15 Years Collage



15 Years of Action Outdoors

It’s our fifteenth birthday and we are celebrating having sent over 60,000 people on fantastic adventure holidays all around the world.


Where did it all start?

Many years ago, would be founders David Robertson and Mark Gillis organised budget ski trips for themselves and their friends. The term ‘budget’ is perhaps an understatement, with 8 people sleeping in an apartment for 6, including someone sleeping under the kitchen table.

After sailing around the world for 2 years in an old self renovated boat, David and Mark were invited on a UCPA holiday to Val d’Isere. To them, the experience was luxury; a bed to yourself, buffet food, instruction, ski pass and hire all included in the very humble price. But the watershed in the history of Action Outdoors was during a France vs. Scotland rugby match, in the UCPA bar. As David recalls well, Scotland won, and provided a conversation starter with a Frenchman who later turned out to be the Finance Manager for UCPA on holiday.

The conversation became a discussion on “Les Anglais” and UCPA. After further meetings were arranged and several agreements reached, Action Outdoors Holidays Ltd. was born.


David shares his thoughts

“The last fifteen years have been an incredible journey. Starting as a side project with never enough time, there have been ups and downs like anything in life. You tend to remember the highs of seeing people returning year after year, and the lows of ‘too much snow’ whereby transport grinds to a halt, and of course it is your fault!

I’ve been fortunate enough to have had a great team to work with over the years, from internally here at Action Outdoors, UCPA HQ, and at each centre all around the world.

At the end of the day, the most important thing for me is that everyone is enjoying or discovering a life outdoors. Here is to another fantastic fifteen years”

David Robertson, Co-Founder and Managing Director



15 years logo 


2004 – David and Mark were working in their former careers of Engineering and IT, so a website was launched with a booking engine the first of its kind. In fact, credit card companies had to catch up with their technology!

2008 – Eventually David managed to stop juggling two jobs and went full time at Action Outdoors.

2009 – Mark left the company to explore other ventures. Snow Express was formed with Dave Manley, bringing coach travel in house.

2012 – Action Outdoors became full members of ABTA.

2015 – David married his Swedish partner Åsa, who he met through UCPA. Appropriately enough, they were married at UCPA Chamonix.

2017 – After 13 years of continuous growth and a great reputation, UCPA entrusted Action Outdoor to fully manage the UCPA brand for the UK – UCPA.co.uk was taken under Action Outdoors’ wing.

Today – David is still very involved in the company, enthusiastic as ever to create opportunities to encourage young people to enjoy adventures in the outdoors.

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La Plagne |

I went to La Plagne in jan on a solo holiday. I was a bit nervous about meeting a load of strangers and was my first time skiing too! Well I needn't have worried. Keryn our rep made us feel really welcome and brought us all together. The UCPA centre was fab. Clean, warm and great food. The views up the piste were just gorgeous. I could not fault the holiday at all. Well organised, safe and loads of fun. I would definitely book through action outdoors again. Thanks guys. I've a new love for skiing :-)

La Plagne | Ski Full Time

This was our second UCPA snow trip and we were once again spoilt by good food, clean accommodation, modern equipment and great snow.

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.

La Plagne | Ski Half Time Instruction

Great holiday, perfect for meeting people. Really good UCPA with excellent facilities. The ski instructions was of a very high quality. Food at the UCPA excellent and plenty of choice. Highly recommend.

La Plagne | Snowboard Half Time Instruction

One word, Simples...