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TR: Les Coches, La Plagne, Paradiski - PHOTOS added

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
After Christmass's 'lack of snow' problems, it was a reversion to 'old faithful' for our second seasonal family ski holiday. For us (me, wife, son 9yo and daughter 7yo) that means Les Coches in the La Plagne valley of the Paradiski domain. This assured us of plenty of tree level skiing, plenty of higher altitude skiing, open links including back to our ski station and being able to easily flip between the La Plagne and Les Arcs sides of the domain. It is strange really that the more I visit other ski areas the more I appreciate this one. To the extent that we once again debated buying an apartment out here. We probably won't.

Because we DIY, driving and self catered apartment, there is little point in booking late. Tunnel prices were a tad high, and our Clubcard voucher stock a tad low, when we booked in early Feb. So for a change we took the ferry option. DFDS from Dover to Dunkirk. £30 of tokens and £24 bought us a return crossing. Next up was an apartment booking. We booked through the official website accommodation search. Bit clunky but I've used worse. We always look to stay in the buildings surrounding the centre square. We just like it there. Easy to park and get in and out, easy access to the Patisserie of a morning, etc. So after a basic search I just look for La Pentes or La Traverse. On this occasion we something we liked the look of in La Traverse. It was 1179 Euros for the apartment plus a 6 day Paradiski family lift pass. As a family lift pass by itself is 890 Euros, the apartment cost worked at 289 Euros. Which is pretty darn good. The admin for the apartment was done using aka Urbania Vacances aka SGI Alpes, who knows how these businesses are structured! Main thing is it was all done online. I only had to scan back a signed contract, payments were done online using a CC and the same CC was accepted for the damage deposit. Only final thing to sort out was travel insurance which was done by buying an annual policy from MPI (Standard, France only) for a tad over £100 (no cancel or personal effects cover).

Equipment wise, after a bit of umming and ahhing I bought some new ski's for myself - Dynastar Cham 97 with Look PX12 bindings for £385 incl postage from Ekosport. Also got a bigger snowboard and snowboard bootsfor my son off ebay. The board a used 130cm Santa Cruz "Frankenfront Junior" was £76 and the boots brand "thirtytwo" were nearly new and only £20. Managed to avoid the postage on both due to locations of the sellers. Other than that, it was as you are. I had been looking for some longer skis for my daughter but made a schoolboy error on one purchase and time ran out so she had to cope with her 110cm ski's (she's probably 130/135 tall now). All ski's and boards were serviced by me in the weeks before we went out.

There were a couple of minor disasters prior to the trip. A hard drive failure on my laptop. Probably as a result of heavy duty ski video editing over the last couple of years. Still not fully resolved but ate a bit of unnecessary time and faff immediately prior. Worse was my wife going over on her ankle while walking into the theatre about a month before we left. She damaged some tendons and they didn't recover very well. It was a touch and go whether she would ski. In the end she did. It was very painful at times though she said she could ski better than she could walk. Again though the cause of plenty of stress and faff beforehand. To compund the problem a little her boots are on the way out. She couldn't get new ones sorted because of the issue and they didn't help in terms of comfort during the trip.

Anyway, so it was we found ourselves setting out at 3.30 on Friday 27th March with great excitement for the trip ahead. Nullified only slightly by having to do an about turn 3 miles down the road because daddy had left his sunglasses on the fridge! Traffic down to Dover was largely behaving, the ferry left on time, the doofer still worked at the tolls and there wasn't any bad weather to speak of. Even despite hour time loss we made the Geant at Albertville just after opening at 8.30. We did our food shop and then outside met two other families we knew who were also going to the same ski area but staying at Aime 2000. The sun was shining and life was good Happy We made the last leg on and up the mountain. We had to pick our keys and passes up in Montchavin but conveniently the office was at the bottom of the village close to the road through. And the apartment in Les Coches was also free so we were able to move in immediately. We were able to park right next to a fire door just outside our ground floor apartment so a quick and easy unload. After a late lunch and a cuppa we unpacked while the children went to mess about on the home slope. They then got their snowboard stuff together and did a few runs using the free telebuffete lift that goes to the upper station area. My son had done a fair bit the last couple of trips and was soon up to speed again on his new longer board. He is very keen to do both skiing and snowboarding at this stage. For the daughter it was the first time but she made a good fist of it. The plan was for her to do a bit late afternoon after the skiing had mostly been done. That was how her brother got started. As it happens she didn't bother again, as she was always too tired. No issue though, she has plenty of time to get into it if she wants.

Our first days skiing on Sunday started off pleasant weather wise. As usual on the first day we were a little slow out of the blocks exasperated slightly by my wife taping her ankle and then slowly trying to manouevre a sore ankle into a ski boot. But we were soon up and away on the slopes above Les Coches. As I recall we did a little off piste off the Crozats chair. As we are doing more off piste with the children we are all wearing bleepers now. With me and the wife carrying shovels and probes. By and large we aren't doing much gnarly stuff, especially with the wifes foot not giving her gip but let's form the habit and start the education and all that. As the day continued the cloud and the weather started to close in. It wasn't cold particularly and so as we descended to the trees above Les Coches it became wetter. We enjoyed skiing off piste through the trees a little before rejoining the pistes for some late afternoon cruising. As became almost par for the course me the ladies headed for the tea and showers shy of a full day while me and laddo kept going until the lifts closed, invariably arriving at the Pierre Blancher lift at twenty to five, five minutes before closing.

