Founded in 1976, Valmorel is one purpose-built French resort breaks the mould. Called the Grande Domaine, Valmorel and St Francois Longchamps have 165km of marked pistes. The resort is composed of a number of small satellite villages, each of which includes mostly chalet-style buildings with self-catering accommodation. Unfortunately these villages aren't linked by a free bus service, representing one of the resort's greatest failings.
Set at 1400m, with a top altitude of 2550m, Valmorel has gained the reputation as being an excellent family resort for a number of reasons. First, the centre of the village is car-free. Second, most of the pistes cater to beginners and intermediates. Third, there are areas specially designed for people of all ages to learn. This does mean that advanced skiers aren't presented with very much to test their skills, apart from mogul fields and some good off-piste. Because the resort is right by the ski area, though, you can ski to your door. Off the mountain, there is very little to do once the lifts have stopped running. Although there are a few reasonable restaurants, bars and shops, the après-ski is not the best.
The general consensus is that Valmorel is a good value destination, but can suffer from a lack of snow owing to its lower altitude. As long as you don't the lack of tough skiing, this is an ideal venue for first-time skiers and families in particular.