We have five different levels of ski instruction groups; beginner, improver, intermediate, advanced and expert. So whether you have never skied before, have grown up skiing or perhaps done a few seasons there is a level suitable for you. When you check-in you will be asked about your level and previous ski experience. On the first day the ski instructors "harmonise" the groups to make sure everyone is in the correct group for their level. The advantage of skiing with a group at a similar level is huge – everyone is learning the same things at the same speed thus there is minimal waiting around and a natural support network around you.
Always included in our holidays
Skis, boots & poles
Instruction or guiding
Friendly & social atmosphere
Our two most popular piste skiing courses are Ski Half Time and Ski 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 skiing 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 ski at the end of each day as well as on Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday to ski 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 Basic'. No Instruction is exactly what the title suggests, whereby you can still benefit from the all inclusive package but be independent. Ski 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 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 skiing and be shown the best areas of the resort for the current conditions. There are lessons for all abilities, even expert. There are enough skiers 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 skiing.
If you're a beginner the answer is almost certainly yes. Skiing 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 ski equipment early morning, free skiing day (complete beginners have a half day lesson in the afternoon).
Monday to Friday - Practice skiing in groups with your instructor. Normally Wednesday is a free day or a half day.
Saturday - Departure day, ski until lunchtime, return equipment and depart after lunch.
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 skis, maintained and serviced by professional ski technicians. The specific skis you use will depend on your ability and the course you are doing.
You are provided with skis, boots, and poles. 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 & Argentiére - 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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