Here is collection of general resort knowledge compiled from years of responding to email enquiries, getting ourselves lost, finding ourselves, late-night bar conversations, your feedback, plus translations of French brochures. We have put this resource together to help you out when you are planning a trip to the resort. Updating this section is a never-ending task so if we have missed anything out, or you spot that we are out of date or just plain wrong, please do let us know! more »
Are there any creches / childminding / baby sitting services in Val Thorens?
There are a number of childcare options available in Val Thorens. Please be aware that booking in advance is always recommended and that nurseries may want to see medical records and vaccination certificates. Please see our Childcare Services section for further information and contact details.
Are there any English speaking doctors in Val Thorens?
There are a number of medical centres in Val Thorens, Les Menuires and Saint Martin; most of which will have at least one doctor who speaks enough English to be able to deal with basic illnesses and injuries. For anything more complicated or serious, enquire before making your appointment. Please see the Medical Services listings page for contact details. There is also a Samaritans-type helpline called SOS Help for people who are suffering from anxiety, depression, stress, or who would simply like someone to talk to. Lines are manned every day from 3pm to 11pm by English speaking staff and all calls are confidential and anonymous. The number to call is 0033 (0) 146 21 46 46.
Are there any family rates or child discounts on lift passes?
You can use the 'du Retour', 'Roc' and 'Marmotton' draglifts and a magic carpet for free in Val Thorens. There are a further 5 free lifts and 4 magic carpets in St Martin. The entire lift system is free for children under 5 and adults over 75 years. Proof of age must be presented when claiming your free pass. For more information on beginners reductions and free lifts please see Val Thorens Lift Pass Options - Winter.
Are there any left luggage facilities in Val Thorens?
Val Thorens Sport Centre (in the Centre Commercial Caron) and Les Menuires Sport Centre (Quartier Croisettes) both operate a left luggage office every Saturday from 8am until 8pm. It costs €1.50 per bag and you can also take a shower for €4. You can pre-book if you wish by calling: Val Thorens +33 (0) 479 00 00 76 Les Menuires +33 (0) 479 01 08 83
Are there any nightclubs or late night bars in Val Thorens?
Don't worry if the thought of going to bed early every night in order to be first up the mountain in the morning isn't your cup of tea! There is plenty in Val Thorens to keep the night-owls happy, take a look at our Bars & Clubs guide to find out where to party in resort.
Are there any non-smoking bars and restaurants?
Since January 2008 smoking has been banned in all bars, cafés and restaurants in France. Patrons are generally free to smoke on the terrace and during the winter months smokers are often catered for with outdoor heaters. Have a look at our Dining Guide for suggestions and listings of restaurants.
Are there rules and restrictions on the lifts ?
The Val Thorens lift system operates during both summer and winter seasons and has different restrictions regarding access according to the time of year. Please see Val Thorens Lifts: Access and Restrictions for further details.
At what age should my child start skiing?
Most ski teachers wouldn’t recommend starting skiing before the age of three or four at the earliest. The right age will vary from child to child, and depends upon the child’s strength, co-ordination and attitude. For this age group skiing should remain a play activity, so don't expect a young child to ski all day - a couple of hours is ample. For more information on ski school and children please read our Children's Skiing section.
Can I Cross-Country Ski in Val Thorens?
Cross-country skiing is a great alternative to regular alpine skiing if you fancy taking things a bit slower and enjoying the tranquility of the surroundings. It is still a great form of exercise though, as it is more energetic than it looks! You can find out all about the cross-country trails in Val Thorens on our Cross Country Skiing page.
Can I drink the water in Val Thorens?
Yes! Val Thorens is a proper town with decent water treatment. The water can sometimes taste a bit metallic due to the high mineral content and during the melting periods some people prefer to switch to bottled water just in case the treatment plants are over-capacity. Generally though the water in the Alps is, on the whole, wonderful mountain spring water and Val Thorensis no exception. It is perfectly safe to drink and tastes even better than the water at home!
Can I get sunburnt in winter?
