One of the world’s only snow theme parks opened fully in Les Arcs for the first time this winter. Mille 8 concentrates a huge variety of ski and leisure activities into a single hub, creating a base where the whole family can go and find something that appeals to everyone. Let’s go inside this ‘revolutionary’ €36m development, designed to take family holidays to the next level.
Ski runs, play parks, pool, spa, hiking and discovery trails, tobogganing, events. It’s all going on here – and well into the evening too, with illuminated night skiing. High in altitude (‘Mille’ translates to ‘thousand’ and Mille 8 refers to its altitude of 1800 metres) it’s also high tech. Huge video screens and digital walls show information and pictures tagged on social media. Music, sound and lighting effects create a magical winter wonderland.
Start off on The Cube – entry-level slopes, with their own magic carpet, for making your first turns. Progress onto The Cabins – a discovery ski trail through the middle of the forest, brought to life with special effects. Dotted about the route are log cabins where you can stop for a picnic or just to enjoy panoramic views across the Tarentaise valley all the way to Mont Blanc.
The Penguins is a safe, enclosed area for young children with igloos, mini-toboggan run and baby snow park. For those more confident on their skis there’s Les Bosses – a fun freestyle and boarder cross-style course, complete with jumps, surrounded by snow sculptures.
Running right through the middle of Mille 8 is The Luge – a wild toboggan ride with 900 metres of descent through tunnels, forest and steep turns. Sound and light effects add to the thrill and the run ends in a tunnel lit with a kaleidoscope of colour.
While all this is going on there’s the chance to relax in the Aqua-Leisure Centre, spread over 3800msq at the foot of the slopes with unobstructed views of Mont Blanc. Unwind in a whirlpool bath – or throw yourself into water games and slides.
Overlooking the whole park, and where most of the activities converge, is the ‘piece de resistance’ – the brand new Lodge. Right on the piste it’s the meeting place, restaurant, snack bar and major event venue. The idea is that energetic youngsters can carry on skiing while the rest retire to the Lodge to look on as they sip an aperitif and listen to music.
Events take place at the Lodge from morning to night. Try snowshoe or Snowga –yoga on snow. After lifts close try the piste-side Zumba class, fancy dress team toboggan challenge or Yukigassen – a Japenese sport that involves snowball fights. Astro-hike to the observatory cabin, where an astronomer reveals the secrets of the stars. Les Sapins walking nature trail through the forest starts from the Lodge too. Rest at the viewing decks and watch the toboggans and skiers whizz past.
- The whole area has its own lift – Villards – and can be accessed from Le Dahu and the brand new Carreley.
- Entry to Mille 8 (excluding Luge and swimming pool) is included in ski passes.
- Get access to the pool every day for €10 on top of the price of your 6-day ski pass. A Luge descent costs €6.
- Under 6’s have free access to ski lifts and aquatic centre.
- The area is open to 7.30pm, with parts open later Wednesday to Friday.