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50 YEARS OF LES ARCS: Click on the photo for an instant briefing

Friday, 28 December 2018

SEASON 2018/19: 10 Things To Know

1. Les Arcs is celebrating its 50th anniversary

...and the coming year will see a whole range of innovations and animations.  For newcomers, the key things to know are that it was founded by a local Robert Blanc, who had been working as a ski instructor in Courchevel and got together a group of architects, developers and other assorted pioneers to set up a new resort above Bourg-St-Maurice.  The first base, launched in 1968 was Arc Pierre Blanche, now Arc 1600.  People from established resorts like Val d'Isere thought they were crazy.  For more on the history, including Charlotte Perriand's ground-breaking architecture, click here.

2. There's a new clock at Arc 1800.  But it's more than just a clock...

It's a "musical sculpture", designed to bring a new element of poetry and musicality to Les Arcs - and forms a cornerstone of the 50th anniversary celebrations.  Conceived and constructed locally, there are 19 bells, to denote a "chromatic" octave-and-a-half.  It's at the heart of the front de neige, just by the Vagere lift.


3. Panorama Matters: "pedestrian footbridge" at 3,226m

Pedestrians are being actively invited to join their skiing friends and spent time at Les Arcs' highest point.  This year's new innovation is 35m in length and boasts an unparalleled view of Mont Pourri. On Christmas week the summit was open for visitors to take advantage of the site, even though the piste down remained closed.

4. RIP to the Hotel du Golf Bar

The Hotel du Golf remains at the heart of Arc 1800.  But it is no longer the heart of the resort, complete with live jazz featuring quirky musicians for 3-4 day stints.  New operators Belambra Holiday Clubs have a completely different format.  Apparently it's working well and the hotel is often full.  But it has lost its soul.

5. Parking charges at the Funiculaire are Not A Thing

At 68EUR for a 4-day stay, a group of people can save a lot of money by driving up and either paying in resort or parking somewhere cunning like Plan Devin below Arc 1600.  A poor show and does not tie well with the resort's assertion of its environmental credentials.  Anyway, at least...

6. ...there will be fancy New Carriages for summer 2019

On winter Saturdays, the funicular links Les Arcs with 3 European capitals: London, Brussels and Paris.  From next summer, visitors will be able to enjoy the new panoramic cabins as they make the 8 minute journey to resort.


7. Brexit starts with...The Great British Celebration

Now in its 3rd year, the resort's annual celebration of all things British is scheduled to kick off on...you guessed it, March 30th.  The brainchild of the local mayor, last season's event featured Olympic snowboarding star Jenny Jones

8. There's a new lift (and a new piste) in the Comborciere sector

The lift is second-hand and the red has distinctly black-ish shades, but these developments - coupled with a rather excellent new picnic area at the summit - certainly provide more reasons to spent time in this beautiful part of the slopes, with its "high mountain" feel.  A shame to see the reggae music banished from the departure point though.


9. For a day-trip from Les Arcs, try La Rosiere

La Rosiere has always had a lot to offer, but on the French side the runs (according to some) lacked variety and interest.  This year sees the the opening of two new chairlifts and five new pistes, with the summit rising to 2,800m.  If you're keen, you can watch a full France 3 TV programme on the resort's offer and ambition here.



If you haven't got a car, there's a bus from the Funiculaire (the Arc 1800 tourist office has details), which takes you to the Les Ecudets lift just above Seez.  If you have got a car, park at Les Ecudets anyway as it saves a lot of driving.

10.  La Plagne has a new logo

Two years after Les Arcs launched its new visual identity, La Plagne has introduced an update to its famous logo.  They too have gone for an upper case font.  If you look closely, the smile is not as "enigmatic" as it was:

Before

After

Thursday, 8 November 2018

TOUR DE FRANCE 2019

After ignoring the Tarentaise for what seemed like absolutely ages, the Tour de France returns this coming summer for the second year in a row.  This time it will be right at the end of the race, and it could be Tarentaise tarmac that determines who wins.

Following on from Geraint Thomas' victory in La Rosiere, the Tour will be visiting Tignes for a stage finish on 26th July, having first claimed the 2,700m Col de l''Iseran (from the Maurienne side).  The tour last visited Tignes in 2007 when the stage was won by the soon-to-be-disgraced Michael Rasmussen - more here.

And then the next day - the last one before Paris - the Tour will start at Albertville, pass through the pastoral delight that is the Beaufortain and then drop into Bourg St Maurice en route to the long drawn out final climb to the summit finish at Tignes.

In Bourg the best place to watch may be by the roundabout at foot of the Cormet de Roselend.

Full route details here.

Thursday, 13 September 2018

LA ROSIERE ON THE MOVE

Across the valley, La Rosiere is getting ready for this year's big opening: the unveiling of the new extension to its ski area.

The runs on the French side just above the resort are already great fun, with brilliant views towards Tignes and down to Bourg Saint Maurice.  But it's not that big an area.   This is all about to change, with a €15m investment going into giving the resort 5 new red pistes, plus another off-piste zone. The top of the skiing rises to 2,800m and - usually for La Rosiere - some of it faces north.

To get to La Rosiere from Les Arcs, drive to the Les Ecudets lift just above Seez, rather than wear yourself out driving all the way.  And you get a super long run home through the trees as a bonus. There's also a bus which picks up from the funicular at Bourg - ask in the Arc 1800 tourist office for a leaflet.