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The Vanoise Express isn’t just a ski lift – it’s a feat of engineering. This huge, double-deck cable car was once the world’s biggest and links La Plagne with Les Arcs, effectively doubling the ski area to make the linked Paradiski domain. The lift opened in 2003 and has closed only once – for the entire 2008/09 season due to safety concerns which couldn’t be repaired until the spring. It has an operating length of 1.8km and travels at 380m above the valley floor – all without any supporting pylons between the main stations either side of the valley. At a maximum, the cabins can carry 200 persons on two floors. The top area is best for sight-seeing while the lower cabin has a glass viewing area cut into the floor showing the valley floor below. In busier times of the season, these huge cabins pass relentlessly through the day, shuttling skiers and snowboarders between the two respective areas. If you’re staying in La Plagne and you’re past total beginner stage, you really owe it to yourself to spend at least one day in Les Arcs to experience the full Paradiski domain – the 4th largest ski area in the world.
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