Les Arcs

Les Arcs

Overall Rating

Les Arcs

Les Arcs4/51
Les Arcs4 out of 5 based on 1 reviews
  • Recommend
  • Would Revisit
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Interlinked Ski Resort

La Plagne

     Les Arcs Ski Trail Map
  • Les Arcs Ski Trail Map
  • Vertical (m)
    1,200m - 3,250m (2050m)
  • Average Snow Fall
    8 - 10m
  • Lifts (52)
    8 Gondolas / cable cars
    27 Chairs

    Paradiski - 121 lifts
  • Opening Dates & Times
    Mid December to late April
    8:30am to 4:30pm
  • Terrain Summary
    Runs - 200km
    Longest run - 8km+
    Advanced - 14%
    Intermediate - 35%
    Beginner - 51%

    Paradiski - 425km
  • Lift Pass Price
    Day Ticket 22/23
    Les Arcs (incl. Peisey Vallandry)
    Adult - €61
    Child - €49
    Child u/5yr - Free

    Paradiski (incl. La Plagne)
    Adult - €67
    Child - €54
    Child u/5yr - Free
     Paradiski Ski Trail Map
  • Paradiski Ski Trail Map
    La Plagne Ski Trail Map
  • La Plagne Ski Trail Map

Les Arcs - Reviews

Les Arcs - Reviews

Love It or Loathe It, Les Arcs Delivers Great Skiing



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Love It or Loathe It, Les Arcs Delivers Great Skiing

Les Arcs is one mega French ski resort that despite appearances, delivers great skiing & snowboarding.

Prior to visiting Les Arcs, we were always of the view that we either wouldn’t enjoy the visit or at least would struggle to be effusive about it. I know. You’re screaming at me, 'but reviewing ski resorts is what you do, shouldn’t you be more objective?’ True. So, it was in the spirit of keeping my expectations low and not being disappointed that I ventured up to the ski resort via the funicular from the train station at Bourg St Maurice. I mused that Les Arcs’ huge size, multiple villages with ‘challenging’ architectural style and easy access from high speed rail would all count against it. I expected to contend with an overcrowded, multi-story ghetto. I was both wrong and right!

The polarising nature of the architecture in the resort’s signature villages Arc 1600, 1800 & 2000, is such that you will either love or hate it………. initially. As the funicular comes to a halt at Arc 1600, ‘hate it’ comes to mind. Funiculars & large cable cars are this Powderhound’s least favourite forms of alpine transport, simply due to the Tokyo subway like cramming required to get in & out of them. So ‘hate’ was already foremost in my mind. Putting my prejudices aside, the funicular at Les Arcs doesn’t service any real ski terrain so one doesn’t need to ride it any more than once up & once down. Also have to admit that it is a very efficient way to get from a Paris TGV up to a ski resort! The Swiss would be proud.

My initial impression of the villages changed during my stay. Over time, and after looking closely at the local rock features and general landscape, the villages strike me as architectural masterpieces. Well, visually at least. Practically, the storey upon storey of apartments equates to too many humans in too small a space – a ghetto in peak season. At least all the apartments have balconies!

But we came to Les Arcs to ski & ski we did. The ski terrain on the Isere valley side from Arc 1600 to Peisey Vallandry is all north-facing with the requisite quality snow to go with it. Piste trails get noticeably busy towards the largest of the villages, Arc 1800, but in the morning shadows, everyone seemed to be heading over the ridge toward the sunny slopes. Note to all. The cold shaded slopes are deserted for most of the morning. There is excellent on & off-piste skiing to be had. On a powder day the long, advanced trail Rouelles would be a ripper first turns back into Arc 1600. The tree lined runs leading to Vallandry are almost unique in this part of the valley. Aside from a few slopes at nearby Sainte Foy (which is mostly pine forest), skiing larches is non-existent. Very pleasant an any day, particularly if the visibility is poor.

We joined the masses at Arc 1800. A strange place, it has a pleasant row of vibrant restaurants & shops facing the slopes & then a 'strip mall' of almost run-down looking vendors behind the main village building. Busy though. Humming with activity but not in a claustrophobic kind of way. A steady procession of humanity was loading onto the TransArc gondola. From a skiing perspective, Arc 1800 is only a place to stay of last resort. There are just too many overnight beds there. At the top of the TransArc is some tasty sidecountry with a short climb up an adjacent peak - the Aiguille Grive. Opposite are long wide sunny intermediate & beginner trails heading all the way to Arc 1950 & 2000. 

From our estimations, Arc 1950 looks to be the pick of the villages to stay in. Smaller, more traditional in style, it oozed welcome. from here one can quickly access a few tree lined steep pitches from a huge north facing bowl under the Bois de L'ours chair. That's our kind of juice.

Unfortunately, the only area we didn’t visit was the iconic Aiguille Rouge due to the cable car being closed. Shame, because it has the wide range of long steep terrain that Powderhounds love. Suppose we will just have to return! The Varet gondola is clearly a 'go to' lift for steeper off piste as well.

On the piste side of the Les Arcs equation, everyone will find something. Brilliant. The terrain parks are excellent too. We never enjoy terrain parks for all sorts of reasons but had a blast on the one at Arpette.

The off piste equation is awesome too. Whilst it was a tad cruddy on the sunny aspects & tracked elsewhere within the resort boundaries, we did get some fun, fresh turns on shaded north aspected terrain off the busy Grand Col chairlift & the side-country. Regardless the elevation, snow quantity & terrain mix combine well at Les Arcs with good opportunities for soft or hard adventure.

We visited Villaroger on another day & delighted in the traditional small village French Alps feel. Whilst the chairlift access into the main resort via Arc 2000 is slow, staying here would provide an authentic ski experience missing in the upper villages. Then again, given the age of the resort, authentic is in the eyes of the beholder.

A great ski resort built for the masses but with appeal to all.
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