Serre Chevalier Lifts & Terrain

Serre Chevalier Lifts & Terrain

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Our Terrain Ratings

Powderhound rating = advanced/expert terrain + powder + freshies + uncrowded

Nearby Ski Resorts

La Grave

    Serre Chevalier Ski Trail & Piste Map
  • Serre Chevalier Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    1,200m - 2,800m (1,600m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    6 to 7m
  • Lifts (62)
    7 Gondolas / cable cars
    20 Chairs
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Early December to late April
    8:30am to 4:30pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs - 250km
    Longest run - 8 km
    Advanced - 16%
    Intermediate - 37%
    Beginner - 47%
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 21/22
    Serre Chevalier - All Areas
    Adult - €54
    Child - €37.20
    Child u/6yr - Free

    Briancon only
    Adult - €38.60
    Child - €20.10
    Child u/6yr - Free

    Chantemerle Villeneuve only
    Adult - €52
    Child - €42.40
    Child u/6yr - Free

    Monetier only
    Adult - €45.30
    Child - €35.70
    Child u/6yr - Free
    Briancon Ski Trail Map
  • Briancon Ski Trail Map
    Chantemerle Villeneuve Ski Trail Map
  • Chantemerle Villeneuve Map

    Monetier Ski Trail Map
  • Monetier Ski Trail Map

Serre Chevalier Skiing & Snowboarding

A vast ski resort like Serre Chevalier has something for everyone, whether you are a rank beginner or seasoned expert. The ski area is made up of three smaller (petit) domains - Briancon, Chantemerle - Villeneuve and Monetier. Each area has its own lift pass, or one can simply buy a full Serre Chevalier lift ticket to make it simpler.

Serre Chevalier has a full spectrum of generally north-facing terrain from deep valley to mountain peak. The nearly 4,000 hectares of skiable terrain, oodles of lifts & 250km of piste trails on a solid 1,600m vertical makes for a great ski resort. Long groomed piste, top to bottom valley runs, all levels of tree skiing, natural half pipes, challenging steeps & wide-open alpine bowls top it all off.

Snowboarders may struggle on some long traverses linking different areas (the resort is 15km wide after all!) but attacking the problem with the attitude of ‘the first sign of fear is turning’ should see you through. A series of snow parks near the peaks of Serre Chevalier & Prorel will enthuse those needing unnatural snow stimulation.

Serre Chevalier Skiing Highlights

The Serre Chevalier skiing highlights are a rite of passage according to Powderhounds. They are only to be undertaken when there is no powder because skiing powder ALWAYS takes priority. Tick off the following when at Serre Chevalier.

  • Test your thighs on the numerous top to bottom valley piste trails. Whilst there are various permutations one can try, the best is from the top of the Prorel gondola all the way to its base in Briancon – 900m vert & the old fort in the distance the whole way seemingly at your feet makes for a cracking run down. Others include a 1.400m vert descent from the top of the resort on Yret down the Le Monetier les Bains via Bachas & the options from the peaks of Serre Chevalier & L’Eychauda all the way into Villeneuve.
  • For the sake of nostalgia, ride the Frejus clam shell door gondola before it disappears in 2020. A great insight into why skiing is so much more fun today than 30 years ago!
  • Head to the highest point at Serre Chevalier on the Yret chair. Advanced & experts will enjoy the off-piste terrain, particularly back towards the Bachas. Others can stick to the delightful high alpine piste into the bottom of the Cucumelle bowl.
  • Ski the trees. Serre Chevalier has some of Europe’s best tree skiing in open larch forest. Even though they look like pines, larch are deciduous and a delight to ski through in the right conditions. Best lines are under the Aiguillette chair which is propped discretely away from the crowds.
  • Complete the full “7 Vallees Tour de Serre Chevalier”. We made it up, but essentially it is a full single day ski exploration across the seven high alpine valleys within the ski resort. Start at either Briancon or Le Monetier les Bains & stay above the tree line all the way across the range before the final valley descent & bus ride back to the start. Naturally, celebrate with some après drinks before getting on the bus.
  • Explore the Serre Chevalier backcountry. The high peaks & glaciers to the west of the resort allow for massive descents into surrounding valleys. Skin up one of the surrounding peaks & plunder a lonely fresh line.
  • On a sunny day, shun the Serre Che mountain huts as (with some exceptions), they are mostly below par. Instead pack supplies for a BBQ/picnic lunch and ski to one of the fabulous purpose-built picnic areas. A backcountry lunch experience in relative comfort inbounds.

