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What's new in Les Arcs winter 2019/20

All the exciting developments for the upcoming ski season

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| Sam Birch, Les Arcs Reporter | Published
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The nights are growing longer, the trees have changed colour and there is often a distinct chill in the air. Winter is a-coming and our thoughts inevitably turn to the day when thick snow covers the mountain, the lifts open and we all get to hit the slopes again. It is not just the weather that is changing however, as there have been plenty of new developments throughout the Les Arcs resorts. Here are a few of the changes, both on the pistes and in the villages, for the upcoming season.

There are some alterations to the piste map, new and improved accommodation options, very visible improvements to the ski lifts and a full-on impending revolution in slope-side après ski. The lift passes are also changing with the introduction of all-inclusive-style ‘premium’ passes which additionally give unlimited access to the ‘luge’ sledges in Arc 2000 and Arc 1800, the super La Piscine spa in the Mille8 complex and all the slopes on the La Plagne side of Paradiski, as well as providing various other benefits.

Skiing

After overhauling both the Pre St Esprit and Comborcière lifts in the last couple of seasons, this year’s changes to both slopes and infrastructure are primarily aesthetic. The funicular linking Bourg Saint Maurice to Arc 1600 has been completed renovated with two futuristic new trains riding the steep rails from the valley to the resort. There are panoramic views from the carriages, with huge windows all the way around and even the ceilings being made of glass. The Bourg St Maurice station is currently in the final stages of a comprehensive redevelopment and will welcome the first visitors with cutting-edge architectural design, covered walkways, a waiting area and superbly-improved facilities.

At the top of Les Arcs, the Aiguille Rouge gondola continues to be upgraded. Last year the cable cars were given a makeover, with their new livery heralding the unveiling of the epic, high-altitude skywalk at the very zenith of the Les Arcs ski area. For 2019/2020, the lower lift station has been revamped, with an elegant new colour scheme and vast picture windows through which you can enjoy spectacular views over the Arc 2000 bowl. This year a ‘priority line’ is being introduced to the Aiguille Rouge gondola, where you can pre-pay to skip any queues.

Although Les Arcs has always had ski slopes to suit all abilities it has, somewhat-uniquely, never designated any of the pistes as green runs. That has finally changed, with many of the long-established beginners’ areas being reclassified as ‘greens.’ It will, therefore, be more straightforward to spot the easiest and most gentle slopes on the mountain. Another subject of reclassification is the technically challenging, perennially unpisted Malgovert run which has been justifiably upgraded from red to black.

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Après skiing

La Folie Douce has arrived in Les Arcs! Situated right next to the piste just above Arc 1800, this world-renowned goliath of eating, drinking and general frivolity has taken over a significant piece of real estate adjoining the Mille8 complex in the centre of Les Arcs. Featuring three restaurants ranging from the full à la carte gastronomic experience of La Fruitière, through a healthy, quick self-service lunch at La Petite Cuisine to tasty refuelling stop-and-go snacks at Le Butcher, there’s plenty to please the palate. Once lunch is over, the party starts. From 14:30, the music kicks in and La Folie Douce comes into its own: with live music, DJs, dancers and acrobats it’s not just a party, it’s a show, a winter celebration and an experience not to be missed.

Staying

On the site of the old Mountain Infantry barracks in Bourg Saint Maurice, The Base Camp Lodge is a new hotel providing a wide range of accommodation options for visitors to the Tarentaise valley. Situated a short walk from the shiny new funicular, there are various different rooms to suit various different groups, with compact capsules, luxury suites, connected family rooms and even multi-bed dormitories. There is a focus on sustainability with measures taken to reduce the hotel’s carbon footprint and environmental impact.

In Arc 1800, a few steps from the Charmettoger lift station, the Mercure Hotel has undergone a €5 million refurbishment. There is now an impressive health and wellbeing area featuring an indoor swimming pool, Jacuzzi, sauna and fitness suite. Along with many businesses and accommodation providers in Les Arcs, the Mercure has committed to actions designed to protect the natural local environment.

Another ecologically-minded move is the provision of additional charging points for electric cars throughout Les Arcs. Supplementing those already available in the underground Arc 1950 car park, newly equipped bays are being introduced to car parks in Bourg St Maurice, Arc 1800 and Arc 2000.

