Beginners have a choice of ski schools and special beginner slopes on which to learn the basics. There are two snow sure high altitude learner areas at Flocon and Cabri.
Although you are in the heart of one of the biggest ski areas in the world and with the full Paradiski area pass being among Europe’s five most expensive, there is a special beginners only pass and one for the limited ski area of Peisey Vallandry which are at the other extreme – an intimate ski area and a low priced lift ticket, so you can learn here affordably and progress on to the area’s longer gentle runs once you’ve learned the basics without breaking the bank. This makes the resort a great base for mixed ability parties who can ski to their heart’s content at whatever ability level they like and all meet back in Peisey Vallandry for lunch.
Intermediate skiers will really want to get stuck in to the vast amount of terrain that surrounds you on both the Les Arcs and la Plagne sides of the Paradiski region (see separate entries). Altogether there’s 425km of runs, relatively equally divided.
This means, literally hundreds of runs and hundreds of kilometres of trails that are in the green, blue and red categories for intermediate skiers. It also means there’s something of everything from snowy bowls at altitude, to fast cruising snow ‘motorways’ and on lower slopes pretty winding trails through the trees.
Peisey Vallandry is on the Les arcs side of Paradiski so you may be satisfied just skiing that side. A Paradiski discovery ticket is available which gives the chance of a day trip over the La Plagne side during your week in resort, or you can buy the full Paradiski ticket, but that is rather expensive.
The full Paradiski area has some 40 groomed black trails and around 80km (50 miles) of steep runs, that’s better than almost anywhere else. Then there’s the vast off-piste potential that either the ski schools or the mountain guides will be happy to show you. So in other words you’d need to be rather limited in your outlook to not be able to find enough serious terrain to entertain you for a week, probably a whole season.
Staying on the local Les Arcs slopes one big draw will be to head right to the top of the area at the Aiguille rouge and then down the long, long 7km descent over 2000 vertical metres to Villaroger at the far side of the area, one of the world’s legendary black runs. If you do pop over to La Plagne for a day or two the steepest run is the 3.5km Emile Allais, while on the les arcs side it’s the 2.5km long Robert Blanc, one of 19 blacks on this side.
Heliskiing is also an option, despite it being banned in France, as HeliMountains (http://www.helimountains.com) will be happy to pick you up and pop you over the nearby Italian border for a heliski adventure there.
Snowboard / Freestyle Skiing
Boarding is big in the region, perhaps marginally more so on the local Les Arcs slopes which have a reputation for new snow sports since its inception in the ‘60s and could argue that people were doing something pretty similar to boarding here before Jake Burton ‘invented’ the sport.
Unfortunately Les Arcs stuck a bit more to the now largely defunct monoski in the early 1980s, the Betamax of boarding, while the rest of the world took to the snowboard. The resort’s main Apocalypse Snowpark is named after the legendary pioneering snow movie, Apocalypse Snow, filmed back then, but despite the extreme tricks it displayed, the park does contain easy lines for new freestyle skiers and snowboarders.
As with all things Paradiski, boarders and freeriders also have extensive terrain to explore on and off piste, fast lifts to get back up and as much again over on the La Plagne side of the Vanoise Express.
Peisey Valladry is one of the best choices in the Alps for cross country skiers as its excellent Nordic ski centre is wholly separate to the vast Paradiski region of downhill ski slopes, so you can set off in to the pristine beauty of the Vanoise National Park without the usual fear of having to cross roads or downhill pistes as is so often the case where downhill ski resorts attempt to offer cross country skiing. The excellent facilities include a state-of-the-art base lodge (+33 (0)4 79 07 92 65) with all facilities, a wonderful oilstone restaurant next door, and then 40km of packed tracks for classic or skating style cross country skiing through meadows, forest and past frozen waterfalls.
Remember to look out for chamois and ibex as you pass through the larch forests and there are also old abandoned villages, hamlets and even an ancient silver mine to be discovered.
Peisey Vallandry Average Snow and Weather Conditions
Peisey Vallandry has sheltered slopes which are usually protected from the worst of the weather when it closes in, although its lower sectors may have limited snow cover at each end of the season the local slopes are vital to the Vanoise Express connection so snowmaking is concentrated here and they’re always open all season long to keep the connection open.
Even when conditions aren’t great the skiing on either side rises to glaciers above both La Plagne and Les Arcs, the former until recently a summer skiing destination, so it’s quite a snow sure choice.