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La Plagne 2016/2017

 Poster: A snowHead
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Ooh thank you! Shall have to try that. Providing we can get up the Arpette ok.Two lots of French half term plus some of us Brits still off has meant that we haven't managed to get up the Arpette area yet! Can't drop the kids to ski school until 10am at Centre so it's always been way out of the barriers by the time we get there. Back to Easter next year I think, French kids in school so hopefully much quieter. Took 8.5 hours from Lyon to get here on Saturday and that was leaving at 8am Shocked
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Mid week report from us, staying up at Aime 2000 in the Pierres et Vacances accommodation.

Some of the skiing is great, but I have to say, as a seasoned school holidays skier this is the worst resort I've ever encountered for queues. I suspect it's due to the fact that there are so few half station lifts so everyone masses at the same point.

As already said, spring skiing conditions and plenty of brown coming through though the resort is doing a great job to keep things open despite that. Got down to Champagny in the slush yesterday which was fun but a bit of a thigh burner!

Haven't yet got up to the glacier due to queues and ski school pick up responsibilities, but will hopefully manage that today with some tweaks to our arrangements.

So far our party is agreed that the area ranks below VT and Flaine for our skiing preferences, but we're having fun and doing our best to seek out the quicker queues. And still three days to go!
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@Otherworld, what is the first run in your video? We were staying Champagny that week but we only got over the 'other side' a couple of times.
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Just got down to Montalbert for 9:40am. Icy with hints of mud! But I'd rather ski ice than slush so enjoyed it. And no queue at the bottom so that's a bonus!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
af20001 wrote:
@Otherworld, what is the first run in your video? We were staying Champagny that week but we only got over the 'other side' a couple of times.


That's Teppes.
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larkim wrote:
Some of the skiing is great, but I have to say, as a seasoned school holidays skier this is the worst resort I've ever encountered for queues. I suspect it's due to the fact that there are so few half station lifts so everyone masses at the same point.


The worst lift queues last week were for Arpettes at around 4pm, and the Vanoise Express coming back from Les Arcs around the same time. Everything else was OK, apart from the mornIng when the Crystal Neige restaurant burnt to the ground, and the Lac Noir, Plan Bois and Bijolin lifts were all closed down. Montchavin chairlift was heaving, so we gave up and went for an early lunch in Montchavin!
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Ah, rather busier this week by the sounds of things! Arpette has been crazy all week, Colosses and Blanchets very busy too. Only managed to use the Bergerie today.

Larkim, thanks for the tips about MA, won't bother down there again now!

To be fair I had cracking run (contradictory to what I said yesterday) off Kamikaze first thing, Verdons Sud was ok until about 11am. Going straight to the Grand Rochette seems to be working for us after ski school drop off at the mo!
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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!
Snowing in 1800 Smile Raining in Montalbert Sad
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Finished our 6 days, could be two years now before we are back in the Alps.

Plus points for La Plagne from this year's experience:-
- weather was stunningly spring like for Feb
- skiing around Roche De Mio was fab
- north side of Verdons excellent despite the sun and warmth
- down to La Roche each morning from Aime 2000 was always excellent, even laid first tracks on Thursday after the overnight dusting
- Oxygene ski school was excellent for our three boys, they all passed (1 bronze, 1 2ieme ski, 1 polar bear) and the free minibus service from Aime 2000 down and back from lessons was invaluable for our less confident skier and his aunty / uncle who were non skiers and general dogsboddies for us this week!
- the Born To Be show was excellent compared to the usual torch descent ( I know this is only on annually)
- snow conditions held together brilliantly considering the weather, clearly aided by a hard working team in the resort
- snow park on the Ours run was fun and accessible
- P&V Accommodation in Hauts Bois was excellent, if small (to be expected)
- eating out in the empty L'Arlequin at Aime 2000 was delicious and extremely friendly

Minus points:-
- queues in Bellecote!!
- queues for the glacier (we didn't get up there as it just seemed like endless queuing when we could be skiing) - did we miss much?
- lifts don't join up as well as they should - eg petite rochette needs a little drag to get up to the snow park area (we walked up daily), but perhaps it's just a feature of the local geography
- snow getting thin and bare in places (but I can't stress enough that in the main this wasn't an issue)
- too few blacks open (but cf snow conditions)
- lift pass, lessons, ski hire all seemed v expensive compared to Grand Massif or 3 Vallees
- had rubbish skis (separate thread required - but perhaps I'm too much of a cheapskate)
- traffic!!!! Queued from Albertville to get up to resort, horrendous last part of our drive. On return we were stationary in the main street in Aime for 25 minutes, took over 2 hours to pass Moutiers

Clearly some of our minuses come from either the weather or picking a very busy week for the resort, so I can only really blame our kids school holiday dates!!

Enjoy the rest of the season!
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Forgot to mention the two taxi firms that helped us out with transfers. I know it's their job and these fares are never cheap, but I can report that both (especially Laurent from Spiral Cabs) were incredibly efficient in replying to my various emails, flexible, reliable and "did the job". So Spiral Cabs (http://spiralcab.com/) and Christian Bouzon (http://www.bouzon.eu/taxi-laplagne/) did the job for us.
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larkim, i'm sure that is a fair summing up of La Plagne in February.
Queues in Bellecote have always been a problem, and not any better with the new Black and Red Colosses 8-man. You just have to time it right.
Same with the glacier: get up early or try lunchtime.
As for snow conditions: looks like this could be fixed on Tuesday snowHead
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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.
Colosses was reasonable to be fair, rarely longer than 10-12 minutes.

The bubble queue looked immense. We were put off by the fact that the arch over the queue said "20 minutes from here" and the queue came back the same distance again, so we didn't fancy a 40 minute wait. However, that could have been a mistake as perhaps it really isn't 20 from that arch. We decided boarding at Belle Plagne instead was more reliable, but with kids in tow at ski school, getting up to the glacier nice and early wasn't a viable option unfortunately.
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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
I skied today for the first time in four weeks. A combination of a crash that twisted both my knees 4 weeks ago (the recently damaged ACL in the right knee made an audible crack but I was able to walk and ski on it to get home) and the fact that I hate skiing in February due to the amount of people; the busy-ness of the resort also makes me nervous at the moment due to my issues with knees and being scared of crashing again


Anyway - didn't do loads as out with a colleague and we basically skied from bar to restaurant to apres bar Smile Smile



Colorado to Becoin to La Roche (down the blue - far far too many nervous people adding to my nerves on the blue) and then back up to the Golf piste and a stop at the restaurant Aux Bon Vieux Temps for beer and hot choc. So far really impressed with the snow on the pistes. Issues were really only in my head (nervous of knees, I HAVE to be able to drive, so can't afford to crash again!!). Although the blue to La Roche was quite lumpy, which is always a bit exciting!!

Met a friend with no lift pass (long story to do with job and quitting!) so he'd skied from Aime 2000 to ABVT and we all went down the red to Chalet de La Roche

The red to La Roche was very icy. Most of the icy patches were hidden under a thin layer of snow which was somewhat unnerving (for my first ski after so long!)

We stopped at Chalet de La Roche for a late lunch - truffle pizza, very nice!!! a lazy time in the sun. Our pass-less mate got the bus up to Aime 2000 and me and my colleague went up the La Roche lift and skied down to Chauffe Marcel on the blue run into 1800. The three of us were the only customers, which was sad. But what fun. Good music, dancing, sunshine and lots of silliness. Two more friends joined us with one of the girls staying for ten minutes then going to the Bobsleigh pub to watch the rugby, so we went too



All in, I was quite impressed with the pistes given that we've had such a small amount of snow and it really hasn't been as cold as you'd expect in February. It was thin and a little muddy in some places, some pistes (well, only really the red to La Roche that I skied, but apparently a few are similar?) very icy; but, you know, considering the conditions recently, it was all pretty good. And to be fair, any half decent skier without the nervous/scared problems I've got would have a blast Smile

There is more snow forecast for this week apparently and I'm planning to take the pushbike to Albertville and do some cycling on the path to Annecy to help the knees.

