Sunday 18 November Last update : 11/17/2018 at 17:01


Published the 01 August 2017


Fleece or flip-flops? Gloves or baseball cap? I spent a long time thinking about what to pack for my trip to Val Thorens this summer. Unsure - I took nearly my whole wardrobe along with me! After two months in Val Thorens, I’ve decided to help out holidaymakers in distress who aren’t really sure what to bring.


The main thing you need to know for a trip to Val Thorens in the summer is that - like anywhere in the mountains - the weather changes very quickly and is hard to second guess. So snow can be falling one day with baking sunshine the next! We get all kinds of weather here back to back – so you need to pack the right gear.


Very important: you’re closer to the sun when you’re up in the mountains. Whether the sun is shining brightly or hidden behind the clouds, you need to be careful - so don’t forget the sun cream - whatever the weather or activity!


PACKING FOR A HIKING HOLIDAY by Séverine from the Les Belleville mountain guides office:

- Good hiking boots or shoes for a full day’s hiking - preferably high-tops (more comfortable, especially downhill) – and they must have a good tread.     
Trail shoes, which aren’t so snug around the foot, are OK for a half-day but aren’t suitable for anything longer.
- An anorak (waterproof) and a fleece - always keep them in your rucksack
- A bottle of water
- A packed lunch for a day hike and a snack to keep you going (cereal bar, cake, dried fruit etc.)
- A rucksack
- Pack gloves and a hat - they might be useful if you are planning a guided glacier hike  or a snowball fight above the permanent snowline
- A baseball cap or hat: getting sunburn on your head isn’t nice - I can tell you - and can ruin your whole day
- Comfortable clothing: the ideal is to have technical clothing – it’s light, often waterproof and dries quicker when you sweat
- Hiking poles are advisable but not compulsory (it depends what you prefer)
- A phone in case there’s a problem
- A head torch  or regular torch – in case it gets dark and you’re still outside
- And finally… a camera, for bringing back some great photos - souvenirs to remind you of the great hike you had when you get back!


PACKING FOR A MOUNTAIN BIKING HOLIDAY by Ludo, manager of Zénith, sports and mountain bike rental shop:


- Running-type shoes for cross-country mountain biking are fine but high-top shoes are better for downhill mountain biking
- Protective gear for downhill mountain biking: shin pads and back protector if you have them  (or you can rent them here)
- A bike helmet with visor for cross-country mountain biking and a full-face helmet for downhill mountain biking
- A hydration pack
- Sunglasses or ski goggles
- Joggers or shorts, depending on the weather
- An anorak – always keep one in your bag (it gets cold on the ski lifts)
- Comfortable clothing - ideally technical clothing
- A phone – in case you have a bike problem or hurt yourself or a storm comes in
- A head torch in case you leave a little late and it gets dark
- And obviously your bike - if you have one!

PACKING A TRAILER’S SUITCASE, according to Julien Chorier, Ultra-trail champion and Val Thorens’ very own trail ambassador:

☀- When it’s sunny and warm ☀

- T-shirt
- Shorts
- Baseball cap

☁ When it’s cloudy and cold ☁

- Pack a hat and gloves for cooler days or if you’ll be spending time at altitude. Better to have it in case you need it!
- Tights
- W-arm jacket
- Waterproof anorak

Always take:

- A bottle of water (or water pack) – take an energy drink if you’re doing a long route
- A snack (gel, chocolate bars, dried fruit etc.)
- Sun cream!
- Trail shoes
- Hiking poles (advisable)
- A GPS watch - with cardio belt if you want to check your fitness progress
- An anorak - always keep it in your rucksack
- Some cash in case you run out of provisions and feel hungry or thirsty when you get to a mountain hut
- A head torch in case you get lost and it starts getting dark
- A phone in case there’s a problem

And how do you dress in the resort?

As you would usually dress, but for mid-season rather than wearing clothes that are too light. It can get very hot up in the mountains, rising up to a “feels like” temperature of 30°C, but the thermometer falls as soon as the sun goes behind a cloud. So don’t forget to pack t-shirts, shorts, trousers, jackets/fleeces and a waterproof! And if you want to go out for the evening in the resort, take something warm with you – it soon gets chilly (between 5°C and 15°C, depending on the weather). Or why not warm up over a cup of tea or hot chocolate with the family or a génépi liqueur with your friends? Mountain holidays are about that, too! 😉

These top tips are obviously meant to help you prepare for every situation so that you have a wonderful holiday, but we hope you have great weather for your mountain adventures! ☀

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