For the fifth year in a row we booked a package deal via Crystal Ski (part of Thomson). They offer a wide range of options to suit all budgets and we’ve always been impressed with the customer service we’ve received from the staff in the resorts. We always try to go somewhere different every year but as mentioned in my ‘which ski resort’ post, a big ski area is a MUST for us, and we’ve pretty much done everywhere Europe has to offer, except Les Arcs. So, when we stumbled across a great last minute deal for Les Arcs 2000 we quickly clicked ‘BOOK NOW’. I’d just lime to point out you don’t always save money by booking late, the only reason we do it is so that we can see what resorts have the best snow reports.
The Ski Area
Les Arcs and La Plange which are linked by the Vanoise express make up the Paradiski, which when combined offer 425km of piste, ranging from picturesque tree-lined runs to high altitude glaciers. A local pass would be enough to keep the average skier amused for a week which also includes a one day pass to the opposite side to which you staying We booked the area passes which gave us unlimited access to both area. In hinds site, the local pass would have been enough as we only skied in La Plange once due to the it snowing almost daily and low visibility. Unfortunately you can’t predict the weather, I’d much rather buy an area pass and not need it, than not buy one and need it.
The snow was late to arrive for many resorts in the Alps, and in run up to our trip we were worried. On the day we arrived it was snowing heavily and it continued to snow almost all week. Whilst the fresh powder felt fantastic under the skis, the visibility was poor, thus some of the connections and higher lifts were closed, particularly on the first two days of the trip. We assumed that by staying in Les Arcs 2000 we’d just be able to ski down to 1800/1600 but this only possible if the connections are running. On our first day 2000 kept us more than occupied, we were just happy to be back on the snow after a year! On the second day however, we were itching to explore the area so ended up jumping on the 20 minute ski bus to 1600. The tree lined runs around the area, especially in Vallandry are perfect for days when the weather is bad. If you like off-piste skiing the options are endless and with fresh powder everyday it was fairly untracked. We spent most the week up to our knees in fresh powder weaving through the trees near Vallandry and 1600. We also found a really cool ravine (off piste) that we skied down in La Plagne. You can access it from either the Funiplange Grande Rochelle gondola and, although both of us scratched our skis/board on some exposed rock. The only thing I felt Paradiski lacked was snow parks. The Apocalypse Parc which lies between 1600 and 1800 had some good options of ramps, rails and boxes, but other than the 8 Miles (kids park) there was nothing as the park in La Plange was closed off except for few mini ramps.
The Food/ Drink
We ate lunch on the mountain every day, you pay a bit more but we find it easier and you tend to get a better view. For x2 croc-monsieur (toasted ham and cheese sandwich topped with béchamel sauce), portion of chips and x2 cokes we paid on average 25 EUR. Yes, it’s a rip off compared to what it would cost in in the UK, but it’s the same everywhere in the Alps, we’re a captive audience. In the past, we’ve been and brought fresh batons and some cooked meat in the morning to eat at the side of the piste. If you do intend to eat your own packed lunch, do not eat it at the tables of a restaurant, even if you’ve brought a drink, it’s very frowned upon.
The Hotel/ Resort
Our hotel L’Aigulle Rouge is geared up for kids with different entertainment every evening. We got involved in the music quiz which was rather amusing, especially as we were the only Brits participating. Our room was basic but clean and comfortable, we even managed to find a English channel on the TV. Our package included half board, which was a new concept for us as we have always done self-catering. I’m not usually a fan of buffet style food, but I was pleasantly surprised, even the inclusive wine on tap tasted half decent and saved us money in the bar. Although packet by going half board, I must admit I missed going out and trying different restaurants every night.
Arc 2000 is the perfect resort for families, I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re looking for a lively night scene as all of the bars in resort were dead except for Whistlers. One evening our Crystal rep arranged a games night for us some other guests at the bowling alley. For a bargain 10 EUR each we had a game of ten pin bowling, pool and air hockey, plus a go on a 4-dimensional racing game. Surprisingly this turned out to be out best night, we had so much fun. If you’re staying in Arc 2000 make sure you get the gondola which is open until midnight down to 1950, it’s a really pretty purpose built village, with a few more bars and restaurants on offer than 2000.
★ The whole of the Vallandry area – we spent hours just going up and the Grizzly lift.
★ Aiguille Rouge for the view, but not for the queue. If you’re confident skiing blacks then stick with black as the red followed by the blues are super busy.
★ We found a really cool ravine (off piste) in La Plagne. You can access it from either the Funiplange Grande Rochelle gondola, turn right down the Carina (red) then Arnica (blue). If you get the Colorado chair you will end up straight on the Arnica. Go past the Colorado Luge then turn off piste to the right.
★ Arcabulle (Arc 2000) – Super fast connection lift with the added bonus of a lid to keep to dry when it’s snowing.
★ L’Arpette,on the Belvedere (blue) run between 1600 and 1800. I’d highly recommend the Croziflette.
★ Whistlers Bar – typical English style bar with cheap (for the Alps) beer during happy hour and some tasty looking pizzas (although we didn’t sample any of the food). The guys behind the bar there were great, they even put football on the TV for Andy.
Now for the important question. How much did it all cost?
Flight, transfers and hotel including half board = £568.00 per person
Area lift pass including ski carriage on the plane = £264.00 per person
Extra food and drink = around £400.00 (between the two of us)
Total price = just over £1000.00 per person, which we thought was pretty good value for money. We could have made it cheaper by not eating on the mountain or drinking alcohol, but being our only trip this year we weren’t trying to save money.
If you’re planning a winter trip, make sure you check out my other Winter Sports posts.
**This is not a sponsored post**