The Valmorel ski station is also known as “la Belle” (the beautiful one) and the name is well-deserved. Though it has only been a winter sports resort since 1976 the buildings here still have a distinctive savoyard character. The individual villages which make up the station, grouped around the pedestrianised centre, are characterised by traditional chalets made of stone and wood, houses painted in the traditional style of this region, narrow lanes with arched gateways and some delightfully picturesque squares. No wonder Valmorel has been voted one of the most attractive and friendly ski villages in the whole of France.
But this station, at the centre of the Grand Domaine ski area, is not just gorgeous to look at – holidaymakers who come here enjoy all the benefits that a modern winter sports centre has to offer. Wherever you are staying there is excellent access to the slopes and the downhill run comes right down into the middle of the resort. To save having to walk long distances, guests staying in Valmorel also have the Télébourg cable-car to transport them across the resort.
There are many reasons why winter sports fans will love skiing in Valmorel: firstly, it is situated conveniently close to the world’s biggest ski area - the Trois Vallées – which lies just to the south. Secondly, this charming ski station lies at the heart of the Grand Domaine ski area which means it boasts a huge choice of slopes.
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Valmorel itself offers skiers around 100 kilometres of pistes, most of them easy to moderately difficult. Beyond the ridge of the mountain between the Cheval Noir (at 2,832 metres the highest peak in the ski area), and the Lauzière massif is where Valmorel connects with the Saint Francois station. These two areas together form the Grand-Domaine, offering a total of 165 kilometres of slopes to suit all ability levels. The deep snow areas close to the Valmorel valley station have slopes which are ideal for beginners and there are also 2 specially-designated practice areas for those still learning. Advanced skiers are also well-catered for and will enjoy the challenging downhill runs at Col du Mottet and Col de la Madeleine.
Serious winter sport fans will also love the snowpark situated above Valmorel, which is equipped with a boardercross course, half pipe and many other challenges for snowboarders and skiers alike. The Grand Domaine is also a popular holiday destination for fans of Nordic sports and has a total of 20 kilometres of moderately difficult cross-country trails. The Saint Francois area has an additional 40 kilometres of trails of varying levels of difficulty.
Note: The Valmorel ‘Schneesportschule’ is the only German-speaking ski school in France – so there will be no language problems for Germans on their skiing holiday!
Not just an award-winning ski station, Valmorel is also rather good at après-ski. A stroll around the resort’s picturesque lanes with its array of small shops and boutiques is a really nice way to spend an afternoon. Many of the cafés have sun-terraces – ideal for a well-earned rest at any time - and to keep visitors entertained in the evenings, there is no shortage of charming restaurants, bars, clubs and discos.
Those in search of more active pursuits off the piste are also spoilt for choice in Valmorel. Whether your preference is for tobogganing, ice-skating, ice-climbing or exploring the 61 kilometres of well-maintained hiking trails – you will not be disappointed. For speed demons there are snowmobile rides to enjoy, whilst those who want to take things at a more leisurely pace can enjoy a romantic sleigh-ride through the beautiful village of Valmorel.