Snowboarding in Les Arcs

Thanks to Borneo being cancelled by snow, I managed 2 snowboarding trips this year. This time Les Arcs, the other side of the twin-resort Paradiski area to La Plagne.

Like La Plagne, the pistes were well kept, so I had a really good time tumbling my way towards finally being able to call myself an intermediate snowboarder.

Taken when (after much perseverance) I arrived in Arc 1800 on my board/feet, as opposed to on my arse!

Arcs 1600 and 1800 is really typical French resort-y (all 1960s apartments, high priced bars and apres-ski discos). They’re not my “thing” and I wouldn’t stay there
…but the views are good and you can see Mont Blanc on a good day. There’s certainly worse places to have a beer at the end of the day.

Sunset at Arc 1600

Arcs 1950 and 2000 are newer, (obviously!) higher, and tucked away a little between higher peaks, so when the mid-March sun got too much for the lower pistes I headed upwards.
I particularly liked a long, undulating blue called Valee Des Arcs running from the top of the Varet chairlift at 2700m.

At the top of the Varet lift


The run drops 1000m over c. 3km of piste. Not scary for the under-skilled like me!

Having immense fun in a whiteout halfway down

I can most heavily recommend that anyone considering a snowboard holiday in Les Arcs stays at the Loft Hostel in Bourg St Maurice. The hostel is run by a Brit girl, Charley, and was certainly a very sociable place full of fun and friendly snowboarders the week I was there (people I’ve bumped into since back this up).

The Loft Hostel

On the practical side the place was warm, clean, secure and had great facilities (secure outdoor gear store, too)
It’s about 5 minutes’ walk from the Eurostar terminus and 7 minutes’ walk (in your full gear) to the funcicular up to Les Arcs. Oh, and the funicular trips, like all resort buses, are included in your lift pass.

Looking down to Bourg from the start of the funicular tracks at Arc 1600

If you feel the need to venture further than the Vanoise Express across to the La Plagne side of the Paradiski, you can even take a bus from Bourg St Maurice to further afield places such as Tignes or La Rosiere.

Day 1: Disneyland on acid

Hello from Dubai: a surreal world of bright, bright lights and strange, strange shapes.

A place where you will find the tallest building in the world (the Burj Al Khalifa)…

Burj Al Khalifa, Dubai

… where shopping centres contain fountains, aquariums & theme parks, plus ice rinks and ski slopes WITH REAL SNOW (yes, it snows inside the shopping centre). And ladies in burkas go snowboarding!

Indoor ski slope, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai

A place of crazy man-made islands with hotels that are a cross between the Ferrero Rocher ambassador’s gaff, and that of Karl Stromberg in ‘The Spy Who Loved Me’.
That hotel – the Atlantis on the Palm Jumeirah – has a house speciality cocktail called ‘Ambassador Lagoon’, which matched their piano bar’s aquamarine walls, and was pretty much bang on the thematic money.

Atlantis Hotel, Dubai

I’ll add more photos when I get a better wi-fi connection (Dubai International Airport’s, somewhat implausibly, is borderline useless). Until then, here’s a man dressed as a horse skulking around in a consumer electronics shop. No, I don’t know either!

I’m off to board a flight to Kuala Lumpur (singing the b3ta badger song over and over again!), so see you on the other side.