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holidayloverxx's day trip to Les Arcs - REPORT

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I've been & I’m back Very Happy

What a great trip(ette). I’m grateful to rob@rar for advice on an itinerary, it worked really well. Some peeps here have been interested in how the Eurostar day trip to Les Arcs worked out, so here is a rambling stream of consciousness (apologies for length in advance).

Outward Journey

Left work at 17:30 and got the number 91 bus at Trafalgar Square to St Pancras. Killed time at the pub then went through check in. Eurostar was more than half empty so plenty of space to settle down to sleep. Try and get to the front of the boarding queue if taking skis, not much vertical space so need to use racks above seats. Seats 11 and 12 in each carriage aren’t sold so can be used for luggage as well. I took a bottle of wine and a picnic, a book and a blow up neck pillow. (Tip – take corkscrew if buying at M&S at St Pancras – no choice of screwtops). After enjoying picnic, and contributing the remaining wine to a nearby group, I settled down to sleep. On the outward journey you get a fleecy blanket and a “comfort kit” containing neck pillow, eyeshade, sudoku, pen, L’Occitane lip balm and moisturiser, polo mints, cleansing wipe an (bizarrely) a pair of Ozwald Boateng socks – bit like Xmas. (Tip: keep the blanket and comfort kit for return journey). I was glad of having 2 pillows, one for neck and one to pad the arm rest. I slept most of the night - the train was quiet, no parties. Tall chaps slept on the floor, I managed to lay out across the seats. Woke up at Moutiers to gently falling snow snowHead .

Arrival at Bourg St Maurice

Arrived at 06:27. It’s a small station but you can get coffee and patisserie at the Relay. I decided to change into ski gear in ladies loo & clean teeth. (It’s very small and only 2 cubicles, no soap or paper towels – Tip take wet wipes to freshen up). I waited in the bus station (adjacent to station) till it was time to go to the funicular.

Funicular and Baggage Store

Tip: there is a navette (shuttle bus) to the funicular. It starts at 07:20 at stand 15 at the bus station. I didn’t know about this, and the Info girl didn’t tell me. I set off to walk (out of station and turn left) pulling ski bag behind me. I followed the sign up the hill, missed the pedestrian route through the apartments (turn left somewhere) and ended up following the road round and through the car park – a fair hike rolling eyes Embarassed !. On arrival at the funicular I could see there is a bridge (like a sky bridge) to the station and it was that I should have been looking for at the top of the hill.

Bought my lift pass at the ticket office 41.50 euros plus carre neige for 3 euro. It was 8:10 and waited till 8:30 for Polaire Star to open, which it did on the dot. I put my boots on and deposited my bag for 3 euros. Polaire Star opens all day Saturday from 08:30 – 18:30. Note: the Les 3 Arcs Pub at the top of the Funicular has a “baggagerie” for 2 euros a piece, opens at 07:30 and closes at 21:00, serves breakfast and is next door to a ski hire shop, so that might be more convenient if there are lots of people wanting to be kitted out, but Polaire Star worked perfectly for me and I was skiing by just after 9:30 - would have been earlier if I hadn’t gone up to 1950). Funicular is very regular and only takes a few minutes, stopping twice on the way up to Arcs 1600.

The Skiing

By now it was snowing very heavily and the vis was almost nil, I decided to take the shuttle to 1950. Very pretty in an Intrawest kind of way, had a pain au chocolat and got first tracks down the groomed main street! rob@rar had recommended at route for a bluebird day but advised to skip the bowl if it was poor weather. I had planned to take Bois de Ours lift but it was closed till 10.30 so popped up Marmotte lift and cruised down the blue back to 1950 as a warm up, then down Cascades to pick up the Comborciere lift (is this the slowest chair in the world?). I skied Belvedere (all of it Shocked ) to Charmettoger. I was pretty much alone up till this point, a bit scary given the conditions but so peaceful and quiet. Charmettoger and Villards lifts were closed, and I didn’t realise that the Transacrc telecabine has a middle station so I took the Vagere instead. I was still wanting gentle blues at this point so took Charmettoger – Plan Bois and picked up Foret. The visibility was much improved due to the trees and the conditions were perfect – practised carving along the way. I am more used to groomed cruisers but was very happy skiing the lovely, icing sugar-like freshies. I liked the way the red runs intersected with Foret so I could easily see what they looked like. I decided to drop onto the last bit of Myrtilles (red) down to Vallandry.

