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GOING DIY - James Cove, Les Arcs
Saturday December 15, 2018 - Email this article to a friend

Pre-Xmas PlanetSKI has been on a last minute short break self-catering ski trip to the French Alps. So, what was it like?

There has been a sharp rise in people going independently to their ski resort.

There has also been a sharp rise in short breaks - 3 or 4 days instead of a week.

And there has been a sharp rise in people booking a last-minute holiday.

We're off to Les Arcs for 3- days to test out all three and weigh up the pros and cons.

We're staying in a self-catered apartment with Pierre et Vacances, hiring skis on line with Intersport, buying food in the local supermarket and using the Huski meal and drinks delivery service.

The trip was only booked a few days ago once we saw all the snow falling and the forecast of more to come.

An Easyjet flight to Lyon came in at £101.47 and car hire was £81.

The apartment itself was sharply reduced as a last minute deal and Intersport is offering all sorts of discounts on ski hire.

PlanetSKI goes DIY:


It started with a flight out of Gatwick at midday.

Not a silly o'clock chartered airline departure.

As we flew into Lyon I glanced out the window and could only smile.

I was supposed to be doing some Xmas shopping today, getting a new rear tyre for the car and starting my tax return.

Ho, hum.

Ariel arrival in the AlpsAeriel arrival in the Alps















Lyon airport has undergone a multi-million Euro re-fit and is up there as one of the best gateways to the French Alps in my opinion.

It was smooth and hassle-free.

Lyon airport: state of the artLyon airport: state of the art















Similar flights to Geneva were £133.30 and car hire £160.

I had saved £110 flying in and out of Lyon.

The drive from Lyon to Les Arcs took a 2 and half hours - less than the journey from Geneva.

Step over Geneva.

I‘m likely going to be using Lyon as my gateway to this part of the Alps this season if my experiences today are anything to go by.

I arrived in Les Arcs as darkness fell and this was what greeted me on the path to my Pierre et Vacances residence:

Les Arcs, FranceLes Arcs, France














And then my home for the next few nights - and it's SNOWING!:

Les Alpages de Chantel, Les Arcs, FranceLes Alpages de Chantel, Les Arcs, France















And in the fridge in my apartment Huski had delivered:

Huski suppliesHuski supplies














And all brought by one of their friendly and efficient drivers, Liam Maud.

Huski serviceHuski service














See here for further details about Huski in an earlier PlanetSKI story:

Pierre and Vacances had laid on the essentials in the apartment:

The essentials, thanks P&VThe essentials, thanks P&V















And as I popped into the main village 5-minutes away for a 'well-deserved' beer:

There is forecast to be two days of heavy snow and then a bluebird day.

This could be rather a good few days... Xmas shopping, tyres and tax returns can wait.

Last minute, self-catered, DIY?

Looking. Good. So. Far.


And so, first things first.

Picking up some hire skis from the local Intersport shop.

Why Intersport?

Because they not only allow you to chop and change your skis as many times as you want if you take out a gold package, they actively encourage it.

And I'm a bit particular about my skis:

See lower down this article for a review of the skies I tried out.

And with that we were off.

I say ‘we' because a friend of mine had seen I was in resort on social media and joined me for a blast around the slopes.

Step forward Chris Moran.

The Chris Moran.

He was even recognised by a customer in the Intersport shop.

Yours truly and THE Chris MoranYours truly and THE Chris Moran
















The snowboarders among you may know him.

He was a pro snowboarder back in the day and set up Whitelines magazine back in 1995.

He was on the front cover of its first edition.

In fact he did three full seasons in Les Arcs as a pro rider, so he was perhaps the ideal person to show me around.

Especially as it was pretty foggy for much of the day, but on a last minute trip like this the key thing is just to take everything as it is.

Whiteout in Les ArcsWhiteout in Les Arcs















No matter about limited visibility as we just whacked round the slopes.

London, Xmas and pretty much everything else seemed a long way away.

