Why Plagne Centre Ski Resort?
- The crossroads to the La Plagne and Paradiski ski areas
- Practical purpose-built village, with the skier in mind
- The main village of La Plagne with the most amenities
Plagne Centre (La Plagne) Information
La Plagne can be found in the Savoie region of France, in the Northern French Alps, on the edge of the Vanoise National Park. It forms part of the massive Paradiski ski area which as well as La Plagne includes Les Arcs. Les Arcs and its ski areas can be accessed via the Vanoise Express cable car which whisks skiers across the valley in 4 minutes. The double-decker cable car has, in addition to the 360° panorama, a 3-dimensional outlook courtesy of a transparent glass panel inserted into the floor of the lower level of the 2 cabins.
As you take the road from Bourg St Maurice, the first resort you come to is Plagne 1800 (so a good one if you don't want to go too far in the mountains and have a shorter transfer). Next is Plagne Bellecote at 1930m. Above Plagne Bellecote is Belle Plagne. Then above Plagne 1800 is Plagne Centre, the main resort in the area. From here, you can continue on to the right to Aime la Plagne or to the left to Plagne Villages and Plagne Soleil. Three further villages are also connected to the ski area - Montchavin - Les Coches is accessed from Landry further down the valley and lie below the Vanoise Express cable car that takes you to Les Arcs ski area. On the other side further up the valley and below Plagne Aime 2000 is the village of Montalbert. And finally, Champagny lies on the other side of the mountain altogether and has its own ski area as well being linked to the wider La Plagne territory.
Plagne Centre, at 1970m, is classed as the main village within the resort of La Plagne and is located at the very heart of the action – hence the name! It is the largest of the La Plagne villages. Here you will find the most amenities in terms of shops, services, restaurants and bars; plus other necessities such as the main pharmacy, the medical centre, cash points and the main Tourist Office. Plagne Centre may not be the most attractive of the La Plagne villages, but it is purpose built and practical, with the skier in mind. Many of the self-catering ski residences here are classed as ski-in/ski-out.
Plagne Centre was, in fact, the very first of the La Plagne villages to be developed into a ski resort, when in 1961 two drag lifts were installed here, serving just 4 ski slopes (how times have changed!). Due to its age, it isn't the prettiest of villages and there is still a lot of concrete around. These days Plagne Centre is at the crossroads of the La Plagne ski area, with the climb up to the Grande Rochette from where you can experience one of the finest 360° panoramic views in the French Alps.
In 2018/19, there was a new look for Plagne Centre - the shopping gallery has already been renovated but now it's the entrance to Plagne Centre that's getting a facelift. Place Albert Perriere is to become an animated 'village square' offering a dynamic/multiservice activity centre. Amenities include a covered bus station, tourist office reception, a bar with panoramic views of the Mont Blanc, 4-lane bowling alley, a natural skating rink in winter plus a Heritage and Mountain Mining exhibition room. In total, an €8m investment.
LA PLAGNE SKI AREA
La Plagne is part of the large ‘Paradiski’ ski area and is the 2nd largest connected skiing area in the world. Paradiski has excellent facilities and with its huge variation in altitude (1200m-3250m) and with over 70% of the area being above 2000m, there is a multitude of different types of scenery and piste to explore. This impressive lift-linked ski area is formed of 18 ski resorts (the first 7 below in Les Arcs and the other 11 in La Plagne):
- Arc 1600
- Arc 1800
- Arc 1950
- Arc 2000
- Peisey Vallandry
- Bourg St Maurice
- Plagne Montalbert
- Plagne Bellecote
- Les Coches
- Champagny en Vanoise
- Belle Plagne
- Plagne 1800
- Plagne Soleil
- Aime la Plagne
- Plagne Centre
- Plagne Villages
Les Arcs has a further 200km of pistes - access via the Vanoise Express double-decker cable car (world’s largest cable car) which is in the village of Montchavin. This takes you across to Peisey-Vallandry (Les Arcs).
