Purpose-built ski resorts can propel thoughts of ugly buildings – soulless places where the party’s left town, but this wasn’t my experience at Arc 1950.
The resort is just 12; Europe’s youngest ski village, built from scratch, but
it packs an adult punch for its charm and appeal. And it’s definitely a place to party.
I spent my birthday there, and it was definitely a night, day and night to remember!
This small 750-apartment place has a traditional-look style that has appealed to a wide range of British investors, perhaps because it is more like a village than a holiday resort.
Cosy and super convenient, its architects have created an infrastructure that places apartments and chalets around the car-free village centre, which hugs the side of the mountain.
Hardly anything is more than five-minutes away, from the ski hire to the shops; cafés, bars, restaurants and nightclub, and all can be accessed on skis!
The ski in, ski out certainly saves a lot of extra effort faff, hauling your kit to and from the mountain – which gets a big tick in my book!
My friend and I shared an apartment, which looked right out over the slopes with a hot tub with amazing views if Mont Blanc, if you could see beyond the bubbles.
Arc might be little, but its links are mighty, as it 425kms of piste tie in with
Peisey-Vallandry and La Plagne to form the Paradiski area – the second largest ski area in the world, situated amidst the stunning Vanoise National Park.
The high slopes guarantee good snow cover, with a range of groomed and ungroomed pistes and forest runs – ideal if there is cloud cover on the upper slopes.
One sunny morning we started at the resort’s highest peak, the Aiguille Rouge (Red Needle), and skied back down to Arc 2000.
By the time we’d grabbed a coffee the weather had clouded in, but it gave us the chance to drop down to the lower routes and take some time out in the pretty Peisey-Vallandry area.
Top skiers love the off-piste here, there’s plenty of challenge too for intermediates and also lots of opportunity for beginners to progress on the wide, not too busy slopes.
It’s also a free riders treat, with a good terrain park and lots of wide, rolling slopes for intermediates/beginners boarders.
Each of Arc 1950’s apartments has access to wellness facilities, including indoor and outdoor swimming pools, saunas and Turkish baths, but it’s also worth trying the Deep Nature Spa, for a double dip of all things healthy.
The spa, which also overlooks Mont Blanc, is a great end-of-day treat that includes a Turkish Bath, themed grottos (including ice and volcanic) and pools with all the jets and currents that you need to ease muscles jarred by a day in the mountains.
You can also try ski Joëring (getting pulled along behind a horse), toboganning and skidoos here. Or get a birds eye view of the place with a helicopter ride!
You can opt for Romance Week, Savoie Week, Spring Celebrations and Comedy Week, to name but a few of the special events.
And the restaurants and nightlife were surprisingly varied considering the size of the place. We had great breakfasts at Brasserie 1950, a lovely slope side lunch at Les Chalets de l’Arc, fine food at La Vache Rouge and five-star wining and dining at La Table Des Lys.
All this set us up well for the live music après ski scene at La Belle Pinte Irish pub, crackin’ karaoke nights at George’s Wine Bar and crazy times at Le Club 1950!
Arc 1950 is also the youngest of four purpose-built ski villages that are included in Les Arcs – which include Arc 1600, Arc 1800 and Arc 2000. I thought there was a high risk that this could all look a bit ‘Disney’, but each has been designed in sympathy with the local environment, and doesn’t stand out as an architectural invasion of a stunning natural setting. Peisey-Vallandry and Villaroger are also included in this area.