Off Piste Skiing Courses

We have Off Piste Skiing Courses to cater for all levels of off piste skiers, from beginner to expert, in some of the best ski areas in the French Alps, including Chamonix, Val d'Isere and Val Thorens. 

Anyone who has tried skiing off piste knows it is trickier than the freeride movies might suggest. Thankfully ski instruction has evolved from the ski school ‘train’ most of us are familiar with. Now there are companies like UCPA catering for off piste skiers. Skiing off piste carries a number of real dangers, therefore even the more experienced backcountry skiers should only explore these challenging areas with a qualified guide. Their local knowledge also comes with the advantage of knowing where the best snow is! 

We have courses suitable for the intermediate piste skier looking to try off-piste for the first time through to guided weeks for those that want some tips on technique but their main aim is to find the best descents and the best conditions. Equally we have courses led by qualified high mountain guides that will push you to your limit with glacier skiing, steep couliors skiing and freeride courses. From La Grave to Chamonix, there are over 14 different off piste courses being run each week!

 

off-piste-levels

Level

We have courses for intermediate and advanced piste skiers who want to learn and develop off piste skills, equally we have courses for expert level off piste skiers who want to be challenged further and find the best descents. 

Please read the description for each course carefully to ensure you pick the correct course for your level. The standard is high and if you anyone not at the required level will be taken down a level. This is to everyone's advantage for both safety and enjoyment.

Course

Essentially there are two types of course:-

Half Time (12 Hrs)

This course comprises of morning or afternoon sessions 4 days per week. Usually only the introductory off piste courses offer this half time format. 

Full Time (23 Hrs)

You will have 9 half day session spread over 5 days. You will still have free time to ski with friends on Sunday, Saturday and at the end of each day. The off piste courses are normally the full time format as it provides enough time to reach and enjoy the best descents further afield. The more advanced courses that involve glacier skiing, or rope work to access steep skiing will be led by a UAIGM qualified guide (very often they are also fully qualified ski instructors too).

UCPA Teaching Style

Teaching Style

Of course there is some teaching, but this isn't ski school - it's all about skiing, having fun & learning knowledge to become safe in the mountains. The goal is always to teach self-reliance, so the instructor will be talking about snow pack safety, practicing with transceivers and developing your all round mountain skills.

Equipment

You will be provided with off-piste skis, boots & poles plus transceiver, shovel & probe. For more advanced courses harnesses and climbing gear will be provided too. 

Social

One of the nicest things about a UCPA holiday is the social aspect - it's a great way to meet new people through sharing good sporting times together. Whether you travel by yourself, or with friends you're sure to make some great new friendships through the week.

Resort

Not all resorts offer both half & full time instruction - check out the Dates & Prices tab to see what is available where.

One thing you can be sure of is that you'll be with a great bunch of like minded people and with one of the best instructors on the mountain.

off-piste-itin

Itinerary

Will vary from resort to resort - typically:-

Saturday - Arrival day, check in & meet other participants

Sunday - Collect ski equipment early morning, free skiing day 

Mon - Fri - Guided skiing in groups with your instructor. Normally Wednesday is just a 1/2 day of instruction.

Saturday - Departure day, ski till lunchtime, enjoy a lunch, clear your room & say good bye (till the next time) 

If you don't have a clue what to do or where to go? Try our

WHAT IS UCPA?

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UCPA AGE POLICY

UCPA was originally set up to provide affordable adventure holiday packages for people aged 18 to ​45.

Today the UCPA has a wide variety of excellent value ski & snowboard packages for people of all ages.

Read more >>

Testimonials

  • UCPA is a totally unique set-up, providing both a top-level skiing service and a wonderful place to relax and enjoy yourself. 
    Richard J
  • I snowboard at the moderate/expert level, but my boyfriend doesn’t have to get bored waiting for me to head across the flats because he’s high up in the mountains remembering how to use transceivers with the extreme expert ski group. 
    Amelia S
  • In my opinion, UCPA should really stand for something like ‘Unbelievably Cheap, Perfectly Awesome’ because it really is the best way to see the French Alps on a budget.  Or not even on a budget for that matter, because the enthusiasm of the instructors, quality (and quantity!) of the food and genera...
    Amelia S
  • The food is to die for too! A good breakfast with the option of a packed or hot lunch is only the start – crepes are often available on return from a hard days skiing followed by a gourmet dinner...
    Elliot B
  • UCPA provides all the equipment you need for a week of skiing or snowboarding and the lessons are fantastic for all levels, from complete beginner to the most impressive of off-piste daredevils!
    Elliot B
  • Lastly, food. It was the best bit for me. We had 4 days of fresh powder and the last 2 days with perfect visibility and the food was still the best bit! (might be a slight exaggeration, but only a slight).
    Ron H
  • The best thing about this holiday was the people I met! Everyone loved skiing/snowboarding/being outdoors, so we had a lot in common already.
    Tong Tong
  • If you do it you really won’t regret it. I’ve been on 20 ski trips, and this was the best by far.
    Oliver P
    

REVIEWS – READ WHAT OUR CLIENTS SAY ABOUT US!

