Serre Chevalier ski resort
About Serre Chevalier
Of all the large ski areas in the French Alps, Serre Chevalier is the most southerly. It is a friendly and good value resort, which offers a fine range of pistes to suit most skiers and boarders.
A strong point here is the tree cover (a rarity in the French Alps), which ensures potentially good skiing even in poor weather. Its open slopes and bowls meanwhile are great fun during the resort's more common sunny periods.
Serre Chevalier likes to be referred to as Serre Chevalier Vallée to highlight the fact that it is made up of multiple villages along a mountain valley. Some resort bases are more significant than others, with the old walled town of Briançon, together with the villages of Chantemerle, Villeneuve and Le Monêtier, providing the lion's share of the resort's facilities.
The mix of rustic and modern ambience in the various villages is somewhat offset by heavy traffic along what is the main Grenoble-Briançon road. But, despite this, the centre of Serre Chevalier ski resort exudes charm, with its family-run hotels and cobbled streets lined with bars and restaurants.
Serre Chevalier is located close to the Italian border in the glaciated upper Durance Valley of the Southern French Alps. The resort lies on the boundary of the Parc des Écrins, which is within the Écrins Massif – the highest mountain range entirely within France.
Serre ChevalierResort Elevation: 1200m
Top Elevation: 2735m
Base Elevation: 1200m
On the slopes
The variety of slopes above the four main villages of Briançon, Chantemerle, Villeneuve and Le Monêtier is excellent, especially for intermediates who can enjoy a vast array of red and blue runs.
Beginners are well catered for too, with good nursery slopes at Le Monêtier and some fun greens above Villeneuve. Of the various, well-regarded ski schools in Serre Chevalier, New Generation (tel: +33 679 46 2484; www.skinewgen.com/ski-schools/serre-chevalier) in Le Monêtier les Bains has some of the best reports, with maximum group sizes of six.
Experts can find consistently good snow conditions at higher elevations and plenty of steep blacks and fun off-piste action, especially above Le Monêtier les Bains and Villeneuve.
Snowboarders and freestylers are certainly not neglected, and will enjoy Serre Chevalier's seven terrain parks, including the Video Zone at Villeneuve. Here, it's possible for boarders to view their tricks and runs afterwards and even share their achievements with friends.
The lift system, which has often been criticised for its abundance of old lifts at altitude, is improving all the time, but it can still often become very busy (especially at higher levels) and queues are a problem during holiday periods.
The snow conditions at Serre Chevalier are generally reliable, since most slopes face north or northeast. The ski season in Serre Chevalier runs from December until April.