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Master the Mountain Off-Piste Ski CourseSerre Chevalier, France

Break the Mould

A month-long ski trip culminating with an epic backcountry voyage. The hero concept we conceived in the powder fields of British Columbia now available in an unexploited gem of Europe.

 

Four weeks in the French Alps, and the perfect blend of skiing, coaching, backcountry, downtime, and off-the-grid adventure. Based in Serre Chevalier, an unspoilt freeride paradise this camp features all-terrain coaching sessions, avalanche workshops, backcountry training, a close crew of like-minded skiers, and a magical backcountry ski-touring excursion. From powder turns through the endless larch forests, to remote wilderness days in pillow-soft snow, this do-it-all camp will boost your snow game, take you into the backcountry, and can be enjoyed by all, from intermediate skiers to seasoned experts. Perfect for a break from the ordinary, career break or one-off adventure.

Who's it for?
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Serre-Chevalier

Serre Chevalier is not a run-of-the-mill French mega-resort, instead full of character, local appeal and deliciously uncrowded slopes – exactly what we look for in a base for a month-long ski odyssey. As for terrain, we’re spoilt for choice, if you love freeriding, the options are endless. Couloirs, powder fields, and some of the best tree skiing in Europe through the mid-mountain larch forests. The ski area is whopping and snow-sure with 250km of marked pistes (just 50km smaller than Val d’Isere–Tignes) and 80% of the slopes at more than 2,000m. Freeride is part of the home-grown ethos with lift-access to some beautiful off-piste and backcountry zones.

 

At the foot of the slopes is the Guisane Valley floor, home to a string of traditional ski villages oozing authenticity. Après culture here is laid-back, with local bars and sun terraces the go-to for a cold craft beer after a day of leg-burning skiing.

Coaching

These four weeks are crafted to push your limits and maximise your ski performance. Our instructors will develop your technique across all terrain types from groomed pistes, open powder slopes, and down Serre-Chevalier's famed tree runs. Before long you'll be charging the best parts of the mountain with both confidence and style. Skills and habits developed over a trip this long are retained for life; your skiing experiences will be forever better!

 

Coaching is provided by experienced ski instructors hand-picked for their teaching style and technical skills. You'll benefit from their deep local knowledge ensuring you ski the day's best snow, crucial to your enjoyment and progression.

 

Coaching sessions take place four days each week, typically four hour sessions on Mon, Tue and Thu, followed by a full day on Friday at another ski area (see below).

 

WEEKLY Trips

As part of the coaching program, we'll be laying on a series of weekly day trips to explore nearby ski areas.

  • In the first week we'll head over the Italian border to Cesana (45min drive) famed for it's off-piste terrain offering super-fun widely-spaced tree skiing. It also boasts long, uncrowded pisted runs and sensationally located lunch spots where you'll recharge on typically delicious Italian cuisine.
  • In week 2 we'll head to the Queyras ski region (90min) home to high-altitude traditional alpine villages and, if we time it well, copious amounts of untracked powder.
  • In week 3, our destination will be La Grave (35min), renowned for it's big-mountain off-piste terrain and where the company and knowledge of a local guide is essential. A single lift provides access to a vast area of challenging free-ride terrain; this will be a day to create memories and test your developing skills.
  • In the final week we'll head out on a backcountry ski touring hut trip (see below)
Ski Touring

The overriding focus of the initial three weeks of ski coaching is to equip you with the confidence, technique and fitness to enjoy the grande finale - a three day ski touring trip to a secluded backcountry cabin. The adventure of heading off, self-propelled, into the mountains, skiing untracked slopes, living simply off-grid (but with delicious meals!) all in the company of fellow skiers who by now are close-friends, will be a lifetime memory and a worthy culmination of your ski progression.

Mountain Life

If you've ever "done a season" or spent a prolonged period living in the mountains you'll already know quite how different it feels compared to just visiting as a tourist for a week. Over the four-weeks of this course you’ll get to experience the benefits of truly unwinding and settle into the lifestyle and pace of mountain living. You’ll spend your days surrounded by stunning scenery, enjoy the French markets, history and culture (unlike some ski resorts Serre Che. isn’t a British enclave!), and, with our away trips, you’ll get to explore a far wider area of the French and Italian Alps than you would on a typical vacation.

 

The course experience is as rich socially as it is for skiing; when you bring 24 guests together, all of whom love skiing and the outdoors and are united in their excitement of what the course can bring, well… great times and close friendships are made.  

