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La Plagne in mid/late April?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Medium-term lurker but first time poster.

The OH and I have been bitten by the bug and are looking at a late season second ski trip. We're both relative beginners (we've had some snowdome lessons, I had a week with in St. Anton last year and we both had a week in Val d'Isere in January).

We've been looking for somewhere with nice open pistes we can cruise around, take some lessons and make some progress technique-wise before next year's trip with friends. Due to work and family commitments we can't get away until around 14-15th April, and we want to do it the 'easy way' through a tour operator with catered chalet or half-board hotel.

From what I can tell La Plagne ticks all of our boxes (plus the apres looks quiet enough that we're unlikely to go there with our friends!) and there are some reasonably priced packages for places in Plagne 1800 around, but is the snow likely to still be ok that late in the season? Or should we really be looking at somewhere like Val Thorens or at going back to Espace Killy at that point in the season?

Thanks in advance!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Trwoodward, Welcome to snowHeads snowHead
Great idea but I would go a bit higher than 1800, just in case.
Have a look at Plagne Villages, Belle Plagne and Plagne Soleil.
For example http://www.ice-fire.co.uk/catered-ski-holiday-chalets-france/chalet-bon-vie-plagne-village
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Trwoodward, Though there is nothing certain about snow levels or condition I have skied late April in Les Arcs and had a good time. Even last Easter when the bottoms of the runs were decidely bare the piste managers kept a strip of snow open to the bottom lifts (including the Vanoise Express) the upper pistes above 2200 metres were good. The upper pistes of La Plagne are about the same height as the upper pistes of both Tignes and Val Thorens.

Like @boredsurfin, I would prefer to stay in one of the higher villages such as Belle Plagne largely because they feel more connected to the skiing.

Remember the factor 50 sun block and be prepared to call it a day early in the afternoon if the snow becomes too heavy. Relax and simply enjoy it.
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La Plagne doesn't offer a.lot of skiing above 2500m which makes it a big gamble. Espace Killy or VT are much better bet. Even when conditions are great, La Plagne isn't the best of the high altitude French resorts and often comes up in 'resorts I wouldn't be too keen to go back to' on Snowheads discussions.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
The other problem with La Plagne is that all the links between the different areas come down relatively low, around 1800m in Plagne Centre for example. I think Les Arcs is a better bet in mid April.
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cameronphillips2000 wrote:
La Plagne .... often comes up in 'resorts I wouldn't be too keen to go back to' on Snowheads discussions.

Usually based on the architecture and a visit 15 years ago, and of course a comment recently, that said the villages had no atmosphere! What? All 14 of them....
However, in other places it is highly praised for its extensive area, its well connected layout, and extensive off piste. For some reason despite the views expressed by a tiny but vocal minority of snowHeads it is the most visited ski resort in the world.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@Trwoodward, I skied in mid April in La Plagne in 2013 (also a good snow season). The skiing was great, and it was very quiet - hardly anyone else around on piste. Very end of season atmosphere though, restaurants etc were starting to close and very very quiet in resort.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Iíve skied twice second week of April staying in belle plagne. One year was the best conditions Iíve ever skied in. The typewriter before last wasnít as good but there was plenty of skiing. I ski there now with an adaptive ski group. Check that the tour operators are still taking bookings that week and is the resort staying open. Subject to that I think there will be enough skiing to keep you happy. The skiing suits intermediate skiing with lots of cruises runs. The villages arenít very characterless and in one or two cases downright ugly.
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@dan100, I think some of the major tour operators such as Crystal and Neilson have their last departures around the 7th April so it may be worth the OP looking at independent travel although they appear to have found some deals for their dates.
The higher altitude villages are open until the 28th April and the lower altitude villages are open until the 22nd April this season so the full ski area will be open the week commencing the 14th April.
If they want a bit of character they can stop in one of the more traditional villages with gondola access to 2000 metres such as Champagny or Montalbert.

