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AO team member Kasia headed out to Les Contamines last week to get a dose of UCPA life. Here, she shares her experience from her week of ski touring!

To be honest I’ve always thought of Les Contamines as one of our “less attractive” resorts. It’s a small alpine village, on the other side of Mont Blanc than the famous Chamonix. It’s not as well-known as Val d’Isère or Val Thorens, and it’s not even that high! However, after spending a week there with UCPA, my opinion has changed completely, and I will be wholeheartedly recommending Les Contamines going forward.


UCPA trip ski touring group pose on the slopes of Les Contamines


So, what’s so great about Les Contamines?

A great UCPA team and activities manager (Vincent!). Each evening, there were at least 2 alternative activities such as access to the spa, climbing gym, avalanche awareness lecture, fondue, music quizzes, yoga, karaoke etc. It was hard to choose whether to rest or attend one of the many activities (and if so, which one?!). Les Contamines is not generally considered a “party” resort, meaning that more people tend to hang out in the UCPA centre – which really helps with integration and socialising. Of course, those who prefer to go “out-out” did manage to find cool pubs with an après scene in Les Contamines too!


UCPA Les Contamines centre common area


The UCPA centre is nicely laid out and close to the main village, with many scenic walks easily accessible directly from the centre. The international community in UCPA Les Contamines is smaller than in bigger, more popular resorts, so if you are searching for immersion into French culture and language – it’s the perfect place to be. That said, my French course mates were happy to speak English with me when my French was not quite up to scratch (all too often!) and were very welcoming! 

The food at the centre was great – as a person with no dietary restrictions and a big appetite – I tried almost everything: including vegan soups (available every evening), freshly cut pork leg, traditional Savoyard dishes filled with cheese and finally, traditional Raclette on the last night which won my heart – unlike the lifts you had to queue for this!


Traditional Raclette meal served at UCPA Les Contamines



So, what are the ski conditions like? There is a well-known specific microclimate at Les Contamines which allows the snow to stay longer and in great condition throughout the season. The resort boasts many slopes of different difficulties and steepness, many nice, wide, and cruisy! (Wide and cruisy is what I miss most at our local pistes in Chamonix – home of steep and off-piste lines). The off-piste at Les Contamines is also great (and not as tracked as in Cham can get peak season). Being there in mid-March was great – it felt like some slopes were reserved exclusively for UCPA – you can turn wherever you want, and there is no queuing at all!



The course I attended was a level 2 Ski-touring package (UCPA Ski Tour in the Mont Blanc Region). Les Contamines is renowned for ski touring and offers beautiful views – we did look at Mont Blanc every (good vis) day! I would recommend this place for beginners and intermediate ski tourers who want to work on their techniques in a stress-free environment and enjoy mellow powder runs in stunning and less frequented scenery.



Feeling inspired? Challenge yourself to a ski touring course with UCPA and earn your turns here!