UCPA student trips are open to students who are aged 18 to 25, including those aged 25. Trips for students are at a special price to encourage younger people in to sport and the outdoors, even during periods where cash is particularly tight. During peak weeks, the discount available for students can be up to 35% compared to standard trips.
Always included in our holidays
Ski or snowboard hire
Instruction or guiding
Friendly & social atmosphere
UCPA centres are an excellent place to go as a group of friends or as a solo traveller for a variety of reasons.
The buffet style meals create a relaxed atmosphere and the dining area is canteen style with large tables shared amongst various groups and individuals. Within the centre there are communal areas and bar(s) which sell fairly priced drinks.
The courses are also a great way to meet other people, learn new skills and explore the best areas for the current conditions. Plus the multi share rooms allow you to easily meet others in your room and their friends from their courses.
Student groups of 20 or less
The easiest way to book a small group is as a group of individuals on our website. Find the 18-25 courses you would like to do, check the availability and then book on there. You can add others manually or invite them to join the group using the group sharing link. You do not need to do the same courses, you can do a mixture as long as the resort and dates are the same. Everyone in the group can then login using their emails and dates of birth to manage their payments individually.
You can check availability for up to 12 people on the activity page of the course you are looking at.
Student groups of 20 or more
As a group of 20+ you can still book on as individuals, but there are also other option. There is an option of going on a 'contracted group booking' whereby we create a trip specific to your group potentially at a better price and with numbers of places guaranteed. We will then give you a booking link for each of your group to book on and pay individually so there is no need to chase them for money! There is, however, a little less flexibility with this option as you will need to pay the deposit for the group and be responsible for the numbers (we are able to add and remove places at a later date, but it may not always be possible).
To make a large-group enquiry please use this form
Ski Half Time and Ski Full Time
Our two most popular piste skiing courses are Ski Half Time and Ski Full Time. The former provides you with half day lessons in either the morning or the afternoon, whereas the latter is both morning and afternoon sessions. Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday morning are typically free days without instructions.
Half Time (12 hours approximately)
This allows you to spend 4 or 5 half day sessions with your instructor, but still allows plenty of time for practice either on your own, with your group or with friends who have been skiing in a group of a different level or course.
Full Time (23 hours approximately)
You will have 8 or 9 half day sessions with your instructor, so this really maximises your time to improve. You'll still have free time to ski at the end of each day as well as on Sunday, Wednesday and Saturday to ski with friends, practice or just relax. This is a great option for people who are travelling alone.
If you would rather do your own thing, that is fine. There are two courses you can book on to, either 'No Instruction' or 'Ski Basic'. No Instruction is exactly what the title suggests, whereby you can still benefit from the all inclusive package but be independent. Ski Basic is similar, but it consists of two half day sessions throughout the week to provide you with a small amount of instruction/guiding.
These courses are not recommended for solo travellers as being in a group is a great way to meet other people. They are also not suitable for beginners.
Our trips are not amendable in any way unfortunately. If 'No Instruction' or 'Ski Basic' are not available options it is not possible to remove instruction from another course and pay a reduced price.
Do I need lessons?
It depends what you want to take away from your trip. Lessons are a great way to meet other people, improve your skiing and be shown the best areas of the resort for the current conditions. There are lessons for all abilities from beginner to expert including off piste and ski touring. There are enough skiers and boarders that the groups are often very similar in terms of level and ability, thus very little time is spent waiting around for others.
UCPA instructors are all trained in house and are extremely experienced. Throughout the week you will have the same instructor who will be able to really develop your skiing.
If you're a beginner the answer is almost certainly yes. It might look easy, but your first turns will always be the hardest!
UCPA have a partnership with Rossignol and 50% of their stock is replenished each year. So you will most likely be using recent models of Rossignol skis, maintained and serviced by professional ski technicians. The specific skis you use will depend on your ability and the course you are doing.
You are provided with skis, boots, and poles. The only other equipment you need is personal clothing.
If throughout the week you have some issues with your equipment and need to change any part of it, it is no problem to have it swapped or adjusted.
The UCPA accommodation is referred to as ‘centres’. These can best be described as being on the scale between activity centres, nice hostels and basic hotels. Some centres are newly renovated and very modern where as some are slightly older, however they are all very clean, warm, sociable and in great locations.
Rooms are shared therefore if you select the multi share option you will be allocated a bed in a room with a couple of other people (usually 4-6 people per room). If you are travelling alone this will be a single sex room, if you are travelling with mates it may be a mixed room. The UCPA always tries to room friends together and 99% of the time this is possible, however in some very rare circumstances they are unable to do so. The only way to 100% guarantee you are roomed with a friend is for you both to select the private twin room option and pay the extra supplement.
