The neighbouring resorts of Les Arcs and La Plagne are quintessential examples of the so called “third generation” of modern, high altitude French resorts which burst upon the skiing scene in the early 1960s. Statistically La Plagne, which celebrated its 50th birthday in 2011, is one of the most visited ski resort in the world, with visitors revelling in the resort’s choice of accommodation in 10 villages, and the extraordinary total of more than 100 red runs. Though not quite as extensive, Les Arcs offers a wealth of skiing with some exceptional off-piste opportunities. But it was considerably more difficult to link these iconic resorts to form ‘Paradiski’ that it was to link Val d'Isère and Tignes: a deep valley divides the neighbouring resorts. Ten years ago, having used enough steel and concrete to build a second Eiffel Tower, a pair of sleek and fast double-decker cable-cars, operating independently of each other, began ferrying skiers two kilometres across the Ponthurin valley between Plan-Peisey (on the Les Arcs side) and a point just above Montchavin in the La Plagne ski network. Soaring 400m above the valley floor in cable cars carrying as many as 200 skiers and snowboarders at a time (80 upstairs and 120 on the lower deck) the arrival of the 15-million-euro Vanois Express made the combined ‘Paradiski’ area one of the biggest in the world, with 17 villages and a combined total of 425km of runs. The combined area, high in the Tarentaise region, is so vast that few recreational skiers are able to cover it from end to end - all the way from Villaroger in the Isère Valley to Champagny-en-Vanoise on the doorstep of the Vanoise National Park, a distance of 21km - before returning to base.
La Plagne, with a dizzying collection of 10 separate villages - each with its own character and infrastructure - and 140 miles of slopes, has an un usually high number of blue and red runs, giving the average skier an enviable permutation of possibilities.More information
Ski Les Arcs! There’s an astonishing variety of skiing in Les Arcs, with long cruising runs, great off-piste, and one of the longest and most challenging runs in the Alps which takes advanced skiers seven kilometres all the way down to Villaroger, a magnificent vertical descent of 7,500 feet.More information