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Serre Chevalier- ski school recommendations

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Can anybody recommend me ski schools and specific ski instructors for Serre Chevalier?

The specific instructor recommendations is for my daughter who is on the autistic spectrum and is dyspraxic so learns very slowly and requires patience and understanding. We will boom her some private lessons.

The more general is for father and daughter who have done 2 weeks on the snow and nothing this season.

The closest lift to where we are staying is Pontillas Gondola
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Contact Gavin at the New Gen ski school. He will be able to advise on best instructor for your needs. They generally operate from Monetier. Highly recommended
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@NickyJ, +1 for New Gen and Gavin.
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Hijacking the thread because we're (hopefully!) staying near @NickyJ the same week, but which ski schools meet at the bottom of Pontillas or even Villeneuve (besides ESF) ? I was all excited for NewGen until I saw that they don't at February!
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@sparklies, the bus service up to Monetier is quick or a short drive? About 5 minutes. Ski Connections are in Villeneuve.
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@Hells Bells, Thanks! We're probably not going to have a car this time. And we're keen to avoid the bus if at all possible, mainly because with four children (two of which either refuse (autism) or are too dinky to carry much) it can be a massive stress, particularly if it is packed. We had to catch the bus in Tignes a few years ago, and it always got the day off to a bad start!

I didn't realise Ski Connections were in Villeneuve - I thought they were at the bottom of the Aravets lift like most of them are (unless that counts as Villeneuve!) I'm very tempted by them anyway, they seem to have a good offering.

Given it's half term, and many of the ski schools start at 9am as the main lifts open, how practical is it to ski over from the UCPA bit over to Aravets? I can see there's a rope tow and a button lift on the map, and I'm guessing they both start running at 8.45am, but would there be massive queues? When I've been in Val Thorens, I thought "oh, magic carpet, it'll be fine" only to see an epic "queue" (I use the term loosely given the manners in it!) for said magic carpet each morning so I'm a little wary!! It was quicker to walk, lugging the skis.
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@sparklies, Aravet is part of Villeneuve. Their office is at Pre Long above the pharmacy. If you are at UCPA, it isn't too bad to get to the Aravet gondola. Bit further for those closer to Pontillas though. I'd probably jump on one of the free shuttles, but they are likely to be busy. Cross the road to the Frejus bubble lift, then I think there's a v. small rope tow to the bottom of Casse du Beouf chairlift.
Village map here https://www.serre-chevalier.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/plan-villeneuve.jpg .

I know this might sound a bit odd, but the area above Pontillas is haveing a bvit of an upgrade at the moment. This means that currently Pontillas doesn't really lead you to anywhere except to the red run at the top of it. You have to come back down a red or a green, and towards Casse du Beouf to get onto the rest of the ski area. I'm not sure what the situation is with ski schools. There used to be only the Club Med using Pontillas in the mornings. Maybe a phone call to Ski Connections to discuss would be in order? They'll be able to advise the best solution for you all.
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@Hells Bells, Thanks! We're not at UCPA, we're (hopefully..) going to be staying very near to Pontillas, close to the cemetery. Not massively practical for ski schools as it now turns out, but I was thinking we'd be okay walking over towards the Frejus lift and trying to make our way from there as you say until I realised ski schools start as the lifts open!

Is it possible to ski directly from the bottom of the Casse du Beouf chairlift to Aravets, or would we need to get the Casse du Beouf lift in order to get near Aravets, as we'd never make it in time if so. I can't tell which way the slope goes!

The village map was useful though - Google Maps only tells so much of the story, as do the piste maps. Thanks!

Do you think the upgrade above Pontillas will be finished by next February? That said, if it doesn't go anywhere useful, it'll be nice and quiet I assume!

I'll probably end up ringing them, but given we're a year away, it feels a bit premature just yet.. maybe in the summer. Yet here I am, making plans and sorting logistics already rolling eyes but that's half the fun!
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@sparklies, you can get from cdb to aravet on skis. Might be a bit of poling? It's been a while since i did it.. The replacement for Pontillas won't be done next winter. It's Monetier's turn next.


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Fri 15-03-19 10:06; edited 1 time in total
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Bit of poling is fine (bit of a warm-up first thing!!) so that's very good to know! Looks like we might have a plan then snowHead

Thank you!
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@sparklies, if all else fails there is a road train which goes round the Villeneuve ski areas . I'm sure your accommodation will be able to advise.
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
Updating this as we are now nearest to Chantemerle.

I have contacted New Gen who confirm that for the peak Feb week they do not operate out of Chantemerle so can’t use them Sad

ESI and ESF do - have anybody used either? Especially for private lessons? Have I missed any body else operating from there?

How do they compare to Ski connection? We would need to get via minibus to Chantemerle the get another bus over to Villeneuve to use ski connection so not favoured option based on that BUT if the tuition/ school is massively better guess it is worth the effort.
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@NickyJ, did New Gen not suggest anyone? If lesson timings are suitable, you could ski to your lessons? Privates with ESF are likely to be over lunchtime in peak season. I know ESI in Monetier are v good, and are who New Gen recommend if they are unable to accommodate you, I've no experience with any of the ski schools in Chantemerle though.
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You know it makes sense.
Hells Bells wrote:
@NickyJ, did New Gen not suggest anyone? If lesson timings are suitable, you could ski to your lessons? Privates with ESF are likely to be over lunchtime in peak season. I know ESI in Monetier are v good, and are who New Gen recommend if they are unable to accommodate you, I've no experience with any of the ski schools in Chantemerle though.


