'Serre Chevalier', home of Luc Alphand, the downhill world champion from 1995 to 1997, is found near the Italian border. Offering indirect links to Montgenèvre and the Milky Way, it has its own 250km of pistes and another 900km available with the Grande Galaxie Pass. The resort itself is very much an intermediates' paradise, good for beginners, but less so for advanced. More accomplished skiers are best advised to head for Monetier for some good black pistes, or a considerable variety of off-piste terrain. Two-thirds of the mountain enjoys wooded surroundings and, as the slopes are north-facing, they do hold snow. However, resort-level snow can be slushy as the villages are all below 1500m. Boarders will find masses to do, particularly those more advanced, with a specialist park and good off-piste.
The overall impression of Serre Chevalier is one of traditional, almost 'provencal' charm, particularly in Monetier. It is an atmospheric venue, of good value and unpretentious, also with a strong French feel. Definitely attempt to avoid French holiday times and the ensuing queues. The restaurants serve good local fare, but a car is a good option, allowing you to try each village's eateries. Unfortunately you are then adding to the local traffic problem. Nightlife is fairly limited, while shoppers may prefer to head for Briancon with its more town-like amenities. Briancon is a better destination if you are looking for off-snow activities. Families may be particularly attracted, with a very good ski school and decent childcare provision. Turin and its airport are two and a half hours away