When your family and friends want to go skiing, but it really isn't your cup of tea, don't panic. You don't have to ski or snowboard to enjoy a memorable holiday in a ski resort.
Whilst La Plagne is a great place to come skiing, there are many activities here to suit a non-skier of all ages and tastes.
Here are some great ideas for you:
- Buy a pedestrian pass and jump on a lift
- Go to après-ski along with everyone else
- Ride a skidoo, horse drawn sleigh or huskies
- Book a tandem flight
- Go snowshoeing or ski-touring
- Go to the sports centre
- Visit a spa for some relaxation
- Book a restaurant for lunch
- Visit a grotto or see a film
- Learn nordic skiing - you might just like it!
Snow fun without the skis
Buy a pedestrian pass
Enjoy the mountains as a non-skier by buying a pedestrian lift pass. It provides access to many activities and mountain restaurants. Over half of the mountain restaurants can be reached on foot by ski lift, so it's entirely possible to meet up with your family and friends for some fine dining. La Plagne has some beautiful winter walks through the trees below the main area in and around Montalbert, Montchavin and Les Coches. These trails zig-zag their way through the forests of fir, larches, spruces and Swiss pines, often with astounding views over to Mont Blanc in the distance. In particular, the Enchanted Pastures around Montalbert will delight children and adults alike with surprises round every corner. Easy routes are possible in sturdy hiking boots or snowshoes after a heavy snowfall. You can pick up a guide from the tourist office. Always dress for the weather - layers are the key, sunglasses and sun cream are vital even on a cloudy day. Stick to the trails, respect the environment and be aware of changing conditions.
Après-ski with everyone else
You don't have to ski to enjoy "après-ski". Meet up with the rest of your group in a local bar and share stories from your day over a beer. The floodlit rink at Bellecôte is the place to head if ice skating’s your thing. Set just above the main building near the foot of the Roche de Mio gondola, the natural rink is perfect for beginners with a special area reserved just for novices. Alternatively, grab a sled and head to one of the free sledging zones.
And if that doesn't offer enough spills and thrills you must try out the Olympic Bobsleigh run. It’s a truly once in a lifetime experience and you should really do it while you’re here. Choose to ride solo in the Speed Luge, in a group of four in the Bob Raft (a padded self-driving, self-braking bobsleigh) or in a full competition bobsleigh complete with professional driver (Bob Racing). Bob Racing is the fastest, reaching speeds up to 120kmh – a complete thrill. However you go down, this really is one not to be missed.
If you still want to feel the rush of riding downhill, perhaps Airboard might be more to your taste. The Airboard is essentially an inflatable body board which you ride a little like the skeleton – head-first and at speed. After a short instruction course, you’ll soon be flying your way along the 5km track from Aime 2000 all the way down to La Roche.
Drive a dog sled or skidoo
Whether on a sledge drawn by horses, a faster one pulled by huskies, or riding your own skidoo, there is an excursion choice to suit all levels of adrenaline. Horse-drawn sledge rides can be found in Champagny-en Vanoise, the huskies can be found racing around on the slopes of the Dou du Praz, and skidoo trips run in the evening from Belle Plagne and can be done either solo or as a duo. Remember to take or borrow some goggles for the skidooing, especially if there's powder.
Book a tandem flight
Take to the skies for a bird's eye view of the mountains with a tandem paragliding flight, or book yourself onto a helicopter tour.
Snowshoeing and ski-touring
You can really get away from it all and disappear into nature on some snowshoes (raquettes). Book a snowshoe excursion with an activity company to see a side of the mountains that most skiers will never see. Full-day, half-day and night-time options are available to take you into the heart of the mountains – from the highest peaks to the wildest valleys. Equipment and transport are usually included, check when you book.
If you've decided the days of skiing up the mountain all-day, every-day, are well behind you, those with previous skiing / snowboarding experience could try ski touring. There are ski touring routes in resort, and it's a great way to work up a sweat, earning your burger whilst the rest of the world takes the lifts. Hire a guide and pull on some skins for an adventure away from the madding crowd.
Not just a ski resort
La Plagne is so much more than a ski resort. In fact, you can really have a great time here without setting foot on a lift.
Go for a swim
There is an outdoor heated pool with jacuzzi and sauna in Plagne Bellecote, an aquatic centre with indoor and outdoor facilities in Montchavin / Les Coches, and Salle Omnisports in Plagne centre has a gym, sports hall, climbing wall and fitness room. So don't forget to pack your gym kit and a swimsuit (speedo-style only boys).
Book a treatment at the spa
Or if all of that sounds far too active and you really just want to pamper yourself and read your book, or stare at the view, there are numerous spas and treatment rooms you can enjoy. Many hotels have luxury spas which are open to non-guests, and mobile massage companies will arrange to visit you at your chalet or apartment. The Deep Nature Spa in the centre of Belle Plagne brings a taste of opulent indulgence to the resort. The 1500m2 facility houses a counter-current swimming lane, whirlpool baths, Nordic baths, three saunas, a 31m2 hammam, salt grotto and relaxation space in the Spa Area. Six healing rooms offer a range of specialised treatments, while the Family Spa Area features an outdoor aquatic trail (with water heated to 35ºC) with gooseneck shower, waterfall, geysers, water-beds, counter-current walking lane and massage jets for back, leg and foot massages. And all this with a superb view over the mountains and the main Bellecôte bowl.
Book a table
And when you feel hungry, enjoy some slap up French cuisine with a glass of fine local wine - you deserve it. Many local restaurants have well priced lunchtime set menus offering the same cuisine as their main menus, but often with considerable discounts. Some offer wine tasting sessions also.
Visit a grotto or go see a film
Something to do with your skiing friends and family is to visit the Ice Grotto, located at the top of the Plagne Bellecote glacier at 3,417m. The colours inside range from blue to green, plus you'll find sculpted animals and statues, a truly beautiful sight and one not to miss. Or drop into the local Ecrins cinema, grab a box of popcorn and catch up on the latest releases - look for VOST or VO (version originale) for English language films.
Skiing, but not skiing
Still looking for something to occupy your time? There's always cross-country skiing to try. An extremely popular mountain sport, known as 'ski de fond' in France, there are around 453km of cross-country tracks available in the Paradiski area. From conventional track-based skiing, skating or back-country touring, there's something for all levels. You can hire equipment and arrange lessons locally, and the views are to die for!