Weather wise Monday and Tuesday kind of followed a similar pattern weather wise. Very cloudy at higher altitudes and very wet at lower ones. Getting progressively worse has the day passed. Skiing approximately somewhere between 1600 and 2400 was thus the place to be. The glacier at Bellecote and Aiguille Rouge were closed a lot. The first three days we finished in a severe stage of wetness. Our gloves suffered the most though we took a spare pair to change to early afternoon. Plus we could have done with some window wipers on the goggles! If I remember correctly on both days we headed over to Les Arcs and stayed as much as possible below the treeline. Off piste was limiting because of visibility and the temperatures making the falling snow heavy. We had a lot of fun nevertheless. I was beginning to love my new skis. We lunched at the golf driving range picnic area above 1800 to get shelter from the elements. The Tuesday my son switched to his board late afternoon after we got back over the Vanoise Express.

Wednesday my son took his board out for the whole day. He is getting to the stage where he can cope with any piste without holding the rest of the troop up a great deal. It was starting to cool slightly, the clouds lifted a little and we even had some sunshine. We stayed on the La Plagne side hunting some nice little powder stashes off the side of the piste. We ended up right over below La Plagne 1800 at the bottom of the La Roche lift were we sat in the sunshine and picnicked. Then we done the same all the way back, heading up to the top of the Grand Rochette at one point. It was a pretty good day and for the first time we weren't wet when we got home!

Thursday once again it was cooler but still with plenty of cloud coming and going. We started the day with a pit of off piste of the top of Crozats then headed into the main La Plagnes ski area. Again enjoying the little chutes, powder stashes with some piste cruising in between. Ski Tracks tells me skied between 1425m and 2767m, doing 4616m vertical, covering 29.4km - which was about par for the week.

Friday was a big day. We went over to Les Arcs. When we got to the top of Le Derby we doubled back to the right and tested out the off piste. It was excellent and we had a great ski down, cutting further right and then skiing down through the trees in great snow, having a lot of fun. We got the same lift back up and this time went left, again finding some nice snow all the way down to the Transarc mid-station. When we got to the top we went into the bleeper training area and did some training with the kids 'finding victims'. The only weird thing is when we probed we could't get the thing to make make the noise that signifies a succesful find, even though multiple bleepers were showing the same precise location. But it was still a good trial. We started back down the Grand Renard piste and then cut right into the shallow off piste next to to boarder cross and all the way down to the Marmottes chairlift. Towards the bottom there is a nice steep slope side above the blue piste which is a nice pitch to challenge yourself on. And you can kind of choose how steep you want to make it as it gets steeper as you traverse around. It was so good we did it twice, eating our picnic sitting on some rocks in the sunshine on the first run down. We then headed up to the Grand Col area. There was cloud rolling in and out making it quite eery up there. We skied off piste right side as you are looking up which is quite steep in parts. We saw this mini (5m long) couloir and we did that which was interesting for the children and created a bit of a 'gnarly event' Happy We did that twice and then started the long ski home making it to the Vanoise Express with about 15 minutes to spare. For the first time no end of day skiing above Les Coches. Everybody was shot anyhow. My daughter could barely drag herself down the short run the other side. Though to be fair she made a miraculous recovery after a shower and half a dozen madelaines!

There had been an ongoing debate during the week about whether to ski on Saturday or not. I'm always keen to max out the skiing time. The wife is more 50/50 and on this occasion with her foot issues had definitely swerved against. The kids are not old enough to really have a strong view. The clincher was the weather forecast, lots of cloud and rain lower down. Also Friday had been such a great day, if seemed appropriate to end on. So the decision was made. One upside is that packing up and clearing out is easier. Sure enough when we left at 8.30 it was grey and grim. We drove to Paris via Tournus (nice Abbaye with great tea room next door) and spent Sunday sightseeing before heading home on Monday. Again, no traffic or weather issues at ll.

All in all it was a strange week weatherwise. You'd expect a bit more in the way of sunshine at this time of the year but then again the fresh snow was a boon. Temps generally a bit too warm. Lot's of variety in the snow going from windblown crust that even I didn't break through to soft powder within a few metres and then a little further down hitting some slough. Other days it was more like mixed concrete. Strange also that we didn't go to the higher reaches at all, or over into the Champagny valley. But it was a great trip. Pics to follow.

Last edited by Poster: A snowHead on Wed 8-04-15 11:51; edited 1 time in total
ski holidays
 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person

Worse was my wife going over on her ankle while walking into the theatre about a month before we left.

Well it is official then - going to the theatre is more dangerous than skiing. Ask Mr Lincoln.
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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?
That was a great read, it sounds like you and your family had a lot of fun.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.

That was a great read

It was. £218 each for accommodation and a 6 day lift pass in one of the biggest ski areas in the world in school holidays. Fantastic. snowHead
ski holidays
 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Young un having a go at snowboarding first afternoon:

Matey boy trying out his new boots and board on the free lift:

The wife and children in indulgent family photo on the slopes above Les Coches


Typical weather for the week - taken in Les Arcs 31st March:

Me, dad, with kids, everyone say ahhhhhh

Another signature move

View down the valley again showing the large amount of high cloud cover:

Gotta love La Plagne

La Plagne we love you

Grand Rochette love heart:

Down throught the trees in Les Arcs

Apres - madelaine and Ipad!

View from the apartment:

Parking spot - east peasy lemon squeezy!

Geordie word for daughter:

At last a bit of sun - view from balcony on Friday morning

Home slope at 1450m still in good nick:

Kids doing there thing:

Let's fly again:

Lunch during Fridays epic day:

Dads new planks:

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