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Excellent spring skiing across Les Arcs ski area

Warm temperatures, sunshine & an abundance of snow

Featured in:

Sam Birch | Les Arcs Reporter | Published: 21 Mar 2017


Excellent spring skiing across Les Arcs ski area

The weather over the last few days has remained warm and sunny, with a few cloudy spells. However, despite the spring temperatures, there is still a huge amount of snow in all the resorts, with on-piste conditions remaining very good indeed. 

Snow depth at the summit of the Aiguille Rouge is well over two metres, with the resorts at 1600 metres enjoying coverage of half a metre. Today 110 pistes are open, providing access to a vast selection of terrain.

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In general, the pistes are running fairly consistently, although there is a great deal of variance according to altitude and aspect (the direction the slope faces and how much sun it gets as a result). Towards the lower resorts (Arc 1800, Arc 1600 and Peisey-Vallandry) the snow is slushier, particularly towards the afternoon. However, there is very little unpleasant porridge-y stickiness regardless of where you are riding.

On the tree-lined pistes, persistent shade can make the run harder and faster than those areas which are subject to prolonged exposure to direct sunshine.


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The upper section around the “2300” chairlift remains good fun, with the Grive (blue) run typically consistent and Blanchot (red) riding nicely, albeit slightly choppier with softer snow. The open lower pistes towards the Peisey and Vallandry chairlifts do get slushy in the afternoon, but are quite predictable as a result. It is worth taking it easy on slopes (such as Ours, Ourson and Aigle) which have irregular tree-shade, as parts can be a bit hard in the morning.

Over at the Derby lift, Belette is running very quickly, although softer snow has made it a bit bumpy beyond the initial steep incline. Renard (blue) is similar, with some softer, wetter moguls forming from the halfway point. The Reches (red) run, which faces away from the sun for most of the day, is a mixture of moguls and harder, scrubbed sections.

Arc 1800

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The Grand Renard red run from the Col de la Chal continues to run very nicely, with the Petit Renard splitting off for a short, but pleasant, second option on the way down. Vagère is running nicely, although the last part, after the Belvédère crossing, seems to have been closed due to sheer weight of moguls! By that stage you can follow the blue back into resort.

The very bottom of the Grands Mélèzes piste, where it intersects with Maîtaz and Belvédère, is now covered in big soft bumps. As this is the entry point to Arc 1800 for many blue runs, it can cause a great deal of consternation for beginners, so approach with caution.

Arc 1600

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All of the runs in Arc 1600 are in good condition at the moment. Cachette (red) is always well-tended and is fast and reliable all the way down. The Mont Blanc piste is very quick indeed, with only a little choppiness as you approach the Arpette piste junction. The snow park is in very good order, providing various levels of jumps and rails for first-timers through to seasoned shredders.

If you are looking for something “out of the ordinary” try the Malgovert red run. It is only accessible from the Arc 2000 bowl, via the Comborcière lift, and you must first traverse a rather flat section to get across to the Arc 1600 side. However, once reached, the run is an absolute rollercoaster ride. It is a heady mix of hard moguls, soft moguls, rocks, trees, rolling sections, mini-drop-offs and tight squeezes between boulders. It is also very easy to miss your turn (normally through trying to avoid a tree/rock/mogul). If in doubt on any run the piste markers with the orange tops should be on your right-hand side...

Arc 2000 / 1950

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Other than the sunshine, in the Arc 2000 bowl there is practically no sign that there has been an extended warm snap. The pistes are in fabulous condition and there is clearly a thick snow-base everywhere. The slopes from the Col de la Chal directly towards the two main resorts (Teppes, Plagnettes, etc) can be a little sheer in places as they face away from the sun’s arc across the sky. The two “freestyle” Boardercross runs are really good fun, with quick rollers and sharp, banked curves along their route. Edelweiss is quite flat and quick, although after the Bois de l’Ours lift there are a few early signs that the snow is thinning and in need of grooming.

For the expert skier, Muguet and Comborcière are in lovely condition, especially the top sections. The lower part of Comborcière has begun to degrade a little, with brown patches appearing on the left-hand side and a couple of rocks being uncovered in general.

Coming up

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The temperature is going to drop slightly during the week and there will be more clouds in general. This should bring light spells of snow, largely above 2000 metres. Otherwise, we can expect patches of sunshine until the weekend.  

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