Mike from United Kingdom writes:
Review by father of family group of 4 all now adult (age years at least!) staying at Arc 1800.
First time skiing in French Alps although have skied Italian Alps, Italian Dolomites and Rila / Rhodopi / Pirin, in Bulgaria, previously.
By comparison, Les Arcs was a near perfect ski location for late season skiing. All runs had great snow cover and exc. grooming. Yes, it was a little icy on a morning but that's the time of year.
Piste choice amazing; perfect for a middle aged intermediate skier like myself. Lots of cruising blues where you can practice those turns or pretend to be Bode Miller (I can vouch for the scary speed you can hit on a deserted long blue ;^) Be warned beginners there are steepish elements to many of the blues though. This can be daunting for new skiers and those nervous returners to to piste. For these I would recommend the long cruise laden ski-road merging to wider pistes from the Col De La Chal (2600mm) above Arc 2000 ("Col de la chal" is the name of the run at the start, which turns into "Vallee de l'arc" and "plan des eaux" on the way down to the Arc 2000 lift "Arcabulle 48" to take you back up.
The reds were great, if challenging in places, for me but you don't go on reds for an easy ski. The "Aiguille Rouge/Arandelieres" reds from the 3226m peak are incredible runs with views to die for (figuratively speaking!) but not for the timid. Vast choice of runs. I stayed away from the blacks as these are left ungroomed "natural" in Les Arcs and as a result were all covered in challenging moguls. If there had been some fresh snow these would have been great fun, but they looked icy and unforgiving to my old eyes!
Lift staff were great, chatty and smiley in the main.
SkiRepublic were 1st class for equipment / service.
We stayed in some 70's built tired looking apartments right next to slopes (virtually everywhere is!). Great location; skied from/to door daily first week in April!
We expected more of nightlife; it was very quiet! Locals said it had been same since mid March despite great snow. Lack of nightlife = clear head/often deserted pistes. We never waited for more than 30 seconds for a lift / gondola the whole week!
I got the distinct feeling this is a relatively low rent destination in comparison to other more trendy resorts in the Alps. The Gucci set were absent, in the main, which suited us just fine!
On the last day we skied from 3226m peak down to 1600m in just over an hour. Having seen all 1600/1800/1950/2000 levels / accommodation bases, I would probably advise 2000 due to close proximity to our collectively favourite pistes/lifts but nothing in it really. 1600 was suffering from very heavy snow (although plenty of it) late on so predictably better staying higher so late in season.
We spent a lot less than anticipated (lack of apres-ski) and the small supermarkets were adequate for a week in self catering without being extortionate. Eating out was more of a challenge than expected given lack of tourists. I would advise booking in advance to avoid disappointment. We only ate out a couple of nights which was average once and excellent on our last night. A meal for a family of 4 cost 140 Euros on last night and we didn't have much drink included. To many this is par for the course, but we would have spent 1/3 of this for equal quality in Bulgarian resorts. But the ski area/lift system/piste prep don't compare. ps BG great but advise you go mid season.
All in all, a fantastic ski holiday and wholeheartedly recommended for a wide ability range of skiers. If I were to find a criticism, it would be the need for a few nursery greens for beginners/nervous skiers to build confidence on before heading onto the vast array of wonderful blue runs.
Hope to return again next year; perhaps a little earlier for the night-life!
I hope this was interesting/of help to others considering Les Arcs as a ski destination. Don't hesitate, give it a try.