About Winter Activities in Les Arcs
Whatever you choose to do on your winter holiday you are sure to find a huge range of activities across the Les Arcs & Paradiski area. From relaxing to full on adrenaline there is something for everyone, every ability and every age in Les Arcs. Check out the selection of things to do below for some holiday inspiration!
Dinner in a Yurt
Something a little different for the evening.. why not dine in the traditional surroundings of a Mongolian Yurt. When you're fed and watered return back to Les Arcs 1800 in a trail of torches to light your way. You set off on snow shoes with a guide from Arc 1800 for around 30 minutes to get to the Yurt. A Savoyarde style dinner is served. Reservations are obligatory by at least noon the day before. Price includes hire of the snow shoes. Contact Arc Aventures to book.
There are 20km of winter walking trail in Les Arcs which you can either enjoy by yourselves or on a guided walk with one of the activity companies. Take a look at the snowshoe map for their locations. A pair of walking poles will come in handy for extra balance on icy patches and for checking snow depth before you go striding forth! Top tip: buy ‘grippers’ for your walking boots to prevent slipping, all of this can be bought from most local Sport Shops. Don’t forget to check the weather forecast before you set out as conditions can change rapidly in the mountains.
Fat bikes have super-wide wheels, allowing the rider to make progress on even powdery snow. In Peisey-Vallandry you can go on a guided tour during the day or night or simply hire a bike (from around €35 for half a day). If you fancy the ride but not the effort, there are now electric fat bikes with in-built motors which make the experience a whole lot easier.
On bad weather days, head indoors for a game of laser quest in Arc 1800. There are two rooms and they can take up to 50 people at once, so it's also good for groups. Open in summer and winter.
There are a couple of places to go bowling in Les Arcs - in 1800 and 2000. It's a good thing to do if the weather turns bad or if you've got non-skiers or a larger group to entertain.
Catch the latest films and releases in Les Arcs on your winter or summer holiday. Some cinemas open their doors early on a bad weather day, otherwise you'll find most screenings in the evenings. Look out for VOST for English speaking films.
Get back to nature and explore the lovely tranquil cross-country ski trails. There are two different techniques – classic and skating. Classic is the easiest for beginners; you simply place your skis in two parallel grooves, push off and glide around the trails. Skating is more energetic and a slightly harder skill to grasp; you push your feet out to either side as though you are ice skating and use your poles simultaneously to gain momentum. You can hire the comfortable boots and lightweight skis and poles fairly inexpensively from most sports shops and book a group or private lesson to learn the basics from most ski schools or private instructors. A number of adventure companies also offer cross-country skiing guiding, tours and lessons too. Find your way around with the cross country skiing maps.
Also see: Cross-country Skiing in Les Arcs
Visit the horses and stables in Bourg St Maurice for something different to do with your family in wither winter or summer. In winter you can try Ski Joering - being pulled along on skis behind a horse, take a horse drawn sleigh ride or just come and visit the farm.
There are over 2.5 million people doing geocaching around the world and some of them (perhaps surprisingly) are right here in Les Arcs! It’s a relatively new craze that started taking the world by storm in May 2000 after a computer geek decided that GPS could be “really exciting”. He hid some treasure at his home in Portland, America, for people to find, broadcast the GPS coordinates and said, “Come and get it”. His only rule: “Take some stuff, leave some stuff”. And that’s exactly what Geocaching is…you go in search of treasure by using the GPS system on your mobile device – once you’ve found it, you write your name in a logbook and replace the treasure you decide to take. It’s pretty simple really and means, as a family, you can be adventurers together. You won’t usually find anything quite as precious as gold, silver and diamonds but nevertheless it’s quite exciting!
Handiski / sit-ski
Enjoying the thrill of being on the pistes need not escape you if you're less mobile or have special physical needs. Resorts all over the Alps offer equipment and fully qualified guides to help you get the most out of your experience. Sit-ski, taxi ski, Vertiski, Handiski.. whichever method you're used to, or would like to try there will be at least one ski school or activity company in Les Arcs that offers this service.
