As part of the Paradiski area with over 425 km of pistes, there is some incredible terrain accessible from the four villages of Les Arcs – 1600, 1800, 1950 and 2000 – and the cheaper town of Bourg St Maurice. This resort can get really busy in holiday periods, but it largely manages to soak up the crowds with the sheer number of pistes catering for groups of all abilities. The other side of the massive Vanoise Express Lift, built in 2003, links the area to La Plagne. Although it’s a bit of a trek this can access a lot of great freeriding areas once you have exhausted the huge playground of Les Arcs.
- Highest Point: 3,226m
- Descent: 2,026m
- No. lifts: 128
All the villages are relatively separate and have fairly distinct identities: 1600 has quieter chalets nestled in the trees, 1800 is the livelier party place, 2000 is isolated and ugly but has the best access to great terrain. 1950, built by Intrawest (the company that owns Whistler and Stratton Mountain) is expensive but modern and by far the prettiest, with a 60-metre high waterfall as a backdrop. Les Arcs can provide fairly cheap self-catering holidays, with some great pistes, a decent park and some amazing freeriding. Which explains why it still remains one of the most popular destinations with British tourists.
What’s new for 2019/20
Good news for some; terrible for others – the world-famous La Folie Douce apres-ski bar is opening its doors in Les Arc 1800 this winter. Reached on foot, by piste, or via the gondola, getting completely shit-faced and sliding on your arse back down to the town has never been so accessible.
The 2018/19 season was Les Arcs’ 50th anniversary, and the resort saw some pretty significant upgrades, like the tiny Comborciere lift getting a brand new, 4 seater, highspeed makeover. They even put in an entirely new red piste, known as ‘The Secret Run’ sweeping, uninterrupted through a hidden valley. 51st anniversaries don’t tent to get the same attention, so no real changes to the lifts for this season.
SkiBro is also available at Les Arcs. Whether a beginner or expert, SkiBro is the innovative online platform that helps you get the best out of your trip. Find your perfect instructor, snowboard school, or mountain guide and book with ease. The best choice, best info and flexibility – check SkiBro out here.
The Parks – 4/5
The Apocalypse Park has undergone some recent renovation, with an extension of the draglift and creation of an underpass providing the main access to the intermediate and beginner kicker- and rail lines. This has allowed a safe new drop-in area to the side of the lift, meaning that speed is no longer an issue for the line of three advanced black kickers. To the right of these is a line of three or four red intermediate kickers, perfectly shaped to allow more airtime for practising rotations. Next to these are smaller blue beginner kickers and two lines of boxes, rainbows and rails.
“Though it’s not huge, it’s one of the better parks in the French Alps“
There is a stair set jib section just in front of the chill out zone, and an air bag at the bottom of the park. Overall the park provides a great balance, with the progression from beginner to intermediate to advanced features well-judged. It’s well shaped (there are rarely speed issues) and well maintained, and though it’s not huge, it’s one of the better parks in the French Alps.