Skiing in Serre Chevalier

Serre Chevalier’s ski area includes 250km of pistes and good skiing for all abilities at the foot of Le Parc l’Ecrins, the biggest glacier park, and a mix of Mediterranean and Alpine climate with plenty of sunshine on well maintained north facing slopes.

Serre Chevalier Ski Area Overview

Serre Chevalier’s ski area includes four ski villages – Monetier les Bains, Villeneuve, Chantemerle and Briançon – between 1,500m and 1,200m above sea level and nine peaks of which Le Pic de l’Yert (2,830m) is the highest. Serre Chevalier’s ski area is good for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities and a typical day involves skiing well-groomed slopes from one side of the ski area to the other with a choice of 103 runs including 12 black, 39 red, 29 blue and 23 green runs. Artificial snowmaking covers two-thirds of Serre Chevalier’s 250km pistes to ensure good snow conditions all season from early December until late April. 

Monetier les Bains

Monetier le Bains (1,500m) is the quietest of four villages and provides the most challenging skiing, however, the ski lift system is the oldest and slowest in the valley. The base station on the outskirts of the village includes a small arcade of shops, ski schools and wide open slopes for beginners with two-drag lifts servicing the nursery slopes beside the main chairlift that rises to Bachas mid-station at 2,176m. The groomed slopes below Bachus include numerous red and blue runs that weave through the trees to the base station and the Tabuc black run around the back of the mountain, which is gentle, to begin with then plummets down a steep, mogul-filled face ending with a flat stretch some distance from the base station at the Ski du Font.

Monetier’s treelined slopes reach as high as the Bachus mid-station. From Bachas, the Cibout chairlift climbs a further 319m to the top of an open bowl and a red run or a black run down. There’s also a natural half pipe which is great for thrill seekers looking for big air and entertaining for those riding the Yert chair which takes skiers to the highest point in Serre Chevalier at 2,398m, and from where you can ski to Villeneuve. The views from the top of the Yert chairlift are of steep edgy cliff faces with sharp rocks and mean-looking couloirs that form the back of the Cucumelle peak, but the route across the valley is via a red or black run to the Cucumelle chairlift that leads to Villeneuve.


Villeneuve (1,400m) is arguably the most popular of Serre Chevalier’s four ski villages with a massive variety of runs and many interesting features. The Villeneuve base area has two parts, the biggest of which is between the Frejus gondola and the Case du Beouf chairlift. The base area is near a modern shopping arcade where both the Tourist Office and the ESF and Ski Connections Ski School offices are situated. The base area has two draglifts and a rope pull for novices. It’s also the meeting point for ski schools and can be busy at times. Situated beside the base area is the Le Mickey (a green run), which is a hive of activity and can be accessed by Place de Aravet, a square with parking, restaurants, ski schools and bars. The Aravet gondola starts here and alights at Aravet, a mid-station at 1,972m with a beginners’ area with a magic carpet. A long and gentle green run weaves its way from Aravet back to the base and is a perfect picturesque tree run for beginners. 

Back at the base, the Case du Beouf high-speed chairlift is the quickest way to ride back up the mountain; taking less than 10 minutes to reach 2,273m and passing above the epic Case du Beouf black run, which cuts dramatically through the trees. On sunny days skiers are silhouetted by sunlight, illuminating their snow trails as they speed down the face. The top of the Case du Beouf offers marvellous views of the Cucumelle and the possibility to ski towards Monetier or Chantemerle. More advanced skiers should head towards Monetier via the Clot Gautier chairlift. The Clot Gautier red run passes the Eychauda draglift that leads skiers to L’Eychauda, the highest peak in Villeneuve. There is a black or red run down to choose from which are part of the Brut Neige area, meaning runs are not groomed yet are secure. This allows skiers to experience off-piste sensations in safe conditions. There are many ways one could ski back to the Clot Gautier chair allowing this area to be easily lapped, using a different route down each time, with a good chance of cutting fresh lines in the powder. 

From the top of the Clot Gautier chair 2,490m there are wide-open blue runs leading to the area known as La Balm, which is serviced by two draglifts and also has a green run which is ideal for beginner skiers. Ski passed La Balm to reach the Vallon Express chairlift, opened in 2011, which rises to the base of La Cucumelle 2,221m and means that one can now reach Monetier from the base area in Villeneuve by riding just two chairlifts.

From the top of the Case du Boeuf it’s also possible to ski to Chantemerle using the Marteau blue run which passes the snow park and leads into the Luc Alphand black run, named after the former French ski world champion who lives locally. The impressive black run plunges into the valley allowing dramatic views of Chantemerle beneath. For intermediates, some blues and greens meander through the trees passing through the Melizone snow park in the forests with natural park features sculpted from wood and huge logs. 

