Ski resorts by train

Les Arcs - slopes

Ski highlights for all levels

Beginners: Generally, Les Arcs is a good ski area for beginners.  There are plenty of wide, high-altitude blue runs to progress to, giving a real sense of exhilaration. Arc 1800 has the best of the area’s dedicated beginner’s skiing, with its new development at Mille8 having a special peaceful zone for beginners. Good runs to progress to are the gentle blue runs from the top of the St Jacques chair in Arc 2000. Novices should take the Carreley and Villards chairs to access the easiest skiing. There is a “ski tranquille” zone here which should normally be free of more experienced mountain users flying through at top speed.

Intermediates: For intermediates, Les Arcs is paradise with some fabulous terrain. Long, wide blues and reds where you can put your foot down criss-cross the mountain. Plan des Eaux and Plagnettes are classics of this genre. All these blues interlink well with a wide variety of rolling red runs too, and the fact that much of the terrain is tree-lined is a massive benefit for times when the visibility is poor.  Try the runs above Arc 1600 and Vallandry for the pretty blue descents of Mont Blanc and Fôret.

Experts: Head for the top of the Aiguille Rouge and get 2,000 metres of vertical drop on the 7km journey down to Villaroger, the longest piste in the Alps. It’s black at the top and then turns into a red part way down. There are some great views on the way. Alternatively, instead of going all the way down, turn off the Aiguille Rouge black onto the red Arandelières. From this you can drop down into a bowl on some steep blacks.


There's plenty of accessible powder here when it snows. Les Arcs’ best off-piste runs are from the 3226 metre high Aiguille Rouge down towards Villaroger in the valley below. Take a guide with you up the Grand Col, hike up for 15-20 minutes and then drop over onto the north face. If you take the Aiguille Rouge cable car, you can access some more difficult and steeper itineraries.

Ski schools and guides

The French ski school ESF has multiple schools: ESF Arc 1600, ESF Arc 1800 and ESF Arc 2000 with around 280 instructors between them. The schools are renowned for the ski évolutif method, where you start learning on short skis and get onto longer ones as your progress.

If you are looking for something a little different from the tried and tested ESF route, head for Vincent Ramière’s Spirit school in Arc 1950 or Arc Aventure in Arc 1800, both offering top-notch tuition.

Another option is the popular British run ski school New Generation. The school, run by BASI examiner John Thomas, is based in Vallandry, in the gap between Les Arcs and La Plagne, and they now have a team based in Les Arcs 2000 as well.


Lift system

Many people come to Les Arcs on the strength of the Vanoise Express, the cable car that spans the Vanoise national park and links it with La Plagne. The lift is an impressive work of engineering and worth a ride but if you are staying in Les Arcs, there is no need to pop over to the next door neighbour for more than a day.

However, the linking with has another beneficial side-effect. It has meant that the lifts accessing the Vanoise Express have been improved over the past few years. Some of the chairlifts in the Vallandry area, such as the Plan Bois and lift, were very slow but are being replaced with fast high capacity chairs.

Snow reliability and snowmaking

Much of the ski area in Les Arcs is above 2000 metres and enjoys a good snow record, although many of the slopes are west-facing. The grooming of runs has been improved recently.

Terrain park

The excellent snowpark above Arpette has features aimed at levels of ability, colour-coded for ease of identification.The park includes 15 rails and boxes between 6 and 15 metres long, four kickers, a boarder-cross and big air bag. The park is getting a new lift this winter to replace the old Clair Blanc chair.


The villages in Les Arcs are very ski-in-ski-out, none more so than Arc 1950, which is exceptional in the Alps. Snowcarbon Founder, Daniel has made a two-minute film about Arc 1950, interviewing skiers to ask what they think about it, which you can see here:

Paradiski piste map

Ski area
Village Altitude
Ski Altitude
1200m – 3226
Green Runs
Blue Runs
Red Runs
Black Runs
Total Runs 261
Terrain Park
Cabin Lifts
Chair Lifts
Drag Lifts
Total Lifts 134