@MontyP, Plagne centre is at 1970 metres and most of the skiing is above 2000 metres. Plagne Bellecote which is the one of the main links is at 1930 metres. The lowest 'high altitude' village is Plagne 1800 which isn't really a village that could be described as a link to other parts of the ski area.
We've been here at the end of the season for the last 15 years and I can only think of one year (2011) when the majority of the ski area was closed.
They do a wonderful job of keeping the links open until the end of season even in years when the snowfall hasn't been great. This season should not be a problem considering snow depths are currently 400cm at the Glacier and 230cm at 2000metres, it's one of the best years for snowfall in over 30 years.
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Trwoodward, if you want to use a TO, then skichampcouk is right that your major problem will be finding one going out mid April - this may decide your resort for you.
As to where, all 3 of your resorts would be fine. Those concerned about La Plagne's altitude seem to forget Val d'Isere is at "only" 1850m.
Even so, despite being a La plagne fan, i would choose Val Thorens.
You might meet up with the Bashers.
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@Trwoodward, you should be able to strike up a good deal for that week. Best leave it until a few days before to get the best prices - assuming you are using a TO.

Very little odds Paradiski v Killy v 3V IMO. They will all have high altitude skiing and lots of snow cannons on link runs. I wouldn't sweat staying higher up. Where you stay is just a base for your day, as long as you can get to and from it at the start/end of the day it's not going to make much odds.
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
skichampcouk wrote:
@dan100, I think some of the major tour operators such as Crystal and Neilson have their last departures around the 7th April so it may be worth the OP looking at independent travel although they appear to have found some deals for their dates.
The higher altitude villages are open until the 28th April and the lower altitude villages are open until the 22nd April this season so the full ski area will be open the week commencing the 14th April.
If they want a bit of character they can stop in one of the more traditional villages with gondola access to 2000 metres such as Champagny or Montalbert.

@MontyP, Plagne centre is at 1970 metres and most of the skiing is above 2000 metres. Plagne Bellecote which is the one of the main links is at 1930 metres. The lowest 'high altitude' village is Plagne 1800 which isn't really a village that could be described as a link to other parts of the ski area.
We've been here at the end of the season for the last 15 years and I can only think of one year (2011) when the majority of the ski area was closed.
They do a wonderful job of keeping the links open until the end of season even in years when the snowfall hasn't been great. This season should not be a problem considering snow depths are currently 400cm at the Glacier and 230cm at 2000metres, it's one of the best years for snowfall in over 30 years.


@skichampcouk, fair point. But IME (first week of April in La Plagne, Val d'Isere, Les Arcs in each of the last 3 years) La Plagne seemed to suffer the most in the afternoons. In the other resorts it seemed possible to stay higher and only have to do the slushy resort run once at the end of the day. Of course it's very difficult to compare different years as the conditions can be so different. I had some friends who went to La Plagne two weeks later than us last year and they had better conditions!
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Wow, thanks everyone for the responses, they've been really helpful. We were reasonably set on La Plagne as long as it isn't going to be too much of a risk, and from the responses it doesn't sound like it is. We'd like to go to Val Thorens at some point but there's a chance we'll head there next year with friends so wanted to avoid it unless it was the only sensible option.

Tour operators are definitely the limiting factor, and we'll probably DIY in the future, but this time round we want things to be as easy as possible. The bigger operators do mostly stop the week before but a few of the smaller ones are still going that week, although there's not a huge amount of availability. Having looked around a bit more we've found somewhere in Plagne Centre near the lifts that looks good (with better flights than the options in 1800 too!) so we'll probably go for that.

Keeping my fingers crossed that the crazy snow earlier this season means that it'll hold up ok in April - feels only fair since we lost a couple of days of our Val d'Isere trip to it!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
How was your trip? I'm contemplating a trip 13th - 20th April 2019 to either La Plagne or Tignes
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