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Last Updated: December 2020
In the middle of forests and extensive rocky slopes, above the valley of Isère, you will find the four renowned Les Arcs ski resorts. Named after their altitude, Les Arcs 1600, Les Arcs 1800, Les Arcs 1950 and Les Arcs 2000, these resorts offer everything that one wants for an ideal winter holiday.
There are over 100 downhill routes, which have a total length of 200 km and extend at an altitude between 1,200 and 3,226 meters. At the same time, you can enjoy numerous other winter sports and recreational activities to enjoy every moment of your visit.
Even if this is your first time skiing or if you’re an expert skier, Les Arcs’ four levels have something for everyone. There are three aerial lifts with seats that take visitors directly from Villaroger to the ski resorts of the highest altitude, Les Arcs 2000 and Les Arcs 1950. But, first, let’s see what the other two levels have to offer.
Les Arcs 1600 ski area is the ideal ski resort for families to spend a day together on the slopes. In a designated training area, beginner skiers can make their first attempts to practice skiing. There are also various blue and red downhill routes that are also good for beginners and intermediate skiers. The most advanced skiers will also be satisfied, as there are two tracks with deep snow.
If you’re more into snowboarding, then go to the Freestyle Apocalypse park, which is equipped with numerous obstacles, while there’s also an area for beginners.
Between L’Arpette plateau to the north and the forests of Peisey to the south, you can find the Les Arcs 1800 ski resort, which has mostly easy and gentle slopes. The many long blue downhill trails over the ski resort between Les Arcs 1600 and Les Arcs 1800 are suitable for beginners. Beginner skiers can practice at the large winter sports area, which is accessible with two lifts directly from the ski resort.
With a cable car and three aerial lifts with seats, visitors to Les Arcs 1950 can get from there to all four resorts to enjoy the total of 200 km of ski slopes. The Varet and Aiguille Rouge cable cars take the advanced skiers directly to the top of the Aiguille Rouge Glacier at 3,226 meters, where there are exciting freeride downhill routes and demanding slopes.
South of the Les Arcs1950 ski resort, below the Col de la Chal peak, you’ll find many easy and moderately difficult routes, as well as a boardercross route and a slalom course. With the Bois de l’Ours aerial lift, you can reach the ski slopes of the lower altitudes, Les Arcs 1600 and Les Arcs 1800.
At Les Arcs, apart from the “speed fanatics” and freeskiing enthusiasts will also find what they’re looking for. There are many freeskiing trails between rocks and steep furrows on the snowy and big slopes below the Aiguille Rouge-Gipfels glacier.
In addition to the ideal tracks for experienced skiers, Les Arcs 2000 provides many options for beginner skiers. In this area, there is a large ski area, which has a lift. The blue downhill routes down the Col de la Chal lead to Les Arcs 1600 and Les Arcs 1800. At the same time, for the budding skiers from 12 months to 8 years, all-day care is provided.
At Les Arcs, there are plenty of accommodation options, which you can choose from based on the amenities, services, distance from the ski pistes, and budget. These can be all-inclusive hotels, apartments, bed and breakfasts, private lettings, and chalets.
The type of accommodation you choose also depends on who you travel with and what your standards are when looking for lodging. Les Arcs 1600 is a quiet village and has good access to the pistes. Les Arcs 1950 is also a cosy village for visitors who prefer a laid back atmosphere. If you’re more into a vibrant ski destination and magnificent mountain views, then Les Arcs 1800 is the place you’re looking for. Thanks to its high altitude, Les Arcs 2000 has direct access to the pistes, and this is where most of the ski in ski out accommodations are located. If you’re in search of more reasonably priced accommodation, then Peisey-Vallandry and Nancroix are the perfect choices.
Whitebeam Chalets offer warm hospitality in their catered ski chalet and self-catered apartment in Peisey-Vallandry, Les Arcs. This family-run business has two types of lodgings, a Chalet Bronziers’ apartment in the village of Peisey and Chalet Cairn in Nancroix on the edge of the Vanoise National Park.
