location - the hautes alpes
The AlpBase Academy is situated in the Vallouise Valley, gateway to the Ecrins National Park and the centre of the Hautes Alpes - one of the least populated and most pristine areas in France. This region of the country - 05 - comprises the Southern French Alps and is one of the few alpine areas in Europe that has always controlled its tourism. As well as substantially better weather – a guaranteed 300 days of sunshine every year - this area is a lot less commercialised than the Northern French Alps.
Best of all, the Hautes Alpes offers the widest range of outdoor activities anywhere in Europe, all year-round. Here are the main areas and the activities they offer:
|The Ecrins National Park||Mountaineering, refuges, glacier travel, ski touring, snow shoeing|
|The Queyras Park||Hiking, ski touring, mountain biking, WW rafting, rock and ice climbing|
This huge region comprises 7 big valleys:
|The Durance Valley||The White-Water capital of France – includes many WW rivers|
|Serre-Ponçon||Europe’s largest man-made lake – 25 Km long – includes the following:|
SUP, rafting, canoeing, sailing, Land Art, Yurt living, trekking with Donkeys, Tree top adventures
France's Largest Playground
The Hautes Alpes (5,549 km2 in size) is France’s adventure playground - a multi-activity mecca that encompasses a region just smaller than the combined total size of the Lake District (2,292 km2), The Peak District (1,437 km²) and the Snowdonia National Park (2,140 km2). Yet the Hautes Alpes only experiences 2 million visitors a year compared to the combined 40 million visitors that the Lakes, Peaks and Snowdonia receive annually!
The Hautes Alpes is tucked away just beneath the Northern Alps and borders Italy to the east, Bourg D’Oisan and Grenoble to the West, and Provence to the South. The average altitude is over 1000 m, and the highest elevation is over 4000 m. so not surprisingly the Hautes Alpes comprises the highest village (Saint-Véran in the Queyras – 2042m.) and the highest town (Briançon – 1326m.) in France. Which is why the locals call this region “the Mediterranean Mountains”? The amazing thing though is that in winter the skiing, boarding and ski mountaineering are as good as anywhere in Switzerland or Austria. But best of all, the terrain is ideal for school children between the ages of 8 and 18, due to the accessibility of the terrain and the stable “300 days of sunshine” climate.
Winter - Late November to early April
During this period the following activities are on offer: Ski and snowboard downhill and off-piste, X-C skiing, snow shoeing, igloo dwelling, and ice-fall climbing. From mid-April, we start our hiking, Via Ferrata and rock climbing courses.
Spring - April to mid June
Few tourists come to the Hautes Alpes during this season yet it's great for walking, rock climbing, white water rafting and kayaking, mountain biking and road cycling, Via Ferrata, and paragliding. This is arguably the best period for our hiking courses. Students go trekking, often wearing just in t-shirts, through alpine pastures brimming with fresh flowers under deep blue skies and end of winter snows high above.
Summer - Late June to late August
Now the temperatures in the Ecrins Massif increase from 25°C to 30°C, but heavy late afternoon showers can also occur. Students can do pretty much everything except skiing other than on the glaciers of La Grave and Les Deux Alpes.
Autumn - Early September until early November
Fantastic weather, and amazing colours - great for rock climbing, mountain biking, walking and hiking, road cycling, mountain biking and Via Ferrata. September is often more settled than July or August, and a lot quieter, but with slightly lower temperatures. Early October you will find the colours at their most intense, yet our students are still super active dressed in t-shirts with a light fleece. Other than spring, this for us is the best time for multi activity courses in the Hautes Alpes. By the end of October, the region already feels like it is ready for winter and by mid November we usually get our first big dumps of snow.
Thank you for another great Year 9 KS3 multi-activity course. It was a pleasure to work with you, as always – a great week. I was completely worn out by the end of the week, but with 62 students and 10 teachers in total it was a lot to process! In terms of the pupils we managed to get through waves, up climbs and over mountains, I think that the week was one of the most successful I can remember. Your program in the Hautes Alpes remains just about the most adventurous and ambitious course imaginable for kids of that age from a city school – long may it stay that way!!
Head of Business Studies
British School of Paris
Jun 9, 2013
From Michael Farley
Subject: Re: Well done and THANK YOU .......Leadership In Action
To all climbing participants,
Thank you so much for supporting our Climbers Against Diabetes fund raising challenge. And thank you for your inspiring school presentation, Jerry.
We're very happy to have given Sam and all involved this opportunity - a great effort and all for your fantastic cause. Lots of kids are going to benefit from the climb.
Well done again to all involved - and thanks to you Jerry for the inspiration in the first place.
13 Jun 2016
From: Kevin Moran
To: Jerry Gore, The AlpBase Academy
I would like to say I have been highly impressed with this year’s Yr. 7 KS3 week. All activities have been a direct improvement on other providers course. Also, the whole team was very impressed with Rob Benton, our Course Director for Yr. 7 throughout the week.
Head of Activities
British School of Paris
Tuesday 21 June 2016
From: Headmaster – BSP To: Jerry Gore
Subject: Residential trip (British School of Paris)
I wanted to write to you and your team to express my thanks for all that you have done to make the 2016 BSP KS3 expeditions week such a success.
I am delighted to report that judging from all that I heard about the trips staff were very impressed with what they saw and did. Your corner of the Alps most definitely received a thumbs up!
Having spoken with the students it is clear that many achieved things of which they thought they were incapable, and ensuring that they know that they really do have true grit when it comes to facing obstacles. This opportunity will be a major element in shaping their approach to challenges in the future.
The British School of Paris
Thu, Jun 23, 2016
Thank you so much for an incredible ski touring trip.
When we came up with the plan of running a school backcountry skiing trip there really were no companies out there offering this trip. But having run sport climbing trips through AlpBase Academy for a number of years, they were the obvious choice and we spoke with Rob and Jerry who were excited to work with us on this project.
This trip was completely bespoke for our requirements and Rob worked with us tirelessly to plan every detail and was always available on the phone and email to answer every query I had. In the end, the trip surpassed all the expectations of everyone involved. The accommodation was perfect, the skiing amazing and the guide was knowledgeable, connected well with the students, was patient and very safety conscious. Even throughout the course, the itinerary was tweaked to tailor it to the abilities of the students and to take advantage of the excellent snow conditions.
I think this feedback from one parent says it all “My son had an absolutely fantastic time and is smitten with powder. For a boy of few words and not known for overstatement, his rating for the trip of 9.5 out of 10 said it all”
I look forward to working with AlpBase Academy for our next trip.
St Paul's School