Situated on a high plateau between the two peaks Le Cret de Quart and Le Gros Cret lies the ski resort of Valmeinier which offers holidaymakers a unique blend of traditional charm and modern comfort. The historic area around the popular ski station, Valmeinier 1500, has managed to preserve its character as an authentic alpine village with traditional savoyard-style houses, built from stone and wood.
Around 300 metres further up is the newer part of the station, Valmeinier 1800. When this new section was being built, every effort was made to ensure that it blended in well with the alpine countryside surrounding this historic resort – the result is an attractive centre offering every modern comfort but with a distinctive alpine character. And thanks to the way the chalet-style houses have been built – surrounding the ski station – it is possible to ski right down onto the sun terraces outside the cafés.
This latest addition to the resorts in the Maurienne valley is also a great place for families, offering ideal conditions for beginners and children. A further bonus is that most of Valmeinier’s slopes are in the northern Alps, which means that snow conditions are excellent throughout the season.
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Situated in the middle of the sunny Maurienne valley, the Valmeinier-Valloire ski area, with its 3 small valleys, is often described as a lesser version of the vast area known as Les Trois Vallées. But that does not mean that there is any less skiing action! With 86 pistes covering an area of 150 kilometres, this is the fifth largest ski area in the Savoy Alps. Above Valmeinier 1800 there are some superb pistes on the vast slopes of Le Gros Crey – these are ideal for carving fans, especially the less experienced. The other side of the mountain, however, is where more advanced skiers and deep snow fans will really be in their element.
Crey du Quart in Valloire has a snowpark with great facilities for snowboarding, including a half pipe, boardercross course and much more besides. For cross-country skiers the area around Valmeinier and Valloire offers a total of 10 kilometres of cross-country trails. Well worth trying is a tour over gently undulating terrain from Valloire in the direction of Valmeinier, finishing at Les 3 Croix.
Note: Skiers who fancy taking a little detour to the big three valleys have to travel just 18 kilometres from Valmeinier to Orelle from where they have direct access to the Val Thorens ski area right in the centre of Les 3 Vallées. A trip to the biggest ski area in the world is definitely not to be missed!
Valmeinier also has much to offer off-piste. Winter sport fans have the choice of a trip to an open air ice-rink, a winter hike around the resort’s villages, a guided snowshoe tour, a toboggan ride, paragliding or ice-climbing. And for something completely different there is also twice-weekly night skiing.
Both the old Valmeinier 1500 resort and the newer Valmeinier 1800 have managed to preserve a truly authentic ski village atmosphere, helped by the wide variety of small shops selling local products and the many restaurants and bars where you can relax in the evenings and sample French and savoyard specialities. There is also plenty of opportunity for après-ski relaxation on one of the many sun-terraces at the ski station as well as great night-life with several friendly bars, 3 cinemas, a bowling alley and a disco. Thanks to Valmeinier’s superb infrastructure all these facilities are close together and none is more than a few minutes’ walk away.