After a quick lunch stop, back up Vallards and took Aigle (red) all the way back down – fantastic Very Happy ! I was the only person on the piste most of the time. Earlier tracks were filling in before my eyes. There was untouched powder and soft bumps all the way down. I was able to pick and choose where to turn and check out my tracks – parallel Very Happy . Back up Vallards again and down Coqs, a blue but quite challenging due to the fresh powder – a lovely run. Up Derby, then took the top part of Bellete (red) to pick up Rhodos and Maitaz back to 1800 – (did I mention the powder and the empty pistes wink ?). The snow started pretty heavily again (it never actually stopped) so decided to make my way back to 1600, so back up Vagere to ski Arpette – Clair Blancs (had to get some speed up to get over a roller, which was interesting as I couldn’t see a thing and was skiing by feel) – Sources and picked up the bottom part of Mont Blanc. By now it was 3:15 and I was flagging so I decided to stop while the going was good.

I loved the skiing and really want to go back to explore all that the area has to offer. The resort was virtually empty, as you’d hope on change over day. The powder was beautiful; it was a real winter wonderland. I think the experience has helped prepare me for Fernie, which I have had some quiet doubts about. I was able to practice some techniques, was very happy with the way my Burnin’ Luvs performed (but I think I would just hire next time), and I overcame my “fair weather” skier attitude.

Apres

I had a chocolat chaud au rhum at Les 3 Arcs and a couple of small beers while watching the last of the skiers coming down the hill, good music too. I took the funicular back down at around 5:15, back to Polaire Star to collect my bag. There was nowhere to change so I just peeled my sallies off in the bag room and put my jeans and trainers on – there’s no light, careful. I wasn’t relishing the stairs at the walkway back to the station, so I asked the Paradiski girls if there was a lift – no, but did I want any help with my ski bag? (long and heavy as it had boots in as well), well I wasn’t going to refuse but these were tiny slips of girls and I didn’t think they’d fare any better than me, at which point one of them pointed out the navette – why isn’t it better publicised? So hopped on the navette for the 2 minute ride back to the station.

I crossed the road and took the road up to Centre Ville to find somewhere for dinner. It was too early so had a coffee at the Coin bar on the Grande Rue and at 7:00 (when dinner service starts) tried unsuccessfully to get in 2 restaurants. Le Refuge was completely full for the 7.00 sitting – reservations recommended, the menu was fabulous; then tried L’Tsablo which also looked good – it was completely empty but the maitre wouldn’t let me take in my ski bag (too long he said), he wanted me to leave it outside on the main street – no thanks, £1000 worth of gear in there near enough Shocked . He didn’t want my 50 euros so went back towards the station (we are talking a couple of hundred yards max for the whole street here) and went to the Restaurant Pizzeria Tartiflette – good call. Not only did they welcome my ski bag, they stored it in their people carrier outside! it was busy, but they managed to fit everyone in one way or another - great atmosphere. Super 3 course dinner with half a bottle of Mondeuse Savoie red wine (thanks to hofmeister for introducing me to that wink ) and coffee for 33 euros then back to the gare for the train.

Homeward Journey

Tip Be ready to check in at 9.00pm and wait near the information desk – there is only one luggage scanner and a very long queue. Once through check in it’s straight onto the train, so again lucky to get skis in before too many people boarded. Again the train pretty empty, although more people got on at Moutiers. I settled down to sleep pretty much straight away after departure, and while I stirred to shift position quite a bit I didn’t really wake up till Ashford.

