FEATURED

FEATURED
This year's festival runs from 16-23 Dec. Click on the photo for more

Friday, 26 December 2014

LE SNOW ART DES ARCS

BREAKING NEWS: The fast-improving Les Arcs Facebook page is now reporting the first sightings of what is quickly becoming an attraction in its own right: Simon Beck's artistic creations in the snow.  The slopes above Arc 2000 are his canvas...


For more on Simon's snow (and sand) art, click here.

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

MOVING ON UP: La Plagne opens Les Colosses

Via www.perso-laplagne.fr, a trip up the new 8-person chair at Plagne Bellecote, which allows panoramic views of the perilously thin snow cover.

This new lift is the fastest of its kind, with the hope being it will eat into the notorious Bellecote queues.  For more background, click here.

La Plagne fans may still be disturbed to hear that the current site of Lowry-esque queues, aka the Roche de Mio gondola, will not be retired until 2020.  Their mood may be lifted when they browse the 10 year plan for improvements, which are set out here.   

Looking towards Pralognan from
the Champagny side of La Plagne's slopes
Click here for more on the resort, including
its history, summer walking, bobsleigh track...

Sunday, 21 December 2014

HIGH ABOVE LA PLAGNE: The Glacier

"A bit of an odd set-up"
"Feels like it needs more thought"
"A-MA-ZING views"

Some comments overheard on a visit last season to the summit of La Plagne's skiing...

Change is on the horizon.  There are big plans to further upgrade the lifts across the resort, and the Glacier is at the heart of these plans.

For now, the trip up there is not without its drawbacks.  Assuming it's open, of course.  It's closed for 35 days each season.

Coming from Les Arcs, the journey up there can certainly take a while - whichever route to Roche de Mio you use.  Even in low season, allow some time.

Once you get to Roche de Mio, there is the ancient lift to take to the start of the Glacier skiing.  You can't ski to it direct.

The pistes are not really for beginners.  The red from the top of the new Glacier lift gets bumpy, and many people take the easier (but narrow) track - which the gets very crowded. Persevere, however; if you are up for the fierce Derochoir piste, you have the chance to make a 2000m descent all the way down to Montchauvin, at 1250m.  There are also a couple of blacks up there which have recently been re-instated as pistes.

The fiddly "retro" gondola link to the glacier will be
condemned to the ski history books from 2016

The headache for the resort is that, despite it being (in theory) the jewel in the crown, just 1% of its skiers' time is spent on the Glacier.

From 2016, there will be a new 10-person telecabine, which will take 2,800 skiers an hour. And a new red piste will enable skiers (and piste bullies) to reach the slopes directly.  This will be followed by a second gondola in 2017; details here.

See www.perso-laplagne.fr for more

For more on the 10 year plan for La Plagne's pistes, click here.

Looking back, 2015 marks ten years since the glacier was open for summer skiing - more here.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

NO WEATHER BOMB FOR THE ALPS

It's beginning to look not a lot like Christmas....

French resorts have been able to make snow this week, but all that may be thwarted by high temperatures in the days to come - the latest update from Telegraph Ski sets out the sorry scene.

Les Arcs is currently registering a feeble 6cm at 1600m and 30cm at the top.  A small number of pistes have been opened above 1800 and 2000, but it's all looking very threadbare - see the webcam at Arc 1950 for an illustration.

This has prompted the newly formed Les Arcs Freeski Academy to decamp back to the gym at Bourg St Maurice for its training/auditions this afternoon.

The British students arriving in resort this week - including parties from Bath and Manchester - will not be happy.  They will have to make do with going to the cinema, courtesy of this week's Les Arcs Film Festival.

It all adds up to a low key launch for the new "Mille 8" development above 1800, centrepiece of a series of developments for 2014 and 2015.

Across the valley at La Rosiere the resort is "sur les starting blocks", but has delayed opening any lifts until next week.

That was then...
Above Arc 1800, 20th April 2014

Sunday, 7 December 2014

KEEP IN TOUCH: Social Media in the Tarentaise

Here's a guide (from a couple of years ago) to some of the main Tweeters of the Tarentaise.

A welcome new arrival since then is @tournavelles, tweeting from Villards in Arc 1800, often with the latest pictures of snow conditions etc.  And I try to RT news and comments about Les Arcs a few times a week @TweetLesArcs.

The Ski Adventures blog, from a company based in Les Arcs, will bring you the latest from the resort through the season.  Their latest post laments the 5% increase in lift prices and the lack of inclusion of any of the new "Mille 8" facilities.

For La Plagne fans, the excellent Perso La Plagne is now on Twitter.

Turning to Facebook, Les Arcs now has  51,000 "likes".  La Plagne is a little behind, with just under 40,000.

Meanwhile La Rosiere's Facebook page is pretty good, with loads of photos right through the year.

The border between La Rosiere and La Thuile.
Follow local ESF boss Simon Atkinson (no relation)
for the latest from this underrated area.