Also see: Disabled Skiing in Les Arcs
Unfortunately, heli-skiing is not permitted in France, however some of the ski schools, adventure companies, local flight companies and mountain guide companies will offer a pick-up/drop-off heli skiing service for you where you will be taken over the border into Italy or Switzerland. It is expensive, but definitely a once in a lifetime experience!
Sit back and admire the mountains from even higher up. Daily panoramic helicopter flights are available (weather permitting) with a number of local flight companies. Relax and enjoy the stunning views as you fly over the snow-capped mountain tops, glaciers and alpine forests of the Alps.
Be in charge of your own sled and team of excitable husky dogs, driving them along forest paths in winter. After a brief explanation of how to make your team stop and start, you set off following the guide’s team. If this all sounds a bit much you can opt for a less physical outing where you sit in the sled and the guide does all the hard work! It's a very popular winter activity, so booking at least 48 hours in advance is a must. They run from early December to the end of April (snow-permitting).
If you want to try something different in La Plagne other than hitting the slopes then why not try Ice Climbing. Whether you are an experienced climber or a beginner you can have a go at ice climbing. Try the man made ice climbing wall or tackle some of the natural waterfalls and glaciers. There are a number of places where you can climb natural ice waterfalls. These form in the valley of Champagny le Haut where some climbing routes are accessible depending on climatic conditions plus there's a huge purpose built ice climbing tower over there where competitions are held during winter, and anyone can give it a try. There are a few adventure companies & mountain guides who offer ice climbing lessons and guides, for beginners and experts.
Ice-skating / Hockey
There's an outdoor ice skating rink in Les Arcs 2000 which is perfect for children and families and those who just want to enjoy the beautiful mountain views whilst playing around on some skates. It's typically open from mid December to the 3rd week of April, conditions permitting.
Village Igloo in Arc 2000 offers a unique experience for drinks, dining and even spending the night. It's a large ice complex of around 400m2 with great views of the Aiguille Rouge, a bar, terrace, bedrooms and dining room.
There are a number of companies who can take you mountaineering in both summer and winter, from local guides to ski schools, private instructors and activity companies.
Paragliding / Parapenting
If you’ve never tried paragliding before then Les Arcs is a great place to learn how to fly. Known as “parapenting” in France & Switzerland, there are a great number of clubs and organisations in the area whose sole purpose is give you the experience of flying. From the heights of the mountain tops you can glide down to the bottom of the valley on a tandem paraglider controlled by the instructor. He manoeuvres the parachute while the passenger enjoys the ride and fantastic views. Top tip: go on a sunny, warm day when the thermals will keep your airborne for longer.
Sit back and admire the mountains from even higher up! Scenic flights are available (weather permitting) with a number of local flight companies. Relax and enjoy the stunning views as you fly over the snow-capped mountain tops, glaciers and alpine forests of the Alps.
Many people would not automatically think of Les Arcs as a place to shop. However the town boasts some great stores. As you would expect from an outdoor sports Mecca, there are plenty sports stores where you can get your hands on some of the top mountaineering, ski and snowboard brands but there are also some fashionable clothing stores, and plenty of shops selling traditional mountin goods.
Ski joering hails from Scandinavia, indeed the word 'joering' itself means ski driving in Norwegian. In France the preferred style is to use a rider-less horse which is controlled by the skier. A rig with reigns is connected to the horse’s bridle and the skier is towed along behind the horse on skis, holding onto the rig. The skier steers with vocal commands and by pulling on lines connected to the horses bit. Ski joering is a sport that is suitable for all ages and rides can be tailored to suit any standard of skier, from a gentle hack to a gallop through the snow.
Les Arcs is popular for ski touring, whether it's going up the pistes that most people normally ski down, or tackling more of a back country route. A number of ski schools, private instructors and companies can show you around, or if you've got all the necessary equipment you can head out in your own group. Find your way around with the cross country skiing maps.
