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LaPlagne and Les Arcs tree skiing

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Hello, first time poster here from America.

Just did a two week trip to the French Alps, Val d'Sière/Tignes first week, LaPlagne/Les Arcs second. First time skiing in Europe. I've been all over the American Rockies and live close enough to Vermont that I ski there at least half of the season.
I enjoyed myself a lot. Spectacular scenery, awesome food, more than challenging terrain. But. The first week was snowy and even a bit foggy and rainy except for one sunny day at Val. One day the entire mountain closed due to wind. So, as you all probably know, viability was difficult to almost impossible in most places. I found a few tree shots at the bottom of Val, but, that was very limiting. Not what I flew the distance for. The second week was bluebird almost every day, and that was great, of course, for skiing the high bowls and peaks of LaPlagne/Les Arcs. We slept in Belle Plagne, and I loved that location. Now, I saw that both LaPlagne and Les Arcs have some lifts that service below tree line skiing. Didn't bother going down there, due to the somewhat mushy and starting to be Spring-like conditions (March 15 -22), and, well, why bother with all that spectacular stuff up high. So, my question is, if it's a decent snow year, is there good tree skiing down in those lift areas on a blowing day? I'm thinking of a colder period, maybe mid January to mid February. Is that also a good time to avoid crowds?

Thanks.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Mr. Pink, welcome to snowHeads. I know the Les Arcs side better than La Plagne so will restrict my comments to that side of the Paradiski domain. Above Vallandry, Arc 1800 and Arc 1600 there are some lovely tree-lined pistes and a fair amount of off-piste through the trees. Ideal for when the weather closes in and the upper lifts are shut or the visibility is too poor to ski. In general there is nothing in the trees which gives nasty surprises, and mostly all the lines that you ski finish at a piste which traverses across the terrain and takes you to the nearest lift. In places the trees are very closely spaced, so it's difficult to get up any speed and a symmetric line as the danger of crashing in to a tree gets a bit too high, but I've had some very enjoyable days in the trees when skiing higher up hasn't been feasible. There are also some great options about Villaroger, one of the other Les Arcs villages.

School holidays typically start in the second week of February, and with the different French regions and other Euro countries run for a month until the first week of March. January and the first week of February is a good time to avoid the crowds.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
It's been a while for me.
The really good thing about Les Arcs used to be that they have trees, and as it's a "family" resort, they didn't get a lot of traffic.
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@Mr. Pink, Both resorts have a fair amount of tree skiing both on piste (such as Arolle) or off piste (such diving down the trees from the Malgovert piste) as @rob@rar says. Like @rob@rar I know the Les Arcs better; in places the trees go fairly high such as the Malgovert forest where the tree line goes upto over 2000m. Almost all the runs cross a piste at some point so it is not easy to get lost but I did once get the wrong side of a gulley coming down from the Malgovert piste which required a bit of hiking. In general the trees are fairly closely packed.

Mid January to the start of Febuary will avoid the crowds

,
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@Mr. Pink, We spent the season based near Montalbert, one of the low (1350m) corners of La Plagne. Once there was enough snow (from about a week into January) there was excellent skiing on blues and reds through the trees down to resort, all below 2000m so treelined. The good skiing remained until about the third week in March when some pistes started to close due to lack of snow. At Montalbert only the main (less attractive) pistes have snow cannons, so you do need a decent amount of natural snow.
The other end of La Plagne, Les Coches and Montchavin have the same sort of pistes, here down as far as 1250m.
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philwig wrote:
It's been a while for me.
The really good thing about Les Arcs used to be that they have trees, and as it's a "family" resort, they didn't get a lot of traffic.
Exactly right. Doesn't get tracked out in the blink of an eye.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Mr. Pink, first: avoiding crowds. It is as johnE and rob@rar state: mid January to first few days of February. Beyond then you are into French holidays. Definitely avoid mid Feb.
Trees: both resorts have them at either end. Best in Les Arcs above Peisey/Vallandry.
For La Plagne, both Montchavin/Les Coches and Montalbert/Biolley have good tree runs.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
@Mr. Pink, it depends on what you mean by tree skiing. If you mean marked pistes below the tree line, providing some protection on windy / snowy days, then as others have said above both resorts have good areas.

But if you mean areas where you can ski offpiste between the trees, that is more limited. A lot of the forest is close planted, with areas of rock and windblow making finding skiable routes more tricky.
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Hey, thanks for the replies. Loved that place, want to go back. Is Arc 1600 right off the funicular a good place to stay? Cars are expensive. Easy train ride. All I need is a decent market, cheese and meats, wine, and a good bakery. Belle Plagne and lower Plagne Bellecote had all that, with restaurants. Haha, there's even a four lane bowling alley. On the side of a mountain.

Another question. Are there other European resorts that have the same quality above and below tree line skiing that Les Arcs/LaPlagne? I've skied high Colorado a lot, and know that open off piste is useless in storms. And I like to ski in storms.
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ecureuil wrote:
@Mr. Pink, it depends on what you mean by tree skiing. If you mean marked pistes below the tree line, providing some protection on windy / snowy days, then as others have said above both resorts have good areas.

But if you mean areas where you can ski offpiste between the trees, that is more limited. A lot of the forest is close planted, with areas of rock and windblow making finding skiable routes more tricky.


I don't want to sound like a jerk, but, I ski trees in Vermont. On short skis, mind you.
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snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Mr. Pink wrote:
Hey, thanks for the replies. Loved that place, want to go back. Is Arc 1600 right off the funicular a good place to stay? Cars are expensive. Easy train ride. All I need is a decent market, cheese and meats, wine, and a good bakery. Belle Plagne and lower Plagne Bellecote had all that, with restaurants. Haha, there's even a four lane bowling alley. On the side of a mountain.

Another question. Are there other European resorts that have the same quality above and below tree line skiing that Les Arcs/LaPlagne? I've skied high Colorado a lot, and know that open off piste is useless in storms. And I like to ski in storms.


Yes, 3 Valleys - probably Courchevel best, Portes du Soleil if it’s cold (a bit low otherwise), Verbier (including Bruson and La Tzoumaz), Chamonix (with Vallorcine and Les Houche) all good options. Plenty of others that other will recommend in Italy / Austria.

In your shoes I’d try somewhere else rather than return to the same resort again.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@Mr. Pink, welcome to snowHeads! snowHead

It's nice to see that I now have a namesake here.... Toofy Grin
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