Paradiski: Cozy

That's me showing off a bit... Well, not really

That's me showing off a bit... Well, not really

Give it a try if… You’re looking for a less gentrified, yet large ski resort in the French Alps.

Steer clear if… You skied in France before and hated it.

Paradiski is a French resort with 425Km of slopes near Bourg Saint Maurice. It includes three main areas located on two different sides: (1) Les Arcs and Peisey-Vallandry, (2) La Plagne. This year, for my second trip there, I had a chance to stay in Belle Plagne, the highest village of La Plagne. I have mixed feelings towards this resort, but I do consider it a worthy option if you are tired of big-box destinations, so… let’s glide down to the details.

They don't call it Paradiski for nothing, see

They don't call it Paradiski for nothing, see

From charming to plain ugly

First of all, if you have a penchant for heavenly landscapes, take a look at tipsology’s Paradiski 2012 photo gallery on Flickr.

Paradiski is a generally easy, not especially glamorous resort which revolves around on-piste skiing. Luckily this also means fewer stoned boarders and more room to fly. The three main areas are quite different. Les Arcs sports newer lifts and seems to cater to the younger crowd. Most things in La Plagne, which is more family-oriented, look and feel desolately old (picture 20-minute rides on decrepit post-war chairlifts under the snow: like, no thanks). Finally, there’s Peisey-Vallandry, quite simply my favourite: I find it both convenient (especially Plan Peisey, situated exactly in the middle of the resort) and charming, with that lovely mountain village look – which both Les Arcs and La Plagne sadly rejected in favour of that horrible 1970s style I call “A Counter-clockwork Orange” – but acceptably modern lifts.

That time in the morning when you can't wait to wear your boots and take flight

That time in the morning when you can't wait to wear your boots and take flight

Do’s and Don’ts

LODGING – If you do choose to stay in Belle Plagne, avoid the Pierre et Vacances Constellations residence. One of the ugliest flat I’ve rented on the French Alps (despite fierce competition by several others).

SKI RENTAL – Book your ski equipment online in advance to get a better deal. I had good experiences with Skiset.com. My skis for this week: Nordica Igniter (excellent!).

SKIPASS – You can either buy a skipass for unlimited skiing in Paradiski, or limit yourself to one of the two sides. In this case, the upgraded Decouverte formula allows you to visit the other side for one day only. The pricing is cleverly devised so you are pushed to buy the unlimited pass, and honestly this is the one I’d advise, since riding the Vanoise Express the link between the two sides is pretty fast.

Life can't be too bad as long as you have a tree to hug

Life can't be too bad as long as you have a tree to hug

SLOPES – Here is the interactive piste map (plan des pistes). My friend and I found blue slopes to be nicer than usual, and red ones to be slightly disappointing. Despite the numerous skiable kilometres, I sometimes couldn’t avoid the infamous “Is this all there is?” feeling, but some exceptional slopes do make up for the general boredom. Again, the Peisey-Vallandry area stands out – it is quite unusual for slopes among the trees to be this entertaining for the skiing itself, not just the scenery. A few slopes not to be missed in Paradiski: Grand Col, Aguille Rouge, Teppes, Belette, Renard, Combe, Emile Allais, Sardane, and my favourites: Les Inversens, Kamikaze, Aigle and Morey.

In tartiflette we trust

In tartiflette we trust

RESTAURANTS – It is not easy to find good restaurants on these slopes, but at least they don’t rob you like in other places (I mean, of course they do – we are in France, after all – but less than in posher resorts like Espace Killy or 3 Vallées). For those of us who can’t do without their tartiflette (a typical Savoyarde dish with potatoes, cheese, onions and bacon – burp!), a good option is Le Chalet du Solliet, along the Aguille Rouge slope (right before the beginning of the Solliet black slope).

INTERNET CONNECTION – I bought a weekly pass from Cyberspot for a 16€ wireless flat fee, but the quality was unacceptable. If you find any other option, go for it.

APRES-SKI – …what? 🙂

sSSHtip (as in, that special insider tip you want to keep to yourself) – Call the restaurant Blanche Murée (+33 – 060 940 56 53 – located in Vallandry, near the Transarc intermediate stop) and reserve a table for the next day’s lunch, without forgetting to specify how many tartiflettes you want to eat. You will have a chance to savour this specialty in a wonderful, unique version I have renamed Paradiflette.

UPS Score (Utmost Perfection Scale): 7.5/10.

tipsology’s Paradiski photo gallery on Flickr.

A post with general advice on the area – Skiing in France: unnerving

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4 responses to “Paradiski: Cozy

  1. David Dempsey

    I agree with all that has been written here ,,I was staying in Aime 2000 but the description of the apartment tallies..The costs in the supermarket were ,,,,astronomical…the chicken should have been gold plated at €22 per kilo
    The skiing was excellent but as the author says …a bit ‘same old’..I enjoyed the runs down to Champigny ,,at least they were in the sun …and the runs through the trees to Montchavin were Ok..Cant comment really on Les Arcs only skied 1day there but managed to get to Le Planay and back and thought the skiing in La Plagne was more varied

    • Hi David, totally agree on Champagny! If you go again, you might want to explore a few areas around the main Les Arcs core, like the beautiful Grand Col which is unfortunately a bit lost after a tiresome flat path… Or Arolles and Cachette going down to Arcs 1600… I guess Les Arcs seems monotonous if you stick to the main slopes, but in my opinion the ones on the fringes are among the best. Having said that, I’d never dare compare this resort to 3 Vallées, which I’ve decided to skip this season simply because I know I’ll enjoy it twice as much next year 😉 See you around!

  2. I’ve skied the 3V a lot and more recently Paradiski a lot. I used to think the 3V was the bees knees. And indeed it is very good. But Paradiski does grow on you and there is lots to explore. The off piste I would say is equal to the 3V.

    • hmmm… you’re surely giving me some food for thought! I’ve been 3 times at 3 Vallées (2 at Meribel Mottaret, once at Meribel centre) and twice at Paradiski (once at Les Arcs 1800, this time at Belle Plagne). I think I’ve explored every corner of both by now, but I’m sure I’ll be back to both (still in Mottaret for 3 Vallées, and definitely at Peisey for Paradiski, since I naively can’t seem to get enough of the slopes in that area!). Thanks for your comment, ciao 🙂