Your expert guide to your ski holiday in La Plagne

la plagne - Getty

la plagne – Getty

La Plagne is part of the giant Paradiski region, along with Les Arcs and Peisey-Vallandry. The three resorts together have 425 km of trails best suited to lower intermediates and families, served by 129 lifts.

Rather than one resort per stay, La Plagne is made up of at least 11 separate “villages” spread across a giant and largely gentle plateau along a steep mountain, so it’s important to know the location when booking a holiday here.

Stay up to date with resort highlights below and scroll down for our guide to a day on the slopes, expert ratings and advice. For more La Plagne inspiration, check out our guides to the resort’s best hotels, restaurants and après-ski.

Inside the resort

With its 11 scattered base villages, La Plagne has no single identity and character. Four of the stay options are traditional farming villages – rustic Champagny en Vanoise south of La Plagne, Plagne Montalbert on the western edge of the ski area, Montchavin La Plagne on the northern edge of the area and La Plagne Vallée bordering Isère and villages located on the slopes of Versant du Soleil.

The rest are specially built ski resorts at different altitudes. La Plagne Montchavin les Coches is modern but traditional in style. The center of Plagne is the main center of the resort. Below Plagne Center is Plagne 1800, and above Plagne Aime 2000, Plagne Soleil and Plagne Village, above the ridge of the latter two, Plagne Bellecôte and Belle Plagne.

An unusual extra-curricular attraction in La Plagne is the 1,500 m Olympic bobsleigh track with 19 curves. The descents are available in a four-seater bobsleigh that reaches a speed of approximately 80 km/h, a one-person speed toboggan (riders lie on their backs and descend legs first at speeds of up to 90 km/h, surrounded by a protective cage) or a four-seater racing bob with a professional racing driver at speeds up to 120 km/h.

The number of self catering apartments and cottages offered by tour operators makes La Plagne a sensible choice for families. However, its popularity among them means that the slopes can get crowded in high season and especially in mid-February.

la plague

la plague

The fragmented nature of La Plagne limits nightlife options, and the large proportion of family visitors means the resort is not famous for its après. Belle Plagne is the most lively village where the Wild West-inspired Le Saloon is open until 5am.

La Plagne has 225 km of its own marked slopes, including many wide and gentle descents. The rest of the Paradiski area is equally intermediate-friendly, but while Paradiski is vast, it’s not as well connected by lifts and pistes as its famous name, the large area rivals Trois Vallées and Val d’Isère/Tignes. While the ski area is not ideal for experts, there are still plenty of black and red runs and long, steep off-piste descents to attract daredevils.

La Plagne is also home to the longest snowcross run in Europe – Funslope, a long run with jumps and steep turns. At the end of each winter, the resort also hosts a quirky festival called Subli’Cimes, which stretches across five of the resort’s spectacular peaks, free to anyone with a valid ski pass.

On the slopes

Much of the local La Plagne ski area is on a gentle plateau of wide, undemanding slopes well above the tree line. As they descend into the forest on the south and north sides, they become steeper.

This mostly beginner to intermediate playground is dominated by the 3,417m Bellecôte Peak, which is the starting point for some challenging long off-piste descents. The spectacular Vanoise Express cable car connects La Plagne to Les Arcs, passing through a valley 1,800 m wide and 380 m deep; the two centers together form the vast Paradiski area of ​​425 km.

The most remote outpost of La Plagne is the traditional village of Champagny en Vanoise. From here you can travel through half a dozen valleys to the outskirts of Villaroger at the other end of the Les Arcs area. However, this is associated with a frustratingly long time spent on the lifts. If during your week-long holiday it is worth focusing mainly on the large number of slopes that La Plagne has to offer, and go on a day trip to Les Arcs.

Beginners and intermediates can make the most of the ski area by staying at one of the higher end accommodations such as Belle Plagne and Plagne Centre, with the best access to the plethora of easy blue pistes. Whilst many of the area’s key lifts are fast, the layout of the ski area is not suitable for those who like to cover miles of slopes in the same way as Méribel (in Trois Vallées) and Tignes/Val d’Isère, and queues at peak times can be frustrating.

Experts may want to immediately head to the 2,700-meter Roche de Mio and its more challenging runs, and then on to the Bellecôte Glacier for black runs and good off-piste opportunities. The south face has easier terrain, a warm-up before the stomach-turning traverses and narrow lobbies of the north face. To perform these runs, it is necessary to hire a mountain guide outside the designated routes.

LA PLAGNE - Getty

LA PLAGNE – Getty

The terrain park at Belle Plagne has two separate zones for different skill levels. Accessible by the Col de Forcle, Le Petit Park is designed for novices, while Le Grand Park at the top of Belle Plagne has four runs with around 20 rails and tables, as well as an airbag and snowcross track. There are two more snowcross routes in Les Coches and Champagny, and the longest snowcross in Europe – Funslope – in Plagne Bellecôte.

Paradiski’s app, Yuge, provides information about queues and expected waiting times, as well as a digital ski map, weather forecast, ski runs and tracking information.

Who should go?

La Plagne is largely a playground for beginners and intermediates with a huge amount of terrain to tackle thanks to its connection to Les Arcs. Families flock to the resort for the variety of accommodation, most of which are ski-to-ski, and plenty of off-piste entertainment for all ages, including the Deep Nature Spa in Belle Plagne and overnight stays in a luxury converted snow groomer. La Plagne is easily reached by train in less than nine hours. Aime la Plagne station is a 20-40 minute bus ride from the hotel, depending on which village you are staying in.

Know before you go

Necessary information


UK Embassy/Consulate:
(00 33 1 44 51 31 00; ukinfrance.fco.gov.uk)

Ambulance (samu): select 15

Police: select 17

Fire (pompiers): select 18

Rescue services from your mobile phone: dial 112

Tourist Information Office: Visit la-plagne.com, the website of the La Plagne Tourist Board, for weather forecasts, lift status, webcams, traffic information and lists of local events. Pick up maps, leaflets and other information from the office in the Center of Plagne.

Basics


Currency:
Euro

telephone code: from abroad, dial 00 33, then omit the leading zero from the 10-digit number.

Time difference: +1 hour

Local laws and etiquette

  • When greeting people, the formal titles (Monsieur, Madame and Mademoiselle) are used much more in French than in English.

  • The laws of vouvoiement (what version of “you” to use) take years to master. When in doubt – except when talking to children or pets – always use the formal form vous (second person plural) instead of the more casual tu.

  • When driving, it is mandatory to have reflective vests and a warning triangle in the car in case of a breakdown. From 2021, from the beginning of November to March, it is also mandatory to have snow chains or winter tires in the car.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *