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Paradiski cablecar link (Les Arcs-La Plagne) fails popularity test

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
The new double-decker 'Vanoise Express' cablecar, which links Les Arcs to La Plagne, forming the vast 'Paradiski' ski area, is not proving popular, according to Peter Hardy of the Daily Telegraph. Hardy reveals that 30% of visitors to the resorts were expected to use the new lift but "the real figure has so far proved to be less than 25 per cent, even in high season - and falling."...

This information is revealed in his report on Valandry, a little-known resort which lies close to the centre of the Paradiski area. Here is the article.

If you've stayed in Paradiski recently, did you use the link? What did you think: useful to be able to explore the entire system, or too time-consuming?
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Quote:
Even expert skiers are hard pressed to battle high-season lift queues to travel from Le Prué to Plagne Montalbert (or vice versa) and back before dark - and get a decent day's skiing in.

I left Arc 1600 at 9.15am one morning in the Christmas week. Two lifts and just under an hour later I was on the Vanoise, by 10.30 well into the Plagne domain. To be sure of getting back to Arc 1600 I was back on the Vanoise at 3.30 pm, but if necessary I could have got the free shuttle from Arc 1800. In total more than 5 hours on the La Plagne side. Makes me wonder if Peter Hardy has actually been there!
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10 of us used it last saturday. All 10 of us had a fantastic day and thought the link was out of this world. Very fast, very efficient. Superb lift links at both ends, apart from the Arpette chair in Plagne Bellcote,which is being replaced next yr by a high speed 8 man chair. Family in the same village were there at xmas and also thought it was fab. If you go to LP or LA get a 1 day decouverte pass and have a great day out.

its a nice run from arpette to the LP side, and the run from the top of arc 2000 goes allthe way back to the link without getting another lift. The two resorts are so different.....give it a go
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Frosty the Snowman, good news that the Arpette is being upgraded by a factor of more than 2. It can be a bit of a bottleneck on the way back to Les Arcs late afternoons being a fairly slow 4 packer now. From the top of Arpette, for those who don't know LP, there are easy blues down into Plagne Bellecote from which there are good links to the whole vast LP area.
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David Goldsmith wrote:

[b]The new double-decker 'Vanoise Express' cablecar, which links Les Arcs to La Plagne, forming the vast 'Paradiski' ski area, is not proving popular


Searching Google.com for: Vanoise Express

and I can understand part of the problem.

Happy
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davidof, your card is marked wink
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Having read the article yesterday, one can see why it's not quite as popular as it may have been thought. At £165 for a Paradiski Pass, it's not that cheap either, especially if you're thinking of multiplying that by a family number.

I'd not thought of Valandry as a destination. Sounds quite pleasant.
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After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
We're going to Les Arcs at the end of January and will certainly be using the Vanoise Express to head over to La Plagne. I can't understand the 'reluctance' to use it - I view it it as effectively just another lift in the middle of a large ski domain.
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I did the Vanoise Express to Les Arcs when I was staying in La Plagne in December. Was absolutely fantastic. We were on the 1st lift from Plagne Centre upto the top of Bellecote at just b4 9am, skiied into Bellecote, up the Arpette chair, and then down thru the tree lined runs to Les Coches. We were at the top of Plan Peisey just after 10:30am (and me and my pal are not fast skiiers (yet!), and in the Mont Blanc for a full english brekkie by 11 Wink

We're staying in Belle Plagne in March, and hope to get over to Les Arcs 2 or 3 times, as we're halfway over already really!
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Having only used it once each way, I would say it is a very good way of getting from La Plagne to Les Arcs. Less good the other way.
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Dr Che wrote:
I can't understand the 'reluctance' to use it


I doubt there is a real reluctance to use it, apart from the few people who hate cable cars and I agree with you that compared to the road it is a much better way of getting from les Arcs to la Plagne. It is more that les Arcs and la Plagne offer fantastic areas in their own right so the lift is really superfluous. Mega-domains are just so 1980s.
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Quote:
Mega-domains are just so 1980s.

I'm not sure I follow that - I mean, why would the facility to travel with ease throughout a larger domain be less relevant today than in the 80s?
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PG, I do believe it was a tongue-in-cheek remark, although anyone who really appreciates the mountains knows that a 40-lift system can often be superior to a 150-lift system. So davidof is essentially right. The French obsession with growth, which has resulted in so much damage and pollution, is explored in this article from today's L'Express.
If you want long epic runs, vistas of forests and peaks and cliffs - with minimum sight of pylons, restaurants and trash - you get to know where to go.


