You’d better start paddling hard because for the start of this story we’ve got to get all the way to the U.S! It was in 1842 that John Charles Frémont, an American officer and explorer, decided to set off on an expedition down the Platte River (a tributary of the Missouri) with a chum called Day Horace. The two friends set to work building one of the first rafts made of rubber. It turned out to be an excellent idea that gave them a real edge going down the river.
It was a slow start, however, and it took almost a century for news of these little vessels to spread over America and for their debut as leisure boats. At last in 1970 we got the first go down the Grand Canyon in a raft!
Rafting in France:
10 years later, rafting arrives in France and it didn’t waste any time getting over the jet-lag! With so many white-water nuts about here, it quickly spread to the hottest spots in the country. The Isère River was pivotal in the early development and honing of rafting as a sport.
Jump to 1984, Arc Aventures in born! After bringing a boat over from the States, the team worked to introduce rafting to the public who became immediately infatuated. Thus it was here that the first groups of rafters got a taste for the sport and the sudden high demand wasn’t a problem as the Isère River is the only river in France that provides a steady flow and good water levels all through the summer months.
It was official, rafting was here to stay!
Les Arcs and Bourg St Maurice, the epicenter.
When you think about it, it's no surprise that rafting took off so fast in Bourg St Maurice as its unique location in the valley with a river that is practically made-for white water activities combine perfectly with the reputation of the Les Arcs, Bourg St Maurice area as the place for outdoor summer sports.
The summer rafting season brings people to Bourg St Maurice from all over and has also been great for tourism up in Les Arcs (the mountain resort directly above Bourg). Arc Aventures has always been at the heart of the action; organising many events like the Grand Prix de France de Raft, the Descente Infernale and the Raft des Entreprises Open. They are still remembered as great successes that had an explosive energy, mixing amateurs with professionals and the public with VIPs and celebrities!
Rafting for the environment (not just for fun!)
Our wonderful natural playground is very important to us and sometimes it needs a little maintenance to be at its best in this ever changing climate. Arc Aventures is always ready to lend a hand with the initiatives working to preserve the local flora and fauna. We think it’s important to share this information with the public to raise awareness about the current issues.
For many years, we have offered our boats, guides and equipment for the use of certain local teams (the S.I.S.A.R.C & A.P.T.V) so that they can monitor and maintain the riverbanks of the Isère and the surrounding areas. The team has also been assisting a botanist from Ameten in an investigation of the current environmental situation.
Closer to home (on the very stretch of river we use for rafting), we work together with local fishing societies, the EDF and the tourism offices to keep the fish that live in the Isère happy and healthy. The goal is to respect the natural reproduction cycles of the fish and keep the quieter nooks of the river clear for trout to shelter in, away from the hustle and bustle. It only takes a small daily effort from each of us to keep the local wildlife ticking over nicely.
It goes without saying that Les Arcs and Bourg St Maurice are the hubs for outdoor sports and summer leisure activities. There is something for everyone! Not only is it one of the best spots in France for rafting, there is also Hydro-speed swimming, canyoning and kayak-rafting! Whatever happens you'll never have a dull moment on the Isère.
Coming to us for a holiday puts you at the heart of the action. We love to push the limits, be adventurous, scream, laugh, live!
Don't worry if you've never been, all our activities are adapted for different ages and levels so that everyone can have an amazing time.
Want to come and have a go? We'll be waiting!
1: The full- white water experience in Bourg Saint Maurice
Calling all young adventurers! We’ve got an extreme ride in store for you on the Isere River that twists and turns through our valley, get ready for big waves and prepare to get drenched!
Come with family, with friends or as a couple; you choose who you want in the boat but you should all be ready to give it everything you’ve got. In rafting, everyone has to pull their weight or risk ending up in the the river. You’ll have to paddle hard, follow your guide’s instructions to the letter and work as a team through the rushing waters. The rapids on the Isere can be quite a challenge but it’s worth it to see some of this region’s most beautiful nature spots.
From the river you can see a whole new side of the valley and discover some lovely hidden gems that are inaccessible by land.
When you’ve conquered the river it’s off to the Base Camp Lodge just along from the Arc Aventures white water base (www.hotel-basecamplodge.
The Base Camp Lodge is the newest landmark in Bourg Saint Maurice. It is has an authentic, timeless atmosphere (much like our mountains!) and is perfect for relaxing. With its bar, restaurant, and many planned events you’ll want for nothing.
The hotel has a wide range of rooms to choose from, each with its own unique character and exceptional views of the mountains. If you are more suited to community life you can always opt for the dormitory accommodation for a much livel
The next morning, you might be feeling a bit achy! It’s completely normal so take your time over a hearty breakfast to regain your strength and then we’re off for another day of excitement.
For the second day of adventure we will be taking the white water activities up a level with Hydrospeed swimming and canyoning.
Hydrospeed swimming means leaving the safety of the rafts and facing the full force of the river head on. Don’t worry though we don’t just toss you in and hope for the best! You’ll be kitted out with an inflatable body board to protect your torso and fins to help you navigate the obstacles. You will be in the heart of the action with our trusty guides to show you the safest path along the river and with a little practice you’ll be playing in the whirlpools and counter currents in no time.
After a packed lunch in the picnic area, it’ll be on to the canyoning site a bit further down the valley.
Equipped with your neoprene wetsuit, harness, carabiners and helmet, you’re ready to go on an even bigger adventure; following the path of the rivers that have carved their way right through the rock of the mountains.
Canyoning is a very diverse sport full of adrenaline and lots of different challenges. You may start off wading through an innocent looking stream but when you come to the 10 metre waterfall a little further down you’ve got to decide:“Am I jumping it or abseiling down?” A bit later you might come to a natural slide carved into the rock and you’ll need to decide if you’re taking the plunge or would rather the guide lowered you down by your harness. These moments are full of adrenaline and emotion but doing them as a team is a great experience. The scarier bits are broken up by plenty of calm moments; walking along the riverbed and swimming in the deeper pools not to mention gazing up at the gorgeous views all around you.
-> Here we are already at the end of our 2 day programme. As you can see, it’s an action packed time we’ve got in store for you. Extreme sports in the heart of the beautiful mountain valley: with thrills, serene moments of reflection and a jolly time for your group.
Don't wait any longer to book your visit to our river.
We offer the special package of these three activities at the special price of € 169 per person *
(* 1 X Full Raft Isère, 1 X Hydrospeed Swimming Discovery Isère, 1 X Canyon Discovery // Price does not include transport, accommodation or catering // Offer subject to conditions)
2: Multi-activity pack in Bourg St Maurice and Les Arcs
For this second package, you will be taken on a journey full of discovery, which will allow you to try several types of mountain activities between the town of Bourg Saint Maurice and Les Arcs. You’re in for a great time that will not fail to amaze you with the beauty of our landscapes and you’ll make many wonderful memories.
White water Rafting and Hydro speed swimming
Nothing beats rafting to start off the day!
“PADDLE HARDER! … TO THE LEFT! … NO, THE OTHER LEFT! I MEANT AWAY FROM THE BOULDER”
Rafting is the best way to see all the features of the Isère River. The rapids, t
We’re not done with the river yet though: Plouf! We dive back into the Isère for some Hydrospeed Swimming. Hang on tight to your body board and swim as hard as you can with the current to avoid obstacles and get to the calmer waters where you can let yourself float along without a care.
After your day in the river, we suggest a jump from 800m up to 1800m for the next step.
Have a wonderful dinner and spend the night in Arc 1800 courtesy of Julie at the l'Aiguille Grive
At Julie’s you’ll be well fed and can relax and recharge your batteries in the cosy, comfortable surroundings. The hotel has many services to over, including concierges, room service and handy luggage storage. Guests can also enjoy the sauna and breakfast.
Mont-Blanc Treetop Adventure Course
Day two and it’s time to take to the treetops! The adventure course is handily located in Arc 1800, only a short walk from the Aiguille Grive hotel and offers a fun challenging time for all. You can work your way up the many different levels of the course by striding along rope bridges, crossing monkey swings, wobbling over balancing beams, whizzing along zip wires and much more!
Don’t worry, we won’t let you fall! You’ll be fully kitted out with the necessary safety equipment and given a detailed briefing and demonstration that will allow you go through the course safely, overcoming all the obstacles.
Lunch at the Chalet Grillette(https://
It's midday, and you’ll be getting a little peckish but we’ve got you covered!
A short cable car ride and quick walk will take you to the Chalet Grillette. It’s a family friendly restaurant offering simple, tasty, local food that you can enjoy out on the terrace with a great view of the Mont-blanc golf course and the surrounding mountain peaks.
To finish off with a bang, Arc Aventures will take you even higher with a tandem paragliding flight that mixes anadrenaline filled take off with the serenity of gliding weightlessly over the valley.
Experience for a moment what it’s like to be a bird drifting on the winds over beautiful countryside. The feeling of freedom and the rush as you’re lifted gently on the thermal air currents. Take in the majestic mountain ranges stretching away as far as the eye can see and the snow-capped peaks all around you (including, of course, the Mont-Blanc!)
We offer the special package of these four activities at the special price of € 240 per person *
(* 1 Integral Raft Isère, 1 Hydrospeed Swimming Discovery Isère, 1 Treetop Adventure Course, 1 Tandem Paragliding Discovery Flight // Price does not include transport, accommodation or catering // Offer subject to conditions)
Don’t hesitate to email or call us with any questions or to book.
See you soon!
For the gliders:
Let’s start with the classics, good old ski and snowboard lessons. For children or adults, beginners or experts, in a group or solo with an instructor, by the week or by the hour; everything is possible.
How about some cross-country skiing? Get back to nature on 70km of country slopes and discover the peace and tranquillity of the Pont Baudin area.
Want adrenalin and thrills? Why not try off-piste skiing? For several years, we have worked towards the democratisation of these sports so they can remain respectful to the wildlife and to the mountain itself. The feeling when you arrive at a summit is unique and each descent is like a well-earned reward for your hard work. For another extraordinary experience, try heli-skiing. Remember: nature is your playground!
If you love snow-covered peaks and long walks in the heart of the mountain to find amazing wildlife and some much-needed tranquillity, snowshoeing will be perfect for you.
Doing sport in the mountains can very beneficial for the body. For one thing, the physical activity allows your body to release lots of endorphins: the hormone of happiness and relaxation. As many of the sports require you to focus on balance, the core muscles get a great workout. Add to that the vitamin D from all the sun and the red blood cells produced just by being at high altitudes and you’ve got a veritable youth serum!
Feel free to visit our winter activities pages for more information: https://www.arc-aventures.com/hiver
Enter the world of Balto and become a dog-sled driver yourself! In a magical setting, you will see what it’s like to be in perfect unison with your pack. It’s wonderfully surreal experience from another time.
After 5pm, the slopes are closed and the evening activities can start:
Night skiing: the Mille8 sector over Arc 1800 stays lit after sunset so that the skiing and snowboarding can continue into the night.
When you’re in the mood for a twilight adventure, nothing beats the view of the sunset during a snowshoe hike rounded off with an evening aperitif.
Night ski touring is a great activity to try as it promises a sensation of absolute silence and a chance to explore the senses other than sight. Arc Aventures offers initiations for ski touring every Tuesday evening that includes a guide and the equipment hire.
Bonus: Choose a night with a full moon to get the most out of the experience.
For something even more exhilarating, take off with an instructor and paraglide over the resort. With the spectacular views across the valley and the feeling of weightlessness, you’ll think you’re dreaming!
Don’t forget our seminars: in addition to the ones mentioned above, we have extra activities in store for the seminars. Biathlons, team-building exercises, Yoonering, sledging, tree climbing, outdoor game retreats and dinner in our yurts are some of the original experiences we offer to create and strengthen ties between your teams. Share some unforgettable moments away from the everyday grind.
To consult the Groups and Seminars catalogue, click here: https://www.arc-aventures.com/seminaires
In 1980, Arc 2000 had to find its place among the other ski resorts that were already filling with international superstars and create its own identity. Alain Gaimard, a mountain guide, having just been named Technical Director, had a dream to expand and develop the youngest of the Les Arcs villages. Being one of the largest resorts, it had huge potential for winter sports just waiting to be explored. In this new resort full of possibilities, Alain began testing…he tried monoskiing for two winters (hardly known in France at the time) and brought boards back from America. The Aiguille Rouge became the test lab and playground for snow sports enthusiasts.
When the experiments were over, he began getting his friends together for a new project, the likes of which had never been imagined in the Alps: a ski film. The film was ‘Ski Espace’; filmed in 1982 with a few talented young instructors from the resort: Régis Rolland, James Blanc, Jean-Yves Perry, Pierrot Beguin, Lino Ortuno, Jean-Michel Zucchi and Claudie Blanc. It was an instant hit and took the ski-world by storm. The instructors were completely at ease on monoskis as well as snowboards, an unheard-of concept. The only ones who came close were Alain Revel and Philippe Lecadre who monoskied at the Grands Montets in Chamonix and were described as being more like professional dancers than athletes. Both joined the team in Arc 2000 and the group was completed with the additions of Alain Didierjean and William Arnaud. Finally they could to begin filming the Apocalyse Snow saga. These were three short films shot between 1983 and 1985 that followed the story of Régis Rolland ‘the snowboard genius’ and his rider girlfriend as they race around the world hotly pursued by an evil band of monoskiers intent on stealing ‘the secret of the glide’. The film was effortlessly brilliant without taking itself too seriously, a revelation for the whole industry. It featured breath-taking scenery, staggering technical ability, crazy stunts, fearless heroes, evil villains, catastrophic summersaults, helicopters, avalanches, thrills, chills and loads of fun…a legend was born.