Villeneuve is also home to Club Med with its base area, which is located about 1km away from the main base station where the cable car Pontillas leads to Frejus at 2,065m. The ‘Club Med’ cable car provides an alternative way up the mountain to the area beneath La Cucumelle and is open to all, but it’s seldom used by non-Club Med clients and the runs down to Pontillas are often icy and crowded with Club Med clients, and best avoided if possible. 


Chantemerle is small with no beginner slopes at the base station, but the Bletonet chairlift and Troncon cable car both provide access to the mid-station at Serre Ratier (1,900m), which is a main centre of activity with wide-open area with nursery slopes, cafes and Le Chalet Hotel Ratier. The Café Soleil is a popular place for lunch and breaks, with ample deck chairs and seating facing a broad and flat area, served by two draglifts and a magic carpet, which is ideal for novices. 

The Combes and Oree du Bois chairlifts leave from here, rising above the tree line and providing access to the Genepi blue run to Villeneuve, and a big open bowl with excellent blue runs leading to the Gran Serre chairlift which rises to Serre Chevalier at 2,491m and offers spectacular views from the summit. Advanced skiers can drop off the back of the Serre Chevalier peak and ski off-piste to the Villeneuve ski area arriving at the bottom of the Clot Gautier chairlift. Piste skiers can enjoy an excellent blue run that follows the ridgeline into the bowl below which ample blue and red runs lead to the Prorel chair lift which rises to Prorel (2,400m) and is the gateway to Briancon. 

Alternatively, the Saludes red run leads into the Edutis red run that winds through the trees to the Aiguillette chairlift which rises above the 3km long Aiguillette red run. The Aiguillette chairlift is slow and this part of the ski area is often very quiet thanks to its trees, which provide shelter and better visibility in bad weather. A choice of blue and red runs at the top of the Aiguillette chairlift leads back to the Serre Ratier mid-point. To return to Chantemerle from Serre Ratier, advanced skiers and plucky intermediates can ski the Luc Alphand black run, while beginners and less confident intermediates can ski the easy Briance green run.


Briancon is the smallest of Serre Chevalier’s four ski domains. There is no skiing at the base area and the ski area is accessed by the Prorel cable car, which rises to the Plateau de Pralong mid-point (1,600m) where there is a restaurant and a small nursery slope with one draglift for novices. The cable car continues from mid-point to the Le Prorel peak at 2,360m where two red runs or two blue runs and the Serre Blanc draglift lead to the ski area above Chantemerle.

The best slopes in Briancon are the long classic red runs between the top of Le Prorel and mid-station. The Remparts red run splits into three red runs which are wide, steep and often very quiet, but sometimes icy in the mornings so are better skied once the sun has softened the snow a little. Briancon’s ski area is south-facing has more sunshine than the rest of the Serre Chevalier valley and offers spectacular views of the town below. There’s also night skiing once a week during the high season from 7-10 pm on the floodlit Vaubaun red run from the Plateau de Pralong mid-station down to the base station with lovely views of the town lights shimmering below.

Beginner Skiing in Serre Chevalier

Serre Chevalier’s best areas for beginner skiers are Villeneuve and Chantelmerle. Villeneuve is ideal for total beginners and children. The base area is fitted out with three draglifts and a pull rope which access smooth, flat wide-open areas that are away from the end of the more advanced runs.

The ‘Mickey’ piste is a green run at the base that is broad and has a variety of gradients for beginners to descend in accordance with their ability. This piste can become crowded as it also forms the end of the blue run 3.8km ‘Marteau’. 

There is a magic carpet at the top of the Aravet bubble and a ride up this lift is included in the beginner’s pass. This allows total beginners the chance to enjoy beautiful mountain views whilst practising. The magic carpet area also has a garden for toddlers with giant cartoon flowers and inflated toys – a truly magical world.

The 3km green run ‘Aravet’ is by far the most picturesque and lengthy run from which a beginner can benefit. The piste’s hairpin bends gently meander down the mountain and through the forests in an enchanting manner, however, it is a fairly narrow run that may be frightening for some beginners as the edge of this piste drops into the forests.

Chantemerle’s area for total beginners is situated at the top of the gondola ‘Trocon’ at the mid-station Serre Ratier 1900m. There are two drags and a magic carpet in a large flat area for beginners. From here it is possible to take a simple route that links to the green ‘Aravet’ tree run in Villeneuve or take the easy green ‘Briance’ that winds its way back to the base in Chantemerle. 

