Serre Chevalier, in the Southern French Alps was the destination for this years family skiing holiday. This laid back and friendly resort really delivers something for everyone, making it a fantastic family skiing holiday destination.
About Serre Chevalier
It offers better value for money than the Northern alps, with Briançon being the biggest city in the French alps and a UNESCO World Heritage sight!
Serre Chevalier is on the French/Italian border so there are lots of options for getting to the valley. We flew from London Gatwick to Turin Caselle with British Airways. The flight was just an hour and a half, with a similar transfer time to resort. Turin is a decent sized airport and is not effected by the weather like some of the other Alpine airports. It is widely served by British airports.
For our transfers we used Snow Cab, a family run business and they offer an excellent customer service. All my questions were answered promptly, the drivers spoke good English and the vehicles were all clean and modern.
There is also a night train from Paris.
We were based in the village of Villeneuve (1,420 meters), which is really convenient as it is in the middle of the ski area. Because of the easy access to the ski area it is popular with families and offers a good selection of accommodation. The UCPA and Club Med both have centres here and there is a big collection of self-catering apartments.
Villeneuve is a village of two-halves. A modern (though not particularly attractive) centre surrounds the front of the ski area, with food shops, rental shops, cafes and bars. There is also a public swimming pool. Whilst over the road is the old village of La Salle-les-Alpes, which has more charm and a good collection of restaurants and cosy bars.
We booked an apartment through AirBnB, which was spacious, had a garden and was just 200m from the main Aravet lift. Sleeping 8 guests in 3 bedrooms, there was a sociable kitchen/lounge with a real fire. The host was very helpful and we payed £2,432 for a week which was good value.
Family Skiing in Serre Chevalier
We chose Serre Chevalier because of the wide range of skiing it has on offer, truly there is something for everyone. The area boasts 250km of well-linked pistes along the valley. The resort’s altitude ranges from 1200m to 2800m so you can enjoy great skiing in a high mountain atmosphere. Unusually for a ski resort the lower slopes are surrounded by larch forest, offering brilliant tree skiing.
Snow cover is good, despite it not having snowed for three weeks before our visit the pistes were in good condition, helped by the north facing position.
As a resort snowboarder I really enjoyed the pistes, there are very few cat tracks and even the green pistes have enough gradient to keep your speed up. There looked to be amazing opportunities to play off-piste, with a lot of easily accessible terrain. There is also a boardercross zone and a big snowpark.
For beginners there is an excellent selection of green slopes at the bottom of the hill and some nice blues to progress onto. For intermediates there are some lovely, long cruising trails, the longest being 10km! We really enjoyed the red Cucumelle. For experts there are a good selection of black pistes – many left ‘natural’.
We visited in the busy French holidays so there were some lift queues to contend with. Waiting up to half an hour for the Aravet gondola in the mornings (peak ski school times) and some bottlenecks at other lifts. The pistes were reasonably busy, especially the lower blues and there were moguls by the end of the day. However due to the size of the resort, further up the mountain the crowds were more spread out and the pistes were quieter.
There are plenty of refuges to choose from on the mountain, from large self-service restaurants to smaller, cosy family run businesses. We particularly enjoyed stopping for a coffee at Peyra Juana above Le Monêtier. From the village bases it is also easy for pedestrians to access the mountain restaurants.
Lessons and Passes
The lift pass was €315 for 6 days and discounts were available for children’s passes if booked with ski lessons. Under 6’s do not need a pass.
You can use your pass for a days skiing at nearby Montgenevre.
The boys had lessons with the ESI, this is the second time we have booked with the ESI, last year was in Val Cenis. The instructors were lovely and both boys really improved during the week and enjoyed their skiing.
What we liked
Serre Chevalier is a great resort for family skiing. The ski area is diverse and can be as challenging (or not) as you like. There is a friendly, laid back vibe and it is very welcoming. Villeneuve makes for a perfect base with everything you need on your doorstep. There is nothing worse then dragging tired children and all their gear around!
We all had a great time and I would definitely recommend Serre Chevalier.
Official Resort Website