Serre Chevalier is the 7th largest ski-resort in the Alps and now in its second year of a 50 euro-million investment programme, the 2008-09 season, which opens on 6th December, will see increased snow-making network; a new drag lift and the introduction of the Holiski Card allowing skiers to "beat the queues" with pay-as-you-go usage rights. The resort is at 1850m with top slopes reaching nearly 3000m!
Located in the southern Alpes and comprising of a long valley with 4 sprawling ski villages but linked by an efficient lift system, Serre Chevalier has 66 lifts including 3 cable cars and 6 gondolas and 115 pistes, 15 of which are described as black (expert) and 42 Red (difficult) and a further 33 Blue and 25 (easy). The resort LINKS with Vars and Risoul so the Domaine de la Foret Blanche offers more than 180km of slopes; a 1100m incline, two snow parks, two slalom stadiums and one speed-skiing run.
So here is a resort with something to offer all levels of skiing enthusiast and during the quarter of a century the Editor has been visiting the Valley, there have been so many changes (all for the better) and much improved access to runs and the installation of modern lifts. If you are at beginner level, the village of Villeneuve and also at nearby Monetier are ideal but do not miss the gondola rides to the top of the Grand Alpe above Chantemerle.
For the intermediates amongst you, the Serre Chevalier Valley has lots on offer with ski runs through the Parc National des Ecrins including lengthy red runs from Prorel, Aiguillet and Eduits or at Bachas above Montetier there are zig-zag runs with tree-lined slopes and for getting the adrenalin surging through your body the pistes of Bois des Coqs, Grand Gargouille and Peit Alps have become favourites with British skiers. No fear of lack of snow, either, as Serre Chevalier is covered by 130 ha of snow-making equipment - just in case the real stuff is in short supply!
If the name Luc Alphand and international downhill racing are familiar, then look no further because this is his "home turf!". The Editor has stayed on a number of occasions in the family-run hotel and for black run fanatics, you will love the "Olympic Luc Alphand" piste which is really testing. For some breathtaking and really "blood curdling" action, the "Porridge Run" through gullies, ravines and trees is also on offer - but not for the faint-hearted!
So the 2009-10 season will see the Snow Park enjoying the new drag lift in its location higher up the mountain and Members with the Holiski Card achieving discounts off lift passes of up to 30% per day - as well as being able to manage their accounts "on-line".
Serre Chevalier has been voted number one wellness resort in front of Chatel and Megeve by Alpes Magazine and there was the official opening of the Les Grands Bains for 2008-09. The centre can accommodate 1200 people per day over three floors that feature indoor and outdoor pools with naturally heated water to 37 degrees C. There are Roman water features; relaxation zones; steam; jacuzzi and sauna; health and beauty and an oasis of calm reserved especially for adults!
There are many activities outside skiing to be enjoyed such as torchlight descents, ice skating, a heated indoor swimming pool, and a floodlit ice-driving circuit, sauna, jacuzzi and a fitness centre. And for apres ski there are a number of popular bars or restaurants at reasonable prices where many local dishes are on offer.
Photos and Ski Map: "Agence Zoom"Special Offer:
We have teamed up with PV Holidays, leading supplier of French Skiing accommodation to offer a Christmas offer of one night free with every booking.