Set in the trees overlooking the Vanoise national park, Les Arcs is a wonderful resort if you are looking for a calmer skiing experience. The skiing is excellent with a wide variety of terrain to suit all tastes and abilities. The resort is actually made up of four separate purpose built villages with the UCPA centre located on the outskirts of the original village of 1600. The resort is very accessible with a direct funicular railway from Bourg St Maurice (served by the snow train and coach) which takes just 7 minutes. As long as nightlife isn’t a key consideration Les Arcs is well worth a look.
The ski area in Les Arcs is a good size with 200km of piste serviced by 77 lifts which are modern, fast and comfortable. The skiing is very varied with lots of pistes for all abilities including some very friendly open wide runs for beginners to gain confidence on. Intermediate/advanced skiers are particularly well catered for with a large number of challenging reds and motorway blues. The off piste is also excellent and again varied with everything from tree skiing to cliff drops and steeps. Les Arcs has its very own speed run on which a number of world records have been set and for a small fee you can give it a go yourself albeit from a slightly safer height!
The villages of Les Arcs are all purpose built and while certainly not charming alpine villages, they are not an eyesore either. In recent years a considerable investment has gone into revamping the centres and it has had a noticeable effect. Les Arc has a reputation for being a friendly resort and there is a very relaxed atmosphere throughout. The centres have largely been designed with skier convenience in mind and all are ski in ski out, getting between resorts is easy by bus, ski or foot. None of the villages has a particularly lively nightlife although there are, of course, some great bars dotted around.
The Les Arcs UCPA is one of their biggest and most impressive centres with a capacity of 500 people in four person rooms. It is located next to a piste and could not be more of a ski in ski out centre! The centre has all the usual UCPA facilities including 3 dining rooms, 3 separate bars, a TV room and a nightclub. It almost has a student union feel due the size and layout. The centre is about 15 minutes walk from town but most people tend to stay on site. The centre has a very friendly and vibrant atmosphere and with its large capacity, nightclub and bars is generally a much more exciting après ski venue than town!