 

Off snow, whether you want to throw yourself into yoga classes, après, exploring the local history, bathing in the local thermal springs, snow-shoeing, fat-biking, parapenting over the valley, or cheer on the local ice-hockey team in Briancon, there is so much on offer. Packing your 4-weeks full with epic new experiences will be easy! Just make sure you factor some time to rest, chill and reflect.

Accommodation

Comfortable, spacious and high-end chalets provide a welcoming home for your month away. Our three traditional alpine chalets are superbly located in Villeneuve and provide guests with the option of either private or twin-share rooms (a pre-trip survey enables us to match guests). Our wonderful chalet teams provide a cooked breakfast and afternoon tea & cake Monday-Friday, and then on weekends a self-serve breakfast is available. Recount the day's highlights and wipe-outs with your friends over a delicious three course dinner (Mon-Fri) served with unlimited bottled wine. 

Swipe the image gallery below and download our Course Guide for further details, locations & sample menus.

Itinerary Four weeks of adventure in the Southern Alps
Week 1
Welcome to Serre Chevalier’s laid-back town and fabled mountain. Settle in, meet your new friends and get your gear ready. You’ll be on the slopes from the get-go, notching up vertical miles and exploring some of Serre Che’s varied terrain. Coaching will focus on stance and balance, ski performance and ironing out bad habits. Consolidate the week with a ski trip to Italy and celebrate with the first team après at local haunt La Grotte.
Week 2
With a week’s skiing back in your legs, you’ll be raring to go – and we up the ante. The week begins with an avalanche workshop to equip you with essential backcountry know-how, including a session on the slopes working through simulated scenarios. The ski coaching continues and it’s time for another away-trip, to score knee-deep fresh pow on the slopes of the Queyras region.
Week 3
After kicking off the week ski-touring, getting to grips with the equipment and techniques – and charging fresh lines, you’ll head to nearby La Grave to test your mettle and put your powder skills to the test. There’re no pistes, no ropes, and one lift, giving access to an unpatrolled paradise of couloirs, powder fields, steep faces, and glaciated scenery. Finish by collapsing into the nearest bar and swapping tales from the day.
Week 4
Hut-to-hut. The finale of the trip as you conquer high-alpine backcountry on a four-day hut-to-hut ski tour. Hop between remote mountain huts, earning turns along the way. Glacial terrain, untouched snow, sweeping scenery and big ski descents. This is an adventure you won’t forget in a hurry. Return to Serre Chevalier for a goodbye, but where the memories and friendships live on.
Dates & Prices

What's Included

Chalet Accommodation +

Centrally located, in Villeneuve, the heart of Serre Chevalier close to the lifts, shops, bars and restaurants. Check out the gallery to get an idea of quite how georgeous these properties are!

Breakfasts + Dinners +

A cooked breakfast is provided by our chalet team five days per week. A lighter breakfast of croissants and pastries is provided on Saturday and on Sunday guests can help themselves to toast and cereals - or you may choose to treat your body to a day off the slopes, have a lie-in and enjoy brunch in one of the many local cafes.

Afternoon tea and freshly made cake will be waiting for you on return to your chalet five days a week.

A delicious three course dinner is provided five nights per week (with unlimited bottled wine). View a sample menu in downloadable Course Guide.

Lift pass +

Serre Chevalier lift pass (27 days) also valid for Les 2 Alpes, L’Alpe d’Huez, Puy Saint Vincent, Montgenèvre/Via lattea, Sestrières/Via lattea.

Coaching Program +

Coaching sessions delivered by experienced local instructors will transform your skiing and ensure you ski the best areas and snow on the mountain. Sessions take place four days per week with an average of 21hrs/wk. Coaching in weeks 1-3 is scheduled Mon, Tue, Thu (4hrs each) and then a full day (7.5hrs) on Friday for our weekly away trip. In week 4, there are three full days (Mon-Wed) and a half day on Fri.

Avalanche workshop +

Boost your backcountry know-how with a must-do avalanche workshop covering avalanche formation, triggers, route selection and search & rescue techniques.

Ski-touring with guide +

Our instructors will be taking you off-piste and into the powder, including teaching you ski-touring techniques.

Ski Touring Hut Trip +

The finale - and perhaps the highlight - of the course is a three day (2 night) ski touring expedition staying at the simple but comfortable Refuge Buffere. The team there provide breakfast, lunch and dinner so your ski touring backpack will be enjoyably light. They even provide wine and beer - no carrying in heavy provisions for this trip.

