While season 2018/19 might not have seen the monumental snowfalls of last year, it’s still been a very successful year in La Plagne with high visitor numbers, much more pleasant weather and adequate snow depths which will easily see us through to the end.
With such reliable snow cover, La Plagne’s place in the list of the world’s top ski areas remains assured keeping the resort busy year on year. Indeed this area is the globe's most popular, most visited ski area so, if La Plagne is your chosen ski destination, you’d be well-advised to plan ahead. Here’s just a few reasons why early booking the resort is a good idea.
World’s most popular ski resort
As stated above, La Plagne holds the enviable record of being the world’s most visited ski area. It’s little wonder when you consider the majority of the terrain here lies firmly within the intermediate bracket and the resort itself goes out of its way to be family-friendly. While there is a plethora of accommodation options, the major holiday periods are always popular and the beds fill quickly. If, like many people, you’re somewhat bound by school holidays, you really are best advised to book well in advance to be sure of finding accommodation. All the Tarentaise resorts get busy over the Christmas, mid-term and Easter holiday periods but this place even more so.
Roche de Mio gondola replacement
The aging Roche de Mio gondola is scheduled for replacement by a new high-speed version ready for next season. The original gondola is showing its age these days both in terms of design and speed, and queues can often be horrendous for this lift in the busy holiday periods. The new replacement will whisk skiers and snowboarders to the top of the mountain in record time, resulting in substantially reduced queue times. The Roche de Mio gondola serves both Plagne Bellecôte and Belle Plagne, and accesses a key access point for much of the area including the Champagny side and the Bellecôte glacier, as well as the multiple runs which cascade into the Bellecôte bowl. Consequently, it is always popular. While the renovation is well overdue, it will vastly improve lift access on this side of the mountain, meaning more hill-time rather than lift-time.
EasyJet flights for winter 2020 went on sale in April 2019. Tickets were made available for all winter destinations through the period October 27th 2019 to March 28th 2020. In other words, all the popular periods including Christmas, New Year and the all-important February half-term holidays. If you’re travelling as a family and need to work around school holidays, you would be well-advised to book early to avoid missing the flights you want. Winter flights are always busy but particularly so when the kids are off.
Along with its neighbour Les Arcs, La Plagne is one of the few resorts in the Alps that can be accessed directly from London by train. In fact, La Plagne and Les Arcs are the only resorts in this area with a train station directly at the foot of their respective mountains, meaning extremely easy and fast transfers when you arrive. The resort is served by the train station at Aime, from where there are regular buses up the hill direct to all the main stations (or you could get a taxi if you prefer). By taking the Snowtrain, it’s possible to travel overnight and be skiing by Saturday lunchtime while most other travellers are still stuck in transfer queues or at the airport. As a result, this service is extremely popular and sells out quickly. Tickets went on sale from the main Eurostar website in July and are always in high demand, so early booking really is essential to get the dates you want.
Depending on your chosen transfer company, lifts to and from the mountain can also become quickly over-subscribed, particularly over the main school holiday periods. As above, if you have a particular date in mind, there’s little point delaying booking your transfer and risking disappointment. It could mean the difference between a very long wait at the airport when you arrive or more or less stepping straight onto a waiting coach.
Most popular stations in the most popular resort
While La Plagne is generally regarded as one resort, the truth is it’s a collection of stations each with its own unique identity and personality. In general, families will tend to gravitate to resorts like Plagne Villages, Soleil, Montchavin or Champagny, while younger people might be more drawn to Belle Plagne, 1800, Centre or Bellecôte which tend to have better nightlife. Whichever your particular choice, there are a limited number of beds in each so if you have a specific resort in mind, you’d be best booking early to be sure of finding accommodation.
Also, unlike many other ski resorts, La Plagne stays busy through most of the season. In general, the quietest times are the two or three weeks after Christmas and the lull between the February mid-term break and Easter (though it can still be quite busy, even then). If you want to be sure of being in one specific part of the resort, our advice would be early booking. It’s commonly almost essential.
Skiing and snowboarding aren’t exactly the cheapest pastimes, and the cost of a winter trip soon mounts up by the time you’ve included flights, transfers, accommodation, passes, food, etc., etc. And, anyway, who doesn’t enjoy saving a few extra pennies on the cost of their holiday? As the summer progresses, you’ll often find suppliers put on special deals to entice you back to the area again.
It’s win-win from everyone’s point of view – the operators benefit from the assurance of confirmed guests for the coming season, while you can often reap lower prices. It’s worth checking out individual operator websites through summer to see if you can grab a bargain. As the season approaches and accommodation becomes scarcer, you’ll often see prices start to rise (the same applies to all other services noted above).
With a ski area that ranges from 1250m to 3250m, La Plagne is guaranteed good snow through the season. Sure, if you’re staying in some of the lower resorts you may often need to venture a little higher to find the best conditions, but the area’s combined station heights mean you can book this resort well in advance with the safety of knowing there will definitely be snow when you arrive. The same cannot be said for many other, lower ski areas.
There are a multitude of reasons why La Plagne remains so popular, and you, no doubt, will have your own reasons why you like to holiday here. If like so many others you have a soft spot for the resort, then really there isn’t any advantage to booking your trip late. In most cases the time of last-minute deals seems long gone, and most operators prefer to reward the early bird rather than the late. If La Plagne is where you want to ski or snowboard next year, our advice would definitely be to get in early and reserve your dates. If for no other reason, it’ll mean you can relax over the summer months anticipating your next winter escapade.