VAL THORENS, FRANCE - Europe's highest resort, with guaranteed good snow.

For the enthusiast looking for the best snow in the Alps, it's difficult to beat Val-Thorens - especially given that it's also one of the least unpleasant purpose-built resorts. But we still prefer a cozier base elsewhere in the Three Valleys.

That way, if a storm socks in, we can play in the woods around Méribel or Courchevel; if the sun is scorching, we have the option of setting off for Val-Thorens. The formula doesn't work the other way round.


What's Great
What's Not-So-Great

+ Extensive local slopes to suit all standards, and good access to the rest of the vast Three Valleys

+ The highest resort in the Alps and one of the most snow sure, with north-facing slopes guaranteeing good snow for a long season, even off the glacier

+ Not as much of an eyesore as most high, purpose-built resorts

+ Compact village with direct slope access from most accommodation

? Can be bleak in bad weather - not a tree in sight

? Parts of the village are much less attractive to walk through in the evening than to ski past in the day

? Not much to do off the slopes

? Some very busy slope intersections

? Still some waiting lines - especially for the Cîme de Caron cable-car.