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Aiguille Rouge, by Pete Caswell. Click on the painting to visit his site

Saturday, 12 November 2016

NEW SKI SEASON: 10 Things To Know

Not long now until the start of the new season at Les Arcs.  By way of an update:

1. The Snow 

It's here.  Take a look at the Arc 1800 webcam.  At this time of the year the first snow can come too soon, then melting away to leave the resorts scratching around for snow.  But one can be cautiously optimistic this year, as La Plagne already has 75cms on top: follow Perso La Plagne for all the latest news on goings-on on the other side of the valley.

2. The Film Festival

It's the 8th year of the annual season-opener - this time things kick-off on 10 December: all the details on the website.  There are some good accommodation deals as well.


3. The Pisteurs

The Facebook sensation of Les Arcs over the last year.  Their tails are now officially wagging, and there have been various updates in recent weeks.

Click here for the Pisteurs' Facebook Page

It's well worth getting up early and joining them for the First Tracks tour - which runs once a week in season.  Being up there before everyone else is quite something.  Plus you can pick up some useful facts: they have 7 dogs and 26 piste bullies working on the slopes.

4. The Pistes

Ski map and timetables are here.  It annoys me that you have to look at the Paradiski map all the time, even though you are likely to be only skiing one resort.  So here's an old map as well.  This season will see increased snowmaking in the Villaroger area; there may also be a new lift at Pre Saint Esprit below Arc 2000: more on future plans for here.  

5. LA Radio Station

Also worth following on Facebook.  R' Les Arcs provide regular updates including some super photos.  You can even listen to them at home, thanks to the internet.  The DJ likes The Cure.

6. Le Marketing

This will be the first season for the new Les Arcs' logo.  It's much better than the new Peisey one, and has tried to keep close to the resort's heritage.

It's said that 200k€ was spent on the rebranding

7. The Artist

Pete Caswell has painted scenes at many European resorts, but is a particular fan of Tignes and Val d'Isere.  And his online gallery includes a range of pictures of Les Arcs - such as this one charting the Grand Renard from the top of the Transarc:



8. The Snow Artist

Simon Beck takes art one step further by leaving his prints in the actual snow.  Les Arcs is where he creates his masterpiece.  And the area just to the left of the Varet piste is a particular haunt of his.  More on his work, including his sand creations in Somerset, here.

"The Most Famous Snow Artist in the Word". More here.

9. The Ski Racer

David Poisson is a member of the Peisey-Vallandry club.  His career has been marred by injury, but he has had some real success, including bronze medal at the 2013 World Championships in Schladming.

Click here to watch David achieve 6th place
at the Lauberhorn race in Wengen, Jan 2016

10. The Snow Park

Les Arcs' snow park, located on the slopes between 1600 and 1800, gets better and better.  It's just been recognised as the 3rd best venue in France - see this report from L'Equipe.  They write:


When it comes to snowboarding, Les Arcs tends to be more associated with the backcountry.  
But its snow park has been growing in influence over the last 2-3 years - driven on by local skiers who are full of good ideas.  The John Doe session at the end of the season is 
the high point of its annual calendar.

Les plus: Originality of its layout, enabling you to ride in various different ways
Les moins: Queues at the T-bar during peak season

Philippe Gillot in front of his machine
Source: Le Dauphiné

The snow park is kept in order by piste-bully driver Philippe Gillot, 36.  A native of Bourg Saint Maurice, he has been working the pistes for 20 years.  He was one of the few to show much interest in organising and shaping the park.  He now follows in his father's footsteps by working the summer at top Chilean resort (and Les Arcs lookalike) Valle Nevado.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

TICKET TO RIDE

By way of a post-script to this blog's important guide to pop videos filmed on the slopes::

The Beatles' Ticket to Ride, filmed on the Austrian slopes of Obertauern, sees the fab four on skis, I believe for the first time.  Amateur instructors will approve of their can-do attitude, and developing technique.  I am sure there is a Stem Christie turn in there somewhere.



Click here to see the video

Forty years on, the place to re-live such an ambiance is of course Les Arcs.  Here is le pianist des neiges at Arc 1800 a couple of years ago: