La Plagne Off Piste

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La Plagne has a reputation as the definitive resort for intermediates with long gentle reds and blues. Curiously the resort brochure does not contain a single picture of anyone skiing on-piste and only one of a ski lift! Maybe this is not surprising as only the easily exploited slopes are pisted and as a result the area features some of the planet's most awesome off-piste skiing. The North Face of the Bellecôte rivals anything you might find at la Grave and the exposure and steepness of the couloirs will have Chamonix freeride blowhards soiling their salopettes.

Roche de Mio

The area under and to the left (looking up) of the Roche de Mio chairlift and in the bowl under le Tougne provide some introductory off-piste with fairly gentle slopes. It is possible to walk along the ridge towards the Pointe du Tougne to access this bowl higher up. This also leads to the Arriérés valley and then to the Rossa chairlift.

paraglider launch from the Roche de Mio

For those that don't like the 200 meter descent that the bubble lift makes before climbing to the Bellecôte it is possible to get out at the Roche de Mio, ski down behind the mountain restaurant and descend into the Rosset couloirs to the Chalet de Bellecôte chair to rejoin the bubble lift at the Col de la Chiaupe or to continue to the Bauches 900 meters further below. Watch out for cliffs and this is not somewhere to be in high avalanche risk as the moist South-Westerlies fill the couloirs with snow.

The large Vélières bowl leads down to Champagny-en-Haut. The easy skiing terminates abruptly in cliffs just above Champagny. It is possible to descend the last 200 meters on foot using the summer footpath.

Off-piste slope in la Plagne

Grande Rochette

la Grande Rochette

The South East face of the Grande Rochette offers a number of off-piste routes and easy couloirs. From the cable car station you can go straight on or descend to Mira piste for 200 meters and then ski down the ridge onto the slopes. This is also an ideal area for spring skiing. The area is clearly visible from the Verdons and Rossa chair.

Roc des Verdons

The Grande Rochette and Roc des Verdons are separated by a small saddle some 200 meters lower down. If you are staying towards Belle Plagne and find yourself at the top of the Roc de Verdons after 4pm you may not have enough time to make the connecting lifts. You have two choices, climb to the Grande Rochette which offers direct skiing back to the north side of the bowl or take the shuttle bus from la Plagne. There are often long queues for this, a tip is to walk down to pick up the bus before the main body of skiers gets on. Then simply stay on the bus at the loop back.

Luke climbing with his board

Luke climbing with his board

The long Mont de la Guerre piste descends all the way to Champagny and offers some variants for people discovering off-piste for the first time. It is also possible to ski down to the villages of Lachenal and beyond with a return by taxi to Champagny.

Steph off piste in la Plagne - Verdons sector

Steph off piste in la Plagne - Verdons sector

Le Biolley

The Morbleu black can give beginners an introduction to backcountry skiing as it is not normally pisted on its upper sections. Les Etroits is sometimes listed as a black and sometimes as a red itinerary. Again it doesn't seem to get pisted and leads into a large, cold bowl that can keep powder many days after the last fall, especially when the Crêtes drag lift is closed. In this case the Becoin bowl provides some varied and un-pisted terrain. It should be noted that the Crêtes has probably been closed due to the avalanche risk, worth checking with the pisteurs. From the top of the Crêtes there are often footprints that climb a small ridge then follow the contour around to a saddle, from here it is possible to climb to the Becoin or descend to rejoin the Etroits bowl. This is also the start of the climb to Mont Jovet (touring skis or attachments recommended) and the long descent to Notre Dame du Pré (return by taxi).

Walking to reach back bowl

Walking to reach a back bowl

Belle Plagne

The summit of l'Arpette and Mont St Jacques (30 minutes on foot) offer tree line descents to the Charmettes chair and to le Sauget. Under some snow conditions it is even possible to ski down to the valley floor at Macot.

La Plagne Backcountry Map

The IGN 3532 ET topomap covers most of the area, for the Champagny sector you will need IGN 3534 OT.

Our La Plagne Off Piste Map covers the routes we have described.

la Plagne Off Piste / Hors Piste Plan

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