Valmorel is very underrated but actually is one of my favourite family ski resorts in the Alps. The ski area is undemanding but prefect for beginners and low intermediates to learn and progress quickly in peaceful surroundings. There is also plenty of very good childcare for families with young children. Club Med have one of their best properties right on the slopes where children of all ages are catered for and the ESF also run a comprehensive childcare facility.
Although, Valmorel is a purpose-built resort, it is not an eye sore, in fact the village is pleasant with plenty of wood-and-stone buildings with slate roofs (See photo below). The resort is made up of mainly self-catered residences which cluster around a car-free high street but best of all wherever you stay, you’ll never be far from a lift. The ambience is very family orientated and you will never see any drunken youths falling out of bars in this resort.
The Grand Domaine area features lots of wide and flattering slopes for beginners and less confident intermediates, with around 43% of the pistes graded blue. The easy- to medium-level skiing takes place mainly around the Cheval Noir, and Valmorel’s ski area is lift-linked to Celliers, Doucy Combelouvière and – beyond the Col de la Madeleine of Tour de France fame – to Saint Francois Longchamp.
The ski area contains three nursery slopes and one free drag-lift. The beginner areas include a 3km green run through the trees to the village of Doucy, which is great for first-timers to gain confidence and really feel they are going somewhere.
There are amazingly eight parks in the resort. Two snowparks, one for beginners and the other which contains a 120m half-pipe and funboxes. Two more are skicross courses, and there are three freeride zones, Cross-country skiers have 20km of marked loipe, which begin at Les Avanchers (2km from Valmorel) and continue towards Empyrée and Pierre Laron. Access to the trails is by free shuttle bus.
Valmorel has received the Famille Plus label for its childcare facilities. The main childcare is at Club Piou-Piou, in the village centre, which looks after children from 18 months to three years from Sunday to Friday. Lunch and lunchtime supervision are included, so that parents can ski all day. The children’s snowpark – the Pirates Adventure Zone stretches into the forest to give access to lots of fun activities including a bouncy castle, a beginners’ terrain park and skicross.
Where to stay in Valmorel
Club Med is one of our favourite places that we recommend to our clients with young children as the in-house childcare is amazing and offers age-related activities for children aged four months right up to 17 years. The location is also spot on being ski-in, ski-out and with everything under one roof we bet the only time you will want to venture further afield is when you click into your skis. As Club Med is all-inclusive the only thing you will need to pay for are spa treatments and ski hire.
La Grange aux Fees is a comfortable residence set beside the Lanchettes chair in the Hameau des Lanchettes upper area of the village. It has an attractive wood-and-stone interior, a spa and indoor swimming-pool. Valmorel’s only hotel is the pastel pink Hotel du Bourg, which has been here since the resort was first founded but has now been modernised. It has a minimalist interior designed in retro 1970s style, in keeping with the era in which it was built.
Where to eat in Valmorel
On the high street, Le Ski Roc restaurant and wine bar is one of the places to eat typical Savoyard fare in a chalet setting. South American-themed Jimbo Lolo is for tapas and Tex-Mex, and it also serves bison steaks and burgers.
Le Savoyard and Le Petit Prince feature Savoyard dishes such as salads and pasta. For pizzas the choice lies between Le Cafe Alpin and Le Perce-Neige.
Club Med contains three restaurants: the buffet-style Le Celeste and Les Cerfs with dishes from around the world, and gourmet La Laiterie which is a la carte.
There are four mountain restaurants in the immediate Valmorel ski area, including Les Voiles du Nant, at the top of the Altispace chair-lift, which serves good burgers. Also on piste is L’Altipiano, offers Asian wok dishes. Another favourite place to eat is O Pôt Agé, in Les Avanchers, where everything is cooked using seasonal local produce. You can take a bus or ski here from Valmorel.
For some après ski your first stop should be either La Cordée at the bottom of the piste or Le Café Alpin. Then there is a handful of bars along the pedestrianized high street, including Le Perce-Neige, which has outside seating and heaters. We also recommend stopping at the Hotel du Bourg for a drink in their cosy pub.
South American-themed Jimbo Lolo has a bar with wooden swings for seating, and palm trees. Le Sound Pub and Club is divided into two separate sectors: the first is a pub with billiards, table football, karaoke and quiz evenings, whilst the other is a club that’s open until 4am and often holds themed evenings. Club Med has an in-house bar and puts on live shows every evening – non-residents having dinner here can join in too.