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Top 10 Reasons to visit Les Arcs in January 2018

Why you should go skiing in the first month of the year

Featured in: | Sam Birch, Les Arcs Reporter | Published

There are many great reasons for taking an Alpine holiday in the winter but, unbeknownst to some people, the ski season goes through different phases during that period. 

Some people always hit the slopes at Christmas, some at Easter, some for Uncle George’s birthday, but here is a list of why you should consider January for your next snow-based adventure.

10. It’s easy

EasySki Ski School Private Ski Lessons, Alpe d'Huez

January is a great time to take a holiday from work. It seems that most people are quite happy to accept that Christmas is their winter break, even though it often involves travelling great distances, visiting family, cooking for at least one full day and desperately buying last-minute gifts. Once the school holidays finish in the New Year, there seems to be a moratorium on booking “time off” until at least February. This often means you can take a week’s holiday at short notice. Also, if your annual holiday allowance starts in January, you have instant access to lots of free time.

9. The resorts are quieter

Belvedere piste

Whether you are self-driving to Les Arcs, or taking a transfer from one of the local airports, there is usually much less traffic in January. This means a swifter and more comfortable journey into, and out of, resort. Once you arrive, there are simply fewer people around, so you can park closer to your accommodation, “rock up” to restaurants instead of booking in advance, and get served at the bar that little bit quicker.

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8. You can still “go out”

Drinks at the bar

Despite the fact that January is less busy in Les Arcs, the bars and clubs still open at the same times, offer the same “Happy Hour” discounts, and put on concerts with the same regularity. Although there are fewer holidaymakers overall in January, the majority of them are adults (as there are no school holidays), so the nightlife is still banging.

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7. It cheers you up

A happy team after a 100-turn pitch off the Grande Motte

A lot of people suffer from the winter blues because the days are shorter and adverse weather makes them want to stay indoors. Also, when the thrill of Christmas and New Year is over, it can seem a long time until the summer. Going on a ski holiday gives you something to look forward to after the festive period and lets you get some fresh Alpine air into your lungs. Whereas cold wet weather at home can bring you down, in January it very rarely rains in Les Arcs; you either get sunny, clear skies or snow, both of which are preferable to clouds and drizzle. Even if the temperatures are below zero, it’s often possible to sit out, tan and enjoy a cold beverage on a mountainside terrace. Now that should put a smile on your face.

6. It gets you fit

Lagopède piste

Christmas and New Year can mean excesses of food and drink. Once we hit January 1st, we all start feeling guilty and concoct “resolutions” to shed those extra few pounds (or give our livers some much needed respite). A better solution is to spend a week doing physical exercise that is enjoyable AND good for you. In my opinion, if you’ve skied from first to last lift you not only deserve an extra slice of cake/glass of wine, you positively need it.

5. There are other things going on

Kando Events - Corporate Events, Verbier

There are always different events happening in Les Arcs, and January is no exception. From the organised snowball fight on 1st January to the start of Freeride week at the very end of the month, there are plenty of activities happening to keep you amused when the lifts are shut (or when your legs are tired). Consult our events page for more information, and look out for our guide to What’s On in January.

4. The snow

Velvety textures and shapes in the snow

Traditionally it snows a lot in January and is the coldest winter month. Normally the snow base is deepest in February, but this is a direct result of increased snowfall in the first month of the year. Obviously, when the snow comes, visibility can be worse and it can be rather chilly. However, when you are wrapped up warm and hitting fresh powder on and off the piste, those things tend to pale into insignificance. Keep an eye on our weekly snow reports to get the latest on conditions in resort. 

3. There are fewer kids

Undivided attention with private lessons

There are no big school holidays in Europe in January so if, like me, you dread encountering one or more lines of tiny people snaking from one side of the slope to the other, it is a good month to hit the snow. There will always be a few families about, and the odd local ski-school, but January is a lot calmer than the Christmas, half-term or Easter holidays. 

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2. It is cheaper

The restaurant at the hotel

Whether you are flying, coming by train, or taking the ferry across the English Channel, getting into resort is generally less expensive in January. Similarly, accommodation costs are usually at their lowest winter levels regardless of the standard of lodging. If you book a catered chalet or a hotel with meals, it’s likely that your food will be cheaper too. That can mean a lot more skiing for your hard-earned pound.

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1. The skiing

Backcountry skiing in La Plagne

By far, the most important reason to come to Les Arcs in January is the skiing. As there are fewer visitors overall, the lifts are often quiet or empty, meaning you can jump straight on and ski without interruption. When there is a dump of snow (as is often the case at the start of the year), the powder stays around for longer, so you can still make fresh tracks on a piste without getting up super-early for the first lift. Whatever the conditions, the lighter “traffic” on the mountain means that conditions do not degrade suddenly, and the piste-bashers are better able to manage the snow depth across the resorts. When the slopes are quiet you can use the extra space to concentrate on your technique or try new tricks. 

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