“ La Plagne, France. „
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Les Arcs is a large ski area with over 200KM of piste ranging from 1200 metres at the lowest point (Villaroger) to over 3200 metres at it's highest point (Aigulle Rouge) - this 2000 metre drop can be skied in one run - one of the longest in Europe.
Where can I stay?
There are 4 high mountain villages - Arc 1600, Arc 1800, Arc 1950 & Arc 2000. Arc 1950 is the newest and most aesthetically pleasing, and consists entirely of apartment and is the most expensive. The other 3 are spread around the mountain and are somewhat older and to be honest a bit garish. I stayed in Arc 2000 in the chalet L'Ours courtesy of Ski Total and had no complaints. All villages have most of the accommodation with very easy lift access, in some cases ski in, ski out.
What is the skiing like?
Firstly all 4 villages and the base stations of Villaroger of Plan Peisey are well linked by lift and piste with added bonus of another 225 KM of piste in La Plagne which links via the Vanoise Express double decker cable car across the valley (the longesat single span (no supporting pylons) cable car in the world) from Plan Peisey. The majority of runs are long and well maintained, both above and below the tree line. The resort is well laid out, and you are never far away from a lift link back to the area you are staying in. A real plus point is that in almost every case there is more than one way to get to where you want to go - in other words there is always an easy run down.
Beginners are well catered for with high, snow sure nursery slopes and nearby blue runs to move on to.
Particular highlights are the Aigulle Rouge from the peak down to Villaroger and the tree lined runs above Plan Peisey.
Is it busy?
With fast lifts and long, well laid out pistes, it never seemed busy and lift queues were never more than a few minutes. I understand that at peak periods it can be busy, but significantly less so than many other resorts.
Is it expensive?
IT is France, so in a word, yes. Using the pint of beer price guide, standard price off Mountain was about £5 a pint, However by bar hopping during happy hour, this came down to about £3.00. Having said that, if you are staying in a chalet, you will have wine included and this will usually last the evening.
Groceries are also expensive (relatively speaking) so if you are self catering taking some staples such as cereal is a good idea.
Eating out is not cheap either, but the food I experienced was worth every penny - an enormous raclette with dried meat and chips weighed in at 26 euros per person for a minimum of 2 at the Refuge in Arc 2000, but it really was good.
Food and drink on the mountain is also expensive and of variable quality, with one exception - I highly recommend the Bulle Cafe halfway up the Arcs 2000 pistes - excellent value large pizzas and sandwiches and good value drinks - but get there early for lunch - it is heaving by 12.15.
Is the snow reliable?
In a word, yes, as far as it can be. The resorts are high,m and the area is still skiable if lower runs are shut. Having said that there is extensive snowmaking on exposed runs to top up natural cover.
Recommendation - for the skiing alone absolutely yes - I will certainly return. If you are looking for a cheaper break, then there are better options available.
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Les Arcs well what can i say its a wonderful resort, very modern and filled with inspiring sking. Its linked to La Plagne, the Paradiski area which offers a massive 425kms of pistes. Les Arcs has 4 self-contanined villages at different heights. Its a brilliant resort for all types of skiers from brand new beginners to well advanced skiers, for those who want to board its also a fab resort. It has plenty of activities for non-skiers too such as floodlit ice skating, snowshoeing, bowling, cinema's and much more. Its a lovely resort for any type of groups from families to a group of friends, all can be catered for. Children are well catered for there too with plenty of children friendly ski schools and kids clubs. This is one of France's top resorts and certainly wouldnt let anybody down. It has top quality hotels, apartments and chalets what more could you possible ask for.