Ordinarily, when you visit a ski resort you expect to strap on some skis or a snowboard and let gravity do the rest. While there’s plenty of that at Serre Chevalier, any keen drivers should be sure to take advantage of the resort’s unique vehicular opportunities on the snow and ice.
A popular pursuit among Scandinavian youths, who often take cars onto frozen lakes and fjords in the coldest part of the year, here’s your chance to try your hand at the exciting pastime of ice driving – in France!
Rather than just giving you the keys and telling you to get out on the ice (which would be very dangerous), there are ice driving lessons available at Serre Chevalier, helping you learn how to control a car on (very) slippery ground. As well as being a valuable skill for anyone who drives during the winter months, ice driving presents unique challenges to a driver but opens up unique opportunities as well. For example, a trained driver can throw a car into the kind of slide that would instantly roll it on tarmac or concrete, but which, due to the low traction of the ice, leaves all four wheels on the surface.
With that said, don’t get ahead of yourself and try anything against the instructor’s advice, as ice driving, just like ordinary driving, requires great awareness of the road, the vehicle and one’s own abilities.
If you’ve been on a ski holiday before you may be familiar with the sight of these vehicles, ordinarily visible as faraway lights crawling over the mountains by night. In reality these are enormous, caterpillar-tracked snow-ploughing behemoths, whose drivers are given the task of ensuring that the snow is evenly spread and ready for the next day’s skiing.
At Serre Chevalier, you’ll have the opportunity to ride on of these, as well as a chance to have a meal with an experienced piste basher driver. Not only is this your chance to find out about the inner workings of a resort and how they keep it in peak condition throughout the season, but also a chance to hear the driver’s own opinion of the mountains, the resort and some of the stories of their work over the years.
If you want to put your new-found ice driving skills to the test in a more stripped down, race-like environment, try ice karting! The concept is fairly simple – you drive go-karts on ice – yet the sport is surprisingly addictive. Not only does it make for a riotously fun, light-hearted change from the normal fare of a skiing holiday, but the frozen track makes the karts handle in an entertainingly slippery, unpredictable manner.
How to Get to Serre Chevalier
There are no public transport connections to Serre Chevalier from Turin Airport, meaning that you’ll have to take a vehicle – although that will not be a problem to the petrolheads amongst you. A Turin airport bus or taxi is hands-down the most easy and convenient way to get started, but you could also drive yourself. It’s a little over two hours along the A32/A70, and you’ll have to cross the border into France. Don’t forget that you’ll have to pay a toll along the way.
Where to Stay
Apartment Les Voutes – attractive and well-placed, Les Voutes offers simplicity, excellence, value and some rather beautiful views.
Hôtel La Balme Alphand – combining traditional chalet décor with an airy, modern feel, the stylish Hôtel La Balme Alphand is a good choice. The rooms are excellent and there are plenty of places to relax in the hotel itself, including a log-decorated bar and a fireplace in the breakfast room.
Apartment Près des Forts – for those who enjoy a bit more space, consider the luxury apartment Près des Forts. The flat is well-equipped, with laundry facilities, a barbecue, a terrace and ski storage, and the ambience instantly makes you feel at home.