Time to aim high for Easter

2nd May 2017, by Ben Moore

If you're looking for a family-friendly resort at altitude, Arc 1950 is a great choice

If you're looking for a family-friendly resort at altitude, Arc 1950 is a great choice

I’m no meteorologist or climate change scientist but I have been family skiing for ten years and there have unquestionably been some changes to snow conditions over that period.

For many years, when our children were young, we chose to go family skiing at Easter in Les Gets. Easter skiing is brilliant for families because you tend to get warmer, sunny weather which makes life easier and more enjoyable for both parents and children. And even though Les Gets is a low resort, we nearly always had great spring snow conditions – often with the bonus of an April dump of snow.

That was then, this is now. My experience and observations over the past few ski seasons has been that the snow conditions for Easter skiing have been suffering – unless you go to a resort that gives you access to 2,000m+ terrain. So perhaps from now on it’s time to aim high at Easter.

If you are looking for a family-friendly resort at altitude, Arc 1950 is one of the best choices. We were there for the second week of our Easter holidays (8-15 April).

The Les Arcs ski area offers an excellent range of family skiing. Each day by 10am the hard-packed pistes were softening nicely and if you didn’t mind shredding through the slush it was possible to ski all the way through to 4pm.

Read Where to Ski and Snowboard’s independent review of Les Arcs here.

We tended to head to Arc 1800 in the morning as by the afternoon the snow there was very slushy and heavy going. It allowed our boys Seb, 14, and Ollie, 12, to play around in the snow park – which has small, medium, large and extra-large jumps to suit all abilities.

Ollie, 12, having fun in the Arc 1800 snow park

The red and blue pistes running underneath the Carreley and Transarc lifts were also great to cruise around on. Then around midday we would head back over to the skiing above Arc 1950 and Arc 2000.

The ski cross courses off Col de la Chal were firm favourites with the boys (nothing like a bit of healthy inter-family competition). But the pick of the skiing for us was down from Grand Col and Aiguille Rouge (the highest part of Les Arcs at 3,226m).

The Refuge black at Grand Col was a good challenge, with bigger and bigger bumps as the week went on. But also off the side – skier’s left – of the red run was some very accessible off piste. Not powder at this time of year, but good soft snow when the morning sun had been on it.

Another family favourite was to take the Varet white bubble lift up and then pick our way down the off piste areas to the skier’s left of the Cretes black. There’s a slightly steeper gradient here, but lots of different lines to take well away from the crowds on the pistes below.

And being able to ski-in ski-out from Arc 1950 for all this skiing was an absolute dream. The village feel of Arc 1950 is really family-friendly and there is a good mix of shops, restaurants and ski schools.

Being able to ski-in and ski-out from Arc 1950 at Easter was a dream

It’s worth taking lunch one day in La Table des Lys, which has a tasty modern twist on tartiflette, and George’s Wine Bar and Wood Bear Café, which sit side by side, are cosy spots for a drink. Meanwhile, if dancing on tables in ski boots is your thing then Chalet de Luigi is the place to head! The Cabriolet lift also opens up all the facilities at Arc 2000.

We stayed in a one-bedroom apartment in the Residence Chalet des Lys. From our balcony we had the perfect view of Mont Blanc and the property’s outdoor swimming pool.

Inside the apartment was very comfortable – mum and dad took the bedroom, while the boys slept on the sofa bed in the lounge area. Social media posts at the end of each day were no problem thanks to the free Wi-Fi. And the kitchen – fitted out with Smeg appliances and a Nespresso coffee machine – met all our self-catering needs.

So after questionable snow conditions recently, if you want to find good skiing during the Easter holidays then Arc 1950 will definitely deliver.

It’s a big ski area with lots to challenge intermediates and advanced skiers, plus there are well thought out beginner areas and the bowl area above Arc 1950 is blessed with encouraging gradients to allow your children to progress their technique.

For more information on Arc 1950, visit arc1950.com

Ben Moore is a skiing dad and co-founder of family ski website paralleltrails.co.uk

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