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Ski passes

The ski passes have been changed this year, with different levels and corresponding benefits on offer. Roughly speaking, the basic Les Arcs/Peisey-Vallandry pass has become the ‘Classique’ pass, whilst the previously-termed Paradiski pass (complete with a free half-a-day’s skiing and entry to the igloo ice cave amongst other things) is now the ‘Essentiel.’ The major innovation is the introduction of a ‘Premium’ pass including various extras to help you maximise your holiday fun: these include unlimited sledging, entry to La Piscine, daily use of the Aiguille Rouge priority lane and a ticket for ‘First Tracks,’ where you can take to the slopes before everyone else is out of bed. For more information, check out our comprehensive guide to Les Arcs ski passes.

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Ski hire

Worried about slipping on those icy pavements when walking to the slopes? Fear not, Intersport is now offering GripWalk across their whole rental range. These innovative boot soles offer a non-slip surface as well as a more natural profile for walking (or dancing at La Folie Douce!), and they can be combined with GripWalk bindings for perfect performance on the slopes.

One of the most widely spread ski hire franchises in the Alps, Skiset, have just launched their Netski app, a fast and easy way to rent your skis or snowboard this season. Choose between two packages – the Netski.comfort for the best prices or the Netski.plus for the latest gear (Netski.kids and Netski.teens bundles also available) – and confirm your booking in only two clicks. You’ll get a QR code to collect your equipment at your local shop. For a small fee, Netski clients can also benefit from priority assistance in shops, ski lockers with boot dryers and direct delivery to your accommodation.

Also available in Les Arcs’s Skiset shops this winter is Scanfeet, a state-of-the-art foot scan that takes a full 3D image of the skier’s feet in under 20 seconds and then pulls up the best-suited boots available in store. Enjoy rental boots that fit like a glove in record time! Even better, scans are shared among Skiset shops so you won’t need to scan your feet again if you rent your equipment with them.

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Food & drink

Huski revolutionised self-catering four winters ago when they launched their meal delivery service. Since then, for a fraction of the price of a catered holiday, you can enjoy delicious breakfast, lunch, three-course dinners, canapes, fine wines and even cheese boards at your apartment or chalet completely hassle-free. Huski delivers everything to your door and the only thing you need to do is pop your food in the oven to heat it up. This year, they’re offering a new, locally made, Savoyard-inspired range of meals called “Gourmet 73” cooked daily by chef Nick Casey at their headquarters in Bourg Saint Maurice. Think creamy tartiflette and moreish Beef Mondeuse! Also new this season is their very own beer, the Huski Mountain Pilsner created in collaboration with the Brasserie du Petit St Bernard.

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Airport transfers

Cool Bus' commitment to the environment is increasing this season. Their 100% electric Teslas will now not only be used for VIP transfers but also for regular services so, when booking a transfer for 4 people or less, you'll have a chance to ride these eco-friendly beauties. To date, they've racked up over a quarter of a million kilometres thanks to their electric fleet, cutting their CO2 emissions by around 65 tonnes, and they're aiming to add at least another 125,000km to that total this winter. 

This season, it'll also be easier than ever to find Simply Transfers' representatives at Geneva airport. They've set up a brand new meeting desk in the arrival hall, just opposite the baggage-retrieval area and near the visitor's centre. With a rotating wall and screens displaying the Simply Transfers and Loyet logos, it'll be hard to miss! Not only will it be super simple to spot the meeting desk but also their representatives, as they'll be wearing a bright red polo shirt with their logo.

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Massages

Mobile Alpine massage company Massage Me is offering two brand new therapies this winter. First of all is their 100% bespoke MY Massage service where you’ll be able to select every single step of your wellbeing journey, from the massage style and pressure preference (including Swedish, sports, holistic and even a combination of all of them), to the part of your body that needs more attention, the massage oil and even the music. This winter, they’re also adding Physiotherapy, Pilates and Yoga to their mobile services menu in partnership with Alpine Therapies. Not only that, but they’ve embarked on a green journey to be more eco-friendly, from reducing single plastic use and carbon emissions to assessing the materials they use. So it’s not only your muscles that will feel much better by booking a massage with Massage Me but also the environment.

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Read more from our Les Arcs reporter Sam on his blog.

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Keen to know more? Then take a look at all that's new in Les Arcs for yourself... book your winter ski holiday now!

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