Valmeinier 1800 is one of the nicer purpose built high level resorts which has been able to avoid ugly concrete tower blocks, preferring large wood chalet style buildings. The lower resort of Valmenier 1500 provides a more traditional old village. Because it is purpose built you can ski in/out from your accommodation.
Our likes/dislikes: This is an excellent resort for improving intermediates due to its wide blue “motorway” pistes. It may not be ideal for absolute beginners if you want to use the links between the 1500/1800 resorts. The queues are very reasonable and we found that if we avoided the 9AM/2PM ski school starts they were virutally non-existent. And between 11AM and 2PM (when the ski school wasn’t running) the pistes were nice and quiet!
Valmeinier 1800 factfile:
- Resort height: 1500m – 2600m.
- Access: Only by car or by taxi from nearby train stations.
- Downhill runs: 20 green, 25 blue, 32 red, 6 black.
- Size of domaine: 150km of maintained pistes (including Valloire domaine).
- Snow cannon: 350 snow cannons.
- Lifts: 2 cable cars, 16 chair lifts, 14 drag lifts.
- Lift Pass: €170* per adult, €135* per child (6 day pass).
- Website: http://www.valmeinier.com/fr/index.aspx
Where to stay: In early/late season you may prefer the 1500 resort because the slopes here are north facing. Alternatively stay in the 1800 resort and ski there in the morning but transfer to the lower resort in the afternoon (make sure you are comfortable with the linking runs/lifts – one of these is a massive drag lift). We booked our holiday through Snow Coach – proved perfectly acceptable for the kids. The Club Hotel L’Aigle provided excellent accommodation with very friendly Snow Coach reps.
Skiing Lessons: The ESF (http://www.esf-valmeinier.com/) staff were very friendly. The organisation of lessons here was such that English speaking lessons tended to be held in the afternoons.
Ski Equipment: You have a good choice of sports shops here including Intersport. It’s worth keeping an eye on the website because from time to time you will find special offers for internet reservation.
Baby Sitting/Kindergarten: We haven’t used the nursery facilities here (our children are all skiing now). The nursery La Galipette is provided for children up to 8 years old. We strongly recommend booking in advance, especially during school holidays.
Food Choice: There are a few mountain huts as you might expect. However eating out in these can be expensive. We found the best option was to eat in the village (which was conveniently on the pistes anyway) – here there are a few bars which invite you to bring your own food in, providing you are purchasing drinks…and there’s plenty of snack bars nearby. We didn’t have the chance to try and restaurants here as we were staying half board – the meals in the hotel were excellent value.
If you are self catering you have the usual selection of small Sherpa supermarkets close at hand.
* please note that all prices are subject to change, so check the providers’ website for latest information.
Read more abut popular ski resorts in France: