An expert guide to ski holidays in La Plagne

La Plagne is guaranteed snow and ski-in/ski-out, making it popular with families – Getty

La Plagne is part of the huge Paradiski area, together with Les Arcs and Peisey-Vallandry. The three resorts together have 425km of slopes best suited to intermediate skiers and families, served by 129 lifts. With a new top lift, the Glacier Gondola, opening in 2023/2024 and ascending to a snow-sure glacier at an altitude of 3,080 metres, it is one of the most reliable snow destinations in the Alps.

Rather than having one resort base to stay in, La Plagne is made up of no fewer than 11 separate ‘villages’ spread across a gigantic and largely gentle plateau along a steep mountain, making it important to be aware of the location when you book a holiday here. .

Keep up to date with the key facts about the resort below and scroll down for our insider’s guide to a day on the slopes, expert reviews and advice. For more La Plagne inspiration, check out our guides to the resort’s best accommodation, restaurants and après-ski.

In this guide:

Within the resort

With its 11 scattered basic villages, La Plagne lacks one identity and character. Four of the accommodation options are traditional farming villages: rustic Champagny-en-Vanoise south of La Plagne, Plagne Montalbert on the western edge of the ski area, Montchavin-Les Coches on the northern edge of the area and La Plagne. Vallée bordering the Isère and villages located on the slopes of the Versant du Soleil.

The rest are purpose-built ski areas at various altitudes. Montchavin les Coches is modern but traditional in style. Plagne Center is the main center of the resort. Below Plagne Center is Plagne 1800, while above are Plagne Aime 2000, Plagne Soleil and Plagne Villages, over a ridge from the last two, Plagne Bellecôte and Belle Plagne.

An unusual extracurricular attraction in La Plagne is a 1,500-meter-long Olympic bobsleigh track with 19 turns. Downhill rides are available in a four-seater bob raft that reaches speeds of approximately 80 km/h, a single-seater speed luge (riders lie on their backs and travel down feet first at up to 90 km/h, surrounded by a protective cage), or a four-seater racing bob with a professional driver at speeds of up to 120 km/h. The most daring visitors can try piloting their own ride.

The wide range of apartments and chalets provided by tour operators makes La Plagne a sensible choice for families. However, their popularity means that the slopes can be busy during the high season, and especially during the February half term.

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La Plagne is spread over 11 beautiful snow-covered villages: Elina SIRPARANTA

The fragmented nature of La Plagne limits nightlife options, and a large percentage of family guests means the resort is not famous for its après nights. Belle Plagne is the liveliest of the villages, where the Wild West-themed Le Saloon stays open until 5am.

La Plagne itself has 225 km of marked slopes, including many wide and gentle slopes. The rest of the Paradiski area is just as moderately friendly, but although Paradiski is vast, it isn’t as well connected to lifts and pistes as the big name. The large area competes with the Trois Vallées and Val d’Isère/Tignes. Although the ski area is not ideal for experts, there are still plenty of black and red runs and long, steep off-piste descents to entice daredevils.

La Plagne also has the longest snow cross course in Europe: the Funslope, a long track with jumps and steep turns. And the resort also hosts a quirky festival at the end of each winter called Subli’Cimes, which spans the resort’s five spectacular peaks, free to anyone with a valid ski pass.

On the slopes

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

Towering high above this largely beginner and advanced playground is the 3,417-metre peak of Bellecôte, whose slopes form the starting point for a number of challenging, long off-piste descents. However, with the opening of the glacier gondola in 2023/24 at a cost of €26 million, the top of the ski area will be at 3080 metres, a ten-minute drive from Roche de Mio. It will offer a panoramic “Live 3000” experience and a snack bar with a terrace overlooking the Vanoise glaciers.

The spectacular Vanoise Express cable car connects La Plagne to Les Arcs and spans a valley 1,800 meters wide and 380 meters deep; the two resorts together form the enormous 425 km Paradiski area (an area that will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2023/2024).

La Plagne’s most remote outpost is the traditional village of Champagny-en-Vanoise. It is possible to travel from here through half a dozen valleys to the outskirts of Villaroger, at the far end of the Les Arcs area. However, it entails a frustratingly long amount of time spent on lifts. If you are going on holiday for a week, it makes sense to focus on the considerable number of slopes that La Plagne has to offer and take a one-day trip to Les Arcs.

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La Plagne has slopes for all levels – Stone RF/Peter Cade

Beginners and intermediates will make the most of the ski area by staying at one of the higher accommodation centres, such as Belle Plagne and Plagne Centre, with the best access to the abundance of easy blue runs. Although many of the main lifts in the area are fast, the layout of the ski area does not lend itself to those who enjoy tackling miles of piste in the same way as Méribel (in the Trois Vallées) and Tignes/Val d’Isère. and queues during peak times can be frustrating.

Experts may want to head straight to the 2,700m Roche de Mio and its more challenging runs as well as black runs and good off-piste opportunities. The south side has the easier terrain, a warm-up for the stomach-churning traverses and narrow couloirs of the north side. It is essential to hire an off-piste mountain guide to do these descents.


La Plagne is part of the huge Paradiski area, split into two areas for different skill levels: Getty

The Belle Plagne snow park, now called “Riders Nation”, moved in 2022/2023 to the Dos Rond sector in Montchavin-Les Coches (accessible via the Bijolin chairlift or the Leschaux tow lift). With four freestyle runs and a 650-meter boardercross, it remains accessible with its progressive zones and signs identifying the different levels from XS to XL and the modules, and offers a visitor trail and chill areas.

There are two more snow cross courses in Les Coches and Champagny, and the longest snow cross in Europe – the Funslope – in Plagne Bellecôte.

A Paradiski app, Yuge, provides information on where the queues are and expected wait times, as well as a digital piste map, weather forecasts, ski routes and tracking information.

Who should go?

La Plagne is largely a playground for beginners and experts, with a huge amount of ground to cover thanks to its link with Les Arcs. Families flock to the resort thanks to the variety of accommodation, most of which is ski-in/ski-out, and the number of off-piste activities for all ages, including a Deep Nature spa at Belle Plagne and overnight stays in a luxury hotel. converted snow thrower. It is possible to reach La Plagne easily by train, in less than nine hours. Aime la Plagne station is 20-40 minutes away by bus depending on which village you are staying in.

Know before you go

Essential information

  • British Embassy/Consulate: (00 33 1 44 51 31 00;

  • Ambulance (Samu): call 15

  • Police: call 17

  • Fire (pompiers): call 18

  • Emergency services from mobile phone: call 112

  • TOURIST OFFICE: See, the website of La Plagne’s tourist office, for weather reports, lift status, webcams, traffic information and local event listings. Collect maps, leaflets and other information from the Plagne Center office.

The base

  • Currency: Euro

  • Phone code: from abroad, call 00 33 and omit the zero at the beginning of the ten-digit number.

  • Time difference: +1 hour

Local laws and etiquette

  • When greeting people, French uses many more formal titles (Monsieur, Madame and Mademoiselle) than English.

  • It takes years to master the laws of vouvoiement (which version of “you” to use). When in doubt – except when talking to children or animals – always use the formal vous form (second person plural) instead of the more informal tu.

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

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