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A snowHead
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Location: snowHeadLand
Resort: Serre Chevalier - based in Villeneuve
Country: France
Domain: None
Author: Carled
Date: Sunday 20th - Sunday 27th March
Our holiday: Group of 20 I organised, mainly from a volleyball club in Leicester. 4 kids, 7 skiers and 9 boarders. Of those, 1 skier was total beginner, 3 boarders were total beginners. Laughably, with hindsight, I selected Serre Che back in December as being the place to go with its historical snow record and North-facing slopes!
Website : "Official" site - a bit sprawling but usable. Metcheck forecast site for Serre Che
Basics : Southern French Alps. Got flight with Easyjet to Turin, A-T-S transfer via bus to the resort. All ran smoothly, no significant delays.
Lift system : Serre Che is badly in need of an overhaul on several of its lifts. Far too many drags are in evidence and these need replacing with detachable chairs asap. As with many French resorts, even when large queues are in evidence, the lift attendants let too many chairs go up unfilled. Can't really comment on links to other parts of the resort as the snow was so bad they were shut, but judging by the map it looks like a bit of a trek!
The terrain : Again, poor snow leaves me unable to comment on much of the available skiing. When I've been previously, I thoroughly enjoyed the Echaillon sector, but this was utterly shut, unfortunately, along with much of the rest of the resort. The pistes were in very good condition first thing considering the state of the snow, but inevitably deteriorated badly after only a few hours. The impression I get is that only the deep chill from earlier in the season that allowed a significant depth of artificial snow to be built up has allowed the resort to stay open now. The best skiing we found by far was the Prorel area with its detachable 6-seater. Few queues and far better snow than other parts of the area and the added bonus of several "jumps" to play around on! First thing in the morning, the blue run "marteau" from the Aravet area down to the open section of the Casse du bouef were great. 2 or three runs were all you could get before the slopes got cut up though.
The snow : Almost disastrous. Hardly anything was open that hadn't got artificial snow on it. Much of the upper part of the resort is closed (ironically enough) and the only cohesive slopes are those that are covered by the snow cannons in the main part. By the middle of the day, there were huge slush/water puddles all over the place that you had to keep your eye on. The bottom of the slopes (particularly "mickey") were visibly disappearing as you sat and watched!
Off-piste : Non-existent in these conditions.
The resort : Developed from traditional villages so fairly attractive in the most part. Lots of restaurants, plenty of tree-lined skiing lower down and, when covered in snow, very attractive!
Food : Well... unless you're rich, avoid the "D'Abord" at the top of the Aravet chair. 3 cans of fanta, one hot dog and one panini... 19 euros! Jeez... nasty. 3 euros for a small can of drink? The rest of the week saw packed lunches! We spent a lot of time in the Yeti bar at the foot of the Mickey run - a good convenient meeting point. Happy hour from 4-6 (pint of Amstel just 3 euros) and a big plate of chips for 2 euros 50. Burgers were apparently good, although I didn't try any personally. Tried several restaurants in old village which were much of a muchness. Not cheap - you pay around 20 euros a head for main/dessert with drink. The Cafe Soleil at Serre Ratier did good hot choc at about 3 euros a cup.
Accommodation : Privately owned apartments in "Le Bez" and "Grand Pre" apartment blocks. A bit grubby and badly furnished/utensiled. Wouldn't stay there again.
Costs: Happy hour beer 3 euros a pint at the Yeti. Elsewhere 4-5 euros a pint. Pizza in Pre Long at 7-11 Euros for a medium/large - very good pizza. What I would call "London Prices" on most things - not cheap. Although I did pick up a nice Billabong rucksack at 22 euros!
Conclusion: Well... it was good overall. One of the group of 20 broke her wrist on the first run of the second day... ouch... The ironic thing was that she'd just done the tough bit (the Casse du Boeuf as a beginner boarder!) and was just going across the flat bit back to the chairlift when she caught an edge and slammed... Kids had a good time in ski school (Buissonniere) with friendly instructors and made good progress. Shame the snow wasn't better. All of the group agreed they'd love to go back when the snow was good and all runs/links were open.

Serre Chevalier Resort Report Feedback thread

Ian Hopkinson - Contains extended scenes of peril - Me & Mrs H

Last edited by A snowHead on Tue 13-01-09 19:01; edited 1 time in total
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