With much of La Plagne above tree-level, there is an abundance of wide-open motorway pistes throughout the main bowl. Plagne Centre is the crossroads of the La Plagne ski area. Directly below Plagne Centre you have Plagne 1800, which is spread across a steep hillside. Plagne Soleil & Plagne Village and Aime-la-Plagne are slightly higher up – just short lift rides from Plagne Centre.
Plagne Soleil & Plagne Village, Plagne Centre and Plagne 1800 form the centre of the resort and offer numerous gondolas and lifts. The start of the Olympic Bobsleigh track is just below Plagne 1800. Just above Plagne Village you will find quite a few green and blue runs that drop you back into Plagne Bellecôte. Alternatively, you can head up to Les Verdons (2500m) or Grande Rochette (2505m) or head over the other side of the mountain towards Champagny.
Past Plagne Soleil & Plagne Village, over a low rise is Plagne Bellecôte and just above that is Belle Plagne. On the southern edge of the main bowl you will find rural Champagny. On the northern edge are Monchavin and Les Coches. And finally on the western edge, past Aime-la-Plagne, is up and coming Montalbert. If you take a look at the La Plagne piste map, all of this will become clear!
Bellecote is quickly accessible several ways from Plagne Centre and from there you’ve got lifts to the glacier, Montchavin and the Vanoise express to Les Arcs.
There are beautiful forest runs down to Montchavin, Les Coches, Champagny and Montalbert. Montalbert & Longefoy can be found amongst the trees at 1200m and have 4 ski lifts, lots of blue runs, a little freestyle area and extensive cross-country trails. Handy tip: head here if the weather is playing up as the trees offer great protection.
LA PLAGNE SKIING
LA PLAGNE BEGINNERS
Thanks to the spreading of nursery slopes at all altitudes, La Plagne is well recommended to families and offers excellent facilities for beginners and novices. La Plagne is a great resort to learn to ski or snowboard. There are a number of designated beginner areas in La Plagne, so look out for the ‘Zone Débutant’ signs.
There are 14 free lifts in La Plagne:
- Le Solu & Le Biquet in Plagne Soleil & Plagne Village
- Telebaby in Plagne Centre
- Aime la Plagne in Aime la Plagne
- Praconduit in Plagne 1800
- Belle Plagne & Croets in Belle Plagne
- Montchavin, Sucette & Plan Bois in Montchavin
- Patinoire & Le Petit Sauget in Les Coches
- La Bergerie in Champagny
- Montalbert in Montalbert
There is a beginners zone in Plagne Centre, which is hard to beat! It is the meeting point for most ski schools, the beginner area has a drag lift, there is a snow garden for the little ones and the longest green run in resort serviced by its own slow speed beginner chairlift. Once you’re off the greens, take Colorado chair for some cruisey blues and La Plagnes unique Purple Piste (Home of the Milka cow). The biggest area for beginners is Plagne Bellecôte.
Skiers can enjoy the whole Paradiski area using just blue pistes to get going (again) gently.
LA PLAGNE INTERMEDIATES
With almost 80% of the 225km of slopes in La Plagne being blue or red, the ski area is an intermediates paradise. The long sweeping ‘Mont de La Guerre’ red with 1250m/4100ft vertical from Les Verdons to Champagny is great for intermediates.
For early intermediates, there are gentle blue motorway pistes in the main bowl of La Plagne. The blue ‘Arnica’ run in Plagne Bellecôte has loads of little jumps and bankings to play on and is accessible via the ‘Colorado’ chairlift. The ‘Pierres Blanches’ blue run over in Montchavin/Les Coches is very similar.
For the more advanced intermediates, try the wide but fast ‘Les Laines’ and ‘L’Arpette’ from Dos Rond to Plagne Bellecôte.
LA PLAGNE EXPERTS
For experts, the most challenging area of La Plagne has to be the Glacier de la Chiaupe, more commonly known as the Bellecôte Glacier. ‘Le Rochu’ and ‘Bellecôte’ black runs are definitely not to be missed and can be enjoyed in any snow conditions. There is also a challenging 200m long mogul field here, at the top of the ‘Traversee’ chairlift.
