The main ESF office is beside the principal lift-pass office at the base of the Crête de la Brive gondola, just above the village and readily accessible on foot. There are two additional offices, one a little higher in the Chalets du Galibier (+33 479 83 46 46) apartment development opposite the Moulin Benjamin chair-lift, and the second (open at weekends only) further along the Route du Galibier at the more far-flung base of Les Verneys.
The ESF offers instruction in English for all levels, plus afternoon introductory sessions for those with a disability. Current promotion offers insurance for all lessons pre-booked online. The ESI also has a presence locally, although for now seems more focused on the French-speaking market.
For adult beginners, the main instruction area is close to the upper station of the Crête de la Brive gondola. As usual with ski schools in Europe, always check before you sign-up that an English-speaking instructor will be available, if you require this.
For younger children
Valloire is a Famille Plus Montagne destination, a national quality benchmark which pledges to provide a special welcome for families. Ski-passes are free for under-fives throughout the ski season.For young children, two ESF Piou-Piou clubs: Ourson beside the central office and Les P’tit Loups further up the valley in Les Verneys. They take little ones from three years and upwards.
For the very young, the Les Aiglons (+33 479 59 03 98) day-nursery accepts children from six months to six years, leaving parents free to ski.
A great resort for teenagers
What makes Valloire different to the other resorts of the Maurienne is the median age of its skiers. You’ll see dozens of teenagers zipping around, weaving between unsuspecting intermediates. Why, we wondered?
The answer soon became clear. Little expense has been spared in building a snowpark that is often classified as one of the best in Europe, and the pull factor this provides for families with older children is palpable. A number of different freestyle disciplines have been catered for, including an excellent half-pipe, a skicross course, and a range of medium and expert slopestyle lines that allow riders to hone their skills in the air and on rails. For beginners and younger ones, there are three additional easy parks in the Galibier-Thabor ski area with whoops, curves and jumps for everyone.
A team of four pisteurs works exclusively on the snowpark each morning, ensuring its stays in perfect condition throughout the season. It’s money well spent, as Valloire has recently taken the bold step of offering a dedicated snowpark pass. For families with teenagers that won’t leave the park all week, this can work out to be a pretty substantial saving on buying the normal ski area lift pass.