I'm told that after this week the resort gets a little quieter, so I might get a bit braver next week (depending on how my knees feel in the morning) Smile Smile

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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
My latest report and photos for Sunday 26 Feb on the Bellecote are now posted in the Final Weeks Feb Half Term 2017 Album on the Les Arcs Winter page. Anyone wanting to join us on one of our days over in La Plagne or in Les Arcs please send me a PM here or over on m the Les Arcs Winter facebook page.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/LesArcsWinter/photos/
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Opening of new Envers lift delayed until March....This cant help! http://dai.ly/x5di76w
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It's been snowing since Tuesday morning Smile Smile Smile Flippin awesome.

Yesterday evening, there was about a foot of snow that fell just in the evening.

They've been working clearing the road/parking in Centre since stupid o'clock this morning. Everytime I woke up from about 3am, it was still snowing. Currently just a light amount falling with the sun trying to come through.

I'm about to go for lunch then drive to Aime in the valley to pick up a friend - here's hoping the snow goes a long way down Smile Smile
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They were test running it last week, but if I'm viewing that correctly and the chair fell off, I think its wise that they don't have it running wink

Can't quite see the point of that lift though. We never queued at La Roche, and whilst it was busy often on the blue down to La Roche it wasn't a disaster zone, even in the busy week we were there.

What problem is it trying to solve? Or is it part of an infrastructure designed to give more capacity to that valley so that more runs and lifts can be extended over that way?

Plenty of snow though, it seems!
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The queues in the last three or four weeks have been huge Sad
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larkim, there used to be a lift there. It was removed, but the mistake was obvious within weeks of the following season.
It was good for doing all those super black runs off the ridge by Aime, and the lovely red run Etroits - its a real pain to have to head all the way down to La Roche.
But La Roche is at 1250m. Way too low for a link, the only way for skiers in Montalbert to get over to the La Plagne main area.
When the snow is bad - as it has been many times this season - the blue run gets very hard and icy, and fills up with timid skiers wishing they were elsewhere.
Imagine being forced to go down to La Praz (Courchevel 1300) in order to get the link over to Meribel. Madness.
It should have been sorted quicker.
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Ah, OK, makes a little more sense. But still those blacks aren't accessible (Etroits is black isn't it, not red?) as Envers only takes you to Aime 2000, not right up to Le Biolley.

Now that is a lift whose absence makes no sense to me. I know skiing down to the Becoin lift is trivial, but a lift from Aime 2000 up to the top would really support a lot of traffic, and being able to do that direct from lower down (either where Envers is based or even just near to the Golf lift) would be ideal.

Has there ever been any talk about opening up the opposite side of the valley that Etroits drops down into? The geography looked skiable to the untrained eye, but obviously if that is national park or protected in some sense then that makes that difficult. Perhaps it was because were based in Aime 2000 we wanted the resort to be centred around us, when in reality we were off to one side, but there is definitely scope for some alternative thinking about the lift structures over there.

@chaletgirl, queues at La Roche? Perhaps because we mainly did it first thing in the morning, at lunch and last thing in the day we didn't see big queues there at all. Most days we were at the lift entrance before 9am though, and the runs down there were often our best of the day down the two reds.
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@larkim, Queues at La Roche at around 10 in the morning are epic, when Club Med meets Montalbert all at the one lift and again at the end of ski school before lunch and afternoon. The blue has been the site of many accidents including a death. Skiers too fast through beginners struggling to get to La Roche seems to be the reason. It is the only piste I have ever seen piste patrollers standing on the piste to control and slow skiers/boarders down and actually 'manning' the slow down barriers!

There was a lift from Aime 2k to near Beacoin but it was seldom used and thus removed. Have a look on the historic piste maps on Perso plagne.

