I last skied Les Arcs when I was about 12 years old. My memory is of a vast apartment block and finding the size of the building overwhelming compared with the size of the apartment (not so spacious…).
I remember hours spent playing cards with my two brothers once we had finished with ski school, building snow tunnels, and crying on the way home because I didn’t want to leave the mountains.
Taking my own kids back to the area, 30 years later, we chose to base our family ski trip in what is known as ‘the newest village in the French Alps’ – Arc 1950.
Built just 13 years ago, it is a village in complete contrast with the surrounding ‘Arcs’. Attractive wood-clad buildings designed around a central square with everything you need within a few 100 meters.
We arrived late at night excited to see snow in the village, but after a quick unpack (top tip -always get children’s ski kit ready the night before) it was time for some much needed sleep.
On waking early the next day to sort out our ski and boot rental from Precision Ski, the sun was shining, a snow-capped Mont Blanc was overlooking the village and we were just itching to get on the slopes.
We discovered that everything within the village is close by, so there are no long walks to shops or a bus to take you to the slopes – just perfect for an easeful family ski trip. All cars park ‘under’ the village, making it completely ski-in-ski-out and car free – skiers literally swish through the village to their residence doors.
Skis rented and kids breakfasted we skied off from our locker room below the apartment to the Marmottes chair for our first look ‘en famille’ at the Paradiski ski area.
One of our favourite areas to ski was the sector around Peisey-Vallandry. A choice of blue and red runs funnel down to the Vanoise Express lift, and we loved the little crepe bar beside Le Solan restaurant for a pit stop coffee and pancake.
Taking the Vanoise Express across to La Plagne was one of our highlights of the week. We had a mission to get over to the far side of the connected resort above Aime 2000, and back again. After all, we wanted to try and cover a respectable portion of the 425km of slopes on the area pass.
The pistes on the La Plagne side were a little icier, so we made sure we were down the last blue piste (Pierres Blanches to Mont Blanc) to connect back to Les Arcs before it got too busy later in the day. The huge double decker cable car with its glass bottom travels so fast across the valley between the resorts – it’s an incredible piece of engineering.
Things to do…
Arc 1950 has an extensive program of activities running every week of the season, winter and summer – film festivals, free ride and freestyle weeks, Carnival and even Fashion Week and Crazy Week (we’re not sure…)
For February half term there’s a Kid’s Week with loads of fantastic entertainment. They really couldn’t make it any simpler to enjoy a hassle free family ski trip.
In between all the skiing over our five-day stay we managed to fit in airbag jumping, igloo visiting, night skiing and daily swimming in the Residence’s outside pool. What we didn’t manage to do was to get into the Deep Nature Spa or try the Rodeo Luge. For next time!