As with most purpose-built French resorts, Valmorel is not a place for hedonistic nightlife; but there are a dozen bars on offer and the resort's tourist office lays on entertainment and activities four evenings a week.
Straight after skiing, head to La Source (tel: +33 479 098 310) at the base of the slopes, which offers a good drinks menu featuring a range of cocktails. As the evening progresses, you can head to the livelier night-time bars, including friendly Le Café de la Gare (tel: +33 479 098 643), the quirky Le Jimbo Lolo (tel: +33 686 973 714; www.jimbololo.fr) and Le Pub du Bourg (tel: +33 479 098 666; www.hoteldubourg.com), a popular saloon bar with an open fireplace, pool table and games.
There are several dozen restaurants in Valmorel ski resort, and the growing number of 4- and 5-star accommodation options is driving up the resort's gourmet dining offering. But most restaurants in Valmorel are simpler, family-friendly affairs.
Among the more affordable options is Le Jimbo Lolo (tel: +33 686 973 714; www.jimbololo.fr), which has a South and Central American vibe, serves tapas and Mexican fare, and is fun until closing time at 0200. Le Café Alpin (tel: +33 479 069 022) also offers good-value and tasty dining with its selection of pizzas.
For regional dishes, including crêpes and raclette, La Flambée (tel: +33 479 098 161) is a good choice; while another local favourite is Le Petit Prince (tel: +33 479 098 171; www.restaurant-lepetitprince.com), which cooks up Savoyard specialities including pierrades (meat cooked on a hot stone at the table). Le Prariond (tel: +33 609 884 405; www.leprariond.com) also serves simple local cuisine but with the added bonus of stunning views of Mont Blanc.
Beyond the slopes
There's a lot to do in Valmorel besides downhill skiing and boarding, although most of the alternatives remain outdoors. Among these, ice climbing, dog sledding, pony and donkey treks and horse riding, winter hiking, paragliding, snowmobiling, quad biking and even Segway hire are available to try.
Less conventional offerings include Speed riding (riding downhill with a small parasail attached to the skier's back), a fun and exhilarating option for good skiers and boarders, and zipping about on the snow in a mini two-passenger snowcat (tel: +33 479 243 032; www.choucas-sport.notresphere.com).
A major draw to the region is the Vallées d'Aigueblanche area, which offers thousands of hectares of gentle landscape buried deep in snow, which is used for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Other Nordic skiing disciplines are also popular in this area, with 40km (25 miles) of trails that extend over two linked plateaux in the Naves Valley.
With its safe pedestrianised village, family-friendly onus and stress-free, easy-to-access layout, Valmorel ski resort is a good choice for families. In recognition of its service, Valmorel is a current holder of the 'Family Plus' certificate awarded by the French Government.
For young children, there are two Piou Piou Clubs (tel: +33 479 098 186) run by the École du Ski Français that are exclusively for children aged from 18 months to six years old. The chalets where these are based are equipped with all the usual children's comforts as well as outside snow play gardens. Children under three years of age can play under supervision, while those aged three to six can enjoy an introduction to skiing.
Valmorel does not have a reputation as a shopping resort – there are about 25 shops in total, most of which are either ski outlets providing clothing and accessories or other essential shops.
Wednesday evening is a very different shopping night to most ski resorts, however, as the bakers from Maryan bakery (tel: +33 479 241 770) demonstrate traditional forms of bread-making. For the gorgeous regional Beaufort cheese and other Savoie regional produce, try the Coopérative Laitière (tel: +33 479 098 271).
A visit to the La Léchère (tel: +33 479 226 030; www.lalechere.com) thermal spa is well worth the 15-minute trip from Valmorel to the Vallée du Morel. Although there has been a centre for curative purposes here for a century at least, the lavish spa with its spectacular giant windows is something special. The thermal water bubbles up from 200m (656ft) below ground at a natural temperature of 61°C (142°F) and is allowed to cool before being used in the spa.
Although Valmorel ski resort broke away from the concrete accommodation block model of earlier purpose-built resorts, it did still stick to the normal French ski holiday formula of predominantly apartment-style accommodation aimed at the family market. That trend is changing however, with the recent Club Med Village and MGM developments adding 4- and 5-star hotel-style accommodation.
Club Med Valmorel
Opened in 2011 after a €75 million investment, Club Med Valmorel boasts 4- and 5-trident (the company's equivalent of 4- and 5-star) luxury chalet apartments and suites. Guests here can stay on an all-inclusive basis with meals, entertainment and childcare included in the holiday cost. The resort also has a private spa, gourmet restaurants and its very own ice rink.Address: , Les Avanchers-Valmorel, Les Avanchers, F 73260
Telephone: +33 479 416 100
MGM La Grange aux Fées
This 4-star resort was developed ahead of the 2012/13 season and provides ski in/ski out accommodation for two to five people. The complex has been built in a tasteful style with stone-tiled roofs and wood cladding that echoes the local architecture. Among its facilities are two pools, saunas and a wellness centre.Address: , Le Hameau des Lanchettes, Valmorel, F 73260
Telephone: +33 479 092 928
The 3-star Hôtel Radiana contains 87 rooms and 5 suites, as well as an additional self-catering residence with a further 90 beds. The main attraction, though, is the on-site spa and swimming pool complex with its choice of beauty treatments.Address: , La Léchère, Valmorel, F 73260
Telephone: +33 479 226 030
A large family-run, three-storey traditional chalet, La Vigogne offers family-friendly accommodation a short distance from the lifts and runs. On offer here are free ski lessons in peak season (for children aged six to 12 years old), a free crèche, evening entertainment and good home cooking.Address: , Le Pré, Les Avanchers, F 73260
Telephone: +33 479 098 189
A friendly, traditional 3-star chalet with 10 rooms, Chalet-Gîte L'Edelweiss is located in the heart of the village, five minutes from the lifts.Address: , Chef Lieu, Les Avanchers, F 73260
Telephone: +33 476 653 639
Le Chalet de Valmorel
Located in the peaceful hamlet of Le Pré, this bed and breakfast chalet is only a few steps from Le Rocher ski lift, where there are usually no queues for a quick entry to a day's skiing. This chalet houses eight en-suite rooms, as well as a large TV lounge.Address: , Le Pré, Valmorel, F 73260
Telephone: +33 479 245 229