What To Expect From Your UCPA Holiday

Action Outdoors is the UK partner of UCPA. The UCPA is large French not for profit organisation providing very affordable all inclusive adventure sports holidays. Originally the UCPA catered for young people aged 18-39 but recently they have expanded the range of holiday and course options to suit all ages. The all inclusive packages include accommodation, meals, lift pass, equipment hire and instruction, making the UCPA the cheapest way to go skiing and snowboarding. To learn more about the UCPA and what makes the holidays so cheap read more here. The UCPA experience is very unique so let us explain what you should expect from your UCPA holiday.

The Accommodation

The UCPA accommodation is referred to as ‘centres’. These can best be described as on the scale between activity centres, nice hostels and basic hotels. Some centres are newly renovated and very modern where as some are slightly older, however they are all very clean, warm, sociable and in great locations. Rooms are shared therefore if you have selected the multishare option you will be allocated a bed in a room with a couple of other people (usually 4-6 people per room). If you are travelling alone this will be a single sex room, if you are travelling with mates it may be a mixed room. The UCPA always tries to room friends together and in 99% of the time this is possible, however in some very rare circumstances they are unable to do so. The only way to 100% guarantee you are roomed with a friend is for you both to select the private twin room option and pay the extra supplement. Private twin rooms are available in most of the centres for 2 people travelling together, availability is limited though. The UCPA is very sociable and the shared room set up means that the UCPA is a perfect environment for solo travellers or people keen to meet similar minded people.  Usually toilets and shower facilities are shared between a few rooms. The UCPA centres do differ between resorts to see the specifics for each resort and view some pictures click here. The UCPA has plenty of social areas including a bar, so the bedrooms really are for sleeping only. You will be required to make your beds on arrival and strip your beds when you leave. You are also expected to give your room a clean before you go. This helps keep the UCPA holiday costs low. 

Meals

UCPA packages are full board, therefore all meals are included in the advertised price; breakfast, lunch and dinner. As you know the French take a lot of pride in their food and meal times are a special and sociable time, expect no less from the UCPA. Meals are buffet style and there are always a number of different options and courses. Breakfast options tend to include a number of cereals and muesli options, yogurts, toast, bread and breakfast drinks. At most resorts you can return to the UCPA centre for lunch where you will find a few hot meal options, a salad bar, cheese and meat platter and desert. Dinner usually includes a meat option, fish option and vegetarian alternative. Again there is always a wide variety of mixed salads, meats and cheeses, bread and a desert. If you have a dietary requirement you are advised to contact UCPA before arrival and speak to the chefs on your first day. If you require special food alternatives such as gluten free bread we suggest you take your own. These will not be available at the UCPA and it’s unlikely you will find these in resort either. The food is really great at the UCPA and you certainly won't go hungry! To help keep costs down you are asked to clear your dirty dishes and give the table a wipe when you finish. 

Instruction

The UCPA has a huge variety of courses and instruction options for both skiers and snowboarders of all levels. Whether you are an absolute beginner never stepped foot on a ski slope before or a seasoned expert searching for adrenaline filled days, there is a course perfect for you. There is also an ‘Autonome’ option which includes no instruction, perfect for people who are happy to progress on their own without guidance. The price difference is minimal so we do recommend you take the opportunity to join a group – it’s genuinely the best way to meet people, progress and find the best conditions. You can check the ability level of each course by reading the course information on the booking page. If you are unsure of what level you are you, compare your experience against the UCPA ski/snowboard levels.

When you arrive in resort you will be asked to describe your level and previous experience. This will allow them to allocate you a place in the correct group. Instruction begins on the Monday morning therefore it is important you attend this session (for beginners usually begins on Sunday afternoon). The instructors and guides are all qualified through the French system which is generally considered to be the most difficult system to qualify thorough, so you will be learning with the best. The UCPA instructors are all really young, enthusiastic and up for a laugh so the instruction is much more relaxed than others you may have experience. You will have the same instructor and group for the full week so you can really get to know each other.

Lift Pass

The lift pass will be made available to you on the first ski day, for a week long break this is the Sunday morning. The lift pass is yours for the week so look after it! The lift pass you are issued will depend on the resort and the course you booked. For some resorts the wider ski area lift pass is issued as standard for everyone, despite their course. For other resorts the lift pass available may have restrictions depending on the course selected. The lift pass information for each course is highlighted on each activity page. Therefore before proceeding with booking do read the course information.  The lift pass is normally valid until midday on the final Saturday of your week long stay, any variations to this will be outlined on the course information.  Therefore for week long trips you will have 6.5 days on the slopes.

Equipment Hire

When you check in you will be issued with a ticket or card for the equipment hire.  The equipment hire is all onsite so it couldn’t be easier to get yourself organised!  The kit you will be issued will depend on your level, the course you are registered on and your size. Rossignol and APO are common brands of equipment. Half of all equipment is replaced every year therefore the kit is quite new and well maintained. If you are taking part in a specialist course you will be provided with all equipment required for the activity e.g ski touring equipment or avalanche safety kit. Helmets and ski clothing are not provided. Helmets can be hired in resort for a small fee however you should come prepared with your own clothing or rent clothing in advance. If you are not sure what to pack check out our winter kit list. The ski and snowboard kit is available from Sunday morning to Saturday lunch time during normal week long holidays. 

Your Booking

You can make your holiday booking online. If you book more than 8 weeks in advance you can confirm your holiday with a £100 non refundable deposit and pay the final balance 45 days before travel. If you have yet to book try our Resort Advisor - this takes just a few minutes and takes into account all your preferences to advise which resorts best meet your needs. You can read more about each of the individual resorts to help make a decision. Once you have decided on a date, resort and course you can book your holiday online. Remember everyone in your group can pick a different course depending on their level or preference, you will still be roomed together. Follow our instruction to book online if you are having trouble. Our Frequently Asked Questions may be able to help if you have more questions regarding the UCPA, Action Outdoors or you holiday. Once you have booked and full payment received we will send you 'Joining Instructions' with all the information you may need for your trip.

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