Les Sept Laux Off Piste

Ski-Areas > Northern Alps > Isère (38) > Belledonne > Les Sept Laux > Off Piste


The Sept Laux is one of these secret spots although in the last few years a series of articles have made freeriders aware of the potential of the lift served terrain. There are also a number of popular ski tours accessible from the resort itself or the surrounding villages. There is certainly enough to keep a serious backcountry enthusiast busy for a week and to keep them coming back at different times of the season, year after year. In 2005 we skied from December through to the end of April on pistes and using skins carried right on to mid-June.

sept laux freeride

Sept Laux Freeride

Officially the resort welcomes ski mountaineers but unlike nearby Chamrousse there is no sophisticated ticket control system so the resort does not offer cheap one-shot randonnée passes and climbing open ski runs on touring skis is officially outlawed although seems to be more, and sometimes less, tolerated. We don't condone this practice, it can be very dangerous however some traditional routes are hard to access without at least crossing ski pistes. We suggest setting out between 8 and 9am when the runs are closed but there is sufficent light for piste basher drivers to see climbers. You should keep close to the edge of the piste or use some of the paths where available; for example to access the Combe de la Pra there is a summer walking path from Pleynet rather than the green piste. During the 2005 season we saw many tourers using the ski runs to access the higher peaks without problems from the piste patrol, however we also had reports of ski mountaineers being told off. In 2003 there was an avalanche in the station involving backcountry skiers on closed runs. This caused a heated debate between pisteurs involved in the rescue operation and ski tourers.

Le Pleynet

Le Pleynet is a good starting point in the morning. Situated in the valley of the Haut Bréda, arguably one of the prettiest in the Alps, its east facing slopes catch the sun early and soften up the snow in winter. It is also the starting point for a number of classic ski tours, in particular the busy north face of the Pic de la Belle Etoile. The Combe or Vallons du Pra is now secured lift served off-piste, reached from the Pouta chair, somewhat inconveniently on the Prapoutel side of the valley. This at least keeps the number of skiers down. The area is roped off for much of the season but even when closed is secured by the piste patrol, however the area is threatened by a number of avalanches and when closed should not be attempted when the avalanche risk is greater than three and always with safety equipment of avalanche beacon, probe and shovel. The name Pleynet is a corruption of the 18th century name Playnay - flat part of the valley.


The name Prapoutel is a contraction of the words Pra - grazing land and Pouta, the high point of an alpage. Prapoutel is the glitzy, residential part of the Sept Laux constellation. It is also the easiest to reach by car. It consists of two major bowls, the unpisted Bedina which is outside the ski domain and the controlled Vallons de la Jasse.

Combe de la Bedina

dent de bedina

Dent de Bedina

This is a large open bowl to the south of the station. There are no ski lifts in the bowl but the mid section, the col de Bedina, can be reached from the Lac draglift if it is open or after a climb of some 150 meters. It is also possible to traverse around to the col from the Vallons slopes. The slopes are about 25 to 30 degrees at this point, keep to the right hand side of the bowl to rejoin a small track which leads back into the station. This is quite flat for some 300 meters and not much fun on a snowboard. The alternative is to enter from one of the couloirs of the Dent de Bedina. This requires a traverse from the Col de Pouta via an airy ridge (there is about 100 vertical meters of climbing). The ridge has some equipment which makes this slightly less daunting. From the Cime de la Jasse it is possible to ski over to the Dent de Bedina. There are some cliffs at around 2100 meters - these may be skiable if there is a lot of snow otherwide keep to the left of the bown under the Jas des Lievres then track across right under the Col de Bedina.

Danger of avalaches under the cliffs of the Bedina and in the couloirs.

Vallons de la Jasse

Vallons de la Jasse

Vallons de la Jasse

The Combe de la Jasse is accessed from the Pouta lift, from the Col (2400m) a track traverses around to the left and through a small but steep gap. This leads into a wide, sunny valley that will take you back to the Pouta chair.

The Stèque

The Stèque du haut is a little off-piste that tracks down between the Chamois and the Etagne pistes. From the Col du Pouta join the Chamois red, this is a track, where it joins the Etang keep going straight to a ridge, afterwards there is a large and fairly steep slope taht rejoins the Chamois by the snowpark. The itineary continues, this section is called the Stèque du bas, take the Cabris red and after a few meters vere off to the right into a large couloir, at the bottom you join the green Chanterelle piste.


From the top of the Eterlou chair turn left from the Biche blue onto a convex slope. The start is sun and wind exposed and is often crusty. Recross the Biche above some wooden fencing and follow the slope down passed a wooden chalet to the bottom of the Eterlou chair. The snow is usually better at this point. In the same sector it is possible to continue straight from the Girolle piste where it turns right under the ridges to join the Biche blue. There are frequent avalanches in this sector.

Oursière Sector

From the top of the Oursière chair there is the Plan du Pra black. A fearsome bump run that is not pisted. Track right from this run to access the Montagne du Pra where it is possible to rejoin the Oursière by the Chalet du Pra path. This avoids the Pouta chair which doesn't always run but misses the top of the Vallons du Pouta.

Roche Noire

The Roche Noire drag lift has been removed so accessing these slopes requires a short walk from the path that leads up from the Col de Pipay. It is then possible to ski down to the Oursière chair on rolling, sunny slopes that cross the Coulemelle blue. These slopes are best just after fresh snowfall.


Pipay is reached from a side road on the way to Prapoutel. It is quite a bit further to drive and part of the road runs through a nature area and is not gritted and is often quite icy. There is no accomodation but there is a great chalet restaurant and a ski hire shop. The area is popular with day trippers as it is sunnier than Prapoutel and the Telecombi cabin is warmer on winter days.

Dome d'Oudis

From the top of the Grand Serf or Eterlou chairs take the Biche blue. After about a hundred meters track off to the right. It is possible to ski directly north, crossing under the cables of the Grand Serf into a steep bowl. Alternatively keep the cables to the right and the Rhodos black to the left to ski a steep slope which eventually joins the Chanterelle, ski in the direction of Pipay and take the slopes down between the trees to join the Mataru red.

From Pleynet there is some short off-piste between the Chanterelle green accessed by the Embruneraie chair and the Pipay.

Aigle Chair

There is some interesting between the pistes from the Aigle chair. Turn either left or right from the top of the chair for a short 100m slope that rejoins the pistes at a crossroads. From here you can ski either to the right or left of the chair cables. Skiing to the right eventually crosses the Rosée des Prés blue via some natural pipes and some steep slopes between the trees.

Other Routes

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