Last edited by So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much on Mon 17-01-05 11:47; edited 1 time in total
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Two years ago, we went to see some friends in La Plagne (we live in Plan Peisey). It took us over an hour's drive down to Landry and back up to La Plagne before we could even think about skiing, not forgetting having to repeat the journey at the end of the day.
Now we can do the journey in only three minutes to Montchavin, followed by three quick lifts (Lac Noir,Bijolin and Sella), two of which are brand new,and we are over the Arpette ridge and away. I think it is a fantastic development and apart from the convenience for us pampered skiers, it has also been a great boost for the economy of Plan Peisey. In the past ten years, a lot of development had occurred on this side of the valley in Vallandry, thanks to a more progressive mayor, and a lot of support by the Dutch. Now it is boom-time for Peisey!
Club Mediterranee and MGM have arrived, and so also have lots of smaller British chalet companies. The Brits have appeared in ever increasing numbers. There are lots of new chalets being built and it is great for the economy of once sleepy Peisey. Just look below the cable car at the buildings under costruction in Villaret, for example.
At the same time, Peisey has not been spoiled. When the lifts close at night, the village returns to the same peaceful place it has always been, the reason we first came here over twelve years ago.
I think it is a fabulous area now - we have over 140 lifts at our fingertips- this is more than enough for me! All we need is more snow and I believe the forecast is for lots in the next three days.
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I forked out for the Paradiski lift pass when I went to Les Arcs a fortnight ago, and wish I´d kept my hand in my pocket. The lift itself is fine and pretty swift, but the lift system and the runs on the La Plagne side mean you end up sitting on chairlifts for ages until you can actually do any skiing. And the signposting to the Vanoise Express on the La Plagne side is diabolical - 3 separate groups of friends, all of them competent piste map readers, missed the little cut off to the side to get there. I think if you´re a good skier living in La Plagne it´s worth getting the pass to ski Les Arcs (especially the Peisy Vallandry area just above the Vanoise Express on the Les Arcs side which has a lovely series of interconnecting red and blue runs through the trees, and was the best of a bad bunch in terms of snow conditions), but if I go back to Les Arcs (especially one of the villages on the far side, like Arc 2000), I wouldn´t buy the extra pass.
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David Goldsmith wrote:
PG, I do believe it was a tongue-in-cheek remark, although anyone who really appreciates the mountains knows that a 40-lift system can often be superior to a 150-lift system. So davidof is essentially right. The French obsession with growth, which has resulted in so much damage, is explored in this article from today's L'Express.
If you want long epic runs, vistas of forests and peaks and cliffs - with minimum sight of pylons, restaurants and trash - you get to know where to go.

That still seems more like an argument about degree, not principle. And off-piste/ski touring aside, I would have thought there are more ski areas in France conforming to your latter ideal in the bigger domains, the fringes of which are, by definition, larger. I can lose myself in quiet pistes far more easily in Les Arcs in Feb than in, say, Vars in the southern Alps. Other than in the smallest of resorts the trash and concrete are visible pretty much anywhere. Medium-sized resorts are not all they're cracked up to be - bottlenecks abound in peak periods, construction is just as tasteless as in the mega resorts. I agree with you if you are referring to the little village domains, but these may only have 10 - 20 miles of piste, so you need to be a different type of ski tourist - mobile, a little more adventurous.
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dmott wrote:
The lift itself is fine and pretty swift, but the lift system and the runs on the La Plagne side mean you end up sitting on chairlifts for ages until you can actually do any skiing.

45 minutes to Bellecôte (Lac Noir eggs > Bijolin chair > Salla chair)? Seems reasonable to me. Anothe 10/15 mins and you're at the top of the Blanchets lift and on your way down the Levasset heading for Champagny.

It's a big domain. It's certainly true that the Paradiski pass is not for everyone.
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We were in La Plagne the year it first opened, but were at the far side of the resort to the Vanoise Express - so we didn't use it, or buy a Paradiske pass. The previous year we had been in Les Arc close to the Vanoise express in the Plan Peisey area. If it had been open then I think we might have been tempted for at least one day to use it to pop over to La Plagne.
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We were in La Plagne last year - with paradiski passes. We tried to go across on the Friday, but a couple of our number had been sold a pass that would only go across on Monday/Tuesday/Wedensday/Thursday (I think). I was actually on the lift when the apologetic chap came and told us our friends couldn't come. So, being nice folk, we got off.

The toilets on the La Plagne side were very nice though.

