With a top lift on a snow-sure glacier at 3,250m and pistes that go all the way down to 1,250m, La Plagne is part of the giant Paradiski area, along with Les Arcs and Peisey-Vallandry. The three resorts together have 425km of runs best suited to lower intermediates and families, served by 130 lifts.
Rather than one resort base, La Plagne is made up of no less than 11 separate “villages” scattered across a giant and largely gentle plateau alongside a steep mountain. This makes it important to consider the most suitable location before booking.
La Plagne has 225km of marked runs of its own, including plenty of wide and gentle slopes. The whole Paradiski area is equally intermediate friendly. While it’s not ideal for experts here, there are still plenty of black and red runs, sufficient off piste, steep couloirs and 1,000m-plus descents to lure daredevils. La Plagne also has Europe’s longest boardercross – the Funslope, with jumps, steep curves and bank waves.
With its 11 spread-out villages, La Plagne lacks a single identity and character. Three of the options to stay in are traditional farming villages – rustic Champagny en Vanoise to the south of La Plagne, Plagne Montalbert on the western edge of the ski area and Montchavin La Plagne at the northern edge of the area.
The rest are purpose-built ski resorts at different altitudes. Les Coches, just above Montchavin, is modern but traditional in style. Belle Plagne and Plagne Centre are the main hubs of the resort. Below Plagne Centre is Plagne 1800, while above are Plagne Aime 2000, Plagne Soleil and Plagne Village, over a ridge from the final two, Plagne Bellecôte and Belle Plagne.
Belle Plagne & Montchavin have aqua-leisure centres with a new spa and fun pool area for families.
One unusual extracurricular attraction in La Plagne is a 1,500m long Olympic bobsleigh run with 19 bends. Rides are available in a four-seater self-braking and driving bob raft, a single-seater speed luge, a four-seater racing bob with a professional racing driver at speeds of up to 120kph, or on a speed luge for one person where you lie on your back surrounded by a protective cage and travel down feet first.
Hotel Carlina — The gastronomically adventurous restaurant in the four-star, slopeside Hotel Carlina in Belle Plagne is run by chef Thibault Schach, who provides a varied menu with locally sourced ingredients. As well as being a good dinner spot, the restaurant is also open at lunchtime and has a south-facing terrace — ideal when the weather’s fine.
Le 360 — In Plagne Montalbert with wall-to-wall glass windows at 1,970m, accessed via the Montalbert gondola.