Sat, 26 January 2019
Minimum altitude: 1,350 meters
Distance: 37.5 km
Slope Aspect: VariousTrip Reports
Vertical Descended: 4,900 meters
Located in the heart of the Belledonne mountain range between Chambery and Grenoble the 7 Laux ski resort has three sectors:
In the east le Pleynet (1450m) is located at the top of the picturesque Haut Bréda valley and is surrounded by the majestic summits of the Jasse, Belle Etoile and Rocher Blanc. It is a good plan early in the day as it catches the morning sun. There is a border cross and some limited cross country skiing as well as extensive ski touring opportunities.
In the west the main resort is Prapoutel (1350 m), with restaurants, shops, a cinema, discotheque, cash-point. There is also nordic skiing and snowshoeing and ski touring trips into the popular Venetier valley. Also in the west, Pipay (1550 m) is the main entry for day trippers, it has ski hire and a self service restaurant. Be careful not to get stuck in the wrong part of the ski area at closing at it is a long journey by road. The west side of the ski area is good in the afternoon, especially in the winter.
The 7 Laux boasts a modern, fast and efficient lift system, as of 2019 it is one of the best in the French Alps. There are a claimed 120 km of ski runs located between 1350 and 2400 m making it the fourth largest in the Dauphiné region but it is arguably the second best domain, after l'Alpe d'Huez for serious skiers in search of long, steep runs. As a consequence it is very popular with Grenoble freeride crowd (pop. 700,000) and gets skied out hours after fresh snowfall. The area has unpisted freeride spots of the Vallons du Pra and Vallons de la Jasse as well as the possibility to ski the Combe de Bedina. The black "Chien" piste is one of the steepest in the alps. There is a snowpark and airbag.
We've never seen so many people at les 7 Laux. Of course we don't come during the school holidays but in January. Probably the threat of poor weather tomorrow had pulled a whole weekends of crowds up to the ski area. There were some queues on the lifts but a lot of people on the pistes. The downside of a very efficient lift system. As a consequence we probably did a couple of runs less than normal. The whole area had been pretty much tracked out on Friday and Saturday morning, even the more extreme routes such as the West face of the Roche Noire.
Powder, somewhat heavy in places, off piste. Probably around 20-30cm depth but still rocks in places, especially where there has been a lot of traffic.
Snow on the roads from the fork with Prapoutel.
Pistes mix of hard, scralped snow and powder depending on traffic. Many pistes far too busy, we saw a lot of accidents.