La Plagne in December 2019 – What weather to expect & what to do
The new season is almost upon us
Snow has been falling over the slopes of La Plagne since early October, with further accumulations through November, resulting in an already-impressive cover across the area. The resort is currently reporting a base of 15cm in the villages with over a metre up high – very encouraging considering we’re still one week from opening day.
In many ways, this season is shaping up in a similar style to the epic winter of 2017/18, a year which saw record-breaking snowfalls across the Tarentaise resorts and, in particular, La Plagne. With longer-term outlooks hinting at continued low temperatures with more snow, things couldn’t be in better shape for such an early stage pre-season.
December weather & snow conditions in La Plagne
In recent years, December has brought some of the most consistent snowfall (and some of the best conditions) of the entire season, so now’s the time to start planning those festive breaks. Alternatively, if you can spare the time, the week before Christmas is one of the quietest – not to mention, cheapest – of the whole year. Christmas and New Year obviously see the resort far livelier but, if you fancy a cheeky early festive break, the opening week will have you clocking up serious miles on deserted runs.
La Plagne Snow Report & Forecast
December Events in La Plagne
Of course, at this time of year, everything is gearing up for the Christmas holidays – and, really, there’s no better place to be over the festive period than in a ski resort. In particular, La Plagne does a great job of catering for families but also has the Pompon Rouge party if you fancy something a bit livelier. We’ll be covering the full plans for Christmas and New Year in a subsequent article but, for now, here are some key dates in La Plagne for the coming weeks.
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La Plagne opening – December 14th
La Plagne’s lifts will again start turning on December 14th, heralding the start of another season. The altitude resorts are always first to open so you’ll want to be in accommodation above 1800 for easy access. In this first week, you can expect the hill to be empty – literally ride down, ride up – zero queues. At this time of year, it’s mostly just locals and saisonnaires out riding. Best of all, the ski schools are non-existent this early in the season. Terrain-wise, expect everything from Roche de Mio down into the Bellecôte bowl and over to Plagne Centre/Aime to be open. The glacier bubble also occasionally runs, though it is rare for this area to be open so early. Note, all areas below 1800 remain closed but what is open still gives a huge, very quiet area to play in.
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Paradiski opening – December 21st
Saturday 21st sees the opening of La Plagne’s full ski area down into the satellites of Montchavin, Montalbert and Champagny sectors. The Vanoise Express link across to Les Arcs will also open, thereby effectively doubling the ski area (425km total). This is the day the resort really kicks into gear and season 2019/20 will properly get underway. However, as it’s Saturday, both resorts will still feel relatively quiet with the majority of holidaymakers still in transfers. Saturday evening will be the first busy night in resort while Sunday 22nd will see the hill transformed back again into a busy, bustling ski resort. Note – if you want to take advantage of the quiet Saturday (and get an extra day riding), the best options are taking the SnowTrain to Aime in the valley followed by bus/taxi up to resort or to drive. Saturday is always the quietest day in any of the Tarentaise resorts, and well worth taking advantage of if you can.
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Meteorological Encounters – December 20th-21st
The rather oddly-named “Meteorological Encounters” is actually a series of climate conferences being held in La Plagne to discuss the effects of global warming and climate change in general. Journalists, scientists and mountain/ski professionals will attend to discuss their visions of how to deal with this ever-increasing threat as we face a new reality of life in the Anthropocene.
Weather in La Plagne
Start of season parties – 14th onwards
There are always numerous start of season events as the clubs, bars and restaurants across the resort open their doors once more for another year. And, of course, there’s also the inevitable influx of young, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed saisonnaires full of energy and always up for a party. Oh, how that changes as the season progresses!
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The first week of the season is a fun time to be in La Plagne as the resort slowly wakes back up again and mountain life resumes. If you can spare the time, you’ll get some of the best skiing and snowboarding of the year on very quiet runs. Night-times are also less hectic than at any other time through the year, though you will inevitably bump into overly-enthusiastic, gap-year saisonnaires, but queues in the bars are rare and there’s just a generally chilled ambience throughout the resort. If you can manage it, it’s one of the best times of the year to be here.
Stuart Hamilton is the Creative Director of Snow-Guru, Snowboard-App and Ski-App - a range of Android skiing and snowboarding apps aimed at improving your time in the mountains. He also runs iRide Ski and Snowboard app, available for both Apple iOS and Android.
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