That’s good to hear. I guess they were still so focused on finishing this year when I contacted them they didn’t think to say anything other than they won’t be operating from anywhere other than the area they said (which has gone from my mind!)
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@NickyJ, New Gen start in Monetier most of the time, it is only outside of peak season they will sometimes start in other villages. There is only one permanent instructor, Gavin, and he has others join him at peak times. Our first time skiing with then was a long time ago, but we got the bus on 2 days, and skied over the other. I think as our lesson start time was 11am or something like that. It is much quicker than it was then to ski there.
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I guess the question should be opened to how easy is it to ski to Monetier and back to our base or get to Monetier by bus.. and is the effort worth it compared to ESI?

Edit to add - you partially answered that while I was typing. Happy
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I keep coming back to the biggest problem which is that for some reason in peak weeks, they start lessons everywhere at 9am (rather than 9.15am the rest of the season) and the lifts open at 9am. So unless you go for afternoon lessons, you have to find a non-ski way of getting places.
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@sparklies, one set of group lessons will start at 9am, but there may be a class group starting around lunchtime, and then one in the afternoon, if you are just wanting half-days of course. Privates are usually at lunchtime in peak weeks. There's also some lifts open at 8.30 in the peak weeks. If you want a small ski school I can see why you may want to book now, but the larger ones should probably be ok to leave until after the summer. Many will be away on holiday now and their offices closed in any case.

@NickyJ, ski bus (although is is now not free), is every 10-15 minutes at peak times. It takes about 10-15 minutes from Chantemerle to Monetier depending on numbers. Now there are new lifts open and another faster larger one in Monetier to get back it is really quick, and you can ski blues all the way.
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@Hells Bells, thanks! From what I've seen, a lot of the types of lessons we want (the older two have their ESF gold *s, so looking for more gnarly stuff) only seem to have the 9am sessions which is a tad frustrating as we'd be happy with later in the day.

We're also almost certainly going to need private lessons for at least one of our younger two (8 year old) as he's struggled so much with group lessons (he has autism) his whole life, and it's making him "hate skiing" (his words!) He did have a fabulous time with his group lessons in Austria with a teacher who was clearly well-suited to him, but I think we captured lightning in a bottle there. Every other teacher he's ever had has killed his enthusiasm and/or let other members of the class wind him up so that he inevitably melts down, then tell us his "behaviour" is unacceptable. Yay. He's done brilliantly one on one, never a single issue and he's happy. If you happen to know of any particularly autism-friendly schools or teachers, or even just kind, gentle teachers who also like to have fun, it would be much appreciated!

I'm happy waiting a while to book anyways - I recall being told to "come back later" a few years ago by a Les Arcs ski school when I asked in the summer, so I know not to try too early now!
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I have been trying to liaise with ESI over getting the lessons booked but they aren’t responding to emails. Does anybody know if this is a case of they haven’t started manning them yet? Or if they just can’t be bothered with a private booking in a peak week, and hence ignoring me?
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@NickyJ, I suspect the former. Which ESI? I'm in Serre Che now and may be able to find out when it opens for bookings.
@sparklies, I can ask about if I see any instructor friends.
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Chantemerle. Thanks so much.
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@Hells Bells, that would be wonderful! Not to worry if you can't, but really appreciate you trying.
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I have heard back from ESI, they won’t do private lessons on morning which is a much better time for her to have lessons. They will do 12-14:00 - lunch is VERY important to my daughter or 14:00 - 17:00. Might work OK but in the past she tends to get tired throughout the day from a concentration POV and her behaviour definitely deteriorates.

Anybody recommend any body I can book private lessons with from Chantemerle during half term?
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@NickyJ, I think the lunchtime private lessons are pretty much the norm for half-term week with most of the ski schools. Have you checked out Ski Connections? They are based in Villeneuve but they might be able to suggest a solution. I assume NewGen Serre Chevalier were unable to help? I know they start in Monetier in peak season, but they may know of another instructor.
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New Gens response was just - we only do lessons from Monetier.

My husband is saying just book her I to groups... that has never worked well it MAY work this time. She is improving at school (but that is because she has an LSA!). I fear it will just set her back....

I will contact Ski connection as well.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@NickyJ, they can usually suggest someone else though. I'll drop Mel a PM, and ask. wink.


@sparklies, everyone I've asked has recommended Ski Connections.
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@NickyJ, ESF have a whole section of the ski school dedicated to children and adults with all sorts of disabilities, but not sure how good their English would be.
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You know it makes sense.
@NickyJ, would a late morning snack before lunchtime lessons work? Quite a few mountain restos doing crepes all day for example.
Followed by a (quieter) 2pm lunch as a family instead?
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Hells Bells wrote:
@NickyJ, would a late morning snack before lunchtime lessons work? Quite a few mountain restos doing crepes all day for example.
Followed by a (quieter) 2pm lunch as a family instead?


It could do. I will talk with her in the morning. Also other children in our party will be in group lessons, so juggling feeding everybody and meeting people is likely to be a challenge... from that POV afternoon may work better if we can’t get her morning times.

Just hoping that we can find something at a time which suits her.
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@Hells Bells, thank you! Ideally, like Nicky, we'd prefer privates but, also like Nicky, we have the same issues over timing.

On the other hand, we have had at least one good group experience with him, but how much of that was down to having friends (Nicky's niece and nephew!) in the group, and how much was down to having the "right" teacher, it is hard to say! The right teacher does make a massive difference though. There's no grey area teachers in his life - they're either brilliant, or the "worst teacher in the world"..!
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