Val Thorens wins World’s Best Ski Resort award

1 December 2023 - Snow Brains

Val Thorens was awarded the World’s Best Ski Resort at the 11th World Ski Awards. The World Ski Awards were launched in 2013 by the brains behind World Travel Awards.

World Ski Awards uses a voting system with votes sourced from ski tourism industry professionals, such as senior executives, travel buyers, tour operators and media as well as the public, aka actual ski tourism consumers. The French ski resort Val Thorens was awarded the World’s Best Ski Resort, while Deer Valley was awarded Best U.S. Ski Resort.

Val Thorens is located in the Tarentaise Valley at an altitude of 2,300 meters (7,546 feet), making it the highest ski resort in Europe. Val Thorens is part of the 3 Vallées ski area and skiing is possible from November to May. Les 3 Vallées is the largest interconnected ski area in the world, consisting of seven resorts across three valleys. The combined ski area offers a total of 600 km (373 miles) of groomed ski runs serviced by a total of 162 lifts.

Val Thorens is by European standards a fairly young resort, with the first lifts being installed in 1971. The development of the ski resort was the idea of Pierre Schnebelen, a visionary property developer, who had already built several ski resorts.

Schnebelen’s original plan was to build two resorts: Val Thorens, on the northern, Tarentaise Valley side, and Val Chaviere, on the southern, Maurienne Valley side, with a shared area of glacier skiing in the middle. Permission for Val Chaviere was refused because it was in the Vanoise National Park, but Val Thorens went ahead.

Summer skiing on the glacier in Val Thorens seized in the late 90s due to the shrinking glacier and the summer ski chairlift was dismantled in 2003.

Val Thorens has won the World Ski Award for Best Ski Resort a total of eight out of 11 times. Each winter, the resort attracts approximately 300,000 visitors accounting for approximately 2 million overnight stays, one of the best winter occupancy ratios in Europe. Aside from being Europe’s highest ski resort, Val Thorens also boasts the longest toboggan run in the world at 6km (3.75 miles), the highest zip wire in the world taking at 3,200 meters (10,500 feet), and the highest ice racing track in Europe at the base of the village.

Source: Snow Brains

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