Very Easily! Always take precautions against the strength of the sun on a skiing holiday. At altitude, and with the reflection off the snow, the sun’s rays can cause damage very quickly. Always, always wear sunglasses, even when the sun is not shining. Apply sunscreen, apply it thickly and keep applying it (you can still burn though cloud cover). Putting on factor 40 once in the morning will not protect you from burning. Reapply every hour.
Can I get to Val Thorens by train from the UK?
Yes, you can..... but it is not likely to be the best or cheapest option, as in every case you will need to change at least once. Your best bet is Eurostar from London (Waterloo) to Paris (Gare du Nord) and then changing to an SNCF TGV train from the other side of Paris (Gare de Lyon) to Geneva or Annecy. Read more in...How to Get Here
Can I go swimming in Val Thorens?
There are a number of indoor and outdoor pools throughout Val Thorens and Les Menuires. Please scroll down to 'Swimming' in our Summer Activities section to read more.
Can I Picnic at Any of the Mountain Restaurants?
Picnicking is forbidden, or ‘interdit’, in most mountain restaurants. You may get away with eating your own sandwich if you buy some chips and a drink to go with it – but don’t be surprised if it is frowned upon. However, there are plenty of great places to eat al fresco in the mountains - as long as you don't mind nestling down into the snow or perching on a slab of rock! For our recommendations, please read our page on Lunch Spots on the Mountain.
Can I take my baby to a ski resort?
Yes, you can take your baby to a ski resort but be aware that sudden changes in temperature and altitude are not recommended. For help on in-resort childcare, equipment rental and helpful tips go to our Tips for Families in Val Thorens & Les Menuires.
Can you suggest some activities in Val Thorens for children?
Val Thorens is very much a family-friendly resort and welcomes children of all ages. From things that you can do as a family to activities that the children can go off and do with their new 'holiday friends' you will find plenty to keep everyone happy. Please see our Val Thorens Activities section for a few suggestions.
Can you suggest some hiking routes to try?
If you come to Val Thorens in the summer (and between you and I, you really should) chances are you'll want to get your walking boots on and go on a ramble or two. Val Thorens offers some beautiful walks for all standards, from gentle rambles to challenging hikes, you can enjoy the mountains just as much in summer as in winter. Please have a look at our page on Hiking in Val Thorens for further information.
Do I need a photograph for my lift pass?
Not any more. Due to the invention of magnetic 'hands-free' passes cutting out a passport sized photo to attach to your ski pass is no longer necessary. The only exceptions are the season passes and free passes - for these your photo will be taken digitally at the lift pass office, or you can bring along a photo for scanning. Don't forget you can now order your passes in advance and online, and have them sent to your home address or hotel / rental agency in the resort.
Do I Need a Work Permit in Val Thorens?
If you are from Europe, the chances are you will not require a work permit or "autorisation de travail" to work in France - Switzerland is a different matter. Please see our Working a Ski Season to find out more about Visas and passports.
Do I need to carry chains in the car (often a paying optional extra in car-hire)?
Yes! During snowy weather, resorts restrict access to vehicles with snow-tyres or chains, and sometimes traffic police will not allow any vehicle on to the resort access road without chains being fitted. Chains can be bought at any of the garages in the area or can be requested as part of a car hire package (if you are taking a car locally). The colour-coded 'quick-fit' variety are usually the best option and make sure you buy the right dimensions for you tyres - one size does NOT fit all. Read more about Driving in the Alps.
Do the Ski Instructors Speak English?
Almost certainly – ESF instructors are mainly French but teach lots of English clients year after year, and so have a good understanding of the language. You will also find that many of the private schools in resort employ English instructors, so enquire when booking if this is important to you. When booking into a group lesson most ski schools will try and keep people of the same nationality together, to avoid confusion. During quiet times of the year you may find yourself in a mixed group, but the instructor will still try to engage with individuals in their own language. You can find details of all the instructors on our Ski & Snowboard Schools listings page.
How Can I Get a Job in Val Thorens?
There are a number of different approaches to finding work in a ski resort. The simplest way is to apply to season workers websites via our Job Finder. Many of the larger companies such as Tour Operators will recruit their staff long before the season starts, so if you fancy yourself as a resort rep then you’d better get in early! Take a look at our section on Working a Ski Season to find out lots of other useful information.