

The snow is spring-like, for sure. It's hard for an hour or so in the morning and turns slushy before midday.

But hot damn there's a lot of it.

Looking around the views of Les3Vallees you'd think you'd hit a lucky sun day in January going on the snow coverage.

Val ThorensVal Thorens

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And yes, the sun!

21°C on Friday 27th April the thermometer read and the face tans here back this up as true, but more of those later in the day...

It's the right time to paraponteIt's the right time to paraponte

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arriving in town Wednesday evening I was welcomed into a buzzing resort with many languages flying around and more people than I had expected to see so close to the end of season, all sunned, happy and chilled.

It seemed as if everyone had got the memo on where to be this week.

A local ski touring competition was kicking off at 6.30pm (the sun and beautiful mountain sunset light was lasting through 8.30pm) and more ski randonneurs were returning from their social skinning.

It was the kind of atmosphere that made you crave living in a ski resort for the post-work lifestyle.

VTKatie Bamber in VT, Cime Caron with Italy behind

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thursday started with brilliant sun, though rain was predicted, and I set out on skis I'd rented from Intersport on my way into town yesterday.

However, half a run in to this breezy trip I realised that it wasn't skiing I was going to be doing in Val Thorens.

Without too much info, a foot injury (due to some devil ski boots) reared its very ugly head.

So, bypassing the hub of ski-lifts taking ready-riders in all directions from the base of VT, I slid on down to the Intersport, trudged back in and swiched my skis for a snowboard and the oh-so-soft boots to start on over again.

My drama aside, this feature of Intersport's rental packages is well worth knowing about.

Not only do you not have to lug skis to and from the resort, but you can even switch up your skis, snow-or-mood-depending, which is a winner at this time of year when the pistes are completely different am to pm. Balling...

So easy was this switch, the hiccup isn't even playing a part in my stress-free quest.

Intersport switchIntersport switch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So a morning was spent riding the Val Thorens pistes, up to Cime de Caron for the views, down to Les Menuires before it closed for the season on Friday.

Spring snow, but SO MUCH OF ITSpring snow, but SO MUCH OF IT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's about the sun and the long lunches - good conditions are a bonus.

And the French know how to do it.

Everyone knows how to do this spring skiing larkEveryone knows how to do this spring skiing lark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was very warm, so a long lunch meant one more excellent top-to-bottom run before the snow kicked it, and into the long evening.

Market day by the church in the centre of Val Thorens brought everyone to buy food for dinner as many restaurants are closed by this point.

Market day in VTMarket day in VT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Val ThorensEn France

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Market dayNougat shopping

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But not the bars, this side of resort life is amping up for the finale...

Apres at the top of VTApres at the top of VT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Read my blog of getting to resort on perhaps the best day's travel ever:

DAY 2 The gift that kept on giving...

Perhaps it's been so long since I saw the sun during this long, snowy winter, or perhaps I haven't done enough in April before, but more glorious sunshine on Friday seemed like some treat.

I'd hooked up with local chalet company, PowderNShine's Francesca who was celebrating as her last chalet in Reberty had closed its doors.

Friday VTFriday  in VT

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring skiingSpring skiing in Les3Vallees chasing PowderNShine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So hot on her tails, I slipped on over into the 4th valley (yes, Les3Vallees is actually four) and over into the quieter, steep slopes of Orelle.

The new-this-season blue run, Croix d'Antide, might have been my best of all - cruising around its bends on a board.

And on to the all-important lunching at my favourite VT spot, Fahrenheit Seven, with the best sun terrace and menu in town.

Like I said, the French know how it's done...

Spring skiingSpring skiing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Val Thorens vibesVal Thorens vibes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Val ThorensSunning

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It must be down to the snow conditions; Usually the views from the chairlift at time of year are plagued with skiers tangled in crashes and blood wagons speeding down (sorry to be morbid...).

But none of these, so far.

One more run, hard on the legs, and it was time for more sun terracing.

Now the closing week of Val Thorens 2018 coincides with Dutch week.

Anyone who's met a Dutchman (or more than one, if you're lucky - they tend to party en masse) in a ski resort will know that it's where the party is to be found.

So much so, that droves were here three days early, in order to be ahead of the game - also very Dutch, no?

Friday feelingFriday feeling

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the bars were ready...

Leaving town on Saturday morning, I was tempted to turn back.

Nine out of 10 cars snaking up the hill had yellow Netherlands plates and the flourescent orange hoodies and hats within were beaming through.

If this piece has done anything for your FOMO and you're up for one more ski and party, I'd hot tail it out to join the Dutch at their celebrations.

Dutch contingent starting earlyDutch contingent starting early

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When we say the start of the end, Val Thorens isn't the last stop...

Check back for news from Tignes, which has likely had the best snow of the year in Europe (the world?!) in Winter 17/18, with PlanetSKI's editor reporting.

And then who knows...

Rest of Les3Vallees fermeLes3Vallees ferme - VT one more week

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

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