Ski Trip to La Grave +

Day trip. Transport, Guiding/Coaching, Lift Ticket included

Ski Trip to Queyras Region +

Day trip. Transport, Guiding/Coaching, Lift Ticket included

Ski Trip to Cesana, Italy +

Day trip. Transport, Guiding/Coaching, Lift Ticket included.

Transfers (Train Station) +

On the start and end dates of the course, we provide a transfer from/to the local train stations of Briancon (20 mins) or Oulx (45 mins).

Serre-Chevalier is easily accessible by high-speed train (TGV) from Paris. Our included transfers will either collect you from the Oulx train station in Italy - just 45 mins from our chalets. Briançon station is even closer (20 mins) to which there's a overnight sleeper train available.

We ask, no plead, our guests not to fly out for this course. In addition to the significant carbon saving there are many advantages to train travel. London to Oulx requires only two trains – one a direct TGV from Paris – and, door-to-door, is almost as quick as flying when you factor in all the tube/bus/taxi journeys, queuing, security, waiting, and finally transfers. Train travel is way less stressful, enabling you to take your time over books, meals, conversation etc. Need convincing: https://www.snowcarbon.co.uk/why-go-train

 

Hosting +

The chalet team will be available to provide local advice on everything and anything local as well as just be good people to share wine and a laugh with.

Not Included +
Travel to the Alps +
As mentioned, we strongly suggest travelling by train. Our included transfers coordinate with the sleeper train from Paris. Ask us for details.
Ski Equipment +
Bring what you have and buy or hire anything else in resort, including ski touring gear. Full kit-list will be provided.
Course Guide Everything you need to know about this course, at your fingertips.

FAQs

How good do you need to be? +

From intermediate to seasoned expert, this camp is designed for a range of abilities and we aim to have four ski groups of six guests, so a range of confidence and experience levels can be catered for. We recommend at least 6-8 weeks prior experience and that you can perform smooth parallel turns down mid to high-grade slopes. Any doubts, get in touch with our team.

Who is the course suited for? +

Most guests come solo, but couples are welcome, and all leave with new friends for life. You should want to push your skiing level, learn about backcountry, and experience an adventurous month in the mountains. We find this camp is popular with professionals searching for a break from the ordinary.

Do I need any touring experience? +

In short, no. Most guests don’t have any prior experience touring in the backcountry, but if you do, that’s also fine. Our coaches and guides will introduce you to the equipment and techniques used for touring, as well as develop your avalanche awareness.

Do I need my own touring equipment? +

No. If you don’t have any touring gear, everything you need is available to hire in a great local shop. This includes skis with touring bindings, skins, transceiver, shovel and probe. Of course, if you have your own gear, you are more than welcome to use that.

How do I get to Serre-Chevalier +

Serre-Chevalier is easily accessible by high-speed train (TGV) from Paris. Our included transfers will collect you from the Oulx train station in Italy - just 45 mins from our chalets. Briançon station is even closer (20 mins) to which there's a overnight sleeper train available.

We ask, no plead, our guests not to fly out for this course. In addition to the significant carbon saving there are many advantages to train travel. London to Oulx requires only two trains – one a direct TGV from Paris – and, door-to-door, is almost as quick as flying when you factor in all the tube/bus/taxi journeys, queuing, security, waiting, and finally transfers. Train travel is way less stressful, enabling you to take your time over books, meals, conversation etc. Need convincing: https://www.snowcarbon.co.uk/why-go-train

 

Will I be able to do some work? +

The ideal scenario to get the most out of a month in the mountains is to leave your work at home, however we understand this isn't possible for everyone so we've designed the course so that those guests who need to work a bit while away, can do. Our coaching sessions on Mon, Tue, Thu are four hours leaving half the day when you could work. One day a week (usually Friday) is a full coaching day at another resort (Italy, La Grave etc) when work will be tricky to fit in. All chalets have wi-fi. Please alert us in advance if you're going to be working a lot.

When do I need to book by? +

This course is limited to just 24 skiers and after the past 16 months that everyone has had, demand is red hot for meaningful travel, new experiences and skiing! We recommend booking as soon as you know you can get the time off work to spend January in the Alps. Please don't book a space until then because the deposit is non-refundable (unless Covid restrictions prevents the course from starting).

Covid restrictions - what happens? +

If Covid-related travel restrictions prevent the course from running then our guests will receive a full refund. Our Covid booking policy can be found here

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