It’s come to the time of year when plans for ski holidays begin. With so much to organise including, flights, transfers, ski hire, lift passes and lessons, not to mention choosing the best resort, it can be a daunting process. Those who have been before know what to expect but for those who haven’t, I thought a recommendation may help.
I’ve been skiing a few times (only ever to Europe) and of all the resorts I’ve visited Les Arcs Extreme 2000 resort in the French Alps, was by far my favourite. I’ve never been to an all-inclusive ski holiday before but since experiencing one I’d recommend them as the way forward. And here is why.
Les Arcs Extreme is 2000m above sea level which is the highest point I’ve ever slept at. It was a little difficult adjusting to the altitude at first and I’m told some experience sickness as a result, however, the resort itself (mountain) is truly amazing. With access to 3 other resorts on the mountain (1950, 1800 and 1600) there are a total of 171 ski lifts and 425km of piste so you don’t have to ski the same slopes day in and day out. The longest run is a lengthy 10km and the vast slopes cover all ability ranges. On top of that there are a number of ski parks to entertain you, a dog avalanche school providing daily demonstrations, a 3k luge track (which I have to say is the most fun) and the resort boasts the fastest slope in the world; ‘The Flying K’ (which you can’t actually ski but still). And I’ve not even mentioned the fantastic off-piste available!
As a location it’s stunning and from the summit you can see the Suisse and Italian Alps. The resorts themselves are equally as pretty and charming as the landscape. I’ve not been lucky enough to ski America or the Antipodes but I think the Alps are probably one of the most beautiful ski destinations in the world, but then I could be biased!
This particular resort is ideal if you’re in a group of different ability skiers. For the novices there are some beautiful long, gentle blues and once you’ve built up your confidence you can have a go at many of the easy reds. For the experienced there are some challenging red slopes and plenty of blacks for the thrill seekers amongst the group too.
The Les Arcs extreme hotel itself is fantastic. In the morning it’s difficult to prise yourself out of the incredibly comfortable bed but the breakfast on offer helps! Being in France I couldn’t resist the French pastries, croissants in particular, as well as piling my plate with bacon, sausage and an egg, all cooked to my liking. The more health conscious can opt for yoghurts, fruits and fresh juices if preferred.
Fuelled for the day it’s straight to the ski room to grab your gear then out to a meeting point where you can ski straight onto the piste or meet your instructor and the rest of your class. I’ve always been a skier but with lessons included (yes included!) I took the opportunity to learn to snowboard. After the first class you’ll be assessed and put into a suitable group. By the end of the week the classes have shrunk by half and you’re more or less having personal tuition. In 5 days I learnt to snowboard and although 5 hours a day of no stop boarding as a learner is intense, it was totally worth it.
After a 2.5 hour lesson you can choose to remain on the slopes or return to the hotel for lunch. It’s a lot more fun to return! On the final slope before the hotel a photographer waits to capture you in action; outside the ski room a DJ spins the decks, whilst the hotel staff host some games and serve hot dogs and punch. Don’t let that fill you up because a buffet of goodies is waiting for you. Much like breakfast, there is far too much food on offer and everyone’s tastes are catered for. It’s not your usual buffet of food laid out and waiting to be taken as chefs will cook and prepare your dish right in front of you. Everything from hot bubbling pizza straight from the oven, freshly baked French bread, steak fresh from the grill and a wide selection of cheeses. Good job you getting 5/6 hours of exercise a day!
The rest of the day is up to you. You can go for a walk and grab a coffee in 1950, re-join your lesson or spend the afternoon skiing with your group. When you’ve finished for the day you’re welcomed back to the hotel with some well-deserved cocktails and fresh waffles or crepes (best slathered in chocolate sauce).
The day is far from over though. After a little ‘down-time’ to pamper yourself after a day of full on activities, it’s then on to the evenings events. Drinks and nibbles are laid on in the bar before the dining room opens and, yes, it’s time to eat some more. Each evening the food is different and there are a few specialities on top of all of the other food already on offer. If you don’t fancy choosing from the buffet you can book yourself into the speciality restaurant which is different each night, but be quick as it fills up fast.
After dinner we usually retired to the theatre with a hot chocolate or two and enjoy the evening’s entertainment. Each night the hotel staff would perform in a themed show for guests after which you can join them in the onsite nightclub for some more drinks and plenty of dancing. When you’re ready you can retire to the bedroom in the quiet end of the hotel and catch up on your sleep before getting up to do it all again!
There is so much to do at Les Arcs Extreme 2000 and whether you’re a keen skier or not, you’re still guaranteed to have a good time. I’ve tried to mention everything but I know I’d have forgotten some (like the evening salsa lessons!).
Les Arcs Extreme is a snow guaranteed resort and is great any time of the season.
Activities: So much on offer round the clock 10/10
Slopes: So many slopes for all abilities. 10/10
Food: Need I say more? 10/10
Value for money: Totally worth it. The inclusive ski lessons alone are enough of a selling point as these can usually cost a bomb. It’s a shame the ski hire isn’t inclusive. 8/10
This resort gets an unbeatable 10/10. I simply don’t know how it could improve and will certainly be returning in the future.