Minimum altitude: 1,210 meters
Distance: 62.9 km
Slope Aspect: North-West
Vertical Climbed: 6,389 meters (20,962 feet)
Vertical Descended: 6,388 meters
La Plagne is a bit smaller since our last trip. The old Bellecôte and Chiaupe glacier chair lifts have been removed, the Chiaupe glacier melted due to climate change and the permafrost has become unsafe. Until last winter there were a couple of reds and a black piste on the glacier. Remains of the summer ski area that operated until 2004. 55 hectares of terrain from 3250 meters altitude. 38 fewer pylons. A new 10 seater gondola lift taking a different route to a rock outcrop at 3060 meters altitude keeps La Plagne in the exclusive club of the 3000m stations, but only just. At the time of our visit the lift was still awaiting approval to open from the authorities.
We started our day in Montalbert because the Champagny car parking is now paid. A good choice as it was easy to park near the ski runs even during Christmas break. A small queue was starting to build, a warning of what was to come. We did a couple of tours of the Roches chair via the Blue, the reds were closed, washed out by the recent rain. Over to Plagne center and massive queues at all the lifts. We finally settled on the Bergerie, a 15 minute wait. Same situation at l'Arpette with very poor queue management. Sometimes a single person getting on an 8 seat chair, madness with the queues building. Finally some calm over at Montchavin where you can do 1200 meters of vert in a single run.
Finally time was running so up and over the Roche de Mio to get back into Center via the Verduns and avoiding the Belle Plagne queue madness. We finished with Palsembleu black for the cherry on the cake. We'd taken a look at les Coqs but it looked like it could have been a faff picking our way down between the trees and rocks. A great run back to Montalbert and the car.
Almost perfect snow. A bit of ice or scrapped snow lower down. In the sun it was spring snow off piste in the afternoon but chalky powder off piste on north sector slopes.
Very good. Many made snow with some ice on lower slopes. Warm and sunny.