We were invited out to Les Arcs at the end of March for the Great British Celebration week. The resort is linked with Paradiski which is the 2nd largest ski area in the world with 425km of pistes, so you are never short of terrain.
British tourism has always been a large part of this resort with 45% of it’s overseas skiers come from the UK, which is why they have started the Great British Celebration Week. Despite Brexit being on the horizon, Les Arcs want to Celebrate the British Culture and remind UK skiers that the resort “will always be their home” – Just with a bit more cheese, wine and snails!
Heading out to the mountains so late in the season we were not expecting much snow. We could not have been more wrong. The night we arrived it dumped about 55cm of fresh snow across the resort. Due to the quiet week that this event takes place; there are not many people about so we were able to ride fresh tracks pretty much all day. The snow was perfect, light and fluffy; some of the best snow I had ridden all season and it was at the end of March!
We had a great morning riding around on our own on the lower part of the resort before meeting up with our guide later on. After we met up with our guide, the higher lifts opened up and we were on the first lift to the top of the Aiguille Rouge (3226m) where there was even more snow. This meant that we were one of the first riding the fresh powder at the top, which was incredible and we spent pretty much the rest of the day playing around that area.
Les Arcs and the Paradiski is one of my favourite ski areas because of the amount of terrain they have. It is perfect for whatever you want to do, from cruising around some nice open pistes, to challenging off-piste terrain and snowparks. It is even great for if you have your little one with you who is learning to ski as they have a great ski school area.
Overall the few days we had riding here were amazing, and we even got involved in a slalom race orgainised for the Great British Ski week; the Mayor even competed! It is a quite week for the resort so you don’t have to worry about long lift queues and packed pistes.
For our accommodation we stay in Arc 1800 at Les Alpages Du Chantel, which is in the Chantel, just above the Arc 1800 village. They have recently built a short lift up the slope to easily access this area which is open until quite late. Unfortunately, this was closed for maintenance while we were there, however, even then, it was only a 10-15 minute walk up the piste to get home.
We landed in Geneva very late so it was after midnight when we arrived at the accommodation and reception was closed. We knew it would be closed when we got there so they organised the keys to be in a safe just outside the reception. Unfortunately, when we opened the safe our key was not there as there had been some sort of mix up!
Luckily, we called the emergency number we were given and a very helpful person told us to take the back-up apartment keys for the night and they would sort it out in the morning. The back-up apartment was very nice and more than adequate, then, sure enough, in the morning they had sorted everything out and got us into our proper accommodation. Even though the ordeal could have been stressful, it was actually handled very well and they were very apologetic.
The self-catered accommodation itself was very nice, especially as it was ski in, ski out. We just woke up, got our kit on, walked out the door and we were on the slopes. To top it off, after a long day skiing (and of course Après ski), you could come back and relax in its spa centre that has a nice indoor pool, gym and massage parlour.
On top of this, as I said before this week is a very quiet week for the resort, this means that accommodation is very cheap and easily available.
For more information on accommodation check out Erna Low
Throughout the Great British Celebration Les Arcs out on various Activities where they challenge the English against the French. Highlights include:
- Bubble foot tournament
- Robin Hood Tournament and British Family Party
- Sledge contest
- Slalom race
As we were not there for the whole week, we were only able to participate in the Bubble foot tournament, and the slalom race. I did not know what to expect from it all but it was actually a lot of fun. As this was the first year they were running the celebration there were not a lot of people who knew about it, we were actually the only British people competing in the slalom race. Despite that, the people there were really fun and all looked like they were having a great time. Even some British university students who didn’t know about the celebration week got involved. You can see how with a bit of promotion this could be a fun filled week.
Of course, if you are wanting things to do in Les Arcs, you can not forget the Après ski which even though it was the off-peak part of the season, it was a lot of fun and all the French were friendly, making the British seem very welcome.
As we were staying in self catered accommodation there was a small kitchen for us to cook in. However after such long intense days riding, the last thing we wanted to do was spend time shopping and cooking. Ideally we would eat out every night however this would have cost a fortune so we used the new mountain food delivery service HUSKI. They have a big selection of food and drinks that you can have delivered all in once at the beginning of your week or just for the evening.
We order a lot for different things the first evening to try it out and it was delivered to reception ready for us to pick up after riding. At first we were not sure what to expect as they were frozen; most of which you could put in the oven or microwave it. As we only had a microwave oven, we had to use that. Frozen microwave food is normally not very nice and bad quality. However, we were very surprised when we actually tried the food and it was very nice, nothing like any frozen ready meals I had tried before. I mean I am not a food expert but they actually seemed very good quality and you would have never been able to tell they were frozen. Our favourite meal we tried was the Red Thai Chicken Curry. You don’t normally find a good curry in the mountain so it was a nice surprise when we tried this.
Even though going out for a nice pizza is great and hard to beat, this is a great option when you want to save time, money, and just want to stay in for the night.
We flew into Geneva and took transfer with Ski-Lifts which made things very easy. Picked up our bags, through the doors and they were there ready for us. Friendly drivers which made the 3h journey go in no time. It also started snowing quite heavily as we started going up the mountain and he dealt with the conditions very well.
Overall this trip was one of my favourite ones this season. Great snow, no lift queues, fun activities, good accommodation, good food, and of course cool people, Its what you want from a holiday. To make it even better this week is quiet so you can get amazing deals.
Yes, this was the first year they were running the Great British Celebration Week so there were not many people out there for it. However you can see how with a bit of exposure this could be a really fun, cheap week for all ages.
For more information visit the official Great British Celebration Week at Les Arcs by clicking here
Written by Jamie Barrow – Britain’s fastest snowboarder