Make sure you get the right pass.
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We went across from La Plagne last year, as I love Les Arcs, especially the Peisey Vallandry area, where I stayed the previous year. We bought the Mon, Tues, Wed, (Thurs?) pass as it was cheaper than the full Paradiski. If I was staying in Les Arcs, however, I wouldn't bother with it.
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Well, as the Old Lags here know, I am a big La Plagne fan, and my only experience of Les Arcs was a day last year.
Our guide, Christof, though he works in the Belle Plagne ESF is actually a Les Arcs fan, and his sons race for Les Arcs. I know the Les Coches/Montchavin area well. I enjoyed my day in Les Arcs and would happily go again, but really know very little about the place. But my day there did not change my opinion of La Plagne.
I understand the lift system out of Les Coches is much improved this year, and I have already got my Electronic Lift Pass, purchased on-line.
I think the Vanois Express has been seriously mis-sold, and the ticketing system last season was stupid. If you turned up at the lift with the wrong pass, you couldn't purchase the necessary update at the lift station. Instead, you had to ski down to Les Coches or Montchavin. Crazy! I think the planners thought of Paradiski as similar to Espace Killy (Val d'Isere and Tignes). It isn't. Most combined resorts are separated by mountains. Les Arcs and La Plagne are separated by a large valley. As Jamie, points out, the Vanois Express has essentially replaced a long road trip. The lift should have been thought of in that light. You should be able to buy one-way or return tickets at either side like I can buy tickets for a train journey. If you thought you would do the trip a lot, you could add it on to your lift pass, rather like a season ticket.
The lift is a convenient and rapid way of getting from Les Arcs to La Plagne. Paradiski is a myth. The two areas remain distinct. Those based at Vallandry or Peisey can go either way. For the rest of us, we are based in one or the other, but can go across the lift for a Day Out.
I agree that the signposting could be improved.
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Jonpim, The electronic passes were brill, and we purchased our day pass extensions at the La Plagne side of the crossing. 2 of our friends had bought the decouvert pass (1 day in Les Arcs) from the outset, but it didnt work as they had to exchange for another. Worked well but think it would be a serious queue in the busy time. The crossing is fantastic, and NUTS to anyone who says otherwise.
One tip, do the extension on a Saturday as it is about 25% cheaper and the slopes and lift much quieter.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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Jonpim wrote:
Our guide, Christof, though he works in the Belle Plagne ESF is actually a Les Arcs fan, and his sons race for Les Arcs.

Christophe qui?

When are you in La Plagne for the gasmen's wheeze, by the way?
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Good evening, PG, are you snowed in yet?
Christophe surname is Roq.
And the advance party of Gassers leaves Waterloo Friday afternoon, arriving Belle Plagne Saturday morning. There will be the usual crowd of screaming girls waiting for us. We usually sign a few autographs, chat to the press, and then whiz out onto the slopes.
I try to go icognito.
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Thanks Jonpim, that caught me out - you used html rather than BBcode for your link. I clicked on it expecting the BBcode to open in a new window, then I closed the window and found snowHeads had gone!!! Grrr Wink snowHead snowHead snowHead
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Jonpim, we do indeed have young Roques (Paul) in the Les Arcs Club, in fact he races with Hannah this year, same age category...
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Just back from a week in Peisey with my hotel balcony overlooking the V-E terminal. Echo everything Jamie says above about Peisey.
I didn't use the V-E but early morning the traffic was mainly from LP to LA. Perhaps because the weather and viz were bad high up for a few days and LA has loads of wide good runs at lower levels with trees providing some shelter and perspective.
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kuwait_ian, Did you have a good time? Peisey/Vallandry seems to be a perfect base for a holiday. We popped over for a day from LP and was very impressed by that side of Les Arcs. Even Mrs Frosty got "gushy" over the lifts. Would be good to have your thoughts for future planning
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Frosty the Snowman, one word - YES. I was lucky with great snow after very iffy conditions the weeks before - - - - but poor viz made exploring Les Arcs higher areas impossible. See my Resort Report in Ian Hopkinson's alphabetical database in Snow Reports for more info (or try Peisey AND Vallandry in the site search engine). Peisey-Vallandry won't suit everyone (limited nite life, virtually nothing for non-skiers, no winter swimming pool (yet Club Med might well change that next season ...) but I was more than happy there. From what little I saw of Arcs 1600, 1850, 1950, & 2000 I know which I preferred. And it is possible to have a comparatively cheap holiday there with all the benefits of access to a huge snowsports area. Flying Squirrel has contacts with French apartment/chalet owners who have yet to discover the prices Brits will pay outside half term hols. He has some amazing early / late season deals on offer for multi-occupancy S/C apartments. Nothing in it for him (or unfortunately, snowHeads), you get all the benefits. Go for it while Peisey-Vallandry is still a slightly-known secret.
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Kuwait Ian It's nice to see you agreeing with my previous comments about Peisey Vallandry.
To add to your excellent advice regarding accommodation, it is not just the self-catering which is mostly very reasonably priced. There are some very good middle-of-the-road two star hotels in the area-
L'Emeraude - ideally placed next to the Vallandry chair lift, pleasant family run hotel, with small indoor swimming pool.
La Vanoise - brilliant position just above the new cable car, right next to the piste, good food and nice bar.
Mont Blanc - cheap and cheerful, right next to the piste, recently refurbished, liveliest bar in the village.

