Val Thorens - Part I 

Ski paradise - Mountain with character


This article is intended to tell you more about the beauties and powers of mountains and potential dangers they bear.


        Val Thorens is located at the highest altitude of all the places that make up the complex 'Les Trios Vallées'. This can make minor problems to some people even after several days of their arrival, because the process of body adjustment and acclimatization is made difficult due to constant residence at the altitude above 2200m. This may involve a mild headache and nausea, which in our case lasted as long as three days after our arrival, which hadn’t happened to us at any other ski resort that we had visited before. A very low temperature under -22°C further hampered the situation, as well as the fall of a very thick and course snow. Being a fan of the off-road skiing, I secretly wished for the daily snowfall, but I was completely surprised by the other effects that this mountain offered. Despite several months of training and preparation, I couldn’t otherwise overcome the headache and dizziness except by going daily to Meribel at 1750m of altitude. A couple of hours spent several hundreds of meters below, kept me in a normal condition as much as possible during the first three days. Then came the fourth day, with the flawless sunny and blue sky, along with our full adaption and acclimatisation! We were relieved and we made a quick plan to visit Courchevel, the furthest part of it, with my favourite slope 'Chapelets and Tétras' (Chapelets lift).

       The skiing day started as planned, we were the first skiers on the lift 'Plein Sud'. The smoothed 'Venturon' under 'Cóte Brune' creaked under the edges and the adrenalin started getting high. One of my friends suggested that we should drive to the 'Mont du Vallon' and the rest of us immediately accepted the idea. Then followed a complete shock at the top, the thermometer registered -27°C! Only then did we become aware of the weather conditions we were skiing in. We rushed down the slope, through Meribel and towards the sunny plateau above Courchevel Moriond (1650), expecting the temperature to be more favourable over there. All of a sudden we experienced the magic of the plateau and we felt like being on another planet. Further down the slope there was the intact paradise of 'Chapelets'-a. Frozen fingertips suddenly were not important at all. Deep snow on the slope, left their on purpose, took me completely over and I felt like I was sailing on waves every time the skis and the snow beneath them cast me away. I could hardly catch my breath from the advancing adrenaline. :)  The feeling was fantastic. I had experienced something similar when windsurfing last summer, on a very strong wind that uncovered my passion. I can ski through deep snow anywhere, but this place, this peace and the furrowed mountain in front of me, engraved to my mind like a tattoo. Nearby trees made me enter a labyrinth and I accept the challenge. Beside us, there were a couple of English boarders, very obviously enjoying themselves, but they only went by and disappeared among the pines.

The feeling of satisfaction and fulfilment did its daze and I felt like I was in some kind of a trance. This is why the whole trip to 'Les 3 Vallées' was worth a while, unbelievable, and I realised I had to come back here again...  :)

     After an hour we become aware that we had to move on as the weather was getting overcast as well. We had enough time, but we had not made a real break all day. Although exhausted, we made it to our next destination, 'La Tania'...



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