Why Arc 1600 Ski Resort?
- Easy access to the Paradiski ski area – one of the largest in Europe!
- Great ski resort for mixed ability groups
- Varied slopes – on and off piste
- Some excellent woodland runs
- Easy access from Bourg St Maurice via funicular
Arc 1600 (Les Arcs) Information
Les Arcs can be found in the Savoie region, in the Northern French Alps, on the edge of the Vanoise National Park. Les Arcs altitude villages are traffic free.
The Paradiski ski area is made up of 3 main resorts split into villages on opposite sides of the valley: Les Arcs (Bourg St Maurice, Villaroger, Arc 1600, Arc 1800, Arc 1950, Arc 2000) and La Plagne (Belle Plagne, Plagne Soleil/Village, Plagne Centre, Plagne 1800, Aime la Plagne, Champagny, Montchavin-Les Coches, Plagne Bellecote, Montalbert) and Peisey Vallandry (Peisey Vallandry), offering you a ski area of mammoth proportions and a huge variety of ski slopes. The Les Arcs ski area is linked with neighbouring La Plagne, on the opposite side of the valley, by the modern double-decker cable car - the Vanoise Express, which is, in fact, the world’s largest cable car!
Which Les Arcs resort is right for me?
Bourg St Maurice - where the ski trains arrive and is a year-round mountain town, on the valley floor, with a long history and links to the slopes (via Arc 1600) by a 7 minute funicular ride. Accommodation is usually cheaper here so you can get more for your money like the 4* Le Coeur d'Or residence. There is plenty of choice of bars, restaurants and shops including a large supermarket. It's also a good base if you want to take the car to nearby La Rosiere or Sainte Foy for a ski (although there is more than enough skiing in Paradiski for a week or two!).
Arc 1600 - the lowest and oldest of all the altitude villages, set in the trees on a west-facing mountainside overlooking the town of Bourg St Maurice. It enjoys views across the valley to Mont Blanc and has a friendly, small-scale atmosphere. The Club Med Les Arcs Panorama is ideal for families.
Peisey Vallandry - the older and smaller ski village of Peisey-Vallandry sits lower in the valley and offers a more traditional fee with plenty of woodland runs. It has gentle runs ideal for beginners just above the village and snaking down. This resort is ideal for families in particular (nightlife is generally quiet) but also an excellent base if wanting to explore La Plagne as a more intermediate or advanced skier as the Vanoise Expess cable car is nearby.
Arc 1800 - established in 1975, it has a west-facing mountainside on the tree-line and is the largest, most developed and liveliest village of Les Arcs ski area. It is made up of four different pedestrianised areas with Les Villards being the centre of the resort where the main amenities and services are located. It enjoys views across the valley to Mont Blanc. It is also home to the Mille8 area.
Arc 1950 - the more recently built (2003) award winning Arc 1950 has become a well-known village-style ski resort, above the tree-line, offering the charm of a traditional village with all the creature comforts and conveniences of a modern ski resort. It sits beneath the Aiguille Rouge, high point of the slopes so there are great views from the top. You park directly under the apartment buildings which is a bonus. It's based on North American design and is the most ski-in ski-out village in Les Arcs, and maybe even the Alps! It is linked by gondola to Arc 2000 and you can reach the Vanoise Express cable car in around 20 minutes by ski.
Arc 2000 - the highest village, above the tree-line, and close neighbour to Arc 1950. The actual height is over 2100m, so don't let the name fool you! Lifts start below as well as above and it's ski-in ski-out. It sits beneath the Aiguille Rouge, high point of the slopes so there are great views from the top.
LES ARCS SKI AREA
Les Arcs is part of the large ‘Paradiski’ ski area and is the 2nd largest connected skiing area in the world. Paradiski has excellent facilities and with its huge variation in altitude (1200m-3250m) and with over 70% of the area being above 2000m, there is a multitude of different types of scenery and piste to explore. This impressive lift-linked ski area is formed of 18 ski resorts (the first 7 below in Les Arcs and the other 11 in La Plagne):
- Arc 1600
- Arc 1800
- Arc 1950
- Arc 2000
- Peisey Vallandry
- Bourg St Maurice
- Plagne Montalbert
- Plagne Bellecote
- Les Coches
- Champagny en Vanoise
- Belle Plagne
- Plagne 1800
- Plagne Soleil
- Aime la Plagne
- Plagne Centre
- Plagne Villages
Les Arcs offers experts some tough descents beneath the Aiguille Rouge. For intermediates, the greatest concentration of blue and red runs are above Arc 1800 and lead down to the villages of Peisey-Vallandry. There are nursery slopes close to all of the Les Arcs villages, but some of the best green runs can be found in La Plagne. La Plagne has a further 225km of pistes - access via the Vanoise Express double-decker cable car (world’s largest cable car) which is in the village of Peisey-Vallandry. This takes you across to Montchavin (La Plagne).
Arc 1600 is south-west facing and offers numerous tree-lined slopes down to the villages below resort level. This ski area holds its own snow well but is also well served by snow cannons, meaning skiing back to the village is not a problem. The Mont Blanc chairlift in Arc 1600 has been replaced by a new, bigger and faster chairlift. The new detachable lift provides direct access to the ‘Les Deux Têtes’ area. The old ‘Les 2 Têtes’ and ‘Pierre Blanche’ ski lifts, which the new lift replaces, have been removed. This new lift service is designed to improve skier-flow around Les Arcs and make it easier for people to get from Arc 1600 to Arc 1800 and Arc 2000. There is also a 2-minute gondola (Cabriolet) to take you between Arc 1950 and Arc 2000, which is free.
