La Plagne Snowboarding
The 25th most popular snowboarding destination in France.
Wednesday 28 November 2018 06:44 GMT
Southeast of Albertville and southwest of Bourg St Maurice, the La Plagne ski domaine has 225km of pistes served by 107 lifts with a maximum vertical descent of 1,980m (6,500 feet). The La Plagne ski domaine is popular for snowboarding on its intermediate terrain and also for good off piste options. The groomed pistes are not known to be particularly steep, and the old steep pistes were decommissioned a few years back. Overall, the pistes tend to be on the short side and you'll find yourself on lifts frequently.
The La Plagne ski domaine interconnects serveral purpose built ski resorts that lack the old world charm you may be expecting. The village of Plagne-Bellecote, not known for old world charm, is the lift centre but make sure to start early to avoid long lift lines. There is a hidden base area off the western backside called Champagny-en-Vanoise, which is more of a real town. Oddly, it doesn’t appear on many of the piste maps. It is much less expensive to stay there, too. Another bonus is that you can easily get to Courchevel in Les Trois Vallees from Champagny-en-Vanoise and explore all their terrain, too (with a separate lift pass).
In the Tarantaise valley, the La Plagne ski domaine is interconnected with the Les Arcs ski domaine via the double-decker cable car, The Vanoise Express, to form the Paradiski arena. The Paradiski arena offers a combined 425km of pistes. Surprisingly, the La Plagne side of Paradiski arena is the quieter and less crowded side, but its still very busy.
If you are looking for off-piste freeriding, La Plagne can be tough for snowboarders since the pitches are shallow and lead into bowls with no groomed exit. For some off-piste action, there is a good route below the Col de la Chiapple from Glacier de Bellecote to the Chalet chairlift. The north face of Bellecote, aka Face Nord, is very popular with freeriders down the Glacier de Bellecote, which is accessible from the backside of the Traverse lift top station. The Face Nord route actually heads down 2000m of vertical all the way to the town of Nancroix where you can catch a bus back up to the bottom station of the Lozagne lift (guide recommended). There is a great route down the Col de Nant glacier to Laissonery and Campagny Le Hut. As you are planning your routes for the day, keep in mind that it doesn't take much wind to close the upper lifts. If they are open, plan to hit them first. Another good powder route is the infamous route from the Mont St Jacques summit. You’ll need to hike up to the peak before dropping off and riding down into the forests past ancient cow barns leading to the La Roche lift base station.
If you are into dropping in, there are five terrain parks to explore. The main park is located above the village of Belle Plagne with access via a fast t-bar. There are rails, kickers and tabletops. And, if its still maintained, there is a 22 foot superpipe above Bellecote.
After a long morning of shredding, check out one of the on-mountain huts for lunch such as the Forperet (above Mont Albert), Chalet des Verdons Sud, Le Chalet des Broseliers (above Champagny-en-Vanoise) or Sauget (above Mont Chavin). The best on-mountain hut, if you can find it, is Le Chalet du Friolin.
When you are ready for some apres ski action, check out the Cheyenne, the Tete Inn and La Mine in Plagne 1800. For nightlife, head on over to No'Bl'm and the Mouth.
TIP: If you are planning to arrive by train, keep in mind that the regular bus up to the resort is primarily during daylight hours. After dark, the bus runs infrequently, if at all. Therefore, you will need to take a cab from the train station to the resort. If you plan to fly into Lyon, you may want to check the train schedule before buying your flight to make sure there is a convenient transfer. If you plan to arrive Friday through Sunday, the shuttle Altibus might be a more convenient option. Since there are not many trains or buses up into this region, you are highly encouraged to advance purchase tickets and reserve your seat.
Overall, La Plagne is the 25th most popular snowboard & freeride destination of all 47 snowboarding resorts in France. Several of the better snowboarding resorts are nearby La Plagne including Les Arcs and Peisey-Vallandry.