Historically, the famous French UCPA was only for young adults. Such is the popularity of UCPA in France that a new formula was created: the all-inclusive UCPA family ski holiday.
UCPA family has become the perfect way to enjoy quality time with the kids and grandparents, all while hitting the slopes, whatever your level might be. Whether you are an expert or a beginner, UCPA family offers something for everyone.
The most complicated part of organizing any ski holiday with children has to be organizing the day care. And this is where UCPA family excels.
Children’s ski classes are organized at the same time as that of the parents, and the classes are all coordinated. If the adult classes are running late, the children are kept under supervision until the parents return.
In addition, there is full baby-sitting service (centre de loisirs) during ski hours so that children who are not skiing are entertained indoors with activities, arts and crafts. This includes even babies in diapers and children up to the age of 12.
The babysitting is included in the price of the all-inclusive offer, which makes it one of the best values around when it comes to planning pricey ski holidays.
Classes for all levels
One of the other big advantages of UCPA family is that ski and snowboard lessons are included and are at a variety of levels. All classes start and end at the same time so parents can each go to their own classes, with the kids in their own groups.
The ski monitors watch the children until the parents return, so there is no panic to get back in case the line at the ski lift is longer than expected.
UCPA offers all-inclusive packages, which means that once you arrive, you don’t have to worry about anything. Your package will typically include accommodation, meals, lift passes, ski/snowboard lessons, and equipment rental.
Helmets are provided for children and are also available for adults. It is recommended that families arrive at least a few hours prior to classes beginning so that everyone in the family can get their gear before classes start.
UCPA family ski holidays offer comfortable accommodation in one large room for 4 or an option to upgrade to two adjoining rooms for a minimal cost. Each room has its own private bathroom, television, large cabinets, and towel heater.
It does get quite busy during the February school ski holidays, so book early if you want your pick of adjoining rooms.
Because it is a non-profit, guests are asked to contribute by making their own beds at the start of the trip, and to do some basic cleaning at the end of the holiday.
Canteen food and drinks
Breakfast, lunches and dinners are offered buffet-style in the UCPA canteen at designated hours. (Unlike a cruise ship, there are not all-day meals, the buffet is only open for 1-1h30 at mealtimes.)
Babies and toddlers who are not eating solid foods yet will have to bring their own foods, but there is usually a handy microwave in the canteen nearby. Note, the accommodation does not include a kitchenette, so this may be annoying if you are traveling with very small children or family members who have allergies.
The food is typically French with a salad bar, handful of main dishes, and cheeses and desserts to finish off. There is not a huge amount of variety but there is more than enough to enjoy that it is not mom or dad who has to do the cooking!
Alcoholic drinks are not included in the price, but UCPA usually has bar facilities. Because UCPA is a non-profit, prices are heavily subsidised.
In addition to skiing and snowboarding, UCPA offers a range of activities for families to enjoy. These can include ice skating, snowshoeing, swimming, and more. There are also evening activities such as live music, quiz nights, and film screenings.
UCPA at various French ski resorts
UCPA operates in across numerous ski resorts across France, but not all of them offer UCPA family ski.
Currently only the resorts of Flaine and La Plagne are dedicated to families. (Other resorts like Val Thorens in the 3 Vallées and Les Arcs in Paradiski, Chamonix, Serre Chevalier, Tignes, and Val d’Isere target the 18-55 year old crowd.)
However, the popularity of the family package means that more UCPA family packages are being planned, so keep an eye out!
If you enjoyed this article, you may like to read more facts about the Alps here. A bientôt!