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Top things to do in Val Thorens for non-skiers this winter 2018/19

Our pick of the best non-skiing activities to try

In the past, many ski resorts catered almost exclusively for skiers. Non-skiers were left to amuse themselves with little more than a municipal swimming pool or a restaurant terrace to while away the hours until their skiing companions returned from the slopes. 

Fortunately, resorts now realise the advantages of offering a wide range of non-sliding activities. This not-only attracts a wider clientele, it’s also a means of amusing skiers when the snow or weather is poor or they tire of skiing. Today, Val Thorens offers a myriad of non-skiing activities. Here is our pick of the best.

MTB on snow

Top things to do in Val Thorens for non-skiers this winter 2018/19

A snow activity that seems to becoming more and more popular is mountain biking on snow. This is exactly as it sounds and entails heading up on a ski lift with a mountain bike and cycling down the slope. The guidance does gently suggest that this activity is suitable for experienced mountain bike riders or 'sporty ones'. That's not to say others are excluded, just useful guidance to get the most out of the experience. This is a fairly difficult descent so if you are not familiar with biking even without snow, then the ride could take a little longer than anticipated. Also, given that this activity takes place after the slopes have closed you won't want to hang around on the piste with the night sky falling.

The track commences at an altitude of 3000m a the top of the Peclet lift and descends down the Tête Ronde slope, normally graded a blue run for skiers. This activity takes place every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evening setting off at 16:45 (17:15 later in the season). You will be accompanied by a professional instructor and descend as an organised group with between five to ten people per group. The track is not accessed on an individual basis. At 6km the descent should last around 45 minutes and you will be rewarded and warmed up with a mulled wine at the finish. Don't worry all equipment is provided so you don't need to think about packing your bike as well as your skis. The cost is €40 if you already have a ski pass and €50 if you are without ski pass. Must be booked in advance.

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Zip line

Top things to do in Val Thorens for non-skiers this winter 2018/19

Whilst the zip line has been an activity available in Val Thorens for the past few seasons it has never made it onto the non-ski activity list, being previously only accessible on skis. This year though Val Thorens have added a second zip line at a lower altitude that is now accessible to pedestrians which is great news. The new zip line is located at the top of the Moutiere chairlift and at 1.6km will take you over the pistes back to the centre of resort reaching speeds of 75 kmph.

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Helitour

Top things to do in Val Thorens for non-skiers this winter 2018/19

A truly unique experience available in Val Thorens is a helicopter tour to take a view of the French Alps from up above. As you can imagine the views are incredible and this is not the moment to forget your camera. At just 10 minutes long the tour is pretty limited in terms of distance to see the largest ski area in the world, although a perfect length for a quick taster if you have never flown in a helicopter before. This falls into a more expensive price bracket than other non-ski activities however is a truly memorable experience.

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Snow mobile

Top things to do in Val Thorens for non-skiers this winter 2018/19

A popular evening activity is a snow mobile trip around the slopes of Val Thorens. A great experience for couples and groups of friends as you can either drive a snow mobile solo or head off in pairs if you prefer to cling on behind the snowmobile rather than be behind the drivers controls. A fantastic opportunity to see the slopes at night with incredible moonlit skies. The trips set off at 17:30 every evening and so make sure if you do sign up that you wrap up warm and don't forget your gloves.

Ice diving

Top things to do in Val Thorens for non-skiers this winter 2018/19

A slightly different activity to add to your ski holiday in Val Thorens is ice diving. This activity takes place at Lac du Lou located between the lower part of Val Thorens and Les Menuires. The Val Thorens ice diving experience lasts thirty minutes and all equipment is provided. There is also an added snow shoe walk to arrive at the lake of 40 minutes which in itself is a great addition to the trip and good opportunity to take in the mountain views. If you are looking for an extra activity to 'tick off' then this is a good activity to just experience donning all the kit and heading under the ice to see the darkness and light streams that filter through. If you are an experienced diver however maybe not the biggest adrenaline rush. This activity is open to anyone over the age of 16 years and the total cost is €180.

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Ice driving

Top things to do in Val Thorens for non-skiers this winter 2018/19

Staying on the theme of ice, another different non-ski activity available in Val Thorens is ice driving. The highest ice racing track in Europe at 2200m, the Val Thorens Driving school is well established and is also the location for the Trophee Andros event each year where well known drivers compete. There are a range of experiences available at the circuit. Whether it is driving with a trained professional alongside to guide you round the bends or if you prefer the opposite, letting the professional do the driving and you can remain in the passenger seat and there is also ice karting and ice quads available to try. There are free shuttle buses to access the track from the resort centre. Prices vary depending on which experience you choose whether a short taster or full driving course. It is recommended to book in advance.

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Toboggan

Top things to do in Val Thorens for non-skiers this winter 2018/19

If you haven't been sledging since your childhood days then the thought could bring up images of heading down a hill with bits of grass sticking out. Well sledging in Val Thorens is a little bit different. Firstly the descent starts at an altitude of 3,000m at the top of the Peclet lift and the sledge ride back down take you to an altitude of 2300m. The whole descent should take around 45 minutes. This activity is open to anyone aged five years and up and the cost is €16 per descent. Please note the track is only available to those who have reserved and taken equipment provided by the lift company SETAM. You are not permitted to head up with your own sledge individually.

Sledging is free for children between the ages of five and 10 years as they can only descend sharing a sledge with an adult. From 10 years and above children can sledge by themselves and from nine to 10 years they can have a sledge of their own if joined by an adult who is also on their own sledge. There are the options to have a go in the day or opt for an evening excursion for something a bit different. The evening option costs €24 with the added extra of mulled wine and local cheese.

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Snake gliss

Top things to do in Val Thorens for non-skiers this winter 2018/19

Val Thorens have also taken the idea of sledging up a notch by introducing 'snake gliss'. A truly unique way to descend the slopes of Val Thorens, this activity involves ten sledges all tied together. The group is led by an instructor from the top of the Peclet lift at 3000m back down to resort. The activity guidance does state there is a "rapid descent" and that "participants should be physically fit," so maybe not for the faint hearted. The cost is €30 per person and all equipment is provided, including ski passes.

Snowshoeing

Top things to do in Val Thorens for non-skiers this winter 2018/19

Snow shoeing is the perfect way to get out and about on the mountain at your own pace. There are several planned itineraries in Val Thorens (map available from the Tourist Office) ranging from a leisurely 2km walk lasting 1h30 up to a longer five hour walk or 6km. Some snow shoe walks also involve a walkers ski pass taking you first up on the ski lift and walking down.

Dog sled

Top things to do in Val Thorens for non-skiers this winter 2018/19

An activity open to the littlest of mountain folk is the dog sled in Val Thorens available for children from as young as two years old. A lovely winter experience, each trip lasts 30 minutes and you will be tucked up in a sled behind the dogs who will pull you along the snow. Available all mornings from Monday until Friday.

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For more things to do in Val Thorens during your stay, check out our events calendar here.

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