La Plagne, the star of the French Alps

La Plagne is located in the French Alps and is the perfect location for a ski holiday, regardless of your ability. This high altitude resort exudes charm with traditional Savoyard wooden chalets, chateaus and hotels. There is something to please all tastes, whether you’re an experienced skier or a newbie, getting their first taste of fun on the slopes.

The six high-altitude resorts of La Plagne are interconnected by the ski slopes, chair lifts and gondolas, giving you a free ‘access-all areas’ pass throughout your holiday. La Plagne, Paradiski, has a wide variety of different slopes, from thrill-seeking blacks, adventurous reds, to gentle blues and simple greens. The pistes cut perfectly across the landscape, allowing you to go from mountain top views to gentle turns between evergreen fir trees. You can even take a run that travels underneath a hotel in the centre of the resort.

Plagne Centre is the hub of La Plagne, the place where ski runs meet. There are bars, restaurants, cafes and shops galore situated here to suit all tastes and needs. It is the perfect place to stop for a warming hot chocolate, before embarking on a new run. Here you can also start the ascent to La Grande Rochette, one of the most beautiful spots to take in a 360 degree panorama of the Alps.

For newbies to this winter sport, like myself, a great way to see the area and to learn the basics is to join a ski school. At the Oxygene ski school lessons start at 9:50am in Plagne Centre every morning, where a line of flags stand proudly in the snow and groups of eager learners, from children to adults, huddle around waiting for their lessons to begin. The instructors make you feel safe and are excellent at reading your ability. Taking a lesson is a great way to increase your confidence and by far the best way to learn, starting on the nursery slopes, then progressing to travelling down the blues and reds before the week is over.

The most favourable way to view the resort is from a chair lift. Taking a brief break from the fast pace of the slopes you can sit back and admire the breath taking scenery below. The mountains stand out proud against the bright blue sky and the snow beneath your feet sparkles in the sunlight as if covered in glitter. Appearing soft and pillow like, where no one has trekked before, bringing out the childlike urge in you to leave your mark, whether that be by footsteps or creating a snow angel. So peaceful are these lift rides, their tranquillity help you to re-charge your batteries before you hit the slopes back down to the centre once again.

I recommend taking the gondola up to Plagne Aime 2000, to gaze across the resort; the perfect time of day is at dusk. Stood on the slopes as the sun sets, the lights of the hotels and chalets below begin to turn on and you are treated to a spectacular view. It is calm and peaceful, with just a gentle rumble from the piste bashers as they travel up and down the slopes preparing them for the coming day. After you have taken in this beautiful sight, you could partake in some retail therapy in the shopping mall located in the so-called “cruise liner of the snows”, due to the design of the resort building, or treat yourself to a vin chaud (a mildly spiced, hot wine drink).

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If you are a thrill seeker then I recommend taking the chair lift in Plagne Bellecote where you ride to the top of the mountains and from here you can take part in the border cross or the fun park. Purposely built with bumps, jumps, tunnels and big hands to hit as you race down, the fun park is guaranteed to make you smile and offers something different to the other slopes throughout the resort.

If you need a break from your skis then take a dip in the heated outdoor swimming pool or have a go at ice skating, both located in Plagne Bellecote. There is also the opportunity to take part in a husky sledge ride or soak up the sights whilst paragliding above the mountainous terrain. Or you could even attempt a go on an Olympic bobsleigh. A great experience to do with your group is to sledge down the purpose built toboggan course, Colorado Luge, in the centre of the resort. As you twist and turn down the course, racing to the finish line, you whizz underneath chairlifts and through tunnels; skiers and boarders shouting to you from above. If you manage to get to the bottom without falling off your toboggan then you deserve a medal!

The best part about La Plagne is the community feel that the resort has. Whether you are sat on a chairlift, part of a ski school, or sharing a chalet, people will ask you how your day is going and make you feel welcome. It is definitely worth a visit, and if you have never skied before, it really is the perfect place to learn.

bdr

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