Review of La Plagne

20th April 2008 by Peter Hadfield 

La Plagne a victim of its own success?
Went to La Plagne 16-23 Feb 08, half term week, stayed at the Maeva Lauze apartments in La Plagne 1800.The apartments are about a 150-metre walk downhill to a gentle piste that takes you to the chairlift out of the village. You need to really take another chairlift to get you into the ski area. What 1800 lacks in ski convenience it makes up for in looks; it is the most pleasant of the villages and actually feels like a village. It is not the spot for wild apres-ski in the evenings but has an excellent bar called La Mine with good beer and live music as well as showing live football. Two restaurants of note in 1800, the white wolf, La Lupo Blanco, serves excellent local specialities as well as fine steaks in delicious sauces. A pizza restaurant and take-away provides a tasty cheaper alternative. On the mountain our favourite was the self service restaurant at the top of the Les Inversens piste, good quality food with mind blowing views from the terrace. The skiing in La Plagne is excellent for any level - it’s a vast area, enough for anyone for a week unless you have to ski a new piste every day. I had read prior to going that there was not enough challenges for the more advanced; I couldn’t disagree more - the off piste was excellent, as steep as you want it. My favourite area was off the top of the Verdons Nord chair doing circuits to the bottom of the chairlift without having to go back to Plagne Centre. The off piste was well tracked out but still fun, no snow for two weeks but conditions still good. On piste the mogul fields on the black runs off the Le Biolley sector had trenches that would not have been out of place at the battle of the Somme! More pleasant tests are the blacks above Les Couches and Montchavin tree lined and groomed. The blues and reds in this area are excellent as well, less traffic than in the main bowls, the snow keeps well due to good grooming and sheltered north facing runs. The Bellecote glacier is well worth visiting for the views alone and the gondola ride! Don’t look down. Endless skiing for intermediates, standout runs, Le tunnel blue run, steepish pitches with long runouts great for letting yourself go and the Le sources red, both from Roche De Mio. The signposting is excellent on piste throughout La Plagne. For beginners my choice of village would be Belle Plagne or Plagne villages; the other villages are much too busy with through traffic. Which leads me to the only problem with La Plagne, the crowds. Because of the sheer amount of pistes available this was not to much of a problem when travelling around, except for interchanges; the problems arose at the lifts. It was very depressing looking down from above Bellecote or Centre at the spiralling mass of humanity and knowing when you joined them you would have a twenty-thirty minute wait at the lifts. The way the lift system is laid out, it is very difficult not to return to one of the villages. Old drag lifts and chairs are dotted around and need replacing, especially Vega and Cabri out of Centre. Everyone who loves skiing/boarding should visit La Plagne, the locals are friendly, the ski area superb, but maybe give mid February a miss.

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