The valley that Etriots and those Blacks all run into did have a licence for LP to expand into but LP have handed it back.
The reason being that the East face of the valley avalanches at the drop of a hat.
The current Morbleu black avalanched across the run out from Etroits twice last season - I posted pics on here somewhere. Those blacks are often shut for good reason.
I suspect that right now there will be 2 or 3 natural avalanches along there today. Therefore the cost of exploitation was unrealistic.

I have skied in LP for many years and the actual ski area has not expanded since Montalbert and Champagny joined!
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boredsurfin wrote:
Opening of new Envers lift delayed until March....This cant help! http://dai.ly/x5di76w


More on this today, it is suggested the chair falling off was part of the the testing. A provisional opening date of March 18th has been set.

www.perso-laplagne.fr
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Staying in Les Arcs but enjoyed second day over. Snow good but queues less so, and lifts constantly stopping. Although I like La Plagne and have had 5 weeks there the ratio of ski time to queue/lift time in Les Arcs is much better. I thought La Plagne was supposed to be upgraded - little sign of it.
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Just arrived at Belle Plagne after a quiet drive from Chambery. Roads are wet and clear until almost the top when snow and high winds start. All lifts closed due to high winds at the moment
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Lifts appear to be open again now
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@boredsurfin, thanks. Can't disagree that the section of the blue below the start of the Envers lift heading down to La Roche was carnage most days; very sad to hear there'd been a death there. We'd obviously managed to miss the queues due to our schedule around the resort.

We were talking about the "slow down" barriers on the way home, and we concluded that they seem to cause more trouble than they solve - and that in many cases moving them higher up the slope, or indeed having two sections of them might make some of those areas safer. It's certainly true that many very confident skiers can make those sorts of areas very hazardous for less confident / capable skiers (and vice versa); the gulf between the very good and the very poor is exaggerated at those sorts of pinch points.
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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.
Yes, larkim, i too reckon those barriers where the wide section of the run goes into the narrower "road" are not helpful.
But they do probably slow down the "bombers" before they meet the terrified beginners coping with the narrow icy start.
Would all be solved if they just doubled the width of the road.

Meantime, lots of snow right down to Montalbert. Up to 65cm forecast. Bring it on! snowHead
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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
Just posted photos of our day in La Plagne yesterday over in the March 2017 Album on the Les Arcs Winter page. Just scroll down towards the end of the album to see what conditions were like. 'Can you ever get bored of powder days? We can't!' Very Happy Toofy Grin snowHead

https://www.facebook.com/pg/LesArcsWinter/photos/
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
@Jonpim, I know speaking as someone who doesn't "bomb" and who struggles with confidence where big piles appear that it isn't the icy narrow road that frightens me (you can simply snow plough straight down there!), it's the slow knee-twisting turns on the lumps and then the icy dip past the barriers themselves that terrifies me!

Great to hear the snow is arriving! Can't complain about the week we had, but I know a certain 17 year old in our party who was craving powder all week!
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I'm heading out Sunday, staying in Les Coches, hope there's some powder left for me Very Happy

Keep the updates coming please!
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larkim, it is interesting how so many people are afeared of "big piles" and bumps.
I fortunately had a wonderful instructor (Christophe Roques from Belle Plagne ESF) who got me to make friends with Moguls (when by myself i still talk quietly to them as i go round Embarassed ), and showed me that its actually easier to turn on bumps than flat snow.
If you approach anything with fear, the outcome is never going to be good.
Instead, say "Hallo" and introduce yourself: once you've got over the embarassment, you'll find yourself getting on fine snowHead
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Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@Jonpim, I've learnt another technique, approach with a flat board and flatten the field. Much easier..... Toofy Grin Laughing
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
thefatcontroller, that'll do it! snowHead

