You may have heard that La Plagne is a ‘family’ resort, with skiing only worthy of beginners and intermediates, if so let me set you straight. La Plagne actually has some of the Alps’ fiercest black runs, intense mogul fields and a range of off-piste skiing which could give the hallowed faces of Chamonix a run for their money.
Okay, now I’ve got your attention, let me tell you a little bit about the resort. While described as a single resort, La Plagne is actually 11 separate villages under one umbrella title, ‘La Plagne’.
This matters because there are parts of La Plagne which are very family-centred and so have very little in the way of après ski. So if you’re looking for a ski holiday in which you can party as hard as you ski, you’ll want to be very careful about where you book your accommodation. Look for apartments or hotels in Belle Plagne, Plagne 1800 and Plagne Centre, all of which offer the resort’s most active nightlife.
Thrills on the Slopes
As I’ve said, there is a good range of challenging advanced skiing in La Plagne, and that’s even before you take the high speed Vanoise Express lift over to Les Arcs to experience the entire Paradiski area. With a total of 16 black runs in the La Plagne region alone, and a selection of ungroomed red and off pistes, you won’t need to go far to find a challenge.
Black runs at Montalbert
The black runs of Morbleu and Les Charmettes are a serious challenge with untreated bumps making the lower black an intense workout for the knees. If you’re a fan of moguls then beneath the Colosses chair is the mogul stadium, used for competitions. If it’s not being used for races, then advanced skiers are welcome to try their legs out on its intense lumps and bumps.
The Bellcôte Glacier
La Plagne’s steepest black runs are found on the slopes of the Bellecôte Glacier and will give even the most advanced skiers a stretch. Follow the tracks off piste at the bottom to join Les Crozats beneath the Chalet de Bellecôte chair.
It feels as though the piste mangers at La Plagne want to attract more advanced skiers because recently they have begun to leave several of the resort’s more challenging red runs uncombed, making them closer to black runs once they’ve been cut up by skiers. La Combe on the Bellecôte Glacier can become very tricky when the snow has been soft.
This is where the advanced skiing in La Plagne really comes into its own. Whether you choose the tree-lined skiing at the wings of the pistes, with the advantage that these are served by the piste lifts, or go out on your own to explore the Montalbert valley (lying between two black runs), there is a lot of relatively safe off piste skiing here.
If snow is good, explore the routes down to Macot at 800m. This is a beautiful route but because you’re descending below the lifts, you’ll need money for a taxi back up to the resort.
Venture off piste into the powder at La Grande Rochette and Roche de Mio or take La Salla from the top of L’Arpette for some great gentle off-piste powder.
There is some stunningly challenging off-piste skiing around the Bellecôte Glacier but this can only be done with a guide as some of the 20 or so recognised routes require abseiling, walking and scaling the edges of very narrow couloirs.
How to Get to La Plagne
La Plagne is well served by three local airports, Chambery, Grenoble and Geneva, which all have regular flights from the UK by a range of airlines including easyJet and British Airways. Flights take around 90 minutes and transfer times range from an hour and a half to two and a half hours.
The quickest and most convenient way of getting to La Plagne from one of these airports is by booking an airport transfer with Shuttle Direct. Let the company know what skiing equipment you will be bringing with you and they will send a driver with a vehicle big enough to fit any skis or boards you might be carrying.
Where to Stay
Le Vancouver – Located in Macot La Plagne, Le Vancouver offers ski-in-ski-out access to the slopes so your skiing begins as soon as you leave the hotel. After a hard day challenging yourself on the resort’s black runs, there’s a hot tub, sauna, hammam and pool to recover in and free WiFi throughout the property.
Hotel Vacances Bleues Belle Plagne – The Hotel Vacances Bleues Belle Plagne is set in the heart of Belle Plagne, the La Plagne village with the liveliest après ski scene. The rooms are comfortable and all have free WiFi and the restaurant and bar downstairs, with outdoor terrace, are are friendly and welcoming.
Hotel Ancolie – Set in Champagny en Vanoise, one of the lower La Plagne villages, the Hotel Ancolie is a great budget option just a three-minute walk from lifts that will take you up to the extensive Paradiski skiing area. The hotel has its own spa with a hot tub and sauna. There is also a lounge bar and a table tennis and billiards table. Free WiFi is available in all the rooms.
About Shuttle Direct
One of the world’s leading companies providing airport transfers across Europe and North Africa, Shuttle Direct offers an easy and convenient way for skiers to get from the airport to their resort. Choose between a shared transport or the luxury of a private vehicle taking you to the door of your accommodation. Just don’t forget to let Shuttle Direct know what sports equipment you’ll be carrying with you when you make your booking online.