For the size of the place, the selection of restaurants is superb -
L'Armoise - my personal favourite, the best restaurant in the area, superb food, brilliant desserts, and excellent service,right next to the cable car..
L'Ancolie,in Nancroix, traditional Savoyard menu beautifully presented, a little expensive, but good for a celebration.
L'Ormelune in old Peisey village below the cable car - traditional Lyonnaise/Savoyard menu, I particularly recommend the sausages! (Andouillettes)
Le Solan right next to the cable car, open all day, very enterprising proprietor loves to have theme nights on most Fridays (Bouillabaisse, wine tasting). Definitely THE place to be for England v France on Sunday 13th Feb.
Shiva- a bit of a walk uphill past Skibeat chalets to get to, but worth it! New kid on the block. Very different menu, with a Thai theme. Best curries in the valley, music every Thursday evening.
Le Refuge in Vallandry centre - best pizza place in town, open all day.

But let's not forget the skiing! My personal favourites are La Combe piste (extreme right on map) - in perfect condition last week, L'Ecureuil (black) good if you like moguls, and if you like cruising through the trees, particularly in bad weather, you can't beat Morey, Aigle and Myrtilles.
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Bravo to David Poisson today of the Vallandry club, just 23 and his best finish yet, 9th in today's Super G in the World Championships...

I skied the Combe the morning after the dump - not good then, by 11 the darksiders had sideslipped it down to the dirt in a couple of places! Better later on in the week though.
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Back from Belle Plagne: an update on La Plagne and the Vanois Express.
Great improvements. You can now buy tickets at a kiosk at the lift. The new lifts up from Les Coches above the Gondola, and the new chair up to Arpette replacing the old double buttons are excellent developments.
My second trip across to Les Arcs and I appreciated the place a lot more, but to echo Jamie's comments, I think many people miss out on the superb runs around Peisey Vallandry as they rush off into Les Arcs. I too enjoyed La Combe, but really all those runs through the trees down to Vallandry are lovely. I might well spend more time in Les Arcs next year.
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Had a great time going to La Plagne from Les Arcs. I think a little preparation is needed working out the route once you get to LP as a slight mistake can mean wasted time at the start trying to find the lifts up from Montchavin. However, once away from there (and some great 50s looking gondolas - really retro) it's definitely worth a trip or two. If going from 1600, I'd also recommend using the shuttles to/from 1800 before/after the first/last lift.
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I have been wondering about this strategic link myself when I skied to Plan Peisey twice to hunting down this flying squirrel in vain. Never used the cable car myself and didn't see any queue there either. I think geographically the cable car link can mean different things to people staying at different places.

It would be ideal for skiers staying close to the Plan Peisey/Vallandry and Montchavin/Les Coches areas becuase of the possibility of go to either resort easily.

However for skiers staying far away from the cable car or at the two extreme ends of the Paradiski the possibility of using this cable car link would not be the everyday affair because (1) either Les Arcs (200km) or La Plagnes (225km) is big enough and will take days to explore and (2) It takes too long to reach and there won't be much time left to ski the other side and come back in time without getting stuck at the peak time queue.

The cost for a day pass for either side is 38 Euro but 45 Euro is needed for skiing both resorts. The fully linked 3 Vallees, with much more chairlift and 50% more piste, only charges 41 Euro. I ended up Skiing from Arc 1600 via the funicular on one side, drove to Bellecotte if I wanted to ski the other side and forget about the link. I just can't see paying over the odd for something of little use to me. I doubt if many skiers can be benefited from using this cable car link everyday of the week. One would have to be an extremely good skier that a 200km domain is too small for the daily skiing. Thus this cable car is unlikely to be used as the daily link by the majority of the skiers visiting Paradiski.

It may be the best thing since the slice bread but for skier based in places like Vilaroger, Arc1600, Champagny, Aime 2100 and Montalbert the cable car link can only good for an occasional outing. Yes it will be used by everybody but not everyday. In 3Vallees we don't use one link everyday either but there are other choices and the overall effect is the links are well used.

If there is someone who can explain paying 45 Euro for one link to ski 425km piste in Paradiski is better than paying 41 Euro for various links to ski 600km piste in 3 Vallees then I would like to hear.


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Sun 13-02-05 16:03; edited 4 times in total
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saikee, very sensible comments. As I have said before: Paradiski is a myth. The Vanois express just links 2 resorts by a fast convenient shuttle. Fine for those staying nearby, or for a jolly day-trip for those staying further away. It took me 2 hours to get from Vilaroger to Belle Plagne: no hanging about, and I knew just what I was doing. Not really much fun. More time was spent on lifts than skiing. Much more fun finding a few good runs and polishing them to perfection.
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Jonpim, welcome back, you've been missed.
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