Les Arcs Snowboarding
The 29th most popular snowboarding destination in France.
Wednesday 28 November 2018 06:44 GMT
Southeast of Albertville and Bourg Saint Maurice, the Les Arcs ski domaine has 200km of pistes served by 51 lifts with a maximum vertical descent of 1,980m. The family-friendly Les Arcs ski domaine is perfect for snowboarding for its steeps and glades.
For the freestyle snowboarders in your crew, the Apocalypse Park is considered the best terrain park in the French Alps. It's recent design and layout changes, along with the longer draglift extension, allow for better progression and jump line flows.
The Les Arcs ski domaine interconnects four modern, charmless, purpose-built resort towns. If you plan to mainly stay in Les Arcs, Arc 1950 is probably the best of the bunch but it mainly has apartments not hotels. In addition to the four main resort towns, there is now a connection via a quick funnicular railway down to Bourg Saint Maurice from Arc 1600, which runs every 20 minutes from 8am-8pm. There isn't much of a base area in Arc 1600, though.
In addition to interconnecting the local villages, the Les Arcs ski domaine is part of the Paradiski ski region, which interconnects with the La Plagne ski domaine. The combined Paradiski arena is truly massive with 425km of pistes served by 128 lifts. They interconnect in the village of Peisey-Vallandry via a double-decker cable car known as the Vanoise Express. If you plan to really explore the entire Paradiski arena of Les Arcs and La Plagne, the village of Peisey-Vallandry would make a good base. The neighboring La Plagne ski are ais known for having better freeriding lines.
The Les Arcs ski domaine doesn't really offer those long, expansive pistes like many of the neighboring resorts. Many of the pistes are short and you'll find yourself on the lifts more than other areas. The main exception is off Aguille Rouge. Also, keep in mind that the lifts at Les Arcs start spinning later than most regional resorts, but they also stay open later.
While out ripping it up, you'll notice that many of the black-level runs (difficult) are really mogul fields. Also, if you are seeking out the steeps, keep in mind that it doesn't take much weather to close down the high lifts. For a good steep piste, try those off Aiguille Rouge but don't head to the protected southeast back side down to Villaroger (2000m/7km) unless you attend a course first to get a pass (100 euro fine). When you are ready for a real adventure, start from the top of the Transarc bubble lift and hike up about 45 mintues to Augille Grive. From here, you’ll find several couloir lines that descend into open bowls. Just make sure to start early since these lines catch sun and slide. Another good line is off the top of the Bellecote glacier in La Plagne that descends the North Face all the way down to Nancroix. Some lines can be gnarly and a guide might be desireable.
For an on-mountain lunch, check out Belliou La Fumee or Les Chalets de L'Arc, both above Arc 2000.
After a long day of shredding, you can look for the best apres ski action in the resort town of Arc 1800. Try the Ambiente, Le Gaboite or Benji's Bar. For nightlife, you'll want to head over to Le Bachal.
To reach the snowboarding at Les Arcs by air, try to fly into Chambery or Lyon. Then, take the train to Bourg Saint Maurice, which is only 1km from Les Arcs. In Bourg Saint Maurice, there are local buses up to Les Arcs, and also there is a quick funicular railway. If you do plan to drive up, keep in mind that the roads are extremely crowded on Saturdays.
TIP: If you are planning to arrive by train, the regular bus up to the resort is mainly during daylight hours. After dark, the bus runs infrequently, if at all. Therefore, you will need to take a cab from the train station to the resort. If you plan to fly into Lyon, you may want to check the train schedule before buying your flight to make sure there is a convenient transfer. If you plan to arrive Friday through Sunday, the shuttle Altibus might be a more convenient option. Since there are not many trains or buses up into this region, you are highly encouraged to advance purchase tickets and reserve your seat.
Overall, Les Arcs is the 29th most popular snowboard & freeride destination of all 47 snowboarding resorts in France. Several of the better snowboarding resorts are nearby Les Arcs including La Plagne and Peisey-Vallandry.