One of the most interesting ski resort developments of recent years and one of very few new ski resorts built this century, Arc 1950 le Village, the fourth base village of the Les Arcs ski resort, turns 20 this season.
Back in 2003, the luxury resort’s avant-garde concept was new to Europe, but had seen a number of resorts in North America transformed into much more appealing destinations. True, there had been a few entirely pedestrian, ski-in-ski-out resorts, most notably Avoriaz, before, but the Arc 1950 Le Village concept was also based on providing the highest quality at affordable prices, with exclusively five star rated residences, all with their own spa access.
The Canadian company Intrawest which rose to prominence in the 1980s and 90s on the back of the global success of its Whistler Blackcomb and Tremblant resorts, was behind Arc 1950. Having taken over a dozen US and Canadian resorts it was expanding its vision globally, also making a smaller investment in Flaine and even running an indoor snowdome in Madrid (which is now operated by the Milton Keynes Snozone!)
The first stone of Arc 1950 was laid in June 2002, with a cosy and natural village planned, facing Mont Blanc. Today the integrated, pedestrian resort has grown to include eight 5* tourist residences with 3,900 beds, a 688 place underground car park and 35 businesses serving guests.
Architectural coherence is a cornerstone of the resort’s construction, blending into the landscape and designing a resort that integrate into the natural environment; adapted to its thermal and auditory characteristics, as well as its flora and fauna, was a key part of the Intrawest model for its resorts, with Arc 1950 coming along as the company had reached the height of its powers.
The design was mainly directed by Eldon Beck, one of North America’s best architects and designers, creating resorts that prioritised client experience with ease of passage, accessibility, freedom, fluidity and relaxation built into the resort design.
His plans left nothing to chance: the placing of the businesses, the practicability of the pedestrian streets and the ski-in-ski-out access from the residences. Plans of Arc 1950 were based on principles of integration into the environment, prioritising spots that got the most sunshine to limit energy consumption and offer views of the surrounding peaks, while also respecting for the forest.
The result is construction on a human scale, and chalet-style design, with exterior stone walls, tinted or coloured wood cladding and slate roofs to respect traditional architecture.
Arc 1950 Le Village is part of Les Arcs, which is itself part of the vast Paradiski region linked by the Vanoise Express double-decker cable car to La Plagne, to create one of the world’s three largest ski regions, Paradiski, which also celebrates its 20th season this winter.
To celebrate its 20th birthday, Arc 1950 has a programme of festivities, entertainment and events throughout the year, winter and summer.
The magic of Christmas will be celebrated from 23 to 30 December 2023 followed by a week of New Year celebrations with live concerts, DJ and pyrotechnic displays to bring Arc 1950 into its birthday year dancing and singing, on 31 December! Then throughout the season there’ll be free concerts, M Radio live sets and XXL ski shows on the snow with the Association des Barrebus and the Village instructors.