Ski Guide: La Plagne, France

by Inez M. Solorio

La Plagne is a collection of 11 villages in the Tarentaise Valley in the French Alps. It is part of the Paradiski area, which includes both La Plagne and Les Arcs, and it neighbours the Three Valleys and Espace Killy. Each of the villages has a different feel, from the traditional Plagne Village to the 1960s modernism of Plagne Aime 2000, which faces out onto Mont Blanc the highest peak in the Alps.

About La Plagne

The La Plagne has more than 200km of well maintained piste spread across 128 runs and accessed via 95 ski lifts. The runs include low-level tree lined runs into Montchavin and Montalbert, as well as high, snow-sure skiing on the Bellcote Glacier. The Most of the lifts are turbo chairs or gondolas, meaning the queues are generally low. Snow cannons throughout help maintain the runs, though by late afternoon those can be fairly up.

The great selling point of La Plagne for anyone other than beginners is the link to Les Arcs. The massive Vanoise Express gondola connects the two, and ski passes valid across both ski areas are available. This one lift gives rise to the Paradiski ski area, allowing access to over 400km of piste. Les Arcs continues La Plagne’s trend of offering excellent, well maintained pistes across a variety of terrain. At 3,226m, the Aiguille Rouge gives stunning views of the surrounding mountains, and the run to Villaroger is probably the longest, with a descent of 2km and a run length of 7km.

Ski Runs

The vast majority of La Plagne’s 128 runs are red and blue, and 70% of them start at heights above 2,000m. There are 19 black runs for advanced skiers, and the runs cross two separate glaciers. The views at altitude are extraordinary: an Alpine panorama is all around you, and the highest peaks soar to well over 3,400m.

Plagne Villages: Beginner skiers should head to Plagne Villages as from here you can access a cat’s cradle of blue runs linking Plagne Bellecote, Plagne Soleil, and Plagne Centre. These are ideal runs on which to practice your carving as except for at the end of the day, they don’t tend to be too busy, and you can ski significant distances. Several of the routes are tree lined, and hence particularly picturesque, and there are plenty along the way where you stop for a rest.

Roche de Mio: Roche de Mio at Plagne Bellecote is at a height of 2,700m and accessible via a gondola. From the top there’s a super long blue which runs down to Col de Forcle, but those with more confidence will want to pick up the red Inversens and then connect onto the black Crozats for a truly ride. The Roche de Mio also gives access to the Glacier de la Chiaupe and its medley of black and red.

Belle Plagne: At Belle Plagne you will find two ski parks. Col de Forcle is best suited to beginners, but at Le Grand Park the four routes, 20 rails, tables, airbag, and boardercross course will keep even skiers and snowboarders at the top of their game occupied for hours.

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