Haute Savoie / France
La Plagne is made up of 11 smaller villages, scattered across a plateau alongside a mountain - they vary from traditional farming villages such as Champagny en Vanoise, La Plagne Montalbert and Montchavin to purpose-built ski resorts such as Plagne Centre (the hub of the resort) Plagne Aime 2000 and Belle Plagne. The different characters of each village makes it easy to choose an area that suits you - head to Plagne Centre or Belle Plagne for nightlife and apres-ski, or if you’re looking to relax at the end of a busy day on the slopes, quieter areas such as Montalbert, might suit you better.
The ‘village’ feel of the resort has made it a popular choice for families, who are well catered for and many of the village centres are car-free.
There’s plenty to do in the summer in La Plagne too. The Vanoise National Park, rich in flora and wildlife is an idyllic setting for walkers. The area’s varied terrain presents plenty of challenges for bikers, who can choose from a wide variety of Enduro or downhill routes. There are thrills and spills on the water too, with rafting and kayaking on the Isere river.
Despite its spread-out nature, getting around La Plagne couldn’t be easier. Public transport between the villages is free, and ranges from buses to cable cars.
One of the highlights of a visit to La Plagne has to be the Olympic bobsleigh, created for the 1992 games in Albertville. Although it’s still used for competitions, it’s open to visitors in the afternoons. At 1500m long, and with 19 bends, it’s quite a ride - choose from the bobsleigh raft for four, which reaches speeds of 80km/h, the single person ski luge, which can top 90km/h as it hurtles you feet first down the hill, or for the adrenaline hungry, bob-racing- a four-man bobsleigh including a professional driver - expect to hit 120km/h in this one and feel all the bumps!
La Plagne and neighbouring Les Arcs make up the extensive Paradiski area, linked by the speedy Vanoise Express gondola. With a fast and efficient lift system, comparable to those in larger resorts, you can quickly access a large ski area without too much queuing. However, the resort has 225km of its own pistes, most of which are wide and gentle. The rest of the Paradiski area is also great for intermediate skiers, although there are plenty of red and black runs, as well as steep, off piste descents.
Each of the La Plagne villages has a beginners’ area, fenced off from the main slopes so that nervous novices can practice their turns in peace. Lifts in these areas are the magic carpet type - a travelator which moves you along while you stand still, perfect for young children.
Freestylers should head for the Snow park de Belle Plagne - there’s a beginners park and an expert park for professionals as well as two boardercross courses. The 7 Cube snow park has a variety of kickers and jumps, rails and boxes, and a Fun Zone at the Arpette chairlift, with boardercross, jumps, rails and rollers.
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