For the brave or, frankly, the incredibly foolish, there is also a snow park a gravity defying collection of huge jumps, half pipes, rails and ramps. For the more sensible who are still young at heart, the long, winding toboggan run is a blast for young and old.

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But I was treated to five laps as a passenger. The feeling was nothing like I had ever experienced before and similar to the pressures on a Formula 1 driver, according to the instructor.

´╗┐Aagile in the Alps

Looking down from the top of a bumpy, steep black run, with a worryingly cheery instructor jabbering away in unintelligible pidgin English, I started to think my last hours would be spent up a freezing mountain in the French Alps.

The massages can either be given by a trained member of staff, or the guest can lie down on a vibrating waterbed, which works on every part of your body and straightens out every kink suffered on the slopes.

On the subject of food, the restaurants are another highlight. Sadly, the main drag is dominated by takeaways and fast food outlets, although the demand is clearly there.

When we visited, I was convinced this was an elaborate joke how can you drive on ice? The answer is, in my case, you can't. Presumably, the instructor saw my frayed nerves and jittering teeth and decided I was going nowhere near the steering wheel of his powerful car. Wise move.

But the jewel in the crown is the Well being area. A section which would not be out of place in a top of the range health spa, the area boasts massage rooms, saunas and immersion tanks.

In truth, there would be worse places to go. The most striking aspect of Val Thorens is the sheer beauty and serenity of the surroundings.

As for accommodation, once again there is a huge variety from the lavish Hotel Val Thorens to the simplicity of Les Olympiades, where I stayed.

"We even offer a babysitting service for very young children meaning the parents can go off and ski in the knowledge their kids are being well cared for.

Playing football or going for a swim are probably not activities many would think of when they visit a ski resort, but for many they are the only way of staving off chronic boredom if you don't fancy heading up the mountain. Jerry Sanson, 41, a father of two from Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, injured his shoulder just before flying out and, being by his own admission a nervous skier, preferred to let his wife Alison, 36, and sons James, 13, and Ian, nine, enjoy their holiday. Jerry, an architect, admitted he was down in the dumps about spending all his time in his hotel room, but said he was amazed at the choice of activities.

Tuition is available for all levels of ability, right up to the Grand Tourisme classes for advanced skiers who want to explore off piste and the most demanding black runs. Ski school is not just about honing your technique or being shouted at by men in lurid red suits, it is in fact the best way to negotiate a new resort. Instructors know the mountains like the back of their hand and will take you to the best spots.

The vast sports centre combines every sport you could dream of, including three football pitches and tennis courts, as well as two swimming pools, saunas and Jacuzzis.

But the most amazing apres ski activity must be the ice driving track. This is a half mile long driving course, made entirely of ice and snow. It has to be seen to be believed.

But tucked away are the traditional French eateries with all the ambiance and flavour of a gourmet Paris restaurant.

"With the amount of slopes on offer, Val Thorens is one of the best places to learn to ski, and our instructors are expert in picking out the best areas to take people."

"I managed to find another guy in our hotel to play badminton with, and have swum every day. I'm still very glad to see the family when they get back from the slopes though!"

Whereas in a normal car, a single turn of the wheel will jerk the vehicle left or right, on ice, you need five or six rapid turns to get the wheels moving even a couple of feet. This didn't stop the driver going up to 140kmph. The result was five minutes of abject terror, followed by a rush of adrenalin (and a stiff drink).

Away from the slopes, apres ski is the name of the game. This usually involves drink, drink and more drink.

Many resorts in the Alps simply rely on tradition pulling the skiers in, but VT has set up an impressive range of more relaxing apres ski to attract families and non skiers.

The sheer size of the resort means there are plenty of places to go.

"I actually haven't stopped all holiday. It took me the first day to get my bearings, and then I headed to the sports centre and have not looked back.

What's more, VT is part of the Three Valleys together with nearby Meribel and Courchevel offering up to 328 pistes covering more than 600km.

The hotspots include the Frog and Rosbif the local branch of a popular French chain which claims to be Men Canada Goose Constable Parka Black Outlet Australia the highest pub in the world wild club the Underground, and Himalaya, which boasts live music.

The first port of call at any ski resort in the Alps is the Ecole de Ski Francais ski school.

Commercial director Michel Van de Vyver says: "We cater for all levels, and one of the big advantages is that members of the same group or the same family can go in different classes to suit them.

The highest resort in Europe nestling in the shadow of Mont Blanc offers slopes to suit everyone from complete novices to downhill champions, and skiers are virtually guaranteed snow because of the altitude.

All are friendly and fun, but have the problem so commonly associated with French resorts the expense. This is one of the reasons France is losing out to newer, cheaper resorts, including Bulgaria, Slovenia and Andorra.

This was a self catering apartment for two and, although basic, would be ideal for young people using the apartment just for sleeping and eating.