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Terrific conditions following weekend snowfall in Les Arcs

Excellent skiing both on- & off-piste with weather to match

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Sam Birch | Les Arcs Reporter | Published: 27th March 2017

On Saturday night there was a significant dump of snow, laying around 15-20cm of fresh powder, coinciding with a drop in temperatures. 

By Sunday morning there was new snow across all of the resorts, with the trees wearing their winter clothing all the way down to approximately 1200 metres. This has freshened up swathes of off-piste, prompted the re-opening of some runs and generally created a more playful environment.

Although there were some clouds persisting around the lower levels, Sunday was predominantly sunny with temperatures rising again following the overnight slump. This meant good visibility across the mountain and direct sunshine on the new snow. As a result, the new snow was “floury” with some areas feeling less “sifted” than others, particularly off-piste.

Overall, the additional snow has increased the snow base at all levels, covered a few grey patches, created fresh moguls in many places and invited many people to stray beyond the piste markers.


By Sunday evening, the conditions on-piste were quite haphazard, mostly dependant on the day’s traffic. Large moguls had formed on the Grand Renard, with parts of the other reds from the Col de la Chal developing in the same way. Vagère, which had degraded significantly before Saturday night, was looking much fresher, with visibly better coverage, even the bottom section after Belvédère had been re-opened although it now has some huge moguls to negotiate. The top section of the Col des Frettes (red) had also become quite moguled, although lower down there was still plenty of fresh snow, particularly at the verges.

The black Ours slope, running down from the Arpette peak, is quite hard work and definitely best-suited for those with the skills and stamina to ride bigger bumps. With moguls of this kind on an ungroomed Natur’ piste, by early afternoon there were patches of earth being revealed as skiers rode similar lines around the significant snow mounds.

Even Cachette, which is often quite smooth, was covered in big soft moguls after the Arpette piste. This will likely be bashed flat fairly quickly, but in the meantime it is good fun without being too daunting. In fact, other than unpisted runs like Malgovert (red), Dou de l’Homme (black) and Ours above, most areas where moguls have formed will improve significantly once the piste-bashers have been to work; the large bumps of snow will be reformed into a smoother, consistent layer to improve running and further longevity.

Where the pistes are flatter, on blues like Plan des Eaux, Belvédère, Arpette and the top half of Charmettoger, the ride has been slower and a touch uneven in places. This will undoubtedly improve after a day’s traffic and a night’s refreezing.


The off-piste immediately improved following the snowfall. Even by the late afternoon there were still plenty of easily accessible lines to ride. As the temperature rose throughout Sunday, the powder was feeling heavier than it would in sub-zero conditions, with that sensation increasing at lower altitudes.

Underneath the Arpette lift, there was a large amount of fresh snow available to ride, with the off-piste actually encroaching on the designated slopes in some areas: Col des Frettes, Carreley and Froide Fontaine (all red) being the usual suspects. Lower down, nearer Arc 1800, the wide area between Chantel and Alpage had lots of life in it, although the thicker snow and shallower incline makes speed (and probably floaty planks) completely necessary.

In Arc 2000, the off-piste underneath and around the Arcabulle lift is good, mostly moguled, fun. You can find fresh lines if you traverse across on the left of Tuffes. Nearby, there is still plenty to explore over on the Grand Col.

In general, the off-piste is better for the fresh snow but, in terms of powder, the top soft layer is relatively thin so you still need to prepare yourself to ride the conditions as they lie underneath. Essentially there are likely to be bumps and lumps which the fresh snow disguises more than conceals.

The week ahead

There may be some cloud about, but the weather is forecast to be mostly sunny and warm. This will be great for spending long days out on the pistes, enjoying a beer on a bar terrace and using lots of sunscreen. There is some suggestion that it will get colder and the snow will return at the end of the week but, until that point, make the most of your spring skiing.

Where the pistes are flatter, on blues like Plan des Eaux, Belvédère, Arpette and the top half of Charmettoger, the ride has been slower and a touch uneven in places. This will undoubtedly improve after a day’s traffic and a night’s refreezing.

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