There are five different levels of snowboard instruction groups; beginner, improver, intermediate, advanced and expert. So whether you are a complete beginner or have grown up snowboarding and done a season there is still a level for you. When you check-in you are asked about your level and past experience and grouped accordingly. On the first day the groups are "harmonised" to make sure everyone is in the correct group for their level. The advantage of boarding with a group at similar level is huge - everyone is learning the same things at the same speed and not waiting around.
Always included in our holidays
Snowboard & boots
Instruction or guiding
Friendly & social atmosphere
Our two most popular piste snowboarding courses are Snowboard Half Time and Snowboard Full Time. The former provides you with half day lessons in either the morning or the afternoon, whereas the latter is both morning and afternoon sessions. Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday morning are typically free days without instructions.
Half Time (12 hours approximately)
This allows you to spend 4 or 5 half day sessions with your instructor, but still allows plenty of time for practice either on your own, with your group or with friends who have been snowboarding in a group of a different level or course.
Full Time (23 hours approximately)
You will have 8 or 9 half day sessions with your instructor, so this really maximises your time to improve. You'll still have free time to snowboard at the end of each day as well as on Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday to snowboard with friends, practice or just relax. This is a great option for people who are travelling alone.
If you would rather do your own thing, that is fine. There are two courses you can book on to, either 'No Instruction' or 'Ski/Snowboard Basic'. No Instruction is exactly what the title suggests, whereby you can still benefit from the all inclusive package but be independent. Ski/Snowboard Basic is similar, but it consists of two half day sessions throughout the week to provide you with a small amount of instruction/guiding.
These courses are not recommended for solo travellers as being in a group is a great way to meet other people. They are also not suitable for beginners.
Our trips are not amendable in any way unfortunately. If 'No Instruction' or 'Ski/Snowboard Basic' are not available options it is not possible to remove instruction from another course and pay a reduced price.
It depends what you want to take away from your trip. Lessons are a great way to meet other people, improve your snowboarding and be shown the best areas of the resort for the current conditions. There are lessons for all abilities, even expert. There are enough snowboarders that the groups are often very similar in terms of level and ability, thus very little time is spent waiting around for others.
UCPA instructors are all trained in house and are extremely experienced. Throughout the week you will have the same instructor who will be able to really develop your snowboarding.
If you're a beginner the answer is almost certainly yes. Snowboarding does indeed look easy, but your first turns will always be the hardest!
Most winter trips follow the same weekly structure across all UCPA centres. Typically this is as follows:
Saturday - Arrival day, check in and meet other participants
Sunday - Collect snowboard equipment early morning, free snowboarding day (complete beginners have a half day lesson in the afternoon).
Monday to Friday - Practice snowboarding in groups with your instructor. Normally Wednesday is a free day or a half day.
Saturday - Departure day, snowboard until lunchtime, return equipment and depart after lunch.
If you are travelling with friends that have snowboarded before then the UCPA concept still works brilliantly as it enables them to take a snowboard course for their own ability level without having to worry about everyone in the group. Even those lucky individuals that have grown up on board’s can venture off piste with a local guide. But most importantly, you will still have plenty of free time to ride together. UCPA provide snowboard school for beginners on Sunday afternoon so your friends don’t even need to feel like they have to teach you the basics and can instead remember what to do themselves. Find out more how to book a group holiday here.
UCPA have a partnership with Rossignol and 50% of their stock is replenished each year. So you will most likely be using recent models of Rossignol snowboards, maintained and serviced by professional ski technicians. The specific snowboards you use will depend on your ability and the course you are doing.
You are provided with a snowboard and boots. The only other equipment you need is personal clothing.
If throughout the week you have some issues with your equipment and need to change any part of it, it is no problem to have it swapped or adjusted.
UCPA was founded with the aim of getting young people in to sports and the outdoors, all at an affordable price. This is achieved thorough many efficiencies, one of which is the 'multi share' rooms. The rooms can be described as comfortable, warm, and quiet but basic with no frills. Twin rooms are available for an extra fee per person, however twin rooms cannot be booked for just one person.
Bathroom facilities vary from centre to centre, the most common being bedrooms having a sink and a shower ensuite with shared toilets in the corridor. Some centres have all rooms ensuite, others only have twin rooms ensuite, and some centres don't have any ensuite rooms.
UCPA save costs by the guests pitching in and helping out. For example when you arrive you will be provided with clean linen for your bed, but you will have to make it yourself. This little bit of mucking in is what makes UCPA trips such excellent value and a fun experience.
Best resorts for getting ski miles in:
- Val d’Isere & Tignes - The Espace Killy ski area is truly massive boasting an amazing 96 lifts which give access to over 300km of piste.
Val Thorens - With a total of 140km of piste served by 32 fast lifts pretty much all of which are located above 2000m.
- Flaine - The skiing in Flaine offers a wide variety of grades with 140km of piste in the Flaine area alone and a total of 265km in the Grand Massif.
Best resorts for Off Piste:
- Chamonix & Argentiere - The off piste/backcountry snowboarding is what makes the Chamonix Valley so special. The depth and variety of lift accessed high mountain and backcountry terrain is outstanding including Europe's longest off piste run, the Vallee Blanche, and the infamous Grand Montets ski area.
Val d’Isere & Tignes - In addition to the fantastic piste network the Espace Killy offers one of the largest lift served off-piste areas in the world, there is more than enough to keep even the most adventurous skiers entertained.
- Les Contamines - Avoid the crowds and explore the couloirs and tree lines that surround this 'off the radar' ski area with close proximity to Geneva airport.
Most comfortable UCPA centres:
- Serre Chevalier - Ski in ski out with a fantastic sun deck overlooking the slopes and an outdoor heated pool!
Val Thorens - Ski in ski out with it’s very own nightclub. The highest spec UCPA centre.
La Plagne - The piste runs through the centre! Also recently renovated and is now one of the most luxurious.
- Flaine - An ex-hotel with all rooms fully ensuite. This centre has a lot more twin rooms than any other centre.
Best resorts for Après ski:
- Val d’Isere/Tignes - Where to start! The original site for Folie Douce and now Cocorico in both Val d’Isere and Tignes, the Espace Killy’s slopeside après is second to none. In town you will find the party in Le Petit Danois with a live band in Val and Loop Bar at the bottom of Trolles in Tignes.
Val Thorens - As well as a Folie Douce, Bar 360 provides a great party. Malaysia is the largest nightclub in the alps and often has an array of DJs playing.
Les Deux Alpes - With over 40 bars along the town's main strip. Kick off your après at Pano Bar, opposite the Jandri Express mid-station. It has a sunny terrace with panoramic views, great music, and live DJs from 3pm and 5pm. Then when you’re back down the mountain, Smokey Joe’s leads the way, with Tex-Mex food, big screens, live music and a daily happy hour.
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