15th December 2018 | James Cove, Les Arcs
Last modified on January 4th, 2020
Pre-Xmas PlanetSKI has been on a last minute short break self-catering ski trip to the French Alps. So, what was it like?
There has been a sharp rise in people going independently to their ski resort.
There has also been a sharp rise in short breaks – 3 or 4 days instead of a week.
And there has been a sharp rise in people booking a last-minute holiday.
We’re off to Les Arcs for 3- days to test out all three and weigh up the pros and cons.
The trip was only booked a few days ago once we saw all the snow falling and the forecast of more to come.
An Easyjet flight to Lyon came in at £101.47 and car hire was £81.
The apartment itself was sharply reduced as a last minute deal and Intersport is offering all sorts of discounts on ski hire.
PlanetSKI goes DIY:
It started with a flight out of Gatwick at midday.
Not a silly o’clock chartered airline departure.
As we flew into Lyon I glanced out the window and could only smile.
I was supposed to be doing some Xmas shopping today, getting a new rear tyre for the car and starting my tax return.
Lyon airport has undergone a multi-million Euro re-fit and is up there as one of the best gateways to the French Alps in my opinion.
It was smooth and hassle-free.
Similar flights to Geneva were £133.30 and car hire £160.
I had saved £110 flying in and out of Lyon.
The drive from Lyon to Les Arcs took a 2 and half hours – less than the journey from Geneva.
Step over Geneva.
I‘m likely going to be using Lyon as my gateway to this part of the Alps this season if my experiences today are anything to go by.
I arrived in Les Arcs as darkness fell and this was what greeted me on the path to my Pierre et Vacances residence:
And then my home for the next few nights – and it’s SNOWING!:
And in the fridge in my apartment Huski had delivered:
And all brought by one of their friendly and efficient drivers, Liam Maud.
See here for further details about Huski in an earlier PlanetSKI story:
Pierre and Vacances had laid on the essentials in the apartment:
And as I popped into the main village 5-minutes away for a ‘well-deserved’ beer:
There is forecast to be two days of heavy snow and then a bluebird day.
This could be rather a good few days… Xmas shopping, tyres and tax returns can wait.
Last minute, self-catered, DIY?
Looking. Good. So. Far.
DAY TWO: LES ARCS – THE SKIING
And so, first things first.
Picking up some hire skis from the local Intersport shop.
Because they not only allow you to chop and change your skis as many times as you want if you take out a gold package, they actively encourage it.
And I’m a bit particular about my skis:
See lower down this article for a review of the skies I tried out.
And with that we were off.
I say ‘we’ because a friend of mine had seen I was in resort on social media and joined me for a blast around the slopes.
Step forward Chris Moran.
The Chris Moran.
He was even recognised by a customer in the Intersport shop.
The snowboarders among you may know him.
He was a pro snowboarder back in the day and set up Whitelines magazine back in 1995.
He was on the front cover of its first edition.
In fact he did three full seasons in Les Arcs as a pro rider, so he was perhaps the ideal person to show me around.
Especially as it was pretty foggy for much of the day, but on a last minute trip like this the key thing is just to take everything as it is.
No matter about limited visibility as we just whacked round the slopes.
London, Xmas and pretty much everything else seemed a long way away.
It had been a fab call to get away from it all.
We passed the new Club Med that opens this winter.
We even managed to find a spot where Les Arcs looked attractive.
So, what about the snow conditions at the moment?
And a final question – what were the Atomic Vantage skis like?
I loved them.
I can only describe them a ‘twitchy’.
Put them slight on the edge and exert a bit of pressure and off they went.
They were stable on the groomers and, though much more of an on piste ski, they performed well off piste.
Especially when the snow was pretty heavy.
Would I recommend them?
An unreserved ‘YES’
Next up I’ll be looking at the self-catering experience to see how it shapes up against the hotel/chalet experience and tasting the food provided by Huski…
And doing some skiing in other parts of the mighty Les Alps ski area.
Then some more.
Do check back later.
More skiing and this time a blue bird powder day as the weather lifted.
There was only one place to head to – the Aiguille Rouge above Arc1950.
Into the powder:
And the views from the top of the Aiguille Rouge are rather spectacular:
And what did I make of the different skis from Intersport I had been trying out over the past few days?
Do check back later as I reveal what the Huski pre-cooked food was like.
And staying with Pierre et Vacances.
Lets just say French apartments have changed a bit in recent years:
FOOD + DRINK
And now perhaps the second most important part of a ski holiday – the food.
As mentioned I am trying a new service – new for me anyway.
Huski – a UK company that has a warehouse in Bourg St Maurice where it stores, cooks and supplies pre-cooked meals.
That’s the co-founder, Paddy Griffith with a giant freezer behind him.
Some of the meals are brought from suppliers in the UK, others made on site.
See here for a full PlanetSKI feature on the company.
You can either collect the meals or they can be delivered straight to your chalet or apartment
I went for the latter option and this is what greeted me as I arrived in my P&V apartment in Arcs 1800:
Duck and Hoisin Puffs – €13
Little Feta and Beetroot Wellingtons – €13
Creamy Mash, serves 2 – €5
Individual Lemon Tarts, serves 2 – €7
Sticky Toffee Pudding, serves 2 – €6
Boeuf Bourguinon, serves 2 – €16
Lasagna Al Forno, serves 2 – €14
Garlic Ciabatta – €5
Peas and Leeks, serves 2 – €5
Medoc Chateau Patache d’Aux – €19.50
Marachal Apremont Blanc – €9.50
The prices compare very favourably to buying, the taste was exceptional and all without the effort and fuss of shopping and cooking.
More time for skiing and après skiing.
The beef bourguinon with creamy mash + peas and leaks was delicious.
I can also recommend the lasagna.
This winter Huski is offering delivery to all the resorts in France and is planning on 10,000 meals to the 250 or so French resorts.
If it takes your fancy then check out the Huski web site.
The local kitchen is under construction with some ingredients standing by.
I will certainly be using them again.
Extremely tasty food at a very good price – without the hassle.
What’s not to like?
CONCLUSION ON THE TRIP:
What an amazing few days… the snow, the sponteniety and the skiing.
It was all much easier to organise than I thought and came in at a good price.
There was though one significant downside:
A short trip isn’t long enough… but then it is better than nothing and it knocks the socks off Xmas shopping.
Happy Xmas one and all…
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