Skiing & snowboarding
The main draw for people coming to Les Arcs in winter is of course the skiing and snowboarding. With the whole of the Paradiski to ski in, as well as a wealth of off-piste areas, Les Arcs has something for every level of experience.
Also see: Ski Areas in Les Arcs
Sledging / Tobogganing
If you thought toboganning or sledging was just for kids, think again, it can be fun for the whole family and especially in Les Arcs at the Rodeo Park and Mille 8. At the top of the Col de Chal you can make your way down the 3km of tobogganning twists, turns and excitement. The Rodeo park is open from Sunday to Thursday from 13:00 to 16:30. With your entry to the Rodeo Park you will be provided with a helmet and toboggan, the minimum age of entry is 12 years old and you must be over 1.25 metres. It is a great adventure for all the family and can be a fun way to spend an afternoon on the slopes, so go and check out the Rodeo toboggan park. You can experience the Rodeo Park at night time every Wednesday from 16:30. There is also a luge track in Mille 8 in Arc 1800 - take the new Les Villards telecabin to get to the start of the toboggan track and set off on a 900m downhill run with alternating banked turns and forest sections. The experience is enhanced by a light show, sound system and the track finishes in a tunnel with video projections.
Raquette à Neige or Snow-shoeing in and around Les Arcs is a perfect activity for bad weather conditions or for non-skiers. Don't forget to wear comfortable and waterproof boots. Either set out on your own, or join a group led by a knowledgeable local guide and explore the hidden parts of the ski area. Snowshoes and ski poles are provided by most companies offering this as an experience, or you can hire snowshoes from most Sports Shops or Ski Hire Shops, grab a trail map from the Tourist Office and head off on your own adventure. Be sure to check the weather forecast before you go.
Snowmobile / Skidooing
Those who enjoy speed will love riding a powerful snowmobile (like a motorbike with caterpillar tracks) around Les Arcs. Discover the different dimensions of driving; carving turns, accelerating in a straight line, ascents and descents. Snowmobiles are a great way to explore Les Arcs especially as you get to ride them when the resort is at its quietest. Disappear into the woods and blast around empty snow fields on your scooter with your own guide. Remember to wrap up warmly especially if you go after dark, and bring goggles if there is powder.
Nestled in the heart of Arc 1800, Mille8 is full of activities for everybody, from a freestyle park to a beginners area and a fantastic new swimming and spa complex. The area includes a luge (sled) run, an illuminated forest piste, a freestyle park complete with modules and snow sculptures, a secure beginner's area, a snow garden for little ones with igloos and play area, a large swimming and fitness centre with spa facilities. The only features that have an entry fee are the luge track and swimming complex - everything else is included in your lift pass.
Also see: Snowparks in Les Arcs
Spas & massages
If it is calm and relaxation you are after then head to a luxury day spa or book in for massage therapies and beauty treatments. A day spa is also the perfect activity when the weather turns. You can keep warm and revive aching muscles in saunas, steam rooms and jacuzzis or take a refreshing dip in a swimming pool.
Speed-riding / Speed-flying
The idea behind speed riding is to combine the sensations of skiing and paragliding into one activity, and then descend off-piste sections of the mountain using a mini-wing to enable you to access areas that you might not normally go. Learning and having fun with speed riding comes very fast as long as you are a competent skier; you need to be able to ski red pistes with confidence in any type of snow. Speak to one of the companies offering this activity who can show you the ropes (literally).
Mille 8 in Arc 1800 has a large aquatic and fitness centre where you can go for a swim either indoors or outdoors. There are bubble beds, water-jets and a river splash area for the kids to enjoy. There is also an outdoor municipal pool down in Bourg St Maurice.
Telemarking is a form of downhill skiing where you are only attached into the binding at the toe, so to turn, you have to lunge and bring your heel upwards. Talk to one of the ski schools or private instructors who can teach you how to telemark and take you out on excursions using this technique.
Location: Les Arcs Region