The train is a great option

Resort:  Les Arcs
Journey:  Eurostar + TGV
By:  Mark Gibbins

Our train trip to Les Arcs went well despite the French strikes. Somehow I picked dates that fell between the French strike dates (just .... phew) and we had a seamless journey out and only a half hour delay on the Chambery – Paris TGV on the way back .... not enough to make us miss our Eurostar connection, so all good.

I loved using the train and even the RER across Paris was straightforward – the links in the Snowcarbon RER article were very helpful as I was able to virtually walk the RER so I knew exactly where I was heading.

Snowy slopes in Les ArcsSnowy slopes in Les ArcsPhoto: Mark Gibbins

My 13-year-old daughter also loved the train and we’ve concluded we prefer it to all the hassle of airports and subsequent transfers...and it’s so much better environmentally!  Although the overall trip was a comparable length to flying, sitting on the train was very relaxing and arriving at Bourg-Saint-Maurice and stepping onto the funicular felt like a massive win .... no transfer! That felt fab!

Ski bag tied on EurostarSki bag tied on EurostarPhoto: Mark Gibbins

The “tip” I have is if you have a big ski bag take a couple of lengths of rope! On the UK trains up to London and back and on the Eurostar and one of the local Chambery – Bourg journeys I tied my bag vertically to the luggage racks .... See image below which was on the Eurostar. A really useful trick as getting the bag into the overhead storage was a mission! (I did it once).

Les Arcs is a fabulous resort for skiing, with a huge variety of both on and off-piste adventures. Having taken the train, we had seven full days at our disposal, and for five of them my daughter had morning lessons and I treated myself to an instructor / guide from ESI Arc Adventure (who were excellent - a big shout out to Rowena who sorted us out and to our fantastic instructors Gérard and Michel).

Powder tracksPowder tracksPhoto: Mark Gibbins

It snowed all day on the day we were travelling, and the snow was fantastic at the start of the week. In fact, according to our instructors, our first day was one of the best three days of the season, with fresh boot-to-thigh-height powder (thigh high, in drifts), and whenever possible I spent the mornings off-piste both above and within the trees and the afternoon cruising blue runs with my daughter. Generally speaking, the conditions across the week were varied (spring weather), warming up in the middle of the week when we had some rain lower down, and then snowing again to give us two good final days; however, we only had one really poor day and this was more than made up for by the good conditions across the remainder of the seven days that we skied. Given the season – and the fact that we were into April when we left ¬– it didn’t seem too bad!
Apres ski was very quiet in Arc 1800 when we arrived, but our last few days fell into the week before easter, and things livened up in resort (although lift queues were never an issue). The only time we queued for a lift all week was for the long (and popular) ‘Pre Saint Esprit’ chair (the blue one from below Arc 1950) so the next time we simply took the ‘Comborciere’ chair from the same point and jumped over to Arc 1800 - easy!

Too much snow?Too much snow?Photo: Mark Gibbins

Overall, it was a great week. Les Arcs gave us plenty of scope without needing to access La Plagne (although if I hadn’t been with my daughter I definitely would have gone for the full Paradiski pass), and we had a great time.  I’d thoroughly recommend it.

So, in conclusion the train is a great option and I will definitely be using it again. Thanks so much to Snowcarbon for the tips and assistance – and for putting it out there on your website.