Last in the line was the very beautiful Canon Surf with Régis Rolland and Jean Nerva which rounded of the filming adventure in 1986.
Running the show behind the scenes of these films were Patrice Aubertel, Patrice Lafond, Laurent Chevallier who are also renowned for their exploits on the slopes of Les Arcs, Haute-Tarentaise, North America and Japan.
The films were shown throughout France and have been seen by every ski-fanatic. The films’ went way beyond the promotion of Arc 2000 and became a catalyst for innovation in skiing and snowboarding. The new movement had begun. Towards the end of the 80’s more than 20,000 snowboard and monoski enthusiasts were invading the resorts and the industry quickly jumped on the trend. Techniques were honed, methods were developed by the ESF and competitions sought a federal framework to follow, a whole new market had been created. Skiers were now far from being the only kings of the slopes.
Let's just say it, Arc 2000 and Apocalypse Team were at the heart of the monoski and snowboard movement with their films that enchanted the public and professionals alike. Their influence can still be felt here in France and around the world.
By Alain Gaimard
Mountain guide, Arc 2000’s first technical director in 1980 and co-creator of the film trilogy: Ski Espace, Apocalypse Snow and Canon Surf.
During the shooting of the five films that went on for five years, the Apocalypse team learned a lot. We grew together. The experience we gained from 1983 to 1987, from Ski Espace to Canon Surf with the three Apocalypse Snow films in the middle, changed everyone’s outlook. I was no exception. It was the constant discovery that motivated the team and enriched the experiences of the individuals. We progressed in our techniques while filming scenes that were often very difficult and sometimes even dangerous. The dedication of the group is what allowed us to succeed in filming the more challenging parts. We were also exploring the world of cinema which was completely foreign to us. We played around with different monoski and snowboard techniques to make original films. We created as a team, always pushing ourselves to keep innovating. We experimented with different ways of filming to best show off the technical side of the sports and came up with new techniques to create more interesting scenes. We wanted to show another side of skiing. Through the hard times of filming and the excitement and passion of creating something new, we were joined together by a fierce friendship. It was a wonderful time.
Apocalypse Snow, Ed. EPA Sports – 1986
From the Apocalypse Snow team
Les Arcs is getting ready for an extra special winter this year as we are celebrating its 50th anniversary! Now is the perfect time to discover (or rediscover) this magical place. It has 425km of slopes of all levels, four villages, optimal snowfall due to the slopes at over 2000m alt. and a tourist population that grows each year (+1.1% between the winter of 2016/2017 and 2017/2018). Les Arcs is the place to be!
The very first hotel opened in Arc 1600 in 1968 and the resort has been expanding and developing ever since. This year, to celebrate the 50 year mark, Les Arcs is offering a free day lift pass for all those with birthdays during the season: between the 15th December 2018 and the 27th April 2019.
Come and see what Les Arcs has in store for you.
New this winter
Firstly, the Comborcière chair lift has been replaced. With the new faster and more comfortable lift you will be at the summit before you know it. At the top you can take a moment to admire the view of the Mont Blanc at the new ultra modern picnic zone with its photo spot, Wi-Fi connection and charging points.
The Arc 1600 area has grown this year with the addition of a new red slope. The Aiguille Rouge, the highest point in Les Arcs, boasts a 35-metre footbridge that allows skiers and pedestrians to admire the entire valley from a vantage point of over 3200m.
We have upped our accommodation game with the new Club Med in Arc 1600 and that’s not all, as the Ridge and Edenarc chalets will be added soon.
Finally, from December 2019, our beloved funicular will be getting a major remodel. The cars will be more modern and the windows much larger and more open to give you the best view of the valley during each 7-minute journey.
As every year, the European Film Festival is timed perfectly to coincide with the first week of the season. This cultural event runs until the 22nd December and is honoured by some big names from the French cinema scene such as Romain Duris, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Charlotte Le Bon and many more. For all information and the schedule: https://lesarcs-filmfest.com/fr
Cultural, sporting and culinary events, this is Les Arcs at its best.
26th December: 50 years of Les Arcs opening night
10th January: La Pierre Blanche night ski race
25th to 27th January: The Big Up and Down, one of the highlights of the season. Follow this link for more information: https://www.lesarcs.com/big-up-down.html
16th February to 11th March: 50 years of Les Arcs Ski Show
22nd March: Star Trail
30th March to 27th April: The Springtime of Skiing
The season is off to a great start, the snow is laying thick and fast and the locals are ready to welcome you. For more information about the current winter season, our events and to get your lift pass, go to https://www.lesarcs.com!
To book your ski lessons, click here : https://www.arc-aventures.com/hiver