LES ARCS SKIING
LES ARCS BEGINNERS
Across Les Arcs, there are ‘ski tranquille’ beginner zones including on the treeline area above Peisey-Vallandry (look out for these on the piste map). You'll be pleased to know there are around 10 free beginner lifts in Arc 1800, Arc 2000 and Villaroger. Unfortunately none currently in Arc 1600 but this may change with the new Club Med Les Arcs Panorama.
Paradiski doesn't actually have many 'green' runs (only 12) but they use some of the blue runs like greens as they are gentle enough to be greens, e.g 'Forêt' down to Vallandry is labelled as ‘a beginner’s dream’. In all sectors there are long, wide blue runs to move on to. Much of the Arc 2000 bowl is also great progression territory.
LES ARCS INTERMEDIATES
Intermediates are sure to love the blue and red runs in Les Arcs, and there's plenty of them! One particular strength of the area (mainly above 1600/1800) is that most main routes have easy and more difficult alternatives, making it good for mixed-ability groups.
The fantastic 'Malgovert' run into Arc 1600 is often quiet and is accessible from the top of the Comborciere chairlift however its a Natur' run, so ungroomed, so best suited to more confident skiers.
The long run into Villaroger is apparently very rewarding and worth a try.
LES ARCS EXPERTS
Paradiski has a pretty decent number of black slopes for experts (with just over half in Les Arcs and 4 in Arc 1600 itself), many being ungroomed Natur' runs which is a plus or minus depending on your level!
If you want to try the impressive and demanding longest run in the world, then head to the top of the Aiguille Rouge cable car in Arc 2000. Here you will find the Aiguille Rouge black run which is 16km long!
For the mogul lovers out there, head to the top of the Comboriciere and Ours black runs. They are steep and demanding and are accessible via the Arc 1800 lifts.
LES ARCS OFF-PISTE
Les Arcs deserves its very good reputation for fantastic off-piste skiing. The powder is excellent, due to the resort being spread over a large area, a lot of which is not touched by lift systems. Arc 2000 offers truly amazing off-piste possibilities.
The main off-piste area is the Aiguille Rouge glacier (in Arc 2000), where you have the longest run in the resort at 7km, with a 2100m vertical drop! The most popular runs can be found on the north face with an immense area of off-piste skiing in the direction of Villaroger.
For novices, from the top of the Dos Rond there is a gentle off-piste slope that follows the Les Bauches blue. There is also an eay route from Col de la Chal down towards Nancroix.
LES ARCS SNOWBOARDERS
Les Arcs is a hot spot and firm favourite with snowboarders, where many of the Pros choose to come. Les Arcs offers brilliant freeriding including steeps, trees, gullies, natural jobs and hits. Arc 1800 and Peisey-Vallandry offer the best wide-open rolling slopes for beginners and intermediates.
LES ARCS SNOWPARKS
You will find Les Arcs' Apocalypse Parc (snowpark named after Regis Rolland for the cult film 'Apocalypse Snow') between Arcs 1600 and Arc 1800 and is served by a snowboarder-friendly J-bar lift. For years now this has been one of the most advanced parks in the French Alps and is on a par with the main park at Avoriaz which is highly rated. If you're after snowcross runs, you will find them below Col de la Chal at Arc 2000 or above Plan-Peisey.
From Arc 1600, take the Cachettes chairlift then join the Belvédère piste to reach the SnowPark chairlift.
From Arc 1800, take the Vagère chairlift and follow the Arpette.
From Arc 2000, you have to go downhill to Arc 1950 to catch the Bois de l’Ours chairlift then go back down on the other side towards Arc 1600. You then have a choice of several pistes of different levels to get to the Snowpark.
LES ARCS CROSS-COUNTRY
The ski area of Les Arcs/Peisey Vallandry has 55km of cross-country trails (131km in La Plagne also).
In Arc 1600 there is a loop starting at Courbaton, the top of the funicular.
In Arc 1800 a trail starts from the top of the Jardin Alpin chairlift.
In Arc 2000 the trail begins near the ESF 2000 ski school office.
Each trail is free to use and is approximately 5km in length.
A longer trail of 15km can be found in Bourg St Maurice and access is via the funicular from Arc 1600.
However, for the best of the best cross-country skiing you need to be further down the valley in the Peisey-Nancroix Nordic area (Peisey-Vallandry), at the entrance of the Vanoise National Park – 44km of well kept and marked trails await you. There are also paths here for walkers, snowshoe trails and toboggan runs. You do have to purchase a pass to use these trails, but the good thing is that any profit they make purely goes into the daily upkeep of these beautiful trails.
LES ARCS IN BAD WEATHER
If the weather turns bad, the clouds creep in and the snow falls heavy it can be hard to know where to ski. Avoid the high and open glaciers at all costs. The trick is to head for the tree-lined slopes as they provide definition when the slopes and the sky merge into one and everything seems white! Head to the lower resorts of Arc 1600, Arc 1800 and Peisey-Vallandry.
From the top of the Chantel and Les Villards chairlifts, you can take some long blue slopes through the trees from Arc 1800 to Arc 1600. La Plagne Montalbert is another safe beat with gentle blues that cut through the trees and as you will be lower here you may even completely miss the high cloud causing the bad weather. There are also plenty of trees to be found in Vallandry, Plan Peisey and Montchavin/Les Coches.