First time skiers and snowboarders, or beginners looking to improve their technique will find plenty of good areas to practise in Les Arcs.
Les Arcs has plenty of skiing for beginner and intermediate skiers and snowboarders, with 3 green pistes, 64 blue pistes and a few slow speed zones or "Ski Tranquille" areas, where you can build confidence at your own pace.
Best beginner areas in Les Arcs
Each village of Les Arcs ski area has a number of gentle blue runs and nursery areas, designed specifically for beginners, so you will be able to learn pretty much anywhere in Les Arcs.
No green pistes, 15 blue pistes. With lots of nice rolling blue pistes in the trees, Arc 1600 is a good place to learn to ski or snowboard and also to progress from skiing blues to reds. There are a couple of short ski lifts here you can lap - Cachettes and Vezaille. Build up your confidence on these before heading further up the mountain onto some of the longer runs.
2 green pistes, 11 blue pistes. In Arc 1800, the two green pistes can be found at the Mille 8 complex. You'll find wide tree-lined runs here, that lead back to resort and which are a great learning environment for beginner skiers, with plenty room to practice those turns and a gentle gradient to build confidence. The wide open "front des neiges" area right in the centre of resort is home to the Jardin des Enfants, the nursery slopes and the ski school meeting points.
No green pistes, 20 blue pistes. Whilst Arc 2000 is generally considered more suitable for intermediate to expert skiers there are some fantastic rolling blues which are shallow enough for beginners to learn on. For some nice quiet rolling blue runs which will ease you into your holiday, try either the Plan Vert piste, which starts just down from the top of the Transarc gondola, follow onto the Edelweiss run until you reach the Marmottes chairlift or try the Cascades run from the Bois de Lours chairlift to the Pre de St Esprit chairlift.
1 green piste, 14 blue pistes. Peisey-Vallandry also has a range of gentle, cruisy blue runs that are perfect for beginners and in tree-lined serenity for that perfect first ski holiday experience. In Peisey use the Peisey chairlift and the Cabri J bar lift, or in Vallandry use the Vallandry chair lift and the Flocon J bar lift.
No green pistes, 4 blue pistes. The lowest village in Les Arcs ski area, Villaroger, offers a small selection of 4 blue pistes which are all relatively short and can be lapped easily via the Replat chairlift. When you're ready to move onto longer, more challenging runs, the Plan des Violettes lift gives you access to two more runs through the trees.
You'll also find some fun zones "Espace Ludiques" in the Mille 8 complex, and at the Rodeo Park where you can try out baby snowpark features, a boardercross course and even have a go at sledging once your ski lessons have finished.
Beginner ski lessons
If you're learning to ski for the first time, Les Arcs has plenty of choice of ski schools who teach children's ski lessons and adult's ski lessons. Children's lessons are determined by their age and ability, whilst adult lessons are determined by ability and interests.
Beginner ski passes
If you're joining a ski school as a complete beginner, you will probably start off in the nursery areas where a ski pass isn't needed, making use of the free beginner ski lifts mentioned below, or just practising on the slopes without using any lifts at all.
If you're learning to ski in Les Arcs, there are a couple of lift pass offers where you can buy 1, 2, 3, 5 or 10 trips on the lifts, which means you don't have to spend money on a ski pass for the whole week. This applies to the Combettes chairlift in 1600, the Dahu chairlift in 1800, the Saint Jacques chairlift in 2000 and the Parchey lift in Peisey Vallandry. These lifts are free to use on Saturdays & Sundays. 1 trip will cost around €4.00 and you charge your ski pass with as many uplifts as you want.
In Peisey Vallandry you can buy a 1-day pass for around €17.50 which gives you access to the Flocon and Cabri ski areas. From Vallandry you can get 2 journeys on the Vallandry chairlift and unlimited use of the Flocon J-bar lift. From Peisey you can get 2 journeys on the Peisey chairlift and unlimited use of the Cabri J-bar lift. These passes can only be bought at the Ski Pass Offices. Please check prices at point of purchase as they are subject to annual changes and increases in VAT.
If you're a skier looking to progress after having already learnt the basics, you can buy a ski pass from as little as an afternoon. You should consider buying a Les Arcs only ski pass rather than the Paradiski ski pass (which includes the neighbouring resort of La Plagne). The Les Arcs pass will give you access to 3 green and 64 blue pistes, allowing you to build in confidence as well as allowing you to explore more of the ski area.
Beginner ski hire
Pre-booking your ski hire in advance allows the hire shop to prepare for your arrival and smooths the process. A key thing you should consider when booking your equipment is how close your accommodation is to the ski hire shop, or to the foot of the pistes for when lessons have finished. Even if there are several equipment options to choose from, we recommend you go for the most basic. Beginner skis are short, flexible skis that are easy to turn or, if you're snowboarding, you'll have a shorter stiffer snowboard that's easier to control and generally cheaper too. You won't need to know about the technical aspects of any of the equipment as ski hire shops will advise you to get the best model for your ability and size once you've booked.
What should I wear when skiing or snowboarding?
Buying all the gear before you go can be daunting if you’ve never set foot in a ski resort before. The key items to bring with you, along with the obvious ski jacket, ski trousers and sunglasses, are as follows:
- Layers - thermal tops and leggings, fleeces, hoodies, hats and a good pair of ski gloves and a helmet. Weather on the mountain can change pretty quickly, and you are much better off wearing layers of thinner items as opposed to a big, bulky jumper.
- Socks - a variety of socks ranging in thickness, it may sound weird but in our experience hire boots can be quite painful with the wrong socks.
- Sun cream - even when it’s cloudy the sun here can (and will) still get you, and don't forget the underneath of your chin as the sun reflects off the snow too. Don't forget a lip salve with an SPF.
- Piste map - make sure to always have one in your pocket while you're out on the mountain. You can pick up paper copies from the lift pass or tourist office once you've arrived in resort.