Val Thorens/Orelle: High And Mighty In The Savoie

Val Thorens is the highest ski resort in Europe, located in the French Alps at 2,300 m. It is located in Saint-Martin-de-Belleville in the French Savoie. The high altitude means the resort has a very long season that often lasts into May. The resort itself faces south, and many people enjoy sitting outside in the sunshine when they have finished skiing.

Val Thorens is part of the 3 vallées ski domain, which is connected by a common ski pass.

The modern resort, purposely built as a ski resort, sits atop the Three Valleys and is the highest resort in Europe. The 3 Vallées, when linked with Méribel and Courchevel, total 198 ski lifts (including two huge cable cars, 160 persons in Courchevel, and the 150 passenger lift in Val Thorens). They total 336 slopes and 372 miles of marked runs.

So just how massive is this place? Well, there are 150 passenger cable cars; three bubble lifts, three Funitels, 16 chairlifts, five drag lifts, five moving carpets, and one moving cord. It is just the place for skiers and snowboarders who are bored with red and blue slopes. The vast terrain here is both treeless white and challenging black.

Orelle is a small traditional mountain hamlet, largely favored by local French and Italian skiers. The town does not provide the quality of lodging to rival its fashionable neighbors. But, it is now linked directly into Val Thorens via a fast gondola, so it's a real option. Here's a good deal: The resort offers special pricing for two adults and at least two children from the same family. The pass gives access to all lifts that are open in the region.

Gateway airports are Geneva or Lyon or Grenoble. Regular or private transfers are available from each airport.

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