Developed at the start of the 1960s, the ski resort Orcières 1850 emerged in the skiing region which shared the same name, like many other french winter ski resorts of this generation. Orcières 1850, however, can proudly refer to itself as a pioneer in regards to numerous tourist innovations. Orcières was the first french ski resort to establish a ski-nursery in 1967 and in 1970 it extended its child care services for children with its so-called „Cartable à la Neige“ programme. At the same time, primary school children were offered replacement lessons, as it were, so that french families could also go on holiday at cheaper periods during term times.
Orcières 1850 remained loyal to its pioneering role not only with its wide range of child care facilities but also in regards to its technical equipment. In 2003 France’s first hybrid lift was opened in the ski resort, which transported winter sports enthusiasts to the slopes with both gondola and chairlifts.
In 2009 Orcieres 1850 recently carried out pioneering work and installed the largest „Tyrolean“ zip wire in Europe, which has since then completed the diverse range of leisure facilities in the family-friendly ski resort.
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Those who want to brave the adventurous „flight“ over the ravine between the Drouvet summit (2655m) and Lac Long, can reach the start of the XXL zip wire with the hybrid lifts Drouvet 1 and 2. There participants are attached to the 1870m long steel wire with a special harness and are thoroughly secured in several ways. Participants are then fired like a human rocket head first in a horizontal position at an average speed of 130kph to the end station. The entire glissade with a maximum height of 150 meters lasts about 1.5 minutes. Children aged 8 and above can participate.
Even holiday guests who aren’t interested in the slightest in classical winter sports won’t be bored in Orcieres 1850. The reason: The range of leisure facilities in the small ski resort leaves nothing to be desired. The 10,000m² alone includes the leisure and spa centre „La Grande Ourse“, which has a large 1600m² ice rink, a bowling centre with 6 lanes and billiard tables, a cinema plus modern bathing and wellness oasis. Several themed pools are located here, plus a waterslide, bathhouse, sauna, jacuzzi and a spa for massages and beauty treatments. Holiday guests can also enjoy a fantastic panoramic view of the snnow-covered mountain summits whilst bathing and relaxing thanks to the glass facade.
The range of facilities outside of the „Grande Ourse“ leisure centre is just as large. Ski tourists have the chance to go on a dogsled tour or on a snowshoe hike. Guests can dash across the snow on a snowmobile, snowbike, quadbike or on „yooner“ skates. They can be pulled across the slopes by a horse whilst „skijöring“ and by a paraglider whilst „speedriding“ on skis. They can go for a joyride on 4 wheels on ice or admire the wonderful alpine landscape from above in a hot air balloon. Live it up on the slopes with the „Snake-Gliss“ or on an airboard. You can also try telemark skiing or practise climbing on frozen waterfalls.
The child care facilities for young holiday guests in Orcieres 1850 are just as extensive as the leisure programme. A private children’s centre „La Petite Ourse“ houses a daycare centre for very young children as well as a nursery and offers an entertainment programme for children aged 3 months to 12 years of age – either all-day or for just half-days. Replacement lessons for primary school children are even offered to french families, who want to spend their ski holidays in Orcieres 1850 during term times.
The ski-nursery for young skiers aged 3 to 6 is located on the Roche Rousse south plateau, which is 2 hectares large and has its own mini-lift. In addition to this the ski-nursery provides a drop-off and pick-up service for full-day and half-day care.
And finally, a play area has also been built in the middle of the station for young holiday guests, which has, among other things, a merry-go-round, a trampoline and a sledging slope, and which has been created for children aged 6 to 12 and is equipped with air-filled safety cushions.
A special highlight also awaits ski tourists in Orcieres 1850 and is located on Roche Rousse’s high plateau at an altitude of 2280 meters: the igloo village Williwaw. An extensive entertainment programme for children is offered in about 12 real igloos during the day, where they can learn lots of interesting facts about the eskimos’ lives. In the evening the igloo village turns into a hotel, so to speak, and offers the possibilty of spending the night surrounded by mountains and the chance to admire the unparalleled starry sky.