P.S. Super posts on your blizzard battles in Les Arcs. Keep them coming.
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Jonpim wrote:
larkim, it is interesting how so many people are afeared of "big piles" and bumps.
I fortunately had a wonderful instructor (Christophe Roques from Belle Plagne ESF) who got me to make friends with Moguls (when by myself i still talk quietly to them as i go round Embarassed ), and showed me that its actually easier to turn on bumps than flat snow.
If you approach anything with fear, the outcome is never going to be good.
Instead, say "Hallo" and introduce yourself: once you've got over the embarassment, you'll find yourself getting on fine snowHead


I was taught the same technique on moguls. But they aren't the problem. Its the piles of soft snow that scare me. I suspect that is mainly cos i have two duff knees and a lacking of confidence. But I do love a flat piste early in the morning before people come out to play and mess it up!!! Smile
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Ditto to @chaletgirl, I've been taught (and can execute) the same technique on moguls or piles of soft snow. But it's when it gets properly slow due to congestion that both a fear of twisting a knee and my native British politeness comes out so I slow right down and end up being very ungainly through those sections. Those bumps do have a habit of launching you and often end up with you landing on the upslope of the next big pile! I know the answer is to go slightly quicker and more direct, but try telling my head that...
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@Jonpim,

Actually La Roche is 1500m, but your point is correct. Cuts the queues at La Roche, and makes Cournidigoulle ( the blue ) less busy.
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It was a lovely ski day in La Plagne today. I must thank those that provided parking advice earlier in Feb - the drive to La Roche was easy and loads of room in the free car park right by the lift. Fast lift up to Aime La Plagne and straight in to the action. We started off with the red back to La Roche as a warm up and it was fab - lots of loose snow around, but all pretty soft in the warmer conditions, and the piste was almost deserted. We tried to get to Champagny via Grande Rochette (the aptly named Kamikaze was fun, especially the steep drop in over what I assume was a cornice caused by the wind and snow over the last few days) but the final red in to the village (les Bois? Sorry piste map is printed so small I can't read this even with my glasses on Puzzled ) was shut so we went back up thinking that we might come back again or even stay in Champagny next year. Generally the snow had a bit of give in it even at 2500m but there is loads around and it was nice to see the sun nearly all day - the light went rather flat towards the end of the day. It appears that the lifts above Roche de Mio were still closed today, I can only assume that the avi risk remained high as there was evidence of plenty of slides all around, due to the amount of snow and the warmer conditions today. You could almost watch the snow line rising in the valley as the day went on. I was somewhat surprised though to see some pistes showing some wear (only in parts, to be fair), but I guess the soft snow is easily pushed around. No doubt the piste bashers will sort it all out overnight.
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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!
@Loganberry, The lift above Roche de Mio is broken I believe
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Keep those reports coming - we are due out on the March 26th with the disabled ski club, hoping for some great conditions for our "new to snow" adaptive skiers.
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eblunt, you are quite right, of course: http://www.perso-laplagne.fr/Remontees2.htm#LaRoche.

Its very warm just now.
Saturday was no fun first thing as all pistes were rock hard after an overnight freeze.
But once the sun had done its work and softened things up, it was Gorgeous skiing - we stayed Champagny side with the sun, but so it seems did everyone else. At least for the morning. Then everyone disappeared come the afternoon. Maybe they all over-indulged lunchtime . . .
No, they'd all gone up to Roche de Mio. Very busy up there.
So we headed over to Montchavin sector. Pierre Blanche was lovely, and quiet.
Coming back we tried the new Fun Slope from the top of Arpette. And it is fun. Excellent addition.

Today was better early on as it didn't get so cold last night, and pistes stayed soft.
Montalbert was wonderfully quiet. And with the super new fast Gondola, you can keep going back to do all the runs.
But you have to get back to main area of La Plagne via La Roche, and where the wide blue piste narrows down to the final road, the soft snow was piled up into large lumps - just the stuff to petrify larkim andchaletgirl. Lots of beginners and intermediates having a real tough time.
The quicker they get the Envers lift running the better.

So, the warm weather is forecast to stay for some days yet. Fortunately so much snow fell 10 days ago that the slopes will survive, at least until April. But you need to be happy with soft granary-sugar-like snow.
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