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Question re UCPA trip

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hi All,

Been boarding for a few years and despite my wife trying to get to grips with it - she’s decided she just gets no joy from it. As a result, she has said to go on my tod if I can find the right trip.

Based on comments on here and other places - decided to head to UCPA Val Thorens in mid Jan.

My question is - at 38 am I going to be left trying to socialise with the great “unwashed” studenty types etc? Or is there likely to be a decent range of ages?

Or is it purely pot luck?!?

Cheers. Drew
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I was fine at Argentiere last year - 49.

Go hard Smile
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
And there was a lot of "pot" luck Wink
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ChrisKernow wrote:
I was fine at Argentiere last year - 49.

Go hard Smile


Good to know.....can’t wait. Didn’t get to the slopes last season as newborn arrived in March.....so can’t wait to get out there - even if going solo.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Hi @Drew, I've been to UCPA Flaine twice. Both times there was instruction so got to know a few people on my course which helped start the social ball rolling. It will help if you can make a good stab at French, although I never met anyone who didn't speak decent English. The Ents team also ran things like quizzes, stretching sessions, etc. So there's plenty of opportunity.

I'm starting to knock on the door of the supposed upper age limit, but I never felt that old...!!
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You'll need to Register first of course.
I'd sign up for instruction, even part time, even if you don't feel you need it. Typically the difference in price is pretty small and you will then have a group of approx 6 that you know, plus your room mates, bound to find someone to drink with.

Or do what we did and try and have a drink with every one of the two hundred people there over the course of a week.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Drew Carey, I’ve been twice to UCPA Val D’Isere and it’s been a wide range of age groups. On my guided group I’d say the average was over 40 years old.

A few tips - take a mug, extension lead or multiplug, flip flops, and don’t forget a towel.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Cheers for the tips all.

Speaking French not an issue as can hold my own with all but the fastest Frenchman.

As for having instruction.....unfortunately I am only doing the 4 day trip as not enough holiday allowance left. Was no option for instruction on that.

Anyone know if possible to add at a later point when there etc?

Been to 3V before so have no issue finding my own way around - but may be good to have a group to get to know.
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Worth asking: they didn't offer instruction on my 4 day trip this year either, but from the past I remember people dropping out... if it's the same as Flaine, there's a board with the group levels and the instructors photo, so you could keep pestering to see if there's any spaces...
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EarthWindandWater wrote:
Worth asking: they didn't offer instruction on my 4 day trip this year either, but from the past I remember people dropping out... if it's the same as Flaine, there's a board with the group levels and the instructors photo, so you could keep pestering to see if there's any spaces...


Yeah, spaces normally open up and the UCPA are all fairly laid back so def worth asking. There are always lots of solo travellers about - and the staff will chat to you if no one else will!
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Cheers all, good to know. I have no problem chatting to strangers!!!! Laughing
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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.
Digger the dinosaur wrote:
...Or do what we did and try and have a drink with every one of the two hundred people there over the course of a week.


In true snowHead tradition.

@Drew Carey, alternatively you could try a snowheads bash.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@adithorp, that’s my plan for next year, only have 3 days holiday to play with hence needed a weekend trip and the UCPA 4 dayer’s fits perfectly.

Going to keep back a full week of holiday next year and sign up probably for the Birthday bash 2020 as soon becomes available next year.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Drew Carey, are you allowed any TOIL?

The EOSB will only take 4days leave due to Easter Monday.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@NickyJ unfortunately not. Whilst we have great benefits and flexible wfh (within reason) they are quite rigid re holiday / unpaid / toil etc.

I’ve booked UCPA now anyway....so will look at bash for next year.
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Also if you post closer to the time at any given moment in almost any UCPA centre there will be a Snowhead. They will almost certainly be happy to join you for a beer, or you can spend 4 days playing "find the snowhead" based on nothing other than an imaginary name they came up with.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Laughing my user name isn't original - its my name (although someone once asked me on another forum if I used that tag as I was a fan of the US Comedian and his Drew Carey show!!!)

