News from the snow
Peisey - Vallandry France
Peisey-Vallandry (sometimes called Peisey Nancroix) is made up of five main villages of which three are currently lift served. The two purpose-built but attractive villages of Plan Peisey and Vallandry and the key mountain stations at 1600m where the Vanoise Express arrives on the 'Les Arcs side' of the new Paradiski area. Below them the traditional village of Peisey Nancroix at 1100m is linked by a gondola (it was also originally just Peisey, the original village of Nancroix is a few kilometres down the road and linked by a bus only so don't get confused!). The fifth village, Landry, is away down the foot of the valley and not lift linked to anywhere. On the other hand it is well placed based if you have a car to quickly reach both Paradiski and the Espace Killy of Val d'Isere - all on the Olympic Ski ticket. Located at the heart of the 1992 Savoie Olympic Region, and at the entrance of the Vanoise National Park. Skiing began above this group of small villages 20 years before its internationally better known neighbour, Les Arcs, was constructed. The lifts of each now inter-link and in the coming season fame and fortune should be secured as it is here that the incredible Vanoise Express, the Les Arcs - La Plagne link, actually lands. The Vanoise express lift carries up to 200 people in its double decker cabins, takes 4 minutes to reach La Plagne and travels up to 380 vertical metres above the valley floor. Peisey-Vallandry's skiing has a reputation of having the most sheltered and sunniest slopes on the Les Arcs circuit so it's a good idea to stay local when the weather closes in.
Located at the heart of the 1992 Savoie Olympic Region, and at the entrance of the Vanoise National Park. Skiing began above this group of three small resorts 20 years before its internationally better known neighbour, Les Arcs, was constructed. The lifts of each now inter-link and more recently Peisey finds itself on the Les Arcs side of the spectacular Vonise Express cable car link to La Plagne and thus at the heart of the combined giant Paradiski area.
Experts may have to go a little further to keep them happy but the legendary 7km (4.5) mile long black from the top of the Aiguille Rouge down to Villaroger is worth the effort, one of the world's longest blacks it covers the world's biggest vertical for a run of this grading, a full 2000 metres. There are plenty of other challenges including mogul runs like the Dou d'Homme.
Despite the homely nature of Peisey-Vallandry, the off piste and high mountain skiing opportunities are vast when you consider the full range of options at Les Arcs and la Plagne, plus ease of access to other famous ski areas nearby. The Bureau des Guides is the place to go for advice and a range of tours, plus heliskiing over the border in Italy (heliskiing is illegal in France). One route you might like to try, given the lack of a marked piste to accompany the new lift between La Plagne and Les Arcs is the increasingly frequented off-piste route between the two giant areas, a great excursion returning via the Nancroix forest.
The ESF take children in ski school kindergarten from age four.
L'Ancolie has superb family cuisine including such delicacies as wild-boar pate. Another stop there must be Chez Felix which specialises in crêpes and ice creams as well as being a full service restaurant. La Ferme in old Plan-Peisey serves up local specialities by an open fire. Or if you just want a quick snack any time, Le Marlu at the base of the Vallandry chair is open 9am to Midnight and offers a takeaway service.
The area is very 'boarder friendly with a combination of value accommodation, great terrain for all styles and abilities and as many chairs and gondolas as surface lifts (rare for a French resort). The terrain park Appacalypse above Arc 1600, which is also open to skiers, has a wide variety of features including diverse humps and mounds which making it an attractive and interesting site where everyone can find something to suit their taste and level. There are also tables, hips, a funbox, a pyramid, big and small gaps.