‘My Serenity’ in Val Thorens in the 3 Valleys
- Credit: T.Loubere OT Val Thorens
Val Thorens may be best known for its skiing and snowboarding, but why not check out some of the wellness activities on offer there too?
You probably know Val Thorens as being the highest winter resort in Europe. With the highest ski lift in the resort reaching a massive 3200m, and the village itself sitting at a lofty 2300m, it is no real surprise that the chances of snow here are high. Part of the mighty 3 Vallees ski area, which covers a huge 600km of skiable terrain, Val Thorens is an absolute snowsports enthusiast’s paradise for a jaw-dropping SIX MONTHS of the year! The season started in the middle of November and doesn’t finish until long after most resorts are thinking of summer, in May.
But it’s not all about piling down a mountain at speed, honest. The latest string to Val Tho’s impressive bow is an ever expanding programme of wellness products designed to give a very different mountain experience from the more traditional ski and après-ski package. The My Serenity programme launched during the winter of 2017/18 in collaboration with doctor Philippe Rodet, a specialist in stress-management. It brings together a variety of different elements, but at the core are a team of professionals, each bringing their own expertise but all committed to delivering a therapeutic end result. My Serenity is about allowing the mountains to work their magic.
The options in action in the resort at the moment – the happiness providers, as they are known- are ski Qi-Gong with Caroline Vincent (a practitioner of Chinese medicine) which brings together a winning combination of a snowy mountain environment and elements of Qi-Gong. There is also an introduction to ski touring on the La Camille trail, perfect for those looking to learn a new skill. Ski Therapy (taught by two Ski Cool instructors) involves employing yoga style breathing and visualisation techniques to give a more rounded and relaxed (and therefore effective) ski experience. Dog lovers will be delighted to learn that dog-sledding features in the programme too. Animal encounters reputedly lower stress levels dramatically, so contact with these enthusiastic beasts is definitely to be recommended.
But it’s not just about activities. To achieve balance, the body also needs feeding! Several restaurants in the resort are signed up to My Serenity – including the stylish and arty Alpen Art - but the newest is Supernova. Run by former professional ski racer Amélie, this vegetarian and vegan café serves up a tasty and healthy alternative to those heavy cheese dishes we all think of when we think of skiing, and it tastes great!
After all that mountain air and food, it’s time to take it up (or rather down, maybe?) a notch with some concerted relaxation. Val Thorens is certainly not short of a spa or two, with plenty of places to soak, loaf and get a massage, but the 5 star Pashmina hotel has fully embraced the My Serenity programme, even bringing out its own wellness guide. Enjoy a splash around in the laid back swimming pool, unravel those post-ski knots with a great massage, loosen up in the sauna and steam room, or best of all (in my book) have a soak in the outdoor hottub which overlooks the slopes.
Whilst for many, being in the mountains in winter is still all about the skis and snowboards, I could personally definitely get quite used to the notion of a mountain recharge. After all, the very birth of package tourism was the result of people decamping to the mountains to “take the air” back in the 19th century, so let’s take a leaf out of their book and let those magic mountains sooth our frazzled nerves.