Skiing in the French Alps is a dream come true type of vacation! Especially if you head for a destination such as Serre Chevalier, which is one of the southern Alps’ largest complexes for winter sports. It is also one of France’s most popular snowboarding areas. There are long hours of sunshine (they boast of 300 days of sunshine a year) and good weather to enjoy its 115 slopes, mountains covered in forests, valleys in between, and the Encrins National Park. It is close to the Italian border so that you can take day trips to other ski resorts if you desire. The different resorts are easily reachable by buses, 66 lifts, ski runs, 3 cable cars, and 6 gondolas which you can also take to the top of the Grand Alps.
The three other linked villages in this long valley are Chantemerie, Monetier les Bains, and Villeneuve la Salle. Monetier has its own snowboard park as well as a spa and thermal baths. Villeneuve has many gentle beginners’ slopes, an ice skating rink, a fitness center with a sauna and gym, an indoor heated swimming pool, a floodlit circuit for ice driving, and a good variety of restaurants, bars, night clubs, and shops. There is also the town of Briancon with its historic medieval fortress and cobbled streets as well as a modern sports center featuring ice hockey matches.
Throughout the large ski area you will also find all levels of ski slopes from nursery ones to difficult ones such as the Isolee black run and a long Olympic run. There are 15 expert (black) pistes, 42 difficult (red) ones, 33 intermediate (blue) ones, and 25 easy (green) ones. At the bottom of the valley are cross county trails. And if there isn’t enough snow, there is plenty of snow-making equipment handy!
There are excellent ski schools for beginners, sleigh riding, sledding, ice skating, ice and rock climbing, mountain biking, paragliding, alpine mountaineering, canoeing, kayaking, torchlight descents, carriage rides, and more.
There has been a 50 euro-million investment here which includes a new drag lift and other modern lifts, increased snow making, improved runs access, and the use of a “Holiski Card” which allows skiers to beat the crowds and receive discounts off lift passes for as much as 30% per day. The Les Grands Bains center can hold 1200 people every day over three floors and features outdoor and indoor naturally heated pools, Roman features, sauna, steam room, jacuzzi, and is an oasis for those seeking a calm atmosphere as well as beauty and health treatments.
Serre Chevalier is a picturesque mixture of old villages and new buildings. It is the Alps’ seventh largest ski resort and was voted the number one wellness resort by Alpes Magazine. The resort has 3 skating rinks, 6 movie theaters, 3 outside pools, 1 indoor pool, 2 fitness centers, and much more. This is the home turf of Luc Alphand, an international downhill racer.
The French Alps have been the scene for several Olympic games including races and speed skiing.