Valloire is located in the French Alps (Rhone Alps - Savoie - Saint Jean de Maurienne), in the south-east corner of France, around 20 km from the Italian Border, in the Maurienne Valley. The closest major French town is Grenoble, which is around a 130km drive down the mountain. Torino, in Italy, is around the same distance. Valloire is joined by Veilmeinier in a second valley and the resorts are interlinked creating one of the biggest skiable areas in France.
The combined resort area is referred to as Galibier Thabor.
Valloire can certainly be described as a holiday mountain with lots of tourists, but it otherwise has a small town feel. There is also quite a bit of money floating around as the resort attracts richer clientele.
Valloire is very typically French in its feel. It is not known for a big nightlife or its shopping and is a more rural part of the Alps. There are a few good ski shops in town, however.
It is a very French-speaking resort and you won't find too many English natives working in the shops and restaurants.
Of the two towns, Valloire is slightly bigger and is a little more vibrant than Valmeinier. However, both are relatively quiet resorts.
The nightlife is very French - very Euro French pop. There are a few apres-ski type bars which do Jager and other shots. There are 2 or 3 live music venues, but the entertainment has a real local feel to it. Other mountains in the Alps have bigger nightlife if that's all you are after.
There are around a dozen bars in total in Valloire. Bar Centrale and Pub l'Atelier are two of the busier bars. There are two nightclubs, both of which open their doors at 11pm. These are Le Village and Le Slalom/Odyssée. There is also a bowling alley (The Mafayo) which is open until 2am and also has pool tables and karaoke nights.
People working on the hill were probably 60% French and local, 20% British and 20% mixed of Germans, Danes and others.
Valloire has some good snowboarding, and the ski area, with both Valloire and Valmeinier combined, makes a pretty big area. There are 3 peaks - Sétaz, Crey du Quart and Gros Crey. In total there are 33 lifts working across the peaks. The area is bigger than you expect just looking at the trail map.
In terms of the truly nasty terrain, there's not a lot in-bounds - but there are a lot of cruisers and wide open spaces. There are only nine black runs on the mountain, which leaves expert riders a little short. Armera has a bit of tree skiing, while Grand Plateau has some nice open spaces. Skiing is probably a little better on the Valloire side with a better selection of terrain.
Down the back of the Setaz chair at Valloire, there are some nice places for going into the backcountry. A crew up there will point you in the right direction. This is the best opportunity to get into some nice, off-piste terrain.
Overall though, Galibier Thabor is more of a holiday resort, geared towards intermediates. Grandes Drozes and Cotérieux are the best places over on Velmeinier, and Cascade at Setaz is best at Valloire.
The lifts are getting a bit old though, and the resort could do with some faster hi-speed lifts to get people up the mountain. On busy days, the old lifts struggle a little to keep up with the crowds.
The terrain park is pretty well-maintained - the crew do two hours every morning preparing the features. There are easy, medium and hard lines including a half-pipe. The park at Galibier Thabor is considered one of the better parks in France.
The season runs from December until April usually, the snow is a bit better than some places in the Alps as the resort is up pretty high. It can still go long patches without snow and some seasons can be quite poor.
The Pôle Emploi office is located in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne which is around 30km from the resort. This is one of the best places to look for a job in the ski resort area. They are located at 310 rue Jean Moulin, and open Monday to Thursday and Friday mornings.
There are 22 Points Relais offices in the Maurienne region which are small offices to help seasonal workers. Contacting a Point Relais is another good way to look for a job. At Valloire, this office is located at the Centre Culturel, while at Valmeinier it is located at the Foyer Rochemalote. See www.centreculturelvalloire.net.
The full list of offices is:
At the entry to the valley
The Office de Tourisme may also have job listings and may be able to help you further. They are located at rue des Grandes Alpes 73 450 Valloire. Tel. 04 79 59 03 96.
La Mission Locale Jeunes is for people aged 16 - 25 and helps them look for work in the area. It is also found in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne.
A number of tour companies operate in Galibier Thabor. These include
Pay is around 60 pounds a week, but accommodation, food and ski pass are included. Except for the gastric flu (which everyone gets in the Alps working with kids), you might be riding most days.
Accueil de Saison
Each year, at the start of the season, the local mayor and Commune organise a welcome session and information for all seasonal workers at the mountain. They give seasonal workers a 'seasonaire card' which provides for discounts on ski passes, cinemas and shops.
Many tour operators will offer staff housing with employment.
Valloire is the better town to live in as Valmeinier is very small and a little dull. Valloire has the shopping and the bars. St Michel is about an hour down the mountain, and is another option for renting, but it is also small.
It is possible to rent out bigger places in Valloire such as a chalet. Seasonal workers have in the past had large groups living in the chalets for the season which can be very fun.
To look for a place, it is worth contacting the Point Relais at Valloire or Valmeinier in the first instance, and then also the Office of Tourism (details above).