What’s the sign of a really good ski resort?
How many people visit it every year? State of the art ski lifts and top-notch pistes? Or the number of people who come back year after year? Les Arcs has one of the highest returning holidaymakers across all our resorts; once you’ve got to know this resort the chances are you’ll keep coming back. So here’s the low-down on the ski area which makes Les Arcs so popular.
Les Arcs Ski Area: Everything you need to know.
Villaroger – the ‘basecamp’ of Les Arcs Ski Area
Let’s start at the bottom. On the west and at 1200m, the lowest resort of the Les Arcs ski area is Villaroger. This is the ‘basecamp’ for the rest of Les Arcs ski area with the chairlift Plan des Violettes 51 giving you access to the ski area. To head home you can take one of the winding blue runs, open for most of the season depending on snow conditions and the weather.
Hero-skiing in Arc 2000
Further up the mountain, you have Arc 2000 (actually at 2100m!) and Arc 1950. Here compact ski resorts ensure everything is within easy reach and you’re surrounded by cruisey blues on all sides. This is proper ‘hero skiing’, and taking the gondola (Varet 40) and Telecabine (Aguile Rouge 30) puts you firmly at the top of the glacier du Varet. The views are breath-taking vistas towards Mont Blanc and here the handful of black runs will keep you on your toes (and edges). Our favorite is the epic Aiguille Rouge, which gives you a thigh-burning 7km, 2000m descent back to Villaroger. A word of caution though; most black runs in Les Arcs are un-groomed, so be prepared for moguls. Referred to as ‘Natur’ runs on piste maps, even if the shade means the snow is in good condition throughout the season the ride can get bumpy.
Hop, Skip and a jump to the Apocalypse Park
Heading over the ridge is the Arc 1600 ski resort. Here there’s funicular access from Bourg St Maurice and is popular with families keen to explore the myriad of excellent blue and red runs. The Mont Blanc blue run is wide, well-groomed and confidence-boosting, and offers great views of its namesake. Arc 1800 has earned the reputation as the liveliest of the Les Arcs resorts, and if you want to build up your appetite for après, visit the Apocalypse Parc which lies between Arc 1600 and Arc 1800. Here you’ll find everything from blue level jumps to black kick-rails and a quarter pipe. And it also boasts a gap jump and a boardercross if you’re feeling adventurous.
Alpine charm in Vallandry
Over towards Vallandry the architecture takes on a more traditional alpine charm, with beautiful tree-lined pistes winding their way back to the village. There is an excellent beginners’ area accessed by the Peisey high-speed chair, and the altitude means the snow remains in a good condition for most of the season. And for more confident off-piste skiers you can easily nip through the trees on the way home, or if the weather or visibility is poor.
As a whole, Les Arcs is justifiably proud of its well-maintained blue runs, and reputation of ‘intermediate’s paradise’. But there is plenty for everyone to enjoy in the resort, regardless of ski experience. And with inter-resort links from Vanoise Express to the rest of the Paradiski area and La Plagne, you’ll probably struggle to fit everything into one week’s holiday. So best to get Buchung that next trip!