The boutique Chalet Cair, with a hot tub and sauna in Nancroix, is ideal for families or big groups as there are 1 × triple, 5 × twin and 1 × double master suites, all en-suite. In the morning, you can help yourself to the self-service breakfast buffet, and in the afternoon, you can enjoy a cup of tea and treats. A three-course dinner and an early dinner for children are also available to make your holidays as worry-free as possible. During the day, a private shuttle will take you to the lifts and back. When the day comes to an end, you can have a massage and a beauty treatment in the relaxation room.
In the historic village of Peisey, you can live the dream by staying in a 300-year-old converted farmhouse. In the self-catered Bronziers’ apartment, you’ll find a triple room, a twin room, and a sofa bed, an indoor wood burner, and an outdoor wood-burning sauna. You can also ask for meals to be prepared and delivered to your door.
Even if skiing is not your thing, there are several other fun things you can do to make your winter vacations in Les Arcs unforgettable.
Our number one suggestion is to treat yourself with a full spa treatment. At all four resorts and in Saint Maurice, there are wellness centres, indoor swimming pools, spas, yoga studios, and gyms. Other activities include guided walks through the snow, known as snowshoeing, which is said to be the oldest winter sport in the world or climbing up to the Aiguille Rouge. From there, you can discover the Italian Alpine Chain, Mont Pourri, the Pierra Menta, and Mont Blanc.
The best and most idyllic way to enjoy the snow-covered winter landscape is to get in a sledge hauled by dogs. Let the ten Nordic dogs and the sledge driver do everything while you just sit back and relax.
If you’re looking for something more laid back, you can get to know the local history of the resort by attending a guided tour to the picturesque towns and villages of the area.
After a full day of skiing and other leisure activities, you will definitely want to discover your entertainment options. Les Arcs is known as a family-friendly resort, but every visitor here will find a place to have fun. You can chill at a beer and tapas bar, go for bowling, or for a late-night drink at a club dancing to the rhythm of a live DJ set.
When organising your winter holidays to Les Arcs, you should arrange your transportation as far in advance as you can to find the best prices. Most international travellers fly into one of these three airports: Grenoble, Lyon or Geneva. Geneva airport is usually the most convenient one because many airlines that fly there from major European cities. If you’re not going to rent a car, you can get to the resort by a private bus that you can pre-book online. The travel time from the airport to the resort is less than 3 hours.
If you are looking for a reliable private transfer with experienced drivers, we recommend Whiterides for transfers from Grenoble, Lyon or Geneva and local train stations. Their friendly drivers will take you in comfortable vehicles all the way to your accommodation at the resort. Drivers are fully licensed and insured, there are free child seats available, free transport of ski and snowboard equipment, 1.5 hrs free waiting time for delayed flights and transfers are available 24/7. It is a great service that will ensure your trip to and from the airport is simple and stress-free.
Another common way to get to Les Arcs is by train. Eurostar direct ski trains depart from London and Kent and take you to Bourg-Saint Maurice. This direct connection line runs from December to April, thus during the ski season. From there, you can take one of the free shuttle buses to reach Les Arcs.
Driving is also an option that allows you to carry many pieces of baggage and your ski equipment. Once you reach France from the UK, the driving distance is a 9-hour-drive. The downside of traveling by car in France is that tolls can get pricey, around € 70 - € 80 (£ 63 - £ 72). When driving during the winter, you'll also need to have snow chains with you in case the weather conditions worsen.
With so many slopes for every ski level, leisure indoor and outdoor activities, and reasonable prices for everyone, you can start preparing your next winter excursion to one of the four Les Arcs and the surrounding area.
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We are Jacob and Taylor. Travel is our passion and we love sharing our experiences here at The Travelling Souk. Our hope is that you would be inspired by this little blog to try something new, embrace an adventure, and live life to the fullest.