Europe’s highest ski resort, Val Thorens in France, has been named the world’s best ski resort for the third time, just a week before its official opening of the season.
It is a big boost for Val Thorens, which was momentarily knocked off its perch last year when the title went to Austrian ski resort Kitzbuehel.
But at the fourth edition of the World Ski Awards which was held over the weekend, the mythic ski destination reclaimed its crown thanks to continued efforts to innovate and diversify their offerings, organizers say. In 2011, for example, the French resort was the first to equip the ski area with free wifi.
“With its ever-present pioneering spirit, breath-taking natural environment, remarkable amount of sunshine and exceptional snow conditions, it is both unique and cosmopolitan, boasting a lively, sociable and welcoming atmosphere,” reads the World Ski Awards website.
Winners of the awards are determined by votes cast by leaders in the ski industry such as senior executives, travel buyers, tour operators, agents, the media and the general public. For the 2016 edition, about 1.6 million votes were cast online from 85 different countries.
While Val Thorens took the biggest award of the night, resorts across Europe, Canada, Japan and even the Middle East took a few world awards as well this year.
The W Verbier in Switzerland, for example, took the award for world’s best ski hotel, while the world’s best ski chalet went to Bighorn at Revelstoke Mountain in Canada.
Ski Dubai, an indoor ski resort sprawled across 3,000 square meters of artificial snow, took the title of world’s best indoor ski resort.
Meanwhile, this year Val Thorens has launched another innovative service designed to improve traffic on the ski slopes. Beginning this year, skiers can consult monitors that will post traffic information on different hills in real-time.
Also new this year, skiers will be able to choose from a slew of new restaurants and hotels including the four-star hotel Le Fahrenheit Seven and a sustainably built guest house called La Datcha that can accommodate 15 people and includes two movie theaters, two wine cellars, pool, hammam and Jacuzzi, along with new beer and wine bars.
The Val Thorens grand opening is November 26 – 27.
Here are some of the big winners of the World Ski Awards 2016:
- World’s Best Ski Resort 2016: Val Thorens (France)
- World’s Best Freestyle Resort 2016: LAAX, (Switzerland)
- World’s Best Ski Hotel 2016: W Verbier (Switzerland)
- World’s Best New Ski Hotel 2016: The Westin Rusutsu Resort (Japan)
- World’s Best Ski Boutique Hotel 2016: The Vale Niseko (Japan)
- World’s Best New Ski Chalet 2016: Chalet Pont du Cam (France)
- World’s Best Indoor Ski Resort 2016: Ski Dubai (UAE)
- World’s Best Ski Tour Operator 2016: Sunweb