Will keep that in mind though and post in the solo thread etc and see if anyone is about. Worst case - will bond with my European brethren over beers for one last time before we are treated as pariah's!!!!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Drew Carey, you’ll have a great time especially if you can speak French. I did my first UCPA the same age and val Thorens is one of the special ones that has an older age limit so you will not be the oldest there. There’s always a few people in the same boat. Thee was one time they put me in with a group of 18 year olds (because we were all Brits) and that was not going to be fun for any of us so I just went to the front desk and told them I needed to move. «  but you’ll have to be with French people » they said. I said great and ended up with three great French dudes had a good laugh and improved my French. 🙂
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I have been on 4 UCPA trips in the last two years. At 31YO I highly recommend it.

All the centers I have been to have been great - clean, good food, good instruction, good equipment. Best of all are the people you meet - everyone I have met has had skiing as a priority over partying.

I have been to Val D'Isere, Chamonix x 2 & Serre Chevalier.

VD - best for piste skiing, convenience & night life.
Chamonix - nicest town, good skiing but a pain to get to. Recommended for off piste courses.
Serre Chevalier - great skiing but I just didn't really like it. Not as Brit friendly as the other two (which might be a pro for some!!)
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
I've been to a few UCPAs and they were all great imo. The idea is to do the courses as they are so cheap and its the best way to have buddies to ride with if you're travelling solo. I'd pester them to get you into a group as soon as you get there. I'm sure they can fit you in and you'll have a great time. VT is effing awesome.
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jonnygoldsbrough wrote:
VD - best for piste skiing, convenience & night life.


I bet that's true but isn't there also a night club under the UCPA? I had heard that it was a bit difficult if you wanted an early night but that might have changed as I think they did it up recently.
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Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
There is a nightclub but when I was there a couple of years ago I don’t recall it getting any use.

I would definitely take ear plugs if staying in a dorm room but that’s more due to having a potential snorer! Doubles are only about an extra £70 for the week though so they’re the ones to go for if there’s any available.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I stayed at the UCPA in val thorens march this year as part of a ski camp. The place was amazing and highly recommend it. There is a mixture of all ages and nationalities with different chances to mingle. I found the games room and the ping pong table especially good place to meet people and see which countries can get the bragging rights! They have lots of social stuff each night, there is a quieter place to go too if thats your thing. Dinning room tables are huge and always places to join people. Staff are friendly and helpful so if you want to crash lessons, im sure they would do their best to help. Rooms are comfortable tho I did wake my room mates up with my screaming and shouting after thinking there was a burglar entering through the window....it was only someone in black pajamas coming down from the top bunk which is next to the window! luckily everyone saw the funny side of it! ski in and ski out. its a little way out of the town so never really went up there but there is everything contained in the hostel so no need to venture out! i am sure you will have a great time there!
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I would echo what the others above say - definitely not exclusive to student types at all.

I have a question regarding UCPA - does everyone feel safe leaving their boots in the boot room if they bought their own? Is it generally unheard of to have boots nicked?
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I have more faith in mys stuff still being there in a UCPA boot room than I do when staying in a normal hotel/chalet.
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
TBH it never crossed my mind, although that might depend on the security arrangements... AIR Flaine has a key fob system so only residents can get into the boot/ski room
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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.
worth looking to see if there are any 'advanced' boarding courses - at least to find some common conversation areas. There's usually a split-board / touring group. they do _tend_ to group based on common language, as much as ability - I tend to end up with Swedes and other Nordics, and sometimes struggle to keep up (as opposed to being with more equivalently skilled locals) ... but that's on the offpiste ski tuition courses... ymmv.
my other top tip is ask what the guides/instructors do in the summer - our last one kept bees, so we got him to bring some honey in to sell....
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
@Drew Carey, another tip would be to take your fave mug and tea bags!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Launchpad, I have spent lots of time in different UCPAs - I have never heard of boots being stolen. I have never considered that someone would nick somebody else's stinky sweat impregnated boots - especially mine! I would take a padlock if you own skis - just for piece of mind though.

Really good earplugs, and an eye mask are vital. A decent pillow and sleeping bag liner are also useful if you have the space.

You really get a very broad spectrum of skiers and people and plenty of people out skiing on their own. Most people are really friendly and pleasant in UCPAs. I have had some tremendous weeks skiing with the UCPA.
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