Michael, March 2012

As any parent will know, choosing the right resort can either make or break a family ski holiday. We looked at lots of options before deciding on Le Village Arc 1950 and I don’t think we could have chosen better.

Le Village Arc 1950 is only around 10 years old but has been built in the Savoyarde style so feels very much like an authentic French ski resort. It has been designed to make everything as hassle free as possible and this includes being able to ski from every residence to the slopes and also ski through the middle of the village.

Arc 1950 is not only ski-in, ski-out but also ski through! Everything is within easy walking distance with nothing more than a few minutes away and even the two slopes for younger children and complete beginners are within the village, making life easy for parents and at the same time adding to the feeling that everything is safe and secure.

Le Village Arc 1950 has been designed with families in mind and the vast majority of guests are holidaying with their children. This isn’t the resort for anyone looking for full on après ski – we didn’t witness any dancing in ski boots and any noise in the evenings came from kids sledging around the village.

Arc 1950 is made up of eight different buildings (we were in Sources de Marie) with outdoor pools at the Auberge Jerome and the Manoir Savoie, an outdoor hot tub at Refuge du Montagnard and an indoor and outdoor pool at Prince des Cimes. There’s a new Deep Nature Spa by the Sources de Marie building which has a pool with rock features, hot tub/Jacuzzi, relaxation room, treatment rooms and a hammam. The apartments all have kitchens and are smartly furnished and kitted out. Towels and toiletries are provided as well as a small welcome pack including dishwasher tablets, salt, pepper and other essentials. For supplies, there’s a Spar located across from the Price des Cimes building which has a great choice, including a butcher, but it’s not as cheap as you might find lower down the valley so if you are arriving by car you may want to stock up on the way. There’s also a boulangerie, a wine shop, ski shops, an estate agent, a pharmacy, kids ski/clothes shop with toys, gift shops, a tabac, boutique and a photo studio. If you want to eat out,  there’s also a wide choice of restaurants including one serving Savoyarde specialties, a pizzeria, snack bar, creperie, tapas, a smart Italian, tex mex place and a pub that serves food. The best bar in the Village is called O Chaud which serves cocktails and is the closest you’ll come in Arc 1950 to proper grown up après ski.

Ski Independence use a rental shop called Precision ski which is right in the centre of the resort by the main run in, under the bridge between Prince des Cimes and the Hameau du Glacier. It’s a really smart shop with the rental area upstairs - the skis we were given were superb quality and they couldn’t have been friendlier. Spirit 1950 runs the Le Village ski school. They were great with the little ones and had it all down to a tee. As I’ve mentioned previously, there are two baby slopes within the main Arc 1950 village – one with a magic carpet for the complete beginners and one with a rope tow for the next group up. The kids meet either at these mini slopes if they’re in one of these two classes or alternatively in the town square if they’re more advanced and going straight up a chair or the Cabriolet to the Arcs 2000 area. Spirit 1950 has an office right on the main square and they all speak English but it’s a French ski school. Our eldest, who turned 5 while we were there, had been to a local dry ski slope a couple of times and this was his first time on real snow. They were brilliant with him and had his class on the main slopes and off the nursery slopes by the third day which meant that we could spend some time skiing with him in the afternoons. For younger children there’s the Caribou Club, the resort’s kids club which offers childcare with opportunities to play indoors and outside in the snow.

Anyone who’s been to either Les Arcs or La Plagne will know how big the Paradiski area is. Despite having passes that allowed us to use the Vanoise Express and ski over to La Plagne, we found there was more than enough terrain for us on the Les Arcs and Peisey Vallandry side. We had blue skies all week and great on-piste snow although nothing fresh. There’s a huge base in the Alps this season and so even after a couple of weeks without fresh snow I didn’t see a rock or bare patch all week. One tip would be to try the free boarder/ski cross course which is brilliant fun. There’s one at the top of the Plagnettes lift in Les Arcs and another at the top of the Grizzly chair from Vallandry.

On mountain, there are lots of cafes and coffee places dotted around including one at Col des Frettes (top of Bois de L’Ours chair and ski down towards 1800) that has incredible views over to La Plagne. The two best places for lunch on the 2000/1950 side are Chalets de L’Arc (just above 1950) and Belliou la Fummee (just below Arc 1950) – but be warned, both need to be booked in advance. In addition, there’s a really good outdoor terrace and café/restaurant called Les Enfants Terrible over by Vallandry at the top of the Grizzly Chair.

We had a hugely successful family ski holiday staying at Le Village Arc 1950 and I really can’t recommend it highly enough. So much so, we’re already planning to go back next year.