We Brits love ski in, ski out. It’s official. It’s right up there alongside quality of snow and après-ski when we’re deciding where to spend our time on the slopes. But, sadly, we’ve all stayed in places billed as ‘ski in, ski out’ which have been, shall we say, somewhat creative in their interpretation of what that means.
Arc 1950 however, is different. It is as ski in, ski out as it could possibly be. It is, in fact, extreme ski in, ski out. And that’s game changing for many of us, especially those with younger kids where just getting to the slopes is a major exercise in logistics: carrying all your own gear is hard enough but add on skis, poles, mittens, and a helmet for each child and you get the idea.
Arc 1950 was conceived and developed by Intrawest (the company that owns Steamboat, Tremblant and several other North American ski resorts). This is a purpose-built resort designed to give you the easiest ski experience you’ll possibly ever have. And it works.
As you can see, the resort is relatively small and is situated just off the road that runs between all the villages. Parking is underground making this a truly car free, pedestrian (skier) friendly resort. In the village, nothing is further than a five minutes’ stroll. But of course, the big advantage is how simple it is to get on your skis and explore. Arc 1950 is one of four villages in les Arcs – a resort offering varied skiing from high snow-sure slopes for perfect blue sky days, and lower, wooded areas which come into their own in low visibility conditions.
The view here is from the Aiguille Rouge at 3226m looking across towards Mont Blanc. And those aren’t flags on the poles – just evidence of how cold and snowy the previous days had been.
Les Arcs has 200km of pistes which is more than enough for most skiers for a week. But if that doesn’t sound like enough for you, there’s more. The impressive Vanoise express gondola whisks you across the valley to La Plagne. The two ski areas combined form Paradiski, one of the biggest ski areas in the world with 425km of pistes.
Back home after skiing, the après-ski choices are small and perfectly formed. The Belles Pintes Irish pub has live music immediately after skiing, then it’s time to trek the four minutes to the legendary George’s wine bar. Then those with stamina can go on to the (free) O chaud nightclub – just two minutes’ walk from George’s. If you feel like venturing further afield, there’s a gondola connection with Les Arcs 2000 which runs till 11.30pm. (and yes, I know it’s only 50m altitude between the two but, believe me, you don’t want to miss the last gondola).
Accommodation in the village is largely self-catering and each of the eight apartment buildings has its own unique décor. We stayed with Erna Low, in a fabulous two bedroom apartment in the ‘Refuge de Montagnard’. The apartments are spacious with comfortable living rooms and great views. As well as a thoughtful welcome kitchen pack, I was particularly impressed by the large bag provided for recyclable rubbish. There are also laundry facilities in each building.
The apartments range in size to accommodate most needs. All have self-catering facilities, but there’s a good range of restaurants to choose from both in 1950 and 2000. We chose to have breakfast out every day at the Brasserie 1950 which offers an extensive buffet style spread for €17 per person.
Each building has a sauna, steam room and jacuzzi as well as an ‘on the slopes’ boot room. (Erna Low provide slippers and robes.) The spa facilities in each building are excellent but if you want something more luxurious (or to book a beauty treatment) the resort also has a Deep Nature Spa.
So, if you want a ski holiday where you actually spend most of your time on the slopes instead of getting to them, Arc 1950 is a great choice. But more than that, the village has everything you need, everyone is super friendly and the entire resort has been designed to make your life easier. Sounds like a no-brainer to me.