Valloire is located at the base of the Galibier pass (made famous by the Tour de France and it being the point which divides the North and South Alps) in France’s Maurienne Valley. The area is in south-east France which is part of the Savoie region. It began life as a farming village but developed through the 20th century into a ski resort. This resort sits between the Les Trois Vallees and the Italian border, allowing skiers to enjoy the vast Trois Vallee ski area between the months of mid December to mid April.
You can reach the resort via a choice of airports with access from Chambery, Turin, Grenoble, Geneva and Lyon, with transfer times ranging from around an hour from Chambery airport, to up to 2.5 hours from Lyon. If you choose to go by land rather than by air, you are able to reach the resort via a 4 hour train journey from Paris to the nearby station at St Michel de Maurienne
Although not one of the region’s highest resorts, it does however have north facing slopes which retain good snow cover and are supplemented by some 400 snow cannons helping to keep the runs in good order.
The pistes are well maintained and it has a good reputation for quality skiing. The runs do favour beginners and intermediates, with a more limited appeal for those seeking the more challenging of runs.
That said, there are 3 separate ski areas: Le Setaz, Crey du Quart and Valmeinier and there is plenty of variety in these runs, which extend to 150km of piste. There are a mixture of tree lined runs as well as wide open slopes for cruising down. Thirty-four lifts take skiers up to higher altitudes, offering great skiing conditions whatever the season.
The resort was originally a very traditional location and it has maintained the ‘olde worlde’ charm by not allowing itself to become over developed, yet it still has all the modern attractions a skiing holiday maker would want – it is fantastic location blessed with a friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Within Valloire, it is the Valmeinier skiing area that is perhaps best suited to beginners and intermediates.
Crey du Quart offers more for advanced skiers with black runs and some challenging off piste sections. Valloire also boasts a very credible snow park, which is popular with snow boarders who also enjoy the wide and uncrowded runs.
For a slower descent Valloire also offers 25km of Nordic cross country ski trails. Less well known by British visitors, the area is generally uncrowded with no lift queues. It has the usual Ecole du Ski Francais ski school, so there is plenty of help on hand for those trying to ski for the first time.
There are a range of other activities on the snow available, including snow shoeing, dog sledding and snow scootering. Ice-hockey games are regularly hosted at the ice rink if you’d like to put your feet up and watch someone else doing all the hard work.
The Valloire area comprises some 17 small hamlets, with Valloire itself being a relatively large village providing facilities for the surrounding accommodation – transport around the area is relatively easy.
The village of Valloire itself is a pretty traditional place with a 17th century church offering a friendly unspoilt atmosphere. Its generally quiet nature makes it a good choice for families . Most facilities and accommodation are very reasonably priced so it is a good option for those with a tight budget too.
The apres-ski options are not extensive, but there is enough on offer in terms of bars and restaurants (around 20 outlets) to give some degree of choice, most of which is fairly authentic which adds to its appeal.
The exception to this is the ubiquitous Irish bar which can add a more lively note to things, especially at weekends which tend to be busier with local and short break skiers. The nightlife does include a handful of clubs and discos and other leisure opportunities include a bowling alley, ice rink and fitness centre.
Shops are limited, but do include everything you might need. There are ski and sport shops, supermarkets, clothing and gift shops. At Christmas time a market adds to the resort’s atmosphere, perfect if you want to beat the rush back home.
The resort also hosts a bank, a chemist and a hairdressers – there’s no need to travel further afield to find these facilities. Maybe you’d like a break from your skis? If so, you could take time out to visit one of the local farms where the famous Beaufort cheese is made.
It is a quiet, undemanding resort which is easily accessed and devoid of crowds; the slopes are a very leisurely and relaxed affair. Skiing is good value and picturesque, but is perhaps better suited for families who can take advantage of the 2 kindergartens on offer and for those skiers who are not looking to over stretch their skiing ability.
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