It had been a fab call to get away from it all.

We passed the new Club Med that opens this winter.

Club Med, Les ArcsClub Med, Les Arcs














Club Med, Les ArcsClub Med, Les Arcs














We even managed to find a spot where Les Arcs looked attractive.

Les Arcs, FranceLes Arcs, France














So, what about the snow conditions at the moment?

And a final question - what were the Atomic Vantage skis like?

I loved them.

I can only describe them a 'twitchy'.

Put them slight on the edge and exert a bit of pressure and off they went.

They were stable on the groomers and, though much more of an on piste ski, they performed well off piste.

Especially when the snow was pretty heavy.

Would I recommend them?

An unreserved 'YES'

Lovin' the new Atomic VantagesLovin' the new Atomic Vantages















Next up I'll be looking at the self-catering experience to see how it shapes up against the hotel/chalet experience and tasting the food provided by Huski...

And doing some skiing in other parts of the mighty Les Alps ski area.

Then some more.

Do check back later.


More skiing and this time a blue bird powder day as the weather lifted.

There was only one place to head to - the Aiguille Rouge above Arc1950.

Into the powder:

Les Arcs, FranceLes Arcs, France














Les Arcs, FranceLes Arcs, France














Les Arcs, FranceLes Arcs, France
















And the views from the top of the Aiguille Rouge are rather spectacular:

And what did I make of the different skis from Intersport I had been trying out over the past few days?

Do check back later as I reveal what the Huski pre-cooked food was like.

And staying with Pierre et Vacances.

Lets just say French apartments have changed a bit in recent years:

The norm at Pierre et VacancesThe norm at Pierre et Vacances


















Breakfast can be ordered tooBreakfast can be ordered too
















And now perhaps the second most important part of a ski holiday - the food.

As mentioned I am trying a new service - new for me anyway.

Huski - a UK company that has a warehouse in Bourg St Maurice where it stores, cooks and supplies pre-cooked meals.

That's the co-founder, Paddy Griffith with a giant freezer behind him.
















Some of the meals are brought from suppliers in the UK, others made on site.

See here for a full PlanetSKI feature on the company.

You can either collect the meals or they can be delivered straight to your chalet or apartment

I went for the latter option and this is what greeted me as I arrived in my P&V apartment in Arcs 1800:

Stocked fridge from HuskiStocked fridge from Huski















Duck and Hoisin Puffs - €13
Little Feta and Beetroot Wellingtons - €13
Creamy Mash, serves 2 - €5
Individual Lemon Tarts, serves 2 - €7
Sticky Toffee Pudding, serves 2 - €6
Boeuf Bourguinon, serves 2 - €16
Lasagna Al Forno, serves 2 - €14
Garlic Ciabatta - €5
Peas and Leeks, serves 2 - €5


Medoc Chateau Patache d'Aux - €19.50
Marachal Apremont Blanc - €9.50

The prices compare very favourably to buying, the taste was exceptional and all without the effort and fuss of shopping and cooking.

More time for skiing and après skiing.

The beef bourguinon with creamy mash + peas and leaks was delicious.

I can also recommend the lasagna.

Beef bourguigonHuski's Beef bourguigon
















Huski's LasagneHuski's Lasagne
















This winter Huski is offering delivery to all the resorts in France and is planning on 10,000 meals to the 250 or so French resorts.

If it takes your fancy then check out the Huski web site.

The local kitchen is under construction with some ingredients standing by.

Fresh ingredients.

Huski Huski














Huski depot, Bourg St MauriceHuski depot, Bourg St Maurice














I will certainly be using them again.

Extremely tasty food at a very good price - without the hassle.

What's not to like?


What an amazing few days... the snow, the sponteniety and the skiing.

It was all much easier to organise than I thought and came in at a good price.

There was though one significant downside:

A short trip isn't long enough... but then it is better than nothing and it knocks the socks off Xmas shopping.Wink

Happy Xmas one and all...

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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