Les Arcs and Bourg St Maurice
In December 2003 the Vanoise express lift opened between Les Arcs and La Plagne creating the second biggest ski area in the world, but, does size matter, in this case no, as Les Arcs by itself has more than enough to satisfy any standard of riders for several seasons, which is why a lot of the locals just keep coming back. But if you think that now you have another massive area a short cable car ride away, you can literally lose yourself in the possibilities.
Bourg itself is a bit of a gem, a real town with real people, which throws a different light on the season experience. You feel like you actually become part of the town and the ‘scene’ rather than another snowboarder on the hill, which is why so many come back for at least ‘one more’ Bourg’s low elevation means that there isn’t so much snow down here, however, when that means that the skatepark, bbq’s and general chilling are more of an option, the 7 minutes on the funicular seem to pale into insignificance.
Another great thing about Bourg is that it sits at the heart of the Tarentaise valley surrounded by resorts, Val D’isere, Tignes, Ste Foy, La Rosiere (where you can ride into Italy!) La Plagne, all within an easy half hour drive or bus journey, even the three valleys are only forty five minutes away.
Les Arcs is such a varied resort describing all there is to do would fill up it’s own website! Rest assured though, there really is outstanding terrain for every standard of rider.
BEGINNERS have the wide-open runs that are serviced by the free lifts in both 1600 and 1800 providing an ample starting point. From there it is over to the perfectly kept tree lined runs of Peisey Vallandry, an ideal place to pick up confidence.
INTERMEDIATE and ADVANCED riders, for high speed fun, or the hits and tree runs that are to be found. From there, you can get to La Plagne or head over to 2000 for mad off piste, and the resorts highest peak, the Aguille Rouge, sitting at 3226 metres, for spectacular views into Italy and Switzerland.
The last two seasons have seen a big change in the structure and the running of the park. No longer it is an dangerous excuse, it has been transformed into something to be proud of. It was reckoned to be the best park in the Tarentaise valley last season.
The best thing about it is the fact that it caters for everyone; with kickers ranging from small introduction ones to fill your pants with fear ones! There are also assorted rails and boxes for the jib-minded. Of course, this would all be in vain if it wasn’t well maintained, but luckily it gets groomed every night, meaning smooth landings right through the season.
There is also a wealth of kicker spots all around the mountain, however, I can’t divulge them, so you’ll have to come and find them yourself.