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Review: La Plagne



Powder hound sated

  • By SilverTraveller old-tyke

    9 reviews

  • Mar 2013
  • Solo

37 people found this review helpful

The ski holiday was last minute and cheap – the two do not always go together. The best deal steered me towards La Plagne, a resort I had never before considered, believing it to be geared to beginners, intermediates and families. But, it being outside school holidays, nippers were notably absent – apart from three year–olds making their first moves on the snow, like ducklings on an icy lake, and members of the local ski club who descended the competition pistes with rubber legs encased in race suits. I know I didn’t ski like them at nine! The ski area at La Plagne – especially if one buys the most expensive lift pass option – is vast. Moreover it is very scenic: on sunny days Mont Blanc (bizarrely its Italian side) shows itself. La Thuile, Courchevel, Courmeyeur, are all in view. And for the last few years those with the right ski pass can spend a day exploring the Les Arcs area, which opens up another array of pistes.

I was blessed with perfect snow conditions for March – it snowed almost every day, so powder was in abundance. (I have never see chalet roofs so piled high). There is plenty of tree skiing at lower levels for those bad weather days, and the play area extends all the way to the Glacier de Bellecote at 3417m. I skied with a Ski Club of Great Britain leader, who knew the area well. Now that short sighted French resorts are clamping down on British tour operators’ hosting activities, SCGB provides one of the few legal routes to seeing the whole of such a vast terrain. Silver skiers of a certain standard would be mad not to join this excellent club.

Downsides? La Plagne comprises seven separate villages, (I was staying in the usually inappropriately named Plagne Soleil) developed from the sixties in that basic architectural style that plagues the French Alps. Although there is the odd “yoghurt pot” link, and a shuttle bus, these are partial and shut annoyingly early. There is not the wealth of bars and clubs that one can enjoy in say Val d’Isere or Verbier. But après-ski drinks with chums in other villages are nigh on impossible. This disparate layout, and a focus on booze rather than skiing, probably explained the death of a young Englishman who fell into a freezing stream between bars, in the week I was there.

Although marketed as a resort for beginners and intermediates, the grading of the pistes could cause upset. Some of the many blues have a reasonable pitch; and with the plentiful snow, many blues were well mogulled. Afternoons on lower slopes saw many tired and apprehensive beginners battling their way down. With one very notable exception, the lifts are of a reasonable standard.

So if dad with a young family wants a resort where he can escape his nippers for the odd powder blast, this place probably fits the bill – as long as the snow conditions are right.

I went with Ski France, and I would not recommend them. And as for Monarch Airlines? 2.5 hours with my kneecaps round my ears – it was a good job there was a holiday at the end of it!

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This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.

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