Val Thorens represents the pinnacle of ski resort development to date - at least in terms of its altitude. The highest ski resort in Europe, located in a vast snowy bowl within the biggest ski area in the world, the resort and its surrounding ski area has continued to evolve since its opening in 1971. Today it can claim to be a stylish 'village' and world class ski resort rather than a clutch of rather desolate, high altitude buildings as some imagine. In contrast to that image, the resort has been constructed using local wood and stone to designs inspired by traditional local Savoie architectural tradition. More than 250m Euros have been spent in recent years in improving and expanding the resort and the local ski area. The whole has also been designed to a well considered plan giving it a compact, largely pedestrianised centre where most of the public facilities (of which there are many!) are concentrated. This investment has helped the constant popularity of Val Thorens which now attracts some two million visitors annually (placing it in the world top 20 ski resorts by popularity as well as altitude) . It also boasts occupancy rate of around 90% on average through the season, making it the envy of many other famous ski resorts. Always been ahead of the game on many levels, even being one of the first areas to offer wi-fi internet access in 2003. A year later it showed its environmental credentials by tackling smokers who drtopped cigarette butts from chairlifts pointing out the total can reach as many as 30,000 below just one of the more popular access chairs. he resort believes that apart from being a major eye-sore, they're also a major environmental hazard, with each individual cigarette end likely to contaminate a cubic metre of water. Stressing that they were not launching an anti-smoking capaign, just a responsible disposal of cigarette butts campaign, the tourist office added a glass box that will display the thousands of cigarette butts picked up alongside an exhibition showing the long-term environmental damage caused by man-made trash. Two thousand pocket containers designed to hold used cigarettes were provided for skiers. Despite being north facing, the resort's altitude ensures it gets good sunshine with little over-shadowing it. The tourist office is open from 9am to 7pm daily (even to 4am on Sunday morning for those arriving late on Saturday night) for all information.