Les Arcs – Paradiski (1200m – 3226m) - Stazione Bosco (Ski Magazine, HS 13)
Villaroger, Arc 1600 and Peisey-Vallandry are the three main areas for forest skiing in Les Arcs. Thibault Duchosal describes the attractions of each one.
This is without a doubt the best spot within the ski area as it boasts the steepest gradients, with the greatest altitude difference, and there really is something for everyone. There are an infinite number of lines and it is possible to go just about anywhere. By sticking to lines with visibility there is little risk of ending up on rock bars. Skiing is mainly through firs, with a few larches. There are some clear areas, where it is possible to pick up speed, and other areas which tend to get clogged up over the years with shrubs and bushes. The locals know the best places so you will need to find a way to coax these secret corners out of them in the bar in the evening. As this sector of Villaroger is a little out of the way, there are rarely many people here. It is quite possible to ski for a whole day, without doing the same descent twice and always on untouched snow, and even two or three days if there are fresh snow falls and not many people.”
Here, forest skiing is mainly in the forest of Mont Blanc, under the chairlift of the same name. It is the ideal sector for intermediate skiers or beginners who want to discover the sensation of skiing among the trees. The slight drawback is that this forest is quite flat, with some long sections with no slope. If you prefer more of a gradient, you can go up to the area around Les Deux Têtes, where there are much steeper slopes to be found on the summit. Here, as in the Villaroger sector, there are quite a few stones and stumps, so there needs to be a good fifty centimetres of well-packed snow, otherwise the skis can get scraped.
This area is the opposite of Arc 1600 in that the higher part is less steep with the slope becoming more accentuated further down. The lower sections are also less open, so it can become a bit of a free-for-all. But as in Villaroger or Arc 1600, the skiing is fun, with quite a few stumps or bits of wood left behind which, when covered with snow make for some good obstacles to jump.
Ski area: 4390 hectares in total, of which 515 are marked pistes, 2065 off-piste, 520 rock bars/talus and 1300 hectares of forest.
Type of trees: larch and fir. There are also a lot of Swiss pines (also called Arollas) all across Arc 1950 and Arc 2000.
Note: there is a protected area (the Hauts de Villaroger natural reserve) in which skiing is prohibited, except for two corridors accessed from the Grand Col and the summit of the Aiguille Rouge, where you can ski as long as you are accompanied by a professional. Otherwise, it is possible to obtain an authorisation permit issued by the forest rangers, following a 2-hour training course led by the rangers themselves indoors. Registration required. €7 per person. For further information or to register contact François-Xavier Girardo - Tel. 04 79 07 69 61. If you breach this regulation, not only will you be left somewhat shamefaced, you may also receive a €135 fine.