Wake up in this cosy apartment- described by several owners as the prettiest one-bedroom apartment in Arc 1950, with its ceiling soaring to 20 feet and its relaxing harmony- throw open the curtains and let the sun stream into both the bedroom and the living room. Grab a cup of tea and one of the bathrobes (provided), go out onto the balcony, take in the sun, the clean mountain air, the fabulous view of Aiguille Rouge and watch the village starting to stir.
After a shower that is hot and plentiful (and on you, not the floor!) nip down the stairs and out past the Jacuzzi and pool to the patisserie for a selection of fresh croissants, pains au chocolat, etc and still-warm baguettes. Returning, take the lift to the apartment- too early for any warm-up exercises by using the stairs- and notice the new sauna and hammam and the well-equipped gym (you have unlimited access to all of these). In the 5-6 minutes you’ve been gone, the table has been laid, the milk warmed and with your delicious pastries and bread, you can each have your favourite coffee from the Nespresso machine. Babble on about the previous night, yesterday’s skiing and what to do today.
The weather forecast and snow conditions have been on the smart TV, you have loaded your ski pass via the fast (and free) WiFi, you collect helmet, goggles, gloves, etc and head for the heated boot room via the lift, grateful that your boots, skis and poles are in your own secure locker there and that you are not having to grapple with all your kit through the hotel. Put on your ski boots, take your skis and poles and walk the 10 metres from the boot room door to where you can put on your skis and glide down through the village to the 2 lifts just below.
You have the second largest ski terrain in the world at your feet and it’s sometimes difficult to decide where to ski first, but you have YUGE, the free app that tells you virtually everything about the skiing area, including where you are, where your friends or children are, what lifts and pistes are open (and how long any queues are) and it will track your performance during your trip. It even tells you which are the sunniest slopes today, what itinerary is best for your level, which après ski activities are close by?…. A gold mine of valuable information and an essential safety aid.
You get on Bois de L’Ours as it takes you to the top of L’Arpette (2,413m) from where you can see, judge the conditions and access both ski sectors of Les Arc. You use the ski down to Varet as a warm-up and from there you’re on your way to the top of Aiguile Rouge (3,227) and the fabulous and varied ski to Le Bistro du Solliet, a lovely old fashioned bistro on many different levels, where you can have a vin chaud or a hot chocolate while soaking up the sun and marveling at the awesome views.
The first serious conversation of the day- where to have lunch. Votes are for L’Ancolie, one of the top 3 restaurants in the alps serving fabulous food at very reasonable prices, but you haven’t booked and it is too good a skiing day to spend much of the afternoon in a restaurant. You settle on Hotel La Vanoise, a favourite for a really good, quickly served meal where you can sit in or outside. You head off from one extremity of Les Arc to Plan Peisey, the other extremity (and from where you can catch the huge 200 person double decker cable car that takes only 4 minutes to cross the valley to Les Plagne).
It’s only 2 lifts and some great skiing to get back to Arc 1950 and then only 2 lifts to the top of Arcabulle. From there you can ski directly to Plan Peisey, including down most of Ecureuils, a relatively gentle black run that is usually both in really good condition and deserted. Arrive exhilarated for a great lunch- you have the plat du jour, others have the delicious omelette or the quiche, made like only the French can.
After lunch, explore more of the 425Kms of pistes in the Paradiski area before making your way back towards 1950. On the last run down you stop for a beer or a citron presse at Les Chalets De L’Arc, an impressive restaurant 250m above 1950 and one of the highest bakeries in the world- all their bread is baked here and if you cannot finish the whole loaf they give you, you are welcome to take the rest home.
You ski home, right back to the entrance to the boot room, have just enough time to put your skis and poles away, exchange your ski boots for something more comfortable and walk outside to join the Airboard Sledge Party, that night’s entertainment- it is different every day of the week. Your party joins others to hurtle down the slopes on flimsy joined up plastic toboggans against rival teams, all jostling crashing and whooping with joy. Teams are united, families forge memories that will be retold many times and everyone goes to the main square to celebrate.
You all go to the great little grocery, Huit a Huit (amusingly open from 8am until 7.30pm) with its excellent butcher, a really fresh grocery section and a good wine selection and buy what you’re cooking for dinner. On the 3 minute walk back to your hotel you stop to browse through some of the fine shops in the main street, you admire the beautiful Savoyard architecture of the village, you appreciate its warm and vibrant atmosphere and only then do you notice the tranquility and safety from the complete lack of traffic- all service vehicles and cars are accommodated in several floors of underground parking.
Some of your party want to relax in the Hammam, so you retreat to your apartment, sink into your bath filled with foam and ease your tired muscles from the exertions of the day’s skiing. You light the log fire and prepare dinner, being pleasantly surprised at how well equipped the kitchen is. Good pans, sharp knives! The rest of your party returns and are soon sitting down to a raucous meal- a myriad selection for the raclette- and retelling the noteworthy occasions of the day. Tomorrow you’ll go out to one of the restaurants in the village or perhaps to 2,000 (via the free cable car that continues until about 11pm) to Le Savoy, an excellent restaurant from the daughter of the family that run Les Chalets De L’Arc, 250 metres up the mountain. Thinking of the rest of the week, should you book a ski lesson or a mountain guide or one of numerous types of therapy at the spectacular spa in Source de Marie?
You toss up between watching a DVD (there’s a modest selection in the apartment), the next episode of Tin Star (if you have it on your iPad, etc and can connect to the smart TV) and playing scrabble (or one of the other games in the apartment). With the real wood fire glowering in the background, you settle down to watch The Woman in Black.
After some good frights, you all retire to bed and as your eyelids are growing heavy, you marvel at the pleasures of the day and how fortunate you are. And tomorrow will be just as good- you are in a beautiful, relaxing apartment in Arc 1950, a magical village where dreams come true and set in one of the most extensive and best ski resorts in the world.
For more information on;
The Village http://www.arc1950.com/en/arc-1950-a-unique-ski-resort.html
Family friendly http://www.arc1950.com/en/a-family-friendly-mountain-resort.html
The ski area http://www.arc1950.com/en/paradiski-les-arcs-ski-area.html
Ski passes http://www.arc1950.com/en/les-arcs-and-paradiski-ski-passes.html
Ski school http://www.arc1950.com/en/ski-lessons-with-spirit-ski-school.html
Ski rental http://www.arc1950.com/en/ski-and-snowboard-equipment-hire.html
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