Serre Chevalier | Snowboard Off Piste

I visited Serre Chavalier for a  UCPA Off Piste Snowboarding holiday in January of this year (13th-20th).

Chamonix | Ski Off Piste

I love love love UCPA holidays. Having been to Flaine and Serre Chevalier in the past couple of years this year we went to Chamonix over New Year. The Chamonix centre is a little dated in places but the rooms are clean and comfy and the centre is right in the middle of Cham with a massive ski area to enjoy. We had a great time on and off the slopes (try the square in Cham on NYE for partying and fire crackers) and got a dump of snow mid week - yay! As ever everyone was really friendly and welcoming. We'll be back next year to the newly refurbished Argentiere centre for more skiing and apres!

Flaine | Ski Off Piste

I chose a week in April of full time off piste skiing tuition at the UCPA in Flaine, booking through Action Outdoors with a group of eight of us, who drove from the UK.

Chamonix | Ski Off Piste

Voila! What a great adventure. I was taken back by the fantastic deal. I could not believe you got so so much for a amazing price. Quality equipment and expert French instructors. The accommodation was fine with shared accommodation with bar stories of snoring room mates. Secret is to stay out late and drink more. The Apres ski involves the Swedish bar where dancing on tables to a rocky band was the thing. Then the terrace bar for cheap shots and another band. Everybody is really friendly and meeting new people is so easy. The food was good and varied with plenty of it. If you are a veggie remember it is France and if it doesn't move they're not interested.but hey eating is cheating. Don't forget the snow and the off piste. Awesome and we only saw 10% of it in our week. I have recommended this trip to everybody I know and planning my next trip. A must do adventure!

Chamonix | Ski Off Piste

Hats off to Action Outdoors and UCPA for organising such a fantastic weeks skiing for us, especially for ordering a couple of massive powder dumps whilst we there there! We had a great time from start to finish, the skiing instruction was very good and our instructor Olivier took us a lot of untracked secret powder stashes, every day we skied until our legs gave out! His English was a bit lacking at times, but he was able to get the message across. Our technique and confidence in the deep stuff has really improved. The accommodation is good but basic, the location is pretty much in the centre of town, and the food is excellent, Eric the head chef is brilliant and worth his weight for comedy value alone. The in-house ski rental was great, I have a very pointy ankle and they help find me the best boots to suit me. The atmosphere was very welcoming and the French and Swedes made us all feel very much part of the UCPA family, and we made some good friends we will see again over the week. The only negatives were the student party on the coach who kept us up all night long on the way over, but apart from that we were happy with the coach from London and it is definitely convenient.

La Plagne, Val d'Isere, Val Thorens, Chamonix | Ski Full Time, Ski Off Piste

The UCPA system offered by Action Outdoors was so good that I spent seven weeks in four different resorts with them in 2013. I started as a very basic skier and went all the way to completing an off piste course in that time. Everything about the experience was top rate. The instruction was excellent. The food was delicious with plenty of it. The vibe and philosophy at the UCPA centers was totally compelling. It was a truly unigue experience and there is no way on earth that anyone could match them for value for money.Action Outdoors proved themselves a very helpful and friendly organisation in managing my whole trip.  I will never ski with anybody else ever again. This is the real deal. Thank you UCPA and Action Outdoors.

Chamonix | Ski Off Piste

Thoroughly enjoyed my week in Chamonix with UCPA/Action Outdoors. I was on the full time instruction off piste course and having never skiied off piste properly before i was a bit worried i would be out of my depth. My worries were laid to rest though as on the first day all the instructors gather together to assess everyones level and select groups with equal ability. Everyone in my group had a similar skiing level and we all thoroughly enjoyed the week. Our instructor Filou was a great teacher, teaching us both skiing technique and mountain/avalanche skills and spoke great English.

Chamonix | Ski Off Piste High Mountain

Yet another excellent course run by UCPA.  The hostel was clean and well run with a good standard of food as I have come to expect from UCPA (although not as good as some other UCPA hostels I have stayed in).  The ski school was superbly run in a resort that is a logistical nightmare for getting people too and from the ski areas.  The mountain guide I had was fantastic, he was extremely capably and imparted his vast knowledge onto a group containing French, Swedish and British students.  For those looking to ski off piste and step out onto the glaciers, Chamonix is the mecca and is very much a step up from the rest of the Alps.

Chamonix | Steeps Course

The accommodation was comfortable and was perfectly reasonable, the meals were well beyond expectation with good quality of food each night and plenty of it.