Tales From Les Arcs’ Pistes On Opening Weekend

Les Arcs opened for skiing this weekend and some of the resort’s veterans were straight out on the pistes, testing the conditions and checking out the new additions – pistes, restaurants and lifts. Here are their round-ups of what you can expect if you’re visiting over Christmas, and what to look out for this season. You can find more pictures on the Les Arcs Winter Facebook page.

‘Snowcrazy’ Chris

The conditions today were much better than I expected. Well done to Les Arcs for finishing all the projects on time.

Good news for all those coming out over the next week for the Christmas holidays, but I do hope we have some more snow before New Year week or it could be a little thin in places by the time the busy period arrives.

First thing this morning before meeting the others a little group of us headed up early and also had a look at the work that had been completed over the summer.

The Race course in Arc 1600 looks very good and should be a great benefit to Les Arcs racers. The work on the pistes in the Arc 1800 and Arc 2000 area are also finished and very good. The wider pistes make it much easier to get from the Arpette ridge back to Arc 1800 or Arc 2000 bowl. The new tow rope on the Arc 2000 side makes it easy to get from the lower piste back up onto the track down to Arc 2000 and Arc 1950 avoiding the Red piste, but also without the risk I hope of closures due to avalanche risk later in the season. We shall have to check this out in March and April. The new piste linking Transarc mid station above Arc 1800 to the piste down to Arc 1600 is finished, but it does not yet have enough snow to be opened.

After a quick ski around the area it was time to find a little untracked powder. Had a few little runs, nothing hard, but the snow was very nice. Much more friendly than expected higher up where it had stayed cold. After a little play it was time to meet the others.

A little ski when we all got together then a nice picnic. Another play in the off piste on the grand col and then a drink at the new Lodge above Arc 1800. Very nice!

They have done a good job with Lodge (see photos on Les Arcs Winter page). Good indoor eating area. Great terrace and party area and plenty of room to enjoy yourself. Still a few more things to be added in the empty areas, but this is another place you really need to visit when you are in Les Arcs.

Time to split at the top of the Carreley Chair. Time to visit the new Altiport as the sun went down. This place looks really good now and the food smelled very nice. They have a much bigger kitchen and many more tables inside. The terrace also has some amazing views. This is a must visit place on your list now when you come to Les Arcs.

Finally headed for home after the sun had gone down. Managed a couple more photos and back at the funi by 6pm.

A good first day of the season and I am looking forward to many more during the coming months!

From Les Arcs Winter 

A better than expected first day out on the LA slopes today. A chilly start to the day, but the sun was shining as I managed somehow to sneak on the very first bubble of the Transarc as it opened at 9.15. I exited at mid station to suss out the new piste “Traversee” that crosses the Vagere ESF race track & continues down to Arc 1800. I thought I was on a pisted run but realised after 20 metres that the snow was solid & partially ungroomed till I joined Grands Melezes, which was properly pisted & compacted, but OK to ski. The new piste doesn’t have enough snow as yet & is therefore closed- but at least I was first on this sector of the mountain on opening day.

Up Vagere chair & down Froide Fontaine (Vagere red still closed) & past Arpette chair (some nice soft snow just to the left off piste at the top). Then down to try the new Carreley 6 person chair that starts just next to Mille 8 & the new Lodge building & finishes on the Col des Frettes ridge with a new piste down near Edelweiss piste- a good new addition. The new Dahu gondola (which replaces the old Chantel chair) was not open today- not sure when it starts.

At the top of Arcabulle I had to try some of our traditional easy off piste routes skiers right, which yielded some boot deep light powder, before bumping in to a couple of our regulars & skiing with them in the Arc 2000 bowl in very pleasant snow on & off piste. We did a quick visit to the upper slopes of Vallandry, where the snow is thinner & my favourite blue Renard remains closed, so we diverted via Foret to Derby & back to the top of Transarc for our noon meet up with the rest of the team for a couple of runs right & left of the bowl in the steadily tracked off piste which skied nicely if you are just careful of the odd hidden rock or wind blown thin patch. Conditions are good in the bowl.

After a sunny picnic near the turn off for Grand Col with ten of the regulars in attendance (great to see everyone again) we enjoyed a soft run down black Grand Col (before the moguls form) & then a sneaky off piste route back to Vallee de L’Arc & down to Bois de L’Ours to explore the new developments above Arc 1800. The widened piste for the tight left bend at the top of the blue Arpette run is a great improvement (the old narrow bottleneck was always a pinch point at busy times). Next stop was a look round The Lodge at Mille 8 – a cross between a restaurant, terrace bar, music centre & conference area- very plush. The final place to check was the new Altiport Restaurant by the waterslide- again a nice looking building with large terraces on several floors (very different from the old shack). As the sun went down, a pisteur approached us in the bar & asked us to finish our beers & go home- oops we realised we were the only customers remaining! A nice dusk ski back home with nobody about, except for a piste basher grooming the pistes. Skis off at 5.40pm & quite dark- a very satisfying first day back in my spiritual home.

For all those heading out for Christmas, the snow in the Arc 2000 bowl is very nice, it’s reasonable above 2000 metres & OK on the lower open pistes. Another dump of snow should greatly improve the lower slopes at Peisey-Vallandry.

Katie Downs

EDGE Magazine is your guide to a ski holiday, working or living around Tignes, Val d'Isere, Bourg Saint Maurice, Les Arcs, La Plagne, La Rosiere, Peisey Vallandry & Sainte Foy. Our website www.edgemag.net is packed full of useful live information, regularly updated features and interviews with something for everyone...snow-lovers, starter snowboarders, seasoned skiers, serious apres-skiers, seasonaires and locals. Pick up a copy of our magazine from December in loads of places in each resort including bars, restaurants, shops, cafes and airport transfer vans too. For more information and to request a media pack e-mail info@edgemag.net. We'd love to hear from you!

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