An independent guide to Val Thorens
This page covers the Val Thorens beginners area. Beginners usually start at the Rond Point des Pistes, and use the magic carpets and nursery slopes there. Then, 2 Lacs chairlift gives access to the easiest green run. Cascades chairlift is usually the next one to try. After that, there are some fairly easy blue runs. Read about the Val Thorens beginners area here.
The Rond Point des Pistes in Val Thorens has some gentle slopes which are ideal for complete beginners to get used to sliding a few metres. It's where most ski lessons with ski schools start too, with meeting points for group lessons for adults, children, and snowboarders, and a private lesson meeting point.
You can see the Rond Point des Pistes on this resort map.
If you're staying lower down in Val Thorens, in the rue du Soleil, it's easy to get to the Rond Point des Pistes. You can walk directly onto the snow at the hairpin bend in the road by the Chamois d'Or; or, from Montana or Temples, you can use the magic carpet lifts (Musaraigne and Campagnols, which open at 8.30am) to get up there.
If you're a beginner staying in the middle or top part of resort, you'll have to walk from the place de Caron, down a short slope called La Voie Lactée (the Milky Way), to get to the Rond Point des Pistes. The easiest way to do it is to go down the Castor & Pollux tunnel, on the rubber matting in between the two magic carpets. Later in the week, beginners will be able to ski or board down La Voie Lactée.
To get back up to the place de Caron, take the Castor and Pollux carpets (no lift pass needed).
Once you've got your balance at the Rond Point des Pistes, you'll move onto the beginners' area (espace débutant ), which is served by two travelator or 'magic carpet' lifts. The lower one is Musaraigne (which means shrew), and the upper one is Campagnols (voles). They are in perspex tunnels, which are great for protecting you from the wind, but not so good as it gets warm in the spring, when it can feel like being in a greenhouse. Tomatoes grown in the tunnels are sold at Val Thorens market. (Not really). No lift pass is needed for these magic carpets.
The area by Musaraigne is easier; when you're confident there, move on to Campagnols. If you're a beginner, try to avoid the piste in betweeen the two magic carpets, as it's a busy thoroughfare for confident skiers and boarders heading towards the rest of the lifts in the ski area.
When you can control your speed, and turn left and right, you're ready to take a chairlift and attempt a green run.
2 Lacs (two lakes) is the first chairlift that beginners should take. Head past the bottom of Musaraigne, go by the Plein Sud chair (on the left), and you'll arrive at the departure point of 2 Lacs chairlift (on the right hand side of the piste).
From the top of the 2 Lacs lift, turn left on Traversée des 2 Lacs. Almost immediately, there's a mountain restaurant - the Chalet des 2 Lacs. Then there are a couple of options - a left turn down the Espace Junior (recommended for the first descent), or continue to the Chalets du Thorens, and take the Combe de Thorens. Either way, you end up back at the Rond Point des Pistes.
Those are the two easiest green runs. There's another which starts from the top of the Cascades chair - Les 2 Combes. It's a track which follows broadly the same route as a blue run called Dalles, but takes a longer, more windy, and flatter route.
In January 2016, the Funslope opened. It's an easy Skicross, which starts at the junction of Traversée des 2 Lacs and Espace Junior. There are rolling bumps, a tunnel, a little bridge to ski over, and big yellow hands which make a funny noise when you 'low five' them.
This video shows the Val Thorens Funslope:
Now we look at the easy blue runs.
If you're progressing from greens to blues, Dalles is usually the next step after 2 Combes. Turn right at the top of Cascades chairlift to head down Dalles, towards the Chalet de la Marine mountain restaurant.
Other easy blues (starting with the easiest) are Gentiane, Linotte, Moraine, Blanchot, and Plein Sud.
How difficult a run is can vary a lot, depending on the weather and snow conditions. Runs are generally easier first thing in the morning, too, when they have just been pisted overnight. By the afternoon, they can get more chopped up.
If you want to get to the top of the mountain, and ski down on a fairly easy blue, there's Tête Ronde, Niverolles, and Pluviometre.
Beyond beginners, we have a guide to the ski area by sector. Read an overview of the Val Thorens ski area.
We hope you make rapid progress in the Val Thorens beginners area.
Our suggestion for quality ski and snowboard hire at fair prices - Zenith ski shop, in the centre of resort.
The latest ski pass prices, plus a link to book ski passes online.
A guide to all the ski schools in Val Thorens, including the ESF, Prosneige, Ski Cool, Evolution 2, and Free School Attitude. Whether you're looking for group lessons or private lessons, read about the options.
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