Ski Lifts in La Plagne
La Plagne has about 60 lifts and most are modern high-capacity lifts, although there are some bottlenecks at peak times in peak season. Intermediates and above have the choice of buying either the full Paradiski lift pass or just a La Plagne lift pass which can be extended to include Les Arcs for a day by paying a daily supplement. There are also free nursery lifts and some good value special lift passes for near novices.
La Plagne Ski Lifts and Lift Queues
In general terms the lift system in La Plagne is pretty good. The areas are well linked although it does take a long time to return to the main bowls around Belle Plagne and Plagne Centre from either Champagny, Montchavin or Les Coches. (Plagne Montalbert is almost as far away but it has much faster lifts). The bottlenecks of old have also mostly disappeared but not entirely. The worst queues tend to be at:
Funiplagne (Plagne Centre to Grand Rochette): it’s a very efficient lift but lots of people want to use it at the start of the day, particularly ski-schools, so try to avoid it between 9.15am and 9.45am (instead take Colorado, then Verdons Nord).
Bergerie (Plagne Centre to Plagne Bellecote): another efficient lift which in peak season gets crowded both at the start and the end of the day because it’s the main route from the central bowl to Plagne Bellecote, Belle Plagne, Les Arcs and the glacier. If you’re staying in Plagne Soleil or Plagne Villages, try to use Aollets or Dou du Praz instead.
Colosses (Plagne Bellecote to the central bowl): the reverse of Bergerie, but affected by the same traffic except this time going in the opposite direction. Blanchets followed by Verdons Sud is a much longer route back but is much more pleasant than standing in a lift queue.
Becoin Lift (Plagne Centre to Becoin and Plagne Aime 2000): gets crowded at the end of the day because it’s the most obvious route home for people staying in Plagne Aime 2000 and Montalbert, and gives access to the steep blacks off Becoin/Biolley. If you are simply returning to Montalbert consider the alternative route of descending to Plagne 1800 then using the 1800 chair lift, which takes you to about the same point and crucially gets you high enough to ski down to the Envers/Adrets lift station.
Belle Plagne/Roche de Mio lift: this is probably the last great bottleneck in the La Plagne lift system. Some of the best skiing in la Plagne is on the glacier and at Roche de Mio and the quickest route to these slopes (unless you’re based in Montchavin or Les Coches) is the old, low-capacity gondola to Roche de Mio that starts from a base station just above Plagne Bellecote, and passes through a mid-station at Belle Plagne, where even more skiers try to squeeze into any gondolas that are not completely full. ( This is usually the best option if you are staying in Belle Plagne, and don’t mind your group getting split up with each person going up the mountain in a different gondola.) But at peak periods, an even better option is not to take this gondola at all, and instead go to Roche de Mio via Blanchets followed by Carella which gets you to the same destination with far less queues.
La Plagne Lift Passes
For most skiers the choice is between the full Paradiski pass (which includes Les Arcs) or simply the La Plagne pass. La Plagne passes can be extended by the day to include Les Arcs as well, but if you do this three times it will almost certainly be more expensive than getting a 6 day Paradiski pass, and if you do it twice, any savings will be marginal. Bear in mind where you are based in La Plagne before deciding: most skiers based in Montalbert won’t go to Les Arcs more than once a week, whilst most skiers based in Les Coches will cross over much more regularly.
Off-piste skiers returning from itineraries that descend from the north face of Bellecote into the Peisey-Nancroix valley below Les Arcs, and simply want to use the Vanoise Express to return to la Plagne without actually skiing in the Les Arcs ski area can buy cheap single-use tickets which cover only this lift. They are also popular with families with small children based in les Coches who just want to ride the double-decker lift.
Many of the La Plagne nursery lifts are free but rules vary for each village.
For beginners and near novices, there may also be cheaper passes limited to local areas and/or specified beginner-friendly runs. Montchavin-Les Coches, Plagne Montalbert and Champagny en Vanoise have these and there is also a central one covering the shortest and easiest blue runs in te central bowls. The Montalbert beginners pass is particularly worthwhile because the village has 3 sets of nursery slopes (in Montalbert, in the trees at the top of the Grangette lift, and at the top of Le Formelet).