Ski Lifts

The ancient lift system at Serre Chevalier has long been its Achilles heel when compared to other ski resorts on the world stage. The multitude of surface lifts, old slow chairlifts, ancient gondolas & cable cars make it seem behind the times and make busy days appear a lot worse than they are. The slopes are deserted but some of the older lifts have huge queues in peaks season. Thankfully that is all slowly changing.

In a multi-year period starting in season 17/18, 5 chairlifts & two gondolas will replace a multitude of T-bars, J-bars (button lifts), chairlifts, a gondola (Frejus) & a cable car (Pontillas). The changes will transform the resort & bring it into the 21st century. Sadly, the replacement of the infrastructure is going very slowly and taking far longer than we they could ever have expected.

Lift Passes & Tickets

Serre Chevalier has a superb value lift pass covering the entire resort. Closer to prices in Italy, Ser Che is incredibly competitive on price, particularly once the lift improvements are complete.

There are cheaper Petits Domains (local /small area) lift passes for the three separate ski areas that make up Serre Chevalier. If intending to only ski the Briancon or Monetier sectors, the savings on a local pass are significant enough to be worthwhile. In the central Chantemerle-Villeneuve sector the price differential is insignificant.

A range of affordable ‘learn to ski’ passes are also available for access to a limited number of beginner ski lifts. Some include a return trip on an access lift to a mid-mountain learn-to-ski area.

Trail Map

The Serre Chevalier ski trail map, whilst it gives the impression of the resort’s immensity, does in no way do the ski terrain justice. Whilst the piste trails are adequately portrayed, there is scant real detail in the trail map regarding the off piste & those venturing off need to follow their nose.

See the trail maps covering the petits domains here: Briancon, Chantemerle-Villeneuve & Monetier.

On-Piste Terrain

Novice & Beginner Ski Areas

Serre Chevalier has an excellent children's program so parents can rest easy and enjoy their turns. At the base in Briancon, the way the instructors wrangled all the children from their 'holding pens' onto the gondola and up the mountain on a busy day was a sight to behold - superb!

For ‘non-children' the best learn-to-ski areas are mid-mountain. From Briancon it is up at Pra-Long, and from Chantemerle-Villeneuve it is best up at Serre Ratier. Both can be accessed by comfortable gondolas. In the valley, the best novice areas are in Villeneuve around the Frejus/Aravet base & at Pre Chabert near Le Monetier les Bains. Both areas can be extremely busy on a weekend & in peak periods. Head up the mountain to avoid the bedlam. Beyond the learning zones, the entire resort is linked with beginner trails. All the valley stations are skiable on 'easy' rated trails down the mountain, except to Briancon. A download on the gondola from Pra-Long will be necessary for anyone not confident on an intermediate piste.

Intermediate & Advanced Groomerhounds

Statistically (& in reality), the over 130km of intermediate & advanced rated groomed piste trails at Serre Chevalier will warm the proverbial heart of any groomerhound. Trails up to 8km long should give everyone a satisfactory level of thigh liquefication that every relaxing snow holiday deserves. No need to ask for your money back at this resort. Would love to hear you try though!

Off Piste Freeride & Tree Skiing Terrain

The old adage ‘seek & you shall find’ is appropriately applied to skiing & snowboarding the off-piste at Serre Chevalier. Unless nature conspires against it, Powderhounds & freeriders will locate the goods ‘somewhere’ within the resort up to a week after the last snowfall. Just traverse a bit wider & drop in. The backside of the resort has sunny south faces with lovely backcountry descents into the small villages near Pelvoux ski area.

Serre Chevalier is on par with Sauze d'Oulx & the Via Lattea (located just over the border in Italy) as having the best tree skiing in western Europe. The larch forests provide perfect spacing up high, increasing in technicality the lower one goes. Be mindful that some of the lower tree sections are exceptionally steep & can be only marginally covered. Be prepared to walk to a bus stop if going adventuring all the way into the valley.

Some off-piste ski lessons & guiding can make all the difference to a stay at Serre Chevalier. See our Serre Chevalier Ski Lessons & Guiding page for more information & booking.