Would I do it again?

YES, but preferably with a companion or to meet up with someone at Les Arcs.

What would I have done differently?

1. Arrive at St Pancras later
2. Hire skis (but take boots)
3. Use navette to get to Funicular
4. Book a table at Le Refuge
5. Take a corkscrew NehNeh

Happy to answer any specific questions.

If you’ve kept going till the end, thanks for reading – anyone want to do it next year? snowHead snowHead snowHead
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holidayloverxx, fantastic report, sounds like you had areally good time Smile
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holidayloverxx, great report and a great effort.
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holidayloverxx, Wow! That is some day trip! Can I ask what the total cost was? If I get to be a proper recreational skier by next year, I could be tempted especially now we can get a train from home to St Pancras with just one change in Sheffield!
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holidayloverxx, Great report!

Forgive my ignorance but does the eurostar go direct from St Pancrs to Bourg St Maurice, or do you change to another train in Paris?
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Butterfly, £99 for the train. no other travel cost for me as I have a train/tube/bus pass and annual insurance. I spent 100 euros inc lift pass, lunch, dinner, drinks etc. go for it! it is an annual trip

zebedee, yes, this train is direct - but its not sleeper, most trains you have to change in paris


Last edited by You'll need to Register first of course. on Sun 13-01-08 20:29; edited 1 time in total
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holidayloverxx, superb. You are hardcore! Wink
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Charlatanefc, The girl's beyond hardcore . . . about 1500miles by train, she's hardass Twisted Evil
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Masque, no, I was on about that video I found on youtube Wink
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holidayloverxx, What an adventure - you are brave and independant - I'm dead impressed here. snowHead
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holidayloverxx, sorry chuck Wink I shall buy yer a large drink when I next see yer! Did u tell Mr HL that I said you could go the Eosb btw? Laughing
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holidayloverxx, Great report, thank you. I have had a quick look at the Eurostar site and can not get any where near £99. Was this the 'Snowtrain' and how far in advance did you book to get that price. Is it that price only early Jan?

Thanks
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cad99uk, this was a special deal that was only on during the ski show - liz09 alerted me to it when she posted about it. the trip was running for a number of weekends, but I can;t remember now if it was only January but it was always £99. it was on last year as well. It's not the "snowtrain", it's a regular Eurostar.
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Charlatanefc wrote:
holidayloverxx, sorry chuck Wink I shall buy yer a large drink when I next see yer! Did u tell Mr HL that I said you could go the EoSB btw? Laughing


er...not yet, but I did say you were asking if I was going wink
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£99 is that the regular price, I considered doing this a few years ago going from Ashford, but the train fare was about £300 (snow train sleeper).

Have to agree that is hardcore I was going to ski for 8 days not 1.
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holidayloverxx, was that such a good idea given the fact that he has met me? Wink
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Kel, £99 was the special ski show price.
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Oh, it was a deal through lastminute.com - worth checking now?


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Sun 13-01-08 21:58; edited 1 time in total
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holidayloverxx, well done for making such good use of a very snowy day. You obviously have the gift of sleeping on trains but even so, a fantastic effort.
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Amazing, I think you deserve a snowheads medal for effort!
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Very tempting. (And a great TR)
cad99uk, Normally, to go on a Friday, you would have to book when the tickets become available to get that price - there are only a limited number of cheap seats.


Last edited by Then you can post your own questions or snow reports... on Mon 14-01-08 12:12; edited 3 times in total
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holidayloverxx, could you just confirm where and how you booked this. Did you actually have to book it at the ski show, and if so who with? I dont recall seeing a Eurostar stand at any of the ski shows this year.
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holidayloverxx, We were there too Saturday on the last day of our holiday. Conditions were hard, lots and lots of snow just poor visibility Crying or Very sad . If you think Comborciere is the slowest lift in the world then try the one at the bottom of the run back into 1950, think it is called 'pre espirt 1950'. Wow long and slow but for the run down the Comborciere black worth it. We did that on the Friday before the heavy snow Saturday.

