With a convenient pedestrianised village and 165km of slopes, it's surprising that Valmorel isn't better known.
Valmorel and its sister resort, the smaller village of Doucy, sit at the entrance to the Tarentaise Valley, a 40-minute drive from Moutiers station.
The resort prides itself on complementary activities as well as the skiing, which make it a particularly good destination for families. The setting is wonderful too, because the Grand Domaine ski area, which links with the resort of St Francois Longchamps, has some spectacular scenery.
What stands out about a holiday in Valmorel is convenience. The small village is built around a pedestrian thoroughfare, creating a relaxed and friendly ambience.
Everything you need is only a short walk away, and the architecture is easy on the eye due to strict development restrictions: buildings must have wood and stone facades, slate roofs and they cannot be more than four stories high.
For intermediate skiers, there are some excellent runs to carve and cruise through a variety of different settings and scenic backdrops.
For more advanced skiers, the 3km Riondet run is has some challenging sections and Mottet piste has mean moguls. There is extensive off-piste too: the Vallée de la Lauzière (also known as the valley of "Eau Rousse" or the "Vallée de Celliers") is an excellent choice to explore with a guide, made more accessible by the new Celliers gondola.
The resort has a definite family-friendly feel – helped of course by the car-free village which let's children be a bit more 'free range'.
Families with young children will love the network of green and blue slopes, which provide a perfect environment for beginners.
Indeed, the resort has six learner zones, including two solely for children. There are plenty of long, wide runs to progress to. Club Piou-Piou in the centre can look after children from 18 months to six years.
There are some interesting alternatives to downhill skiing and snowboarding here. For a thrill, try airboarding - high-speed sledging on inflatable sledges.
Snake glisse, a kind of long set of connected sledges, allows a group to slide down the slopes as one giggling unit. If you have the skills or courage to try, speed flying combines skiing and paragliding, giving you big air from small jumps.
There is also husky-dog sledding and some beautiful wooded terrain for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
The ski area has a number of good mountain restaurants. For a wonderful view over Mont Blanc, choose the terrace of L'Alpage, at the top of the Altispace chairlift.
L'Altipiano at the top of the Pierrafort gondola specialises in reblochonnade – tartiflette with melted reblochon cheese and ham.
In the village, Le Marmite has a good reputation and Ski Roc has become popular for its innovative Savoyard specialities, such as tartiflette ravioli.
You can also don a head-torch and snowshoes and hike up to a mountain restaurant in the forest, the Aigle Blanc.
Apres ski and nightlife
Valmorel isn't party central, but there is a decent selection of bars.
When the slopes close you can hit the neighbouring bars of La Source, Le Petit Savoyard and Le Petit Prince - which all have terraces - and all of which are popular in the evening too.
Le Ski Roc has chalet-style decor and a wine-bar feel and Jimbo Lolo has a jungle theme and wooden swings (always useful in a bar). If you want to party late, Sound Pub & Club, stays open till 5am.
La Grange aux Fées is a new self-catering residence with a fantastic ski-in/ski-out location, while 3-starResidence Athamante et Valeriane, has spacious rooms close to the slopes.
The 3-star Hotel du Bourg has a good position in the middle of the pedestrian zone, while Club Med has an array of on-piste accommodation.
From Moutiers station
- By bus: around 45 minutes; Adult 12€, Youth (U26) 9.50€ (www.altibus.com)
- By taxi: around 40 minutes; about 100€ for an 8-seater taxi.