Private twin rooms are available in most of the centres for 2 people travelling together, availability is limited though.
The UCPA is very sociable and the shared room set up means that the UCPA is a perfect environment for solo travellers or people keen to meet similar minded people. Usually toilets and shower facilities are shared between a few rooms. The UCPA has plenty of social areas including a bar, so the bedrooms really are for sleeping only.
You will be required to make your beds on arrival and strip your beds when you leave. You are also expected to give your room a clean before you go. This helps keep the UCPA holiday costs low.
UCPA packages are full board, therefore all meals are included in the advertised price; breakfast, lunch and dinner. As you know the French take a lot of pride in their food and meal times are a special and sociable time, expect no less from the UCPA. Meals are buffet style and there are always a number of different options and courses.
Breakfast options tend to include a number of cereals and muesli options, yogurts, bread, cheese and breakfast drinks. At most resorts you can return to the UCPA centre for lunch where you will find a few hot meal options, a salad bar, cheese and meat platter and desert. Dinner usually includes a meat option, fish option and vegetarian alternative. Again there is always a wide variety of mixed salads, meats and cheeses, bread and a desert.
If you have a dietary requirement you are advised to contact UCPA directly before arrival and speak to the chefs on your first day. If you require special food alternatives, such as gluten free bread, we suggest you take your own. These will not be available at the UCPA and it’s unlikely you will find these in resort either. The food is really great at the UCPA and you certainly won't go hungry!
To help keep costs down you are asked to clear your dirty dishes away and give the table a wipe when you finish.
Best resorts for cruising long wide pistes
Val Thorens – With a total of 140km of piste served by 32 fast lifts pretty much all of which are located above 2000m.
Flaine – The skiing in Flaine offers a wide variety of grades with 140km of piste in the Flaine area alone and a total of 265km in the Grand Massif.
Best resorts for Off Piste
Chamonix & Argentiére – The off piste/backcountry snowboarding is what makes the Chamonix Valley so special. The depth and variety of lift accessed high mountain and backcountry terrain is outstanding including Europe's longest off piste run, the Vallee Blanche, and the infamous Grand Montets ski area.
Val d’Isere & Tignes – In addition to the fantastic piste network the Espace Killy offers one of the largest lift served off piste areas in the world, there is more than enough to keep even the most adventurous skiers entertained.
Les Contamines – Avoid the crowds and explore the couloirs and tree lines that surround this 'off the radar' ski area with close proximity to Geneva airport.
Most comfortable UCPA centres
Serre Chevalier – Ski in ski out with a fantastic sun deck overlooking the slopes and an outdoor heated pool!
Val Thorens – Ski in ski out with it’s very own nightclub. The highest spec UCPA centre.
La Plagne – The piste runs through the centre! Also recently renovated and is now one of the most luxurious.
Flaine – An ex-hotel with all rooms fully ensuite. This centre has a lot more twin rooms than any other centre.
Best resorts for Après ski and nightlife
Val d’Isere/Tignes – Where to start! The original site for Folie Douce and now Cocorico in both Val d’Isere and Tignes, the Espace Killy’s slopeside après is second to none. In town you will find the party in Le Petit Danois with a live band in Val and Loop Bar at the bottom of Trolles in Tignes.
Val Thorens – As well as a Folie Douce, Bar 360 provides a great party. Malaysia is the largest nightclub in the alps and often has an array of DJs playing.
Les Deux Alpes – With over 40 bars along the town's main strip. Kick off your après at Pano Bar, opposite the Jandri Express mid-station. It has a sunny terrace with panoramic views, great music, and live DJs from 3pm and 5pm. Then when you’re back down the mountain, Smokey Joe’s leads the way, with Tex-Mex food, big screens, live music and a daily happy hour.
We are able to help with travel to and from resort, but we don't do flights!
For travel from the UK, our partner Snow Express runs a weekly service from London to most resorts in the French Alps. The coach leaves London Victoria usually at around 1830 on a Friday night and arrives in the alps just after lunch time. This is perhaps the cheapest and most environmentally friendly way of getting to the alps. Sometimes the tickets from London to resort can be less than a return airport transfer!
From most airports we can provide transfers to the centre. There are of course limitations on the times your flights can be depending on the resort and airport.
All travel options and their relevant information can be found on the 'travel' tab of the booking page.
View all dates & prices for Student Trips
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