Villeneuve and Chantemele have a multitude of blues beginning from the peaks ‘Serre Chevalier’ 2491m and ‘La Foret’ 1972m that allow capable beginners the opportunity to experience skiing from the top of the mountain to the bottom allowing them spectacular mountain views and even have a go at the beginner jumps in the snow park.

Monetier does have a good area for beginners at its base, but options further up the mountain are limited and the same can be said of Briancon.

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Intermediate Skiing in Serre Chevalier

Serre Chevalier is a first-rate ski resort for intermediate skiers. The 250km of skiable terrain has a suburb selection of well-maintained reds and blues in all kinds of terrain enabling intermediates to challenge themselves and enjoy varied terrain with spectacular mountain vistas.

Villeneuve offers intermediates an assortment of reds by either heading to Monetier or Chantemerle. Towards Monetier the red run 2.7km Clot Gautier is not to be missed and the new ‘Vallons’ chair lift enables skiers to ride the 3km red ‘La Cucumelle’ descending from 2,221m back to base. 

Chantemele has an excellent area for intermediates from the peak ‘Grand Aigle’ at 2491m. This peak accesses an open bowl that is home to a group of blues and reds varying in gradients allowing intermediates to work on technique on the gentler slopes before being faced with steeper terrain. The chair lifts ‘Le Prorel’ and ‘Combes’ are ideal for lapping this area. The red runs 1.5km ‘Saludes’ and 2.7km ‘Edutis’, beginning above the tree line before plunging into the forests, are broad and spacious and excellent for intermediates.

Briançon’s reds are difficult as their gradient is steep and are better for more advanced skiers, however, confident intermediates will benefit from their challenge. These reds are best avoided in the morning as they can be very icy. From Le Prorel 2043m these gnarly reds seem endless as they plummet into the historic town whose views are incredible.

Monetier’s steep terrain is best left for adventurous intermediates and advanced skiers. From the peak Yret at 2,830m the conditions can be icy and the pistes are full of moguls. A better place for intermediates is around the top of ‘Cibouit’ where red or blue runs zig zag their way from an open bowl into the trees before arriving at the base allowing a charming descent. This area is better skied early on whilst the sun still shines in this part of the ski domain.

Advanced & Off-Piste Skiing in Serre Chevalier

Serre Chevalier’s enormous ski domain offers advanced skiers a lot of challenging terrain all over the valley. The highest peak ‘Pic de L’Yret’ 2830m in Monetier has the steepest terrain and excellent off-piste skiing. Serre Chevalier has a lot of off-piste visible from the lifts which can be reached by short hikes without the need for touring equipment.

At the top of the ‘Yret’ chair in Monetier is a cliff face that offers a demanding off-piste descent, visible from the Yret chair lift. To reach the cliff face, follow the ridgeline along the black piste ‘Col du Vent’ passing the barrier underneath the Yert chair. The descent is accessible after a traverse to the right, crossing the top of a couloir until the cliff face becomes wide open where it is possible to drop. The sharp descent leads to the edge of a gentle blue which can be crossed into an adrenaline-filled natural half pipe whose sides are steep before arriving back at the start of the Yret chair.

Monetier is home to Serre Chevalier’s Arva Park which is situated by the blue run ‘Eychauda’. The park has Arva signals buried within it that are designed to simulate searching for victims in an avalanche. This park is a great way to ensure visitors know how to use their Arvas. There are also six Arva checkpoints situated throughout the valley that will enable skiers to check there transceivers are working correctly. These points are marked on the piste map. 

Serre Chevalier’s ski domain is tagged with ‘Brute de Neige’ areas. These areas are secured but not groomed, allowing skiers to experience challenging natural conditions in safety. Advanced skiers should head to Villeneuve’s ‘Brute de Neige’ area, situated high above the tree line at the top of ‘L’Eychauda’ chair at 2659m The black run ‘Isolee’ maps the ridgeline; a drop to the left at any point along this run accesses a broad cliff face that offers skiers many off-piste routes back to the chair lift ‘Clot Gautier.’ This speedy chair enables quick access back to this excellent Brut de Neige area as well as the piste 2.7km ‘Clot Gautier’ which is an outstanding red run. The 3km red run ‘La Cucumelle is surrounded by wide open smooth curvaceous gullies that spread out across the face of the mountain, a brilliant off-piste area. A short hike up la Cucumelle to its peak broadens the amount of off-piste terrain available. Also to be noted is the 3 km back run ‘Case du Beouf’ that is steep, long and testing, it cuts through the forests that can be penetrated for an alternative off-piste ski tree descent. 

