FEATURED

FEATURED
Bourg St M Town Hall, Dec 2017. Has "Architecture of XX Century" status, alongside cinema & Arc 2000 cable car station. Click on photo for more

Saturday, 3 February 2018

EN ROUTE TO LES ARCS: Megeve

Get the first flight to Geneva and you can be on the slopes at Megeve by mid morning.  La Princesse gondola, right at the entrance to the town, is barely 60 minutes from the airport.  Which makes it a great stop-off en route to Les Arcs.  You can continue up the valley, passing other skiing opportunities at Megeve Rochebrune and L'Espace Diamante (including Crest Voland) and join the main road at Albertville.

There is free parking outside La Princesse, as well as a couple of ski shops.  The lift takes you into the heart of the skiing.  Although it does not feel Tignes-Like altitude-wise (the top station is 2,350m), there are certainly some areas that feel "haute montagne" alongside the lower areas of tree-lined runs.

It's a huge ski area and so you can only scratch the surface with a 4 hour ski pass.  We pottered around the L'Epaule area, getting mildly lost in the St Nicolas de Veroce sector, by-passing La Folie Douce and ending up at a very nice lunch spot by the Les Communailles lift.  

Our only gripe is the piste signage which rather assumes you already have a good grasp of the resort's geography.  

La Princesse gondola



Thursday, 28 December 2017

WHAT'S NEW IN LES ARCS

The great news is that, as elsewhere in the French Alps, there is loads of snow.  The resort is 99% open, which means it should cope well with the New Year crowds.

Here are six things to know about What's New in Les Arcs season:

1. Ride in Style
The Pré Saint Esprit lift is well and truly open, and it does indeed have heated seats.  It opens up the lower part of the Arc 2000 Valley (for more on the project, click here and here), replacing the old 1980 chairlift which left from a little lower down.  Good skiers based in Arc 1600/1800 can now access the  Arc 2000 valley by taking Clocheret and then the Muguet/Comborciere piste, which is much more fun than using the Arpette lift.  Next season sees the upgrading of the Comborciere lift itself - one hopes the reggae music will be able to continue.

2. Transport Hub
Arc 1800 has a new "bus station" at Charvet.  Actually it's rather more than that, with toilets, showers, baggage storage and a waiting area.

Click here for the resort's guide
on how to get to Les Arcs

3. All Change at the Hotel du Golf
It's now been taken over by a chain called the Belambra group, who seem to have a slightly uniform "club de vacances" vibe.  One hopes they will be able to keep the essence of the Hotel du Golf which, with its evening jazz bar, is very much a Les Arcs institution.  On the positive side, they are opening in the summer season, which is really important for the resort.

4. The Fast Lane
The Varet lift now has a special lane reserved for those skiers who have shelled out 299 euros for the full Paradise 6-day pass...

5. Get Away from It All
Villaroger now has artificial snow which means there's no excuse for giving this quiet and beautiful part of the mountain a miss.  It opens up completely different views, looking over towards Sainte-Foy and the Haute Tarentaise, and can mark a welcome break from the motorway pistes of Arc 2000.  And you don't need to take the mega descent from the top of the Aiguille Rouge to get there - Lanchettes lift from Arc 2000 provides a direct link. The Solliet restaurant half way down marks a fine pit stop.  It's under new ownership this year, apparently.

Aiguille Rouge, 3226m, 23 Dec 2017

6. Blot on the Landscape
It will open summer and winter and it's creating lots of jobs.  But I'm not keen on the style of the new Club Med development at all.  It sits arrogantly at the foot of the Mont Blanc piste, marking an abrupt end to the resort's most beautiful blue piste.  It would have been nice for the developers to have made at leas some reference to the architectural heritage of Les Arcs, but this does not seem to have been part of the brief.  At least they've built the lower part of the buildings into the hill.  It opens in December 2018.

New Club Med will be open summer and winter,
with a capacity of 1,050 beds

Saturday, 4 November 2017

VILLAROGER ON THE MOVE

The skiing on the Villaroger opens up a third valley to Les Arcs' slopes.  Immediately, the mountain is steeper, less crowded and more rustic.  There are some interesting variations to explore on the long descent to La Ferme restaurant and the foot of the lifts.  Slow things down further and Le Solliet makes a worthy stop for a drink or lunch half way down.  You're looking down on the Haute Tarentaise from here, with good views across to Ste-Foy.

But the lifts date from 1981 and snow conditions can be pretty variable, to say the least.

However, all of this is about to change, as this Guardian article explains.  Snow cannons are in place for the new season, with more planned.  New lifts are on the horizon as are an extra 750 beds as part of an expansion blueprint which claims to involve Villaroger keeping its credentials as a"green ski village".