At three hours drive from Milan, Marseille and Lyon, Serre-Chevalier Valley is a somehow underestimated resort, well worth a stop for any snowboarder – especially if you’re looking for freeride terrain. Sure, its most famous champion is alpine ski racer Luc Alphand, but Serre-Chevalier has had its fair share of serious boarders. Snowboardcross’s very own king Pierre Vaultier shreds around, and a generation of freestylers have been groomed there. Think of reapers like Julien Bourguignon and Sam Zartarian, and even Gary Zebrowski, the first Tahitian to take part in the winter Olympics!
Serre-Chevalier Valley is composed of three villages and a town, Briançon, which boasts the title of France’s highest city. With 300 days of sunshine a year, an elevation comprised between 1200 and 2800 meters high and with 61 lifts, it’s kind of a dream come true: a huge playground and plenty of good days to enjoy it. Shred under the European larches, enjoy the view of the glaciers and once the session is over, wander around the small villages or indulge in the pleasures of the town.
Plenty of good spots to ride… and to eat!
Serre-Chevalier does have a snowpark, but it’s mostly good for beginners. It offers green, blue, red and black lines, but the two last ones might be a bit deceptive for expert riders. Anyway, if you have seen the Benchpress video [link], you know that you don’t need a park to have fun! With 250km of slopes, the resort has plenty of bumps and stumps to play with and safety nets to ollie over.
A good way to discover what the resort has to offer is to take part in the Grand-Pix de Serre-Chevalier. The first French snowboard gathering in the mid 1980’s, it has come back in full force last season, and even opened to skiers. What’s more, Serre-Chevalier has an amazing backountry territory, from La Cucumelle to Tour du Prorel, which will take years to get over with – don’t even start us on splitboarding possibilities. Get there before the word spreads!
Three villages and one town mean so many ways to have fun! In Monêtier-les-Bains, the closest village to Col du Lautaret and Les Deux Alpes, enjoy a fancy cocktail at the Blue Bird. In the next village, 1420 is definitely the place to start the evening. This wine bar is known for its edgy music thanks to resident DJ Gabriel, and the word has it they are expending for next winter! Le Chazelay, a few minutes walk away, is the perfect place to end the evening. But before going crazy in the bar, better grab some food. From Michelin awarded restaurants to the raddest snacks, you’ll find plenty of good stops in the valley.
Le Péché Gourmand is Briançon’s finest restaurant, with one star in the prestigious Guide Michelin. You’ll also find a bunch of good places to eat, like Le Gavroche in the old town, La Marotte in La-Salle-Les-Alpes or La Table du Chazal in Monêtier-les-Bains. The Kazdal, in Briançon, is the nicest place to grab a legit burger, and if you want to please your tummy without leaving the slopes, the Chalet du Lac, down Villeneuve’s slopes, is what you are looking for. But the surest way to eat without losing too much riding time is to eat on the slopes, right? Perfect : Easy Vallée are delivering you fresh sandwiches directly at the top of your favourite lift!
A Legit Skatepark
Hangar Zero is Briançon’s indoor skatepark: perfect to wrap up a full day of riding experience. You can also pay a quick visit to Italy, 15 minutes from Serre-Chevalier, or spend the end of the day in Briançon’s old town. Built by Vauban at the end of the 17th century, it features on the UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites. Another thing you cannot miss: Monêtier’s “bains chauds”. The hot spring is the perfect spot to lay down at the end of a long day in the fresh pow. Relax in the outside spa, look at the snowflakes falling, and think of all the rides you’ll do in the days to come!