In Chantemerle advanced skiers should head for the Aguillette chair otherwise known as the loan lift. The top of this chair can be accessed by visible off-piste on the face of the peak ‘le Prorel’ 2,566m. There are many interesting rock features and trees to ski through around the 2.8km Aguillette red run which is brilliant, as well as its neighbouring red run the spectacular 2.5 km Etudis which was made for speed freaks. 

Serre Chevalier’s tree skiing is fabulous because the trees are well-spaced. The forests are made up of big larches that grow further apart from each other than alpine forests due to their need for extra moisture. Around Aguillette advanced skiers will find a plethora of routes through these beautiful forests. The advantage of these skiable forests in Serre Chevalier is that it is especially good for bad light days which will test any advanced skier to their limits and enable people to ski in weather conditions that render resorts without trees unskiable.

Briançon’s wide-open sheer red runs are excellent for advanced skiers as they are long, broad and generally very quiet. Advanced skiers can, therefore, really test themselves away from the crowds on the 3 km long reds ‘Rempants’, ‘Charonde’ and ‘Grand Gargouille’ with spectacular views of the historic town unfolding directly beneath them.

Boarding & Freestyle in Serre Chevalier

Serre Chevalier’s Snow Park is in Villeneuve at 2,200m. It covers four hectares and is 700m long, so it’s not massive and can easily be lapped. It’s fairly quiet and although a good place to improve freestyle tricks, it’s not the best place for true park fanatics.

The Snow Park is split into beginner, intermediate and advanced areas with about thirty features in total. The beginner area has small jumps, a box and a hip jump ideal for first-timers in a park. The intermediate area has three decent-sized kickers, a box and a rainbow rail. The advanced area has three black jumps, the last of which is enormous, but not always open. A small drag lift services the park and passes the park shaper’s lodge where there is a chill-out area playing reggae tunes with occasional BBQs.

A little further down the mountain past Aravet on the way to Chantemerel is the ‘Melezone’, a snow park named after the ‘Meleze’ (French for Larches) trees that unfold in the forests where classic snow park attractions have been sculpted from local wood. Features include boxes made of huge logs split in half, wooden jibs, horses and seesaws to slide over. The Melezone, serviced by a draglift off the side of the black run ‘Luc Alphand, is a good place to practice freestyle while riding in the picturesque forests, however, be careful of those using the area for picnicking!

Serre Chevalier’s visible and easily accessible off-piste offers ample opportunity for free riders to spot good cliff jumps and cut some lines in fresh powder without the need for long treks. A short easy hike up La Cucumelle or La Balm will lead riders to lengthy off-piste descents, over natural half pipes, interesting rock features and through-the-trees. Serre Chevalier’s excellent tree skiing is ideal for snowboarders and skiers alike as the trees are perfectly spaced enabling riders to navigate the trees in many directions and at speed. 

Serre Chevalier’s off-piste tends to be visible from the chairlifts and is not exceptionally gnarly and, therefore, it is fairly safe for experienced off-piste skiers and riders. The off-piste can be mostly accessed without the need for a guide but should be ridden with care and with the use of avalanche beacons. There is an Arva park in Monetier that simulates the use of beacons in a burial situation along with six Arva checkpoints across the mountain that are well-marked on the piste map.

Serre Chevalier Mountain Restaurants

Serre Chevalier’s 15 mountain restaurants are predominately canteen-style restaurants with self-service facilities catering for a large clientele, but more exclusive a la carte restaurants are also on offer. Costs vary but, in general, the food on the mountain is good and not overpriced.

Mountain Restaurants in Villeneuve

La Grotte

La Grotte is a large English-run restaurant and bar at the foot of the green run ‘le Mickey’. The restaurant serves bar food at very reasonable prices. The service is great as the Grotte team is made of friendly mountain characters. La Grotte is a good place to eat and take a break in the day and also one of the best après ski bars in the valley thanks to a lively Happy hour with a different event every day. 

L’Aravet 2000

L’Aravet 2000 is the larger of the two mountain restaurants at the foot of the Aravet gondola with a self-service buffet in a canteen-style restaurant and a bar. There is outdoor seating on a terrace along with scores of red deckchairs served by waiters, an ideal place to soak in the sunshine.

Le Bercail

Le Bercail is a large wooden lodge tucked away in the corner of Aravet with a la carte menu as well as a self-service buffet. The centrepiece of the lodge is a large wood burner creating a cozy ambience. Outside is a decent-sized wooden decking area with plenty of seating. 

