An independent guide to Val Thorens
Find out about Val Thorens events here. The season begins on Saturday 26th November 2016 with la Grande Première (free ski and snowboard tests, and music). In early December, there's the Trophée Andros on the ice racing circuit, and later that month, the World Cup Skicross. At Christmas and New Year, there are torchlit descents and fireworks, in January, a European Cup Skicross event takes place, and in February the Tournoi des 6 Stations rugby tournament returns. Festi Valtho is in March, and in April, there's the 3 Valleys Enduro Rally. The season comes to a close with Apotheose Days and Dutch Week. Read about events in Val Thorens here.
Apotheose Days, the tourist office's programme of events for the end of the season.
These are the special events in Val Thorens for the 2016/17 winter season.
Val Thorens opens for the 2016/17 ski season.
This year, the Ski Force Winter Tour & the Rock On Snowboard Tour are grouped together, in a free equipment test called la Grande Première. It's a chance to test the new models of skis from many brands, including Atomic, Black Crows, Blizzard, Dynastar, Head, K2, Nordica, Rossignol, Salomon, Scott, and Volkl; and new snowboards from brands including Burton, K2, Nidecker, Oakley, Drake, and Roxy. There'll also be touring skis and snowbikes to try out.
If it's the same as last year, the tent village/test centre is at Rond Point des Pistes, but you register on the terrace of the restaurant le Rendez-Vous.
A mini snowpark, a big air bag, and a trampoline for snowbike riders are amongst the on-piste attractions. There'll be events in the early evening too, like Happy Hour, games with prizes to be won, and a big DJ show from 5 to 6.30pm on Saturday.
The first stage of the car and motocross ice circuit competition is in Val Thorens. There are races with petrol cars, electric cars, and motocross bikes. €18 per day for entry to the middle of the circuit, or €30 for the weekend; free viewing from outside the circuit. The Trophée Andros continues in other French ski resorts, including Alpe d'Huez. This video shows the action at the Trophée Andros 2014 in Val Thorens (including Sébastien Loeb's appearance in one of the races):
The best ski cross competitors in the world will be in Val Thorens for this World Cup event, including Val Thorens's own Olympic champion Jean-Fred Chapuis. Training on Tuesday and Wednesday, qualifications on Thursday, semi-finals and finals of the first World Cup on Friday, and semi-finals and finals of the second World Cup on Saturday. Free for spectators. This video shows the 2015 Skicross World Cup in Val Thorens:
Ski and Boarderweek week brings mainly German snowboarders and skiers to Val Thorens. There are ski and snowboard contests, including jumps on a big airbag, and free tests of equipment. They set up an Easy Fun Park on the Voie Lactée, with coaching by experts. There's also entertainment, including a Trampo Board and an Air Jump; live concerts; and a Big Air Battle Show.
Magical Christmas week in Val Thorens. There'll be a concert at the church on Tuesday 20th December, a torchlit descent for children on Wednesday 21st December (book at the ESF office), and a children's show at the Forum Joseph Fontanet on Thursday 22nd December.
Father Christmas will be staying in a cabin in Val Thorens this year, so there's an opportunity to meet him at the Lapland-themed village on place Caron. The Christmas Eve show involves a torchlit descent by the ESF at 6pm, a big firework display, and the arrival of Father Christmas at 7pm. Free mulled wine and hot chocolate at place Caron.
There'll be a torchlit descent by the instructors of the ESF at 6pm, entertainment for children, free hot chocolate and mulled wine on place Caron, and fireworks at ten to midnight. This is what it's like:
A European Cup Skicross competition on the Stade de Skicross Jean-Frédéric Chapuis.
An introduction to touring skiing, with a walk up to the Chalet de la Marine using touring skis and skins, for mulled wine and onion soup. 11th, 18th, & 25th Jan, 8th, 15th & 22nd Feb, 1st & 8th March, and 5th & 12th April 2017.
Six teams, representing six different ski resorts (Val Thorens, Les Menuires, Valmorel, Morillon, Saint-Gervais, and La Clusaz), play short games of Sevens Rugby on snow. There are usually some ex-internationals taking part, including Marc Lievremont, Serge Betsen, Christophe Dominici, and Shane Williams. Recommended. See the video from 2015 (when it was properly cold):
On Valentine's Day in Val Thorens there'll be roses for the ladies (at the tourist office, from 9am to 7pm - while stocks last!). Free mulled wine (with ginger) on place Caron.
Events during Carnival week, particularly on Tuesday 28th February, when there'll be music in the streets of the resort, and a concert at the church at 6.30pm.
The Poederbaas Freeride Festival takes place in Val Thorens this year. 500 freeriders take part in the competition, there's freeride coaching, and aperitifs and music at the 360 bar.
Loud dance music at the Chalets du Thorens (international electro music). There'll be a big air bag on site, and fireworks at the end on Thursday evening.
A series of 'specials' set up around the Three Valleys under the name 3 Vallées Enduro. Enter as a team of three, and go and try the Big Air Bag, giant slalom, freeride course, kilometre speed skiing, ski cross, and more. About 1,500 people take part. Prizes for everyone.
A series of events and entertainment, to celebrate the closing days of the season. Activities free for children up to 8 years old, otherwise there's a small fee for a pass. Evening concerts.
The traditional Dutch week in the spring in Val Thorens, to celebrate Koningsdag (the King's birthday - actually the 27th April).
Squeeze the last drops out of the ski season. The lifts close at the end of today!
Make the most of all the Val Thorens events!
While Val Thorens hasn't hosted any World Cup slalom or giant slalom races on its stadium for a number of years, it has instead invested in a world-class Skicross course.
That decision has paid dividends, with a World Cup Skicross event now a fixture every December. It helps that current Olympic champion Jean-Frédéric Chapuis is a native of Val Thorens. The Skicross course is now named after him - it's the Stade de Skicross Jean-Frédéric Chapuis.
There's a market in Grand Rue, every Tuesday and Thursday of the winter season (and in the summer season), where you can buy honey, cheese, craft items, clothes, and more.
Read more about Val Thorens market...
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