Battle of the Ski Resorts: Serre Chevalier

Can France’s Serre Chevalier win our Battle of the Ski Resort?

Nominated by Dickie

Ease of access 6/10

Your easiest airport is Turin. Driving is OK until south of Grenoble, when dribbling over the Col du Lautaret can take the fun out of it. There are other routes – of all the drives this is the one to research properly before setting off.

Sense of scale and epicness 6/10

It’s in a fantastic valley with the stunning and wild Ecrins National Park behind it. Europe’s highest city – Briançon – is at one end, with off-piste grail La Grave at the other, so its location credentials are right up there.

Variety and quality of the pistes 6/10

The piste map looks like there are hundreds of tiny pistes; on the ground they all blend together to make seamless runs. Some of the final runs to resort level can be steeper than their grading, so beginners be wary.

Off-piste potential 6/10

Between the pistes are excellent and it’s easy to end up back at chairlifts, and the valley contains dozens of secluded chutes and bowls. There are some excellent itineraries off the back of the resort – the upper end of the area by Monetier Les Bains is quieter with a big north-facing itinerary off the back.

Lapability 5/10

Serre Chevalier lacks the downhill of the bigger resorts, so you’ll be enjoying a trip there and back along the valley rather than picking a piste to perfect. There is an epic red running down into Villeneuve off the Tête de la Balme which drops into a fabulous bowl and is worth a few runs.

On-hill grub 6/10

Some of the best value in France, which is damnation with faint praise. Southern French food is essentially Alpine with a bit of a Mediterranean influence so it’s a bit more interesting then death by tartiflette.

Après scene 7/10

Good at the base stations, and the towns are wonderful. Briançon is a real treat – beautiful, lively and interesting. Best caught after skiing – later on it tends to shut up shop apart from a few restaurants.

Base suitability 9/10

Down the road from Les Deux Alpes and La Grave, round the corner from some of the best touring on the globe. This is one resort it’s worth driving to and exploring the surroundings.

Family friendly? 5/10

There is a good selection of places to stay, though many are a short walk or drive away. School-wise it’s fine, but there aren’t the on-hill facilities for tinies available which make other resorts a more engaging experience.

RANK: Joint 26th