For more big bumps and moguls head to ‘Ski des Bosses’ and ‘Verdon Sud’.
At 2350m, just above Aime La Plagne you will find ‘Le Biolley’ which is another good area for advanced skiers. ‘Les Etroits’ is the longest and most challenging black run here plus you have ‘Morbleu’, ‘Les Coqs’ and ‘Plsembleu’.
Another good, long and fast run is ‘Inversens’ onto ‘Les Crozats black, accessible from the top of the Roche de Mio. Experts will, of course, get the very best out of the ski area if they hire a mountain guide and explore the off-piste.
LA PLAGNE OFF-PISTE
La Plagne holds vast and varied terrains with excellent spring snow and has some of the most challenging off-piste powder skiing in the whole of the Tarentaise Valley.
The main off-piste area is, of course, the Glacier de la Chiaupe, more commonly known as the Bellecôte Glacier. The most famous runs are on the north face. The easiest is the ‘Petit Face Nord’, which is easily accessible from the ‘Traversee’ chairlift. The next step, involving a hike up, is the ‘Couloir Canadian’.
Avalanches are common on the glacier and parts are very steep so as with most off-piste, a professional mountain guide is highly recommended – this will not only ensure your safety but will also allow you to experience the very best off-piste areas that La Plagne and the Paradiski ski areas have to offer.
LA PLAGNE SNOWBOARDERS
The La Plagne ski area offers good terrain for all level of riders. In the Paradiski ski area overall there are 2 snow parks, 1 half pipe, 2 board gliss, and 3 boardercross. There are terrain parks at Belle Plagne, Montchavin-Les Coches and Champagny.
The well-equipped snow park in Belle Plagne has 2 zones, the small park and the large park. The small park is accessible via the top of the Col de Forcle ski lift and is designed for beginners, novices and younger snowboarders who wish to try out their jumps and skills in complete security.
The larger park is an area of 2.5 hectares and is split into 4 zones, making it accessible to the less experienced boarders as well as the pros. You will find rails, tables, S, wave, Fun Boxes that are regularly updated, big air bag, a half pipe, a pro halfpipe and boardercross.
A video camera is installed to allow riders to see their skills in action on a big screen, for free! You can even have the videos sent to your mobile phone to share with your friends and family. There is a permanent half pipe in Plagne Bellecôte, located right next to the ‘Colosses’ drag lift.
Another boardercross is located at the top of the ‘Le Dos Rond’ area in Montchavin Les Coches. North facing and with views of Mont Blanc, you will find a permanent boardercross, beginners zone, rainbow, rails, fun box, tables, kickers etc.
In Plagne Centre you will find another big airbag at the foot of the slopes. Dare 2Be Freestyle Airbag can now be found in Montalbert, at the foot of the slopes, next to the toboggan run. Also in Montalbert, there is a freestyle park initiation fun zone with bumps, boardercross, tracks, tables and parallel slalom. Free access.
LA PLAGNE CROSS-COUNTRY
There are 85km/53 miles of cross-country trails in the La Plagne ski area alone for you to explore and a total of 153km of trials in the whole Paradiski ski area.
The most beautiful of those are the 30km/19 miles of winding tracks set around Champagny-le-Haut. This track goes from Les Bauches in Montchavin/Les Coches to Plagne Bellecôte and is the longest and hardest track in the La Plagne area.
Easier routes include a circuit above Plagne Soleil in the midst of the downhill ski area and the longer track below Plagne 1800, from La Roche to just above Montalbert. In Montalbert you will also find some areas and small circuits especially for learner cross-country skiers.
If you have a car and fancy a day trip then head to the stunning ‘Vallée de Bellecôte’ (separating La Plagne from Les Arcs). Drive up the valley as far as you can go and you will come to Peisey-Nancroix, which offers 44km of cross-country trails, a clubhouse and a café.