Varsity Trip Preview: Part One


In the first of a three-part preview of this year’s Varsity Trip, The Tab checks out the best places to eat, drink and ski in Val Thorens. We also reveal some of the food and drink discounts exclusively for VT2010 participants.

With this year’s Varsity Trip now just over two weeks away, The Tab has rounded up a motley crew of seasonaires, ski bums and powder junkies to give you the low-down on Val Thorens. This week we bring you the best places to eat, drink and ski, along with a smattering of the discounts available exclusively to VT 2010 participants.

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Where to ski:

As the highest resort in Europe, it won’t come as a surprise that Val Thorens gets an awful lot of snowfall. The season runs from November until May, so there should be plenty of snow on the ground by the time VT2010 gets under way. The resort itself boasts over 68 runs and with easy access to the whole Three Valleys area, there’s more than enough skiing available to satisfy even the most hardened skiers among you.

Escape the crowds at Orelle

We recommend heading over to Orelle (an underappreciated gem) or up to Peclet, if the weather’s nice. Lac de la Chambre, Tete Ronde and Boismint also make for lovely, scenic skiing. If you do manage to get to Meribel, Jerusalem is an absolute belter (best enjoyed early morning or late afternoon). Avoid the Espace Junior at all costs – it’s busy, flat and full of ski-schoolers.

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Where to eat:

Much like the rest of the Three Valleys, Val Thorens is generally an expensive place to eat. With that in mind, our best advice is probably to head down to the local hypermarket and carb-load to your heart’s content. If, however, the thought of bucket loads of pasta doesn’t do it for you, you might try:

The Frog & Roast Beef

Run by two English former ski-bums, The Frog & Roast Beef is Europe’s highest pub. Serving the best burgers in the resort (don’t miss out on their signature Frogburger) and with big screens showing all the live sporting action, it’s a seasonaire’s favourite and is guaranteed to be a great place to catch this year’s Varsity Match (not to mention The Ashes). There are also some brilliant discounts available on food and drink for VT2010:

– 30% off all food (including burgers and cooked breakfasts!)
– Takeaway Pizza €7.50
– Glass of Wine €2
– Shots €2.50
– Jaegerbombs €4.50

John’s

Their website might be a bit basic but the steaks at John’s are the best in the Alps. Not exactly cheap but the taste justifies the cost. Their €12.00 American Brunch menu (Eggs, Bacon, Sausages, Potatoes, Fruit, Bread etc.) is a penny-pincher’s dream.

Le Scapin

Decent quality wood-fired pizzas at reasonable prices. You can’t say fairer than that.

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Where to drink:

One thing that VT doesn’t lack (other than snow) is après ski. There’s no shortage of places to kick off the ski boots and grab that well-earned vin chaud at the end of a long day on the slopes. Here are a couple of our favourites:

VarCity

A VT institution, this year’s VarCity promises to be bigger and better than ever. Purpose-built and featuring the cheapest food and drink in the resort, live music and (crucially) comfortable seating, VarCity is the place to be when you get off the slopes. VT 2010 participants can enjoy the following:

Beer – €2.50
Vin Chaud – €2.50
Hot Chocolate – €2.00
Burger or Quarter Pizza or Chips – €2.50

Heading off the slopes and into last year’s VarCity

Photo: Varsity Trip

Moo Bar

Located inside the Temples du Soleil accommodation block (just above the reception area), Moo Bar is a fantastic place to meet up with your mates from different colleges and even, dare we say it, Oxford. It’s retro-themed, with loads of vintage gear and old-school posters on the walls and (if you weren’t sold already) there are drinks deals exclusively available for VT2010, including:

Pitchers – €10
Beer and Vodka Shooter – €4

Saloon Bar

Some of you might remember Saloon Bar in Tignes last year – this one’s better. Justly famous for its cocktails, it makes a good place to start off the night. While you’re there, grab a pint of beer for €3.50 courtesy of your VT2010 discount – that’s less than Val Thorens seasonaires pay!

Like the look of this? It’s yours for €3.50.

Photo: Varsity Trip

Bar 360

We love Bar 360. It’s run by Dutch people. And they’re mentalists. Particularly good on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday afternoons – there’s a live DJ from 3-6pm.

Bar 360 has a lively atmosphere. Honest.

Le Rhum Box

Opened in 1999 by two rum-loving brothers, Le Rhum Box is a small bar in the town centre serving a wide range of – you guessed it – flavoured rum. Cosy, friendly and never too busy, it’s not a bad shout for a quiet (rum-based) drink.

Bowling Alley

For anyone in search of something slightly different for apres-ski, Val Thorens has its own Bowling Alley. Here not only can you enjoy a spot of bowling (duh) but also:

Pint of beer – €4.00
Shots – €2.50 (or €2.00 for Light and Dark Blue shots during the Varsity Match)

Le Malaysia

Anyone who went on the 2008 Varsity Trip will remember Malaysia. For those of you who weren’t on that trip or, alternatively, have very short memories, it’s the biggest nightclub in the Alps. If that still isn’t enough for you, it’s got an ever-so-slightly sloping dance floor, a fire bar, and more Europop than you can shake two sticks at. What more could you possibly want?

Malaysia will make you do things like this. Maybe.

Photo: Varsity Trip

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Next week: all the information about what’s going on on VT2010 – Cuppers, Valley Ralley, Blues Races and much more.

Have we missed anything? Let us know in the comments section…

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