Congrats on the day trip, beats shopping on a Saturday Madeye-Smiley
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holidayloverxx, bravo! A triumph Smile I'm just sorry I wasn't out there to ski with you for the day. Thanks for the great trip report.
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holidayloverxx, an excellent trip report.
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Could you have booked this for a week long stay or was it for a weekend return only. I am asking as it may be an option for 2009

You have to be the biggest snow junkie ever to put this much effort into having a days skiing, but I think this would be a good option instead of flying at this price.

No ski carriage supplements
No waiting at airports
No 4 hours Saturday transfer
Kinder to the environment
8 days skiing instead of 6 and 1st and last days are Saturday which are usually very quiet, as everyone else are on those 4 hour coach transfers (that should be top of the list really).

You must have been tempted to throw a sickie for the week when you were standing on the platform at Bourg for the return Razz Razz
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holidayloverxx, great trip report!

We had to leave all that lovely fresh snow behind on Saturday morning - I'm glad you were in the area to take advantage of it snowHead
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holidayloverxx, Cool snowHead
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holidayloverxx, Well done! Great report. We came back last weekend needed some fresh snow by the end of the week, only 5 weeks till I'm back.
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holidayloverxx, Great report snowHead The Bellette/Rhodos combo is a favorite of mine - but going on down to the Grizzli lift rather than going on Maitaz to 1800 Toofy Grin
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Hugh Jarse, I booked it online with Lastminute.com then they phone me to confirm the booking. I didn't go to the ski show. When i saw liz09 post about it here I just googled it.

Kel, it was a weekend return only, out friday back saturday. i do recall that consectuvie weekends were available so you could book 2 weekends for £99 each and only use the thickets you need, I guess

thefatcontroller, I am usually such a fair weather skier my heart sank when I saw the weather forecast, but honestly, I loved it through the trees, not above the tree line though - that was just a necessary evil.

rob@rar, thanks for your advice - couldn't have done it otherwise Very Happy
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geri, Yes, I wanted to get to the grizzly lift but I knew I had to get back over to 16:00 before too long - another time wink
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holidayloverxx, excellent, thanks. Very Happy
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holidayloverxx,

Respect!!!!

So is the train completley full of skiers?
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johnboy, er,...who else would be on an overnight train from London to BSM with no couchettes Puzzled . seriously though I would say yes, everyone I saw looked as if they were there for a week's skiing, apart from one girlie boarder who I saw getting kitted up in the bus station, same as me so may have been on the day trip. Not completely full of skiers - the train was only half full and all of the clientele appeared to be set for winter sports,

I can't tell you how chuffed I feel for having done this. Appreciate the positive vibes guys, especially those who actually know me and have seen me ski (you see, I can do it when I put my mind to it) Very Happy
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Hi holidayloverxx, sounds like you had a fantstic time and thanks for the report, we're off next weekend and much of what you said will save us time and hassle. The tip about the baggagerie and ski hire at the top sounds good, I've got 4 hungry men on my tripand I'm sure they'd like the thought of stopping for a proper breakfast, and pint on the way home!! Smile

I hope we all have as good a time as you seemed to have, although as one poster says perhaps you have the knack of sleeping on a train, I'm writing off sleep for the weekend!!

Cheers
LIz
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holidayloverxx,

Sorry for the dumb question. Does the train run daily or just at the weekend? How many peeps does the train hold?
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johnboy, I think this one is just at the weekend. The train has at least 16 carriages, some fo which are first class so hold fewer peeps, so I guess the capacity is around 1200. You can get the overnight sleeper from Paris any night of the week though.
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holidayloverxx, great report. Much respect. Did you sleep all day Sunday?
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