Three Ski Days in Arc 1950 (+1 bonus morning)
18th December 2022
Last modified on December 20th, 2022
PlanetSKI has been for a quick visit to check out the award-winning hotel, Bear Lodge, and see what Arc 1950 has to offer. After 3 days we planned to move on to Les3Vallees. Or not.
When strolling through the centre of the car-free village of Arc 1950 you would be forgiven for thinking you might be in North America.
It is a self-contained affair built by Intrawest in 2003– the company constructed Whistler and Mt Tremblant in Canada and Arc 1950 is based on the same North American model.
Now it is owned by the French giant Pierre et Vaccances.
It is in stark contrast to the French purpose-built resorts of Arc 1600, Arc 1800 and Arc 2000.
Arc 1950 likes to see itself as something rather different.
I’m checking out Bear Lodge – the VIP SKI property that has won the title as The World’s Best New Ski Hotel as the World Ski Awards:
So, Bear Lodge is clearly up there, but it would be nothing without the ski area it sits in.
- 1,200m – 3,226m.
- 149 kms of pistes
- 181 square kms of terrain
Plus the wider domain it is based in – Les Arcs and Paradiski area that includes La Plagne.
425 kms of runs with 70% of pistes above 2,000m.
As well as skiing there’s husky dog rides, sledging, ice rinks, snow mobiling, ski joering, helicopter rides, snow shoeing and much else besides.
On my pre-Xmas visit we had plenty of fresh snow, but precious little blue sky and sunshine – to begin with.
No matter we cruised round the near-empty slopes and enjoyed the fresh snow.
Briefly I saw some blue sky.
The area is offering many other attractions on the slopes, so I thought I would investigate.
No surprise there is a museum, but this is an animal one – The Mountain Animal Museum.
Over 200 protected animal species live in the area and the idea is to educate kids and adults alike.
It’s free to enter.
I won’t go into all the details but it is well worth swinging by – especially when the visibility out on the slopes is limited.
Now who would have thought that there would be an attraction inside a cold and deserted gondola station?
In the night gondolas of the Varet lift above Arc 1950 are stored in this rather dull and uninteresting construction:
And by day, WOW!
The 500 square metre is transformed into a light show based on the seasons.
“It is unusual, it is unexpected, it is dreamlike,” said the show’s organiser.
What’s your view?
For more videos check out the PlanetSKI Facebook page.
Only the French could do this to a dark and cold gondola storage area.
See here for more about The Illuminated Murals
Now it would be remiss of me not to investigate the apres ski and night-time attractions of Arc 1950 with my good ski buddy who was showing me the area, Gareth.
He bought the beers.
I went behind the decks.
And guess who rocked up on my final day before I headed off to Les3Vallees to sample and report on its early season delights?
My partner in ski crimes over many, many years – the ski writer, Alf Alderson.
He lives in the area across the whole of winter and is a ‘Les Arcs Ambassador’.
He lives down in the village of Villaroger at the base of the ski area.
Alf suggested we head over the valley and up to La Rosiere and then ski over into Italy.
It wasn’t to be as the weather closed in.
The next day was due to be a bluebird day.
I saw no point in travelling to Les3Vallees quite yet.
Heading up the old 2-person chairlift lift from Villaroger it was hard to believe what was greeting us.
Snow dripping off the trees and blue sky.
The area that had been shrouded in snow and cloud earlier in the week was transformed.
We blasted round the near-empty pistes.
And here is the view that James talks about in the video.
Do check back as James leaves Les Arcs and hits Les3Vallees in the run up to Xmas.
Adventures and new experiences await.
See here to find out more about Arc 1950.
For more information about VIP SKI please visit https://www.vip-chalets.com
A room for two in Bear Lodge starts from £1219pp for 7 nights in December 2022.
Price includes a scheduled coach transfer from Geneva Airport & catered accommodation
Lift passes are pre bookable with VIP SKI starting from £259 for an adult 6-day Les Arcs lift pass or £303 for an adult 6-day Paradiski Essential Lift Pass.
Child and Senior passes start from £207 for a 6 day Les Arcs pass.
Ski Hire: Intersport shop in Bear Lodge. Adult ski rental from £118 per week.