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Thursday, 13 November 2014

LES ARCS 2014/15: The Ski Schools

There aren't zillions of ski schools in Arc 1800, but there certainly is a choice.

Which to choose?  All the instructors have the strict French ski teaching qualifications. They all speak English (although they are always happy to help you with your French). Everyone's on the same mountain.  In some ways, it comes down to time of day:

For a quick lesson at 9am, choose  Privilege.  They only have a few instructors, but are very flexible and friendly.  Based out of a ski shop in Villards.  You can have an hour lesson with them and, after a quick refresh, you can be on your way.

If you have two hours, between 10 and 12, there is Arc Aventures.  Part of the ESI network, they run these handy sessions outside the absolute peak weeks.

For an hour over lunch, either 12-1 or 1-2, best to go to ESF.  They have more instructors than anyone else, and there is usually space.  Note: they do have a tendency towards being dull bureaucrats.  Last year, during the Paris school holidays, I tried to make a telephone booking while en route to the resort.  This rather modern approach was not permitted.  When I got to the resort they were booked up.  Make sure you take note of the French school holiday calendar: the February/March holidays for the various zones go on for quite some time.

There are plenty of options in the other Les Arcs villages of course.  For example, the New Generations school has a bases in Vallandry and Arc 2000; instructor JP McCarthy is happy to meet clients in Arc 1800.

If you want to explore the off-piste, the Bureau des Guides at Villards has a macho back-country vibe.  But they have very few actual guides.  If you want to book one just for your party, it's likely to be touch and go.  You might want to consider going to Ste-Foy or Tignes for such a trip.

Le Monal, Ste-Foy-Tarentaise

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