The fact that all four of the bases up in Les Arcs have gentle slopes right by the village makes the area an especially popular first-ski destination for beginners. At each level, the lifts have been specially designed for ease-of-use for beginners, and the altitude of the area means these slopes are normally have good snow right through the season.
The ski schools have branches at each resort, and have a reputation for getting beginners progressing quickly. The resort developed a highly successful learning technique called Ski Evolutif in the era of straighter, longer skis from the 1970s and 80s, which still influences ski teaching today. Luckily, today's skis are more user-friendly and easier to get started on than those 30 years ago!
With over 80 long blue and red runs covering 125km on the Les Arcs side of Paradiski alone, Bourg Saint Maurice is an ideal intermediates' destination - a true paradise for recreational skiers. The high speed lift network makes it easy to dash around the mountain and enjoy descents of up to 7km back down.
If you go for the full Paradiski pass, you'll also be able to ski La Plagne, where virtually the whole area is heaven for intermediates. On this side there's a mix of gentle blue motorway pistes in the main La Plagne bowl, as well as lots of lovely long reds for more experienced intermediates to try.
Les Arcs and La Plagne both have strong reputations for their challenging terrain, so experts are well catered for. Les Arcs has over 40km of black rated piste, divided up in to 19 runs, inlcuding the epic 7km long, 2000 vertical metre descent to Villaroger. There are also lots of good off-piste itineraries to try with a guide.
Over in La Plagne you'll also find some great off-piste, as well as a few good black runs. Coqs and Morbleu on the back of the hill are seriously steep, and the long Emile Allais run down to the Roche chairlift is a fun but challenging red.
Although heliskiing is banned in France, a helicopter company (http://www.helimountains.com) will pick you up and fly you the short distance over the Italian border for a heliski descent there.
Snowboard / Freestyle Skiing
Les Arcs is home to some of the first mass market ski movies, perhaps most notably the 80s film Apocalypse Snow, after which the resort’s Apocalypse Snowpark is named.
This excellent freestyle park is situated between Arc 1600 and 1800, and offers something for all ability levels, all colour-coded from green to black. The boardercross course at Col de la Chal peak is another highlight. Also at Col de la Chal at 2,600 metres, there's the start of a 3 kilometre toboggan run in Rodeo Park - fantastic for speed thrill-seekers!
The area around Les Arcs and Bourg Saint Maurice itself has 30km of trails open all season long, varying depending on the altitude. The longest of these is actually the closest to Bourg, a 15km loop starting just above the town.
A good five kilometre loop starts in Courbaton at Arc 1600 and passes mostly through the trees, while another five kilometre loop up at Arc 2000 takes you through more open terrain. There is another loop, also five kilometres, departing from the Jardin Alpin in Arc 1800.
If you choose to explore the wider Paradiski region however, you'll find more than 90km of cross country ski tracks on around a dozen loops, all of which are free to use.
Average Snow And Weather Conditions
Often receiving over five metres of snow in a year, nearby Les Arcs is an especially snowsure resort. The high altitude of the surrounding ski area, with most of the terrain above 1800m, means that doorstep skiing is usually possible right from the start of the season in early December through to its end in late April.
There are more than 100 snow guns covering the key runs and glacier skiing is possible up on the Aiguille Rouge.