Friendly people, friendly on the pocket, with plenty to keep skiers and non-skiers happy, Valmorel rocks. Briony Key reports
Pretty Valmorel is the first resort as you enter the Tarentaise Valley, but feels remote, despite being just an hour from Chambery and 35 minutes from Albertville.
Yet feeling remote isn’t uncomfortable, as this place is so friendly, and there’s plenty to keep you occupied, from slope time to spa time.
It’s also the main resort in the Grand Domaine ski areas (165kms of piste), which also includes Celliers, Doucy, La Léchère and Nāves.
There are plenty of inviting places to sip cocktails and catch up, or to enjoy an a la carte menu, fondue, or crepes.
The restaurant service is laid back, and friendly, and other diners are often happy to share their slope experiences over a glass, or two, of wine.
The resort is purpose built, but doesn’t ‘feel’ out of place in the local environment, as it’s constructed from local wood, stone and slate, and blends in harmoniously with its mountain back drop.
It’s also ski in, ski out and pedestriainsed, which makes for a good buzz coming to and from the slopes, as you pass by the many welcoming cafes and shops that jostle for space in its narrow streets.
Friends of mine are just getting back to skiing, and they loved Valmorel. It has so many green and blue runs that beginners and early intermediates don’t get bored; but they do get to build up a lot of confidence as they enjoy the varied, long, cruisy slopes.
The resort has a 120km ski area, and a terrain which changes quickly from icy early morning snow to powder perfect conditions.
The green run down to Doucy makes a great start to the day, and there’s many pretty routes to cruise around, with cafes placed at locations which encourage you to sit outside, taking in the sun and the sensational panorama.
30 things to do
This place promises no less than 30 activities, so you can go crazy on the sports stuff, or slip into a land of bubbles, and bliss out in the many resorts spas.
Cross-country and skiing are big on most people’s ‘to do’ list, but there’s also snowshoeing, tobogganing, dog sledding, snow buggies, bob luge, air board and paragliding here.
There’s also a cinema – if all of this sounds too much!
I took an afternoon off the slopes to try a cookery class, which saw me and six French women get to grips with making our first raclette.
It was a great to meet new people, and to ‘master’ a local delicacy, which is very popular on the slopes.
Also very popular are the sandwiches and cakes made by artisan patissier Boulanger Maryan, which can make a regular lunch feel like a fine-dining experience!
Valmorel won the Telegraph World Snow Awards for the Most Improved Family Resort 2014. A just reward for its three-year plan to make sure everyone feels welcome and catered for.
Briony stated at the Hotel du Bourg www.hoteldubourg.com
Peak Retreats offer seven nights at the Hotel Du Bourg from £197pp inc Eurotunnel crossing, www.peakretreats.com 0844 576 0170