Les Arcs ski resort
About Les Arcs
Few ski areas rival Les Arcs ski resort for its variety of skiing and reputation as an avant-garde, innovative and pioneering destination for snow sports. After all, this was where some of the first cult ski movies were shot, snowboarding and monoskiing pioneered and the innovative ski teaching method, ski évolutif, debuted.
The massive Paradiski ski area extends over 200km (125 miles) connecting Les Arcs to neighbouring villages including Peisey Vallandry and Villaroger as well as La Plagne via a spectacular double-decker cable car, guaranteeing runs to suit all standards.
Les Arcs itself is made up of four ‘villages’: Arc 1600, 1800, 1950 and 2000 (whose names refer to altitude). All bases, both new and old, benefit from the exceptional convenience of ski-in/ski-out access to virtually all accommodation.
While Arc 1600 and 2000 have started to feel the effects of time, Arc 1950 is a relatively new development, ideal for those looking for modern luxury accommodation and swanky bars and restaurants.
Arc 1800, meanwhile, has the majority of the resort’s nightlife – the other three bases are quieter. Those who want to ski fast and hard all day and party at night won’t find much better than this village.
Les Arcs is situated in the Tarentaise region of France in the French Alps, above the town of Bourg-Saint-Maurice. It is located in the Aiguilles de Chamonix mountain chain, which peaks at the top of Mont Blanc (4,807m/15,771ft).
On the slopes
Snow conditions in Les Arcs are generally reliable since the resort is so high, but an arsenal of snow-making equipment has been developed to combat any issues, including the creation of a huge artificial lake to supply the whole network of cultivated snow. The season here generally runs from early December until late April.
The lifts are generally fast and efficient, and ongoing investment in ever more new lifts has reduced queuing to a maximum of 10 minutes, even at peak times.
Les Arcs has fantastic on- and off-piste skiing to suit all abilities. One of the great features of Les Arcs is that a mixed ability group can enjoy great skiing and meet up for lunch – the skiing above Arc 2000, for instance, is ideal for this.
Beginner and intermediate runs can get busy, although the Peisey-Vallandry area often avoids the worst of this. For advanced/expert skiers and boarders, the black runs from the top of Aiguille Rouge are varied and exciting, with over 2,000m (6,500ft) of vertical plus plenty of off-piste options either side. Les Arcs is also famous for the extremely steep Flying Kilometre slope, which is still used for competition but is not open to the public.
The École du Ski Français (ESF) (tel: +33 479 074 752; esf-arc-2000.com) in Arc 2000 (there are also ESF schools in Arc 1600, Arc 1800 and Arc 1950) has a wide range of classes available catering to all levels, from beginners to experts.