Skiing in Les Arcs, France

It’s fair to say my first skiing experience was one I am never going to forget. I remember in school when the ski trip came up I didn’t even ask my parents if I could go because there was absolutely no way you would get me sliding around on two slats of wood on the edge of a mountain in the freezing cold.. oh how wrong I could be.

Fast forward 5 years and when skiing was brought up amongst my group of friends, my fears were pushed aside. How bad could it be, I thought? I can ice skate, I’ll be completely fine with balance. Plus, unlimited wine every night with our meal? Bring. It. On.

I didn’t really have much to do with the planning of this holiday ~read nothing to do except turn up~ but it was decided that we were going to fly out to Geneva as the closer airports in France (i.e Grenoble) are prone to lots of delays due to the weather. The flight was short and sweet and other than leaving my liquids bag in my carry on case, denying all knowledge it was in there and leaving my brand new Apple Watch in security (I don’t do this for a living.. I promise) everything went tickety-boo.

We had around a 2 and a half hour transfer to reach Les Granges from the airport. On the way you may find yourself fearing for your life as they whizz their vehicles round sharp bends on the snow with little to no barriers to stop you from falling off the edge BUT that’s just how they roll in that neck of the woods.

The idea of getting an early flight on the first day was so that ideally we could spend the afternoon exploring the new slopes in Les Arcs. What actually happened was a very different story..

Chalet La Granges d'Alice
Chalet La Granges d’Alice ft 7/8 of the ski team

When we booked the chalet in Les Granges, one great selling point was that we would be able to ski from the lifts at Arc 1600 down to Les Granges by either a red or a blue run (for the unexperienced of the group i.e. moi) rather than use the Funicular which was both great and the bane of my life. Our ski passes weren’t ready for us as we landed earlier than expected so we ventured up to Arc 1600 to get our ski hire sorted.

It’s worth noting at this point that because we didn’t have our ski passes, it would cost a mere €12 to get back down to Les Granges on the funicular, a cost that in hindsight would have been worth every.single.penny. The skiers of the group decided to ski down a ~closed~ run and the more sensible of the group (ha) decided to set off walking down the run.

Fast forward 3 hours, lots of bum sliding down rocky hills, falling over on very icy parts of the run, going very, very off-piste, aching arms from carrying ski’s, ski poles and boots, lots of tears, snappy replies (sorry team), constantly digging our heels in snow/mud so we wouldn’t fall over and guessing our every turn in the dark with only phone torches to guide us, we eventually made it back to the chalet. It’s safe to say the first thing on my mind was ‘thank f**k I’m alive’ and a close second being ‘when is the next flight out of this place’.

The Skiing

Skiing in Les Arcs as a beginner was amazing. There were plenty of blue runs for us to explore (some of which should definitely have been green) and pushed us just the right amount to build our confidence throughout the week (as well as our route planner being a bit sneaky and taking us down bits of reds, which we definitely would have chickened out of had we known).

les arcs piste map

The first two days were a real dream (for a beginner), it hadn’t snowed on the mountains in a while so it was really nice and flat, just perfect for us to get our bearings and get a feel for what skiing is really like i.e. nothing like the slopes we practised on in Xscape. We had gorgeous blue skies, lots of fun runs and as we went the second week in January, was relatively quiet which was probably best for us and the general skiing public.

The middle few days were quite tough. My legs felt like they’d done 10 rounds with Mike Tyson rather than two days of skiing and god forbid it actually SNOWED during the day.. how incredibly selfish of the weather. Visibility was a big fat zero and trying to concentrate on staying on the mountain was a task in itself, especially when you have a fear of heights anyway (what looney goes on a holiday full of heights when they’re terrified of them?…). This did however, please the more advanced of the group who loved playing around in the fresh powder which is ‘so much easier to ski in! NEWSFLASH: It definitely isn’t.

The food

Now on to the more important topic.. what was the food like? I enjoyed pretty much every meal I ate out on the slopes and there were a couple of places I would definitely recommend trying out. ‘La Vache Rouge’ located in Les Arcs 1950 was a great stop off for lunch. The village itself is so picturesque and you can ski right down into and through the village. Another of my favourite places was BKM (Bar King Mad) in Arc 1800 where we all bought lots of sharing things (I’m talking nachos, garlic bread, spicy wedges, mozzarella bites aka heaven) and although not the biggest place, it had a great atmosphere.

It’s probably also worth mentioning that having a catered chalet for the week was an absolute dream. We woke up to breakfast served at 08:00am a choice of cooked breakfast or cereals, had cake left for us during the day and then a three course meal each night served with unlimited red and white wine followed closely by two different cheeses each night. There were one evening our chalet girls had off in which we went out for food but it was absolutely a great part of our stay in the chalet.

Apres-ski

One of my favourite parts of the holiday you might ask? The apres-ski come 3 o’clock in the afternoon. We stumbled upon L’Arpette on our first day of lunching mid-run around the Arc 1800 area. At lunch time, the place was a lovely quiet destination where we had some good food. Between the hours of 3pm-5pm this place completely transforms, with a DJ playing music loud enough to burst your ear drums and everyone up on the tables dancing like nobody is watching (literally, some of the dancing was pretty questionable, including my own).

The downfall to this place? You do have to ski back down which is about a 10 minute run, so going with the ‘5 and ski’ motto like we did as a beginner skier probably isn’t the best advice I could give, although it was a good laugh. I can still hear the screaming of ‘TURN, TURN’ from my fellow ski team in my mind, as turning down a steep hill wasn’t my strong point sober.. never mind after a swift few in L’Arpette. Snowplough queen was a nickname I rightly gave myself..

I’m already looking forward to arranging another skiing trip next year and I definitely would head back to Les Arcs – although I would probably try and get something within the Les arcs 1600 area to make things a little easier!

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Declaration and all that jazz: The majority of these photos are NOT taken by me, as I was too much of a wuss to get my phone out on the slopes. Big up ski team for providing me with all my content!
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