Le Bivwack

Le Bivwack is a mountain at the top of the Case du Beouf which has a la carte menus specializing in mountain cuisine, fondues and Raclettes. The lodge is situated just off the blue ‘Genepi’ run in a tranquil location. The outside decking faces the sun with views of the snow park to enjoy.


L’Echaillion restaurant and bar is a little further down situated on the Fangeas piste that leads through the woods. The restaurant has fabulous views of La Cucumelle and offers an a la carte menu with typical dishes. This restaurant is reputed to be the most expensive on the mountain, however, and not necessarily the best value for money.

Restaurant Frejus

Restaurant Frejus is a large wooden lodge at the top of the Frejus gondola at the foot of the ski area La Balm with ample seating inside and out. The restaurant is a self-service style canteen whose menu is more limited than other restaurants yet on the whole cheaper. Dishes on offer include chicken and chips. The bar, run by a quirky Frenchman, is a fun place to hang out and a popular place for local mountain workers to lunch. 

Le Pi Mai

Le Pi Mai restaurant and hotel is among a cluster of mountain lodges in the village de Frejus at the base of La Cucumelle (a red run), which is visible from the new Vallons Express chairlift. This authentic classic lodge, renowned for its great a la carte menu, is a charming place to take a break and enjoy classic French mountain cuisine in a beautiful environment, off the beaten track, where the staff are inviting and very hospitable.

Mountain Restaurants in Chantemerle

Cafe Soleil

Cafe Soleil is a self-service restaurant for pizzas and snacks, and the most popular of four restaurants at the mid-station Serre Ratier. Its large terrace and ample deck chairs are a perfect place to take a break for food or coffee and the cafe lends fancy trilby hats to clients to shade from the sun.

Le Troll

Le Troll, beneath Cafe Soleil, is a much smaller restaurant and bar with a cosy ambience and an a la carte menu offering mountain cuisine and also serves pastries and hot drinks after 3.30 pm.

Le Relais de Ratier

Le Relais de Ratier is a large canteen above the Security de Piste offices with a big outdoor seating area. The self-service buffet offers meat dishes, salads, omelettes and crepes at reasonable prices. A great meal deal is steak and chips with a half carafe of wine. There is also a log fire inside and the staff are very welcoming. 

Le Chalet Hotel Ratier

Le Chalet Hotel Ratier is a lovely mountain log cabin with a fabulous decking area behind Le Relais de Ratier. The hotel’s location allows one to escape the crowds and enjoy panoramic mountain views in relative calm. The restaurant has an a la carte menu serving traditional mountain dishes and is a great place for those wishing to take time off from skiing and to wine and dine in style on the mountain.

Grand Alpes 2100m

Grand Alpes 2100m is a large self-service restaurant at the foot of the Grand Serre chairlift with a great selection of hot foods, salads, pizzas and snacks at very reasonable prices. The bar has a big balcony with plenty of outside seating. 

Mountain Restaurants in Monetier

Le Chapak

Le Chapak mountain restaurant at the top of the Bachas chairlift currently is a self-service restaurant, will provide fast food, snacks and salads whereas Le Flocon will be a more traditional restaurant with an A la Carte menu providing mountain specialities amid open fires in a mountain lodge. The owners are in the process of adding another restaurant, Le Flocon, which will be situated by Arva Park and opposite Le Chapak.

Le Peyra Juana

Le Peyra Juana is a quaint mountain restaurant beside a small chapel tucked away in the woods off the Rochamout (a blue run). This small modest hut has true charisma and is a great place to take a break and dine on a small a la carte menu, which offers a choice of salads, mountain cuisine and pasta dishes. 

Mountain restaurants in Briancon

Le Chalet du Pra Long

Le Chalet du Pra Long is situated at the mid-station Plateau de Pralong. The restaurant is large with wooden beams and high ceilings and has a big terrace with beautiful views of the town of Briancon below. The restaurant is self-service with plat du jours and smaller plates of food available for snacking. The restaurant has a pool table, games room and open fire. 

Le Chalet du Serre Blanc

Le Chalet du Serre Blanc is a charming little restaurant at 2,235m at the top of Briancon’s ski area. There are seven tables inside and a similar number outside on a terrace with exceptional views of La Valle de la Durance beneath it. The restaurant has a small a la carte menu that includes specialities like Tartiflette along with vegetarian dishes, soup of the day and desserts. The restaurant’s remote south-facing location means it tends to be quiet and is well worth a visit for its incredible views unable to be seen from other parts of the mountain.


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