Valmorel , France
Valmorel is one purpose built family ski resort which actually fulfills its ambition. Built in the 1970's to create a traffic free mountain village using only traditional Savoyard stone and wood for the largely slope-side accommodation it is very attractive, practical and brilliant for families looking for an easy ski holiday. Its location, just a short drive from Moutiers, makes it one of the most accessible Tarentaise ski resorts and although not on a par with its huge neighbours, the Trois Vallees and Espace Killy, it has a fairly extensive range of slopes for all levels of skiers and boarders.
The highest lift reaches an impressive 2,550 metres but the majority of the runs are below 2,000 metres which means snow quality is not excellent right the way through April. The choice of accommodation, restaurants and bars is fairly limited, with the resort unashamedly marketed towards intermediates, families and mixed ability groups. However, there is an excellent Club Med luxury hotel. Valmorel is divided into several areas: Fontaine, La Foret, Bourg-Morel, Planchamp, Le Mottet and Creve Coeur. However, these separate villages merge into each other along a winding road. Bourg-Morel is the hub of the resort, and it has the bulk of the shops, restaurants and bars.
Pros & Cons
- Attractive, friendly, purpose built family ski holiday resort
- A great choice for a family ski holiday
- A nice resort for beginner and intermediate skiers as terrain is relatively easy
- A less commercialised resort than some - no inflated prices here!
- There are good value hotels and chalets in Valmorel
- Quite a few long drag lifts
- Good snow conditions cannot be guaranteed at the end of the season
- Limited choice of bars and restaurants
- Not much to cater for the non-skier
- There are not that many chalets in Valmorel
For a night away from your ski chalet, Valmorel offers cuisine for every taste! For Savoyard specialities try La Marmite. La Flambee also has a reputation for its crepes, raclette and other Savoyard specialities. If you're after something a little less French, Le Jimbo Lolo recreates a South American atmosphere and serves up Tex-Mex cuisine. La Table Du Berger is one of several serving pizza. If you've got the energy, there's the option of an evening snowshoe hike to a traditional mountain restaurant in the forest, the Aigle Blanc, for a traditional Savoyard meal.
Should you not want to go back to your ski chalet, Valmorel has five places to eat on the mountain for a lunch time treat. L'Alpage at the top of the Altispace chairlift on the link with Saint Francois Longchamp has good food and great views of Mont Blanc. L'Altipiano at the top of the Pierrafort gondola has a pleasant lounge and, useful if you're skiing with children, a play area where they can burn off yet more energy.
The apres ski scene is normally quite quiet in Valmorel with about a dozen bars to choose from. La Cordee can be a good first stop of the evening. Located at the bottom of the pistes, it does a mean cocktail. Le Cafe Alpin is also at the bottom of the pistes and is another favourite. Hotel du Bourg's pub has pool tables, wifi and an open fireplace, whilst Le Ski Roc is a chalet style building with more of a wine bar feel. La Tour is one of the resort's main night spots with the pub open from 5pm right through to 4am and a discotheque open from 10pm. If you want a change of scene from your ski chalet, Valmorel has plenty to offer for some apres ski fun!
Nightlife is generally quiet and there is little off-slope diversion, so you are better off relaxing and enjoying the fantastic facilities within your ski chalet. Valmorel does however have some great slope-side cafe-bars that are jolly and definitely worth checking out.