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January in Les Arcs: What's on and weather

Plenty of snow, quiet slopes and some spectacular events

featured in News & reviews Author Tracy Wise, Destination Editor Updated

It's very cold, so wrap up warm and get outside to find new year adventures.

After the Christmas holidays are over, January is the quietest part of the main winter season in resort. Although the lifts have been open for a few weeks, this often feels like the ‘real’ start of the winter season. Typically, it's normally the first month of the year before the snow begins to arrive in earnest, opening up every area and turning the mountainside into an access-all-areas playground for snowsports enthusiasts. January generally brings a huge quantity of snow, leading to powder days galore.

The quiet conditions on the mountain don’t translate to quiet nights in the town. There are fewer families and more adult visitors, meaning it can be easier to get a table at a restaurant, and the bars are buzzing with plenty of live music and party nights to keep you entertained whilst you warm your hands on a glass of vin chaud.

Read on for a look at what we like to do in resort throughout January.

Les Arcs in January 2020 - What weather to expect and what to do

What are the weather and snow conditions like?

There is regular snowfall - on average 12 days - and subzero temperatures keep it nice and fresh. In January the average daytime temperatures generally fall between a high of-1°C and a low of -9ºC, getting around five hours of sunshine. Definitely pack those thermals!

Les Arcs in January 2020 - What weather to expect and what to do

What's on in Les Arcs in January?

Launch Pad freestyle competition
Launch Pad is a big air freestyle competition in the snow park above Arc 1600 / Arc 1800. Featuring some of France’s top skiers and snowboarders, including at least one big air world champion, the first day is an all-day practice session, whilst the second features a morning of qualifying rounds, before the finals in the afternoon. With competitors flying through the air, doing gravity-defying tricks, grabs and spins, it is a must-see event to kick off the new year.

Freeride week
This qualifying week for The Freeride World Tour will see some of the best up-and-coming freeride skiers and snowboarders in town for Freeride Week, trying to rack up points to get them into the main event. In Arc 1950 the events take place on the Robert Blanc face.

Les Arcs in January 2020 - What weather to expect and what to do


With all those empty pistes, no lift queues and perfect conditions, we like to get out into the mountains on our skis and snowboards as much as possible.

If you visit the resort in January you can buy a lift pass and join one of the local ski schools' many ski or snowboard lessons taking place around the resort.

Les Arcs in January 2020 - What weather to expect and what to do

Things to do

Alternative winter sports
It doesn't just have to be piste based adventures you take part in. Ski-touring and split-boarding have become extremely popular in recent years, and there's nothing that gets the heart pumping like gaining altitude under your own steam. When it's a 'white out' you'll find us changing tack entirely, pulling on some raquettes (snowshoes) and venturing forth into the wilderness on one of the many snowshoeing routes around the valley, all the while dreaming of tomorrow's bluebird powder day.

Skating and cross-country skiing
Explore the great outdoors and landscapes of Les Arcs / Peisey-Vallandry while indulging in a gentle and invigorating sport with your family and try cross-country skiing. There's a 5km course in both Arc 2000 and Arc 1800, and a 44km cross-country skiing course at the Nordic site of Peisey-Nancroix.

The Electric Scooter
Try out some TROTR'X all-terrain electric scooters - the new fun, green activity. Supervised by a qualified guide, all equipment is provided, you'll bring the laughs and good humour as the resort of Les Arcs becomes your playground. You must be aged over 14 to take part. Contact the tourist office for more information.

Action - Outdoors UCPA, Les Arcs interior

Bars and clubs

At this time of the season we are looking forward to some live music sessions, whether from local bands or even one of the open mike nights and jam sessions that the local bars often hold. So, whether you fancy yourself an Adele, Bob Dylan or a Satriani, there's definitely somewhere you can 'entertain' the crowds.

Of course, that's if we've made it home from one of the many après-ski events taking place. In addition to the regular afternoon on-pistes parties (like WTF and Neon at La Folie Douce above Arc 1800), there are some big events that light up specific resorts throughout the month.

More inspiration...

These may be the headliners but there is always something going on in the Les Arcs resorts, with welcome drinks a usual feature of the villages’ snow fronts on a Sunday evening. You can go cross-country ski joëring pulled by a horse, play laser games, compete in a parallel slalom race, have a snowball fight or do a little night skiing.

Check out our events calendar for more ideas.