On Monday, November 13, 2023, Val Thorens was awarded the World’s Best Ski Resort at the 11th World Ski Awards. The World Ski Awards was founded in 2013 by the minds behind the World Travel Awards. The World Ski Awards uses a voting system with votes cast by ski tourism industry professionals such as senior executives, travel buyers, tour operators and media, as well as the general public – real ski tourism consumers. French ski resort Val Thorens was named Best Ski Resort in the World, and Deer Valley was named Best Ski Resort in the United States.
Val Thorens is located in the Tarentaise Valley at 2,300 meters (7,546 ft) above sea level, making it the highest ski resort in Europe. Val Thorens is part of the 3 Vallees ski area and is open for skiing from November to May. Rétrois Vallée is the world’s largest interconnected ski area, consisting of his seven resorts spread over three valleys. The ski resort complex has a total length of 600 km (373 miles) with 162 lifts.
Val Thorens is a fairly young resort by European standards, with its first elevator installed in 1971. The development of this ski resort was the idea of Pierre Schnebelen, a visionary real estate developer who had already built several ski resorts.
Schnebelen’s original plan was to build two resorts, Val Thorens on the north side of the Talent Valley and Val Chavieres on the south side of the Maurienne Valley, with a shared glacier skiing area in the middle. Permits were refused for Val Chavière as it is within the Vanoise National Park, but Val Thorens was granted permission.
Summer skiing on the Val Thorens glacier was discontinued in the late 90s due to glacier shrinkage, and the summer ski chairlift was dismantled in 2003.
Val Thorens has won the Best Ski Resort award at the World Ski Awards 8 out of 11 times. Each winter, the resort welcomes approximately 300,000 visitors and approximately 2 million overnight stays, and has one of the highest winter occupancy rates in Europe. In addition to being Europe’s highest ski resort, Val Thorens also boasts the world’s longest toboggan run at 6 km (3.75 miles), the world’s highest zip wire at 3,200 meters (10,500 feet), and Europe’s highest ski resort. It also boasts the highest ice racing track in the country. At the foot of the village.
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