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Summertime La Plagne - Chiaupe glacier

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
What a great place to ski in the summer! Ok it's not huge, but it's quiet, the expanse of glacier being quite sufficient to get a good 'fix' for a few hours in the morning. 5 tourists! Three or four clubs race training, so no queues whatsoever. I'll post a link to some photos later.

I would question the blue status of the runs, as the middle section, halfway between the two lifts, is very steep. Not that there are marked runs as such anyway, you ski wherever you like on the glacier. I reckon the middle part is about as steep as the Leisse black at Tignes.

Conditions were excellent, still some untracked powder on the fringes despite the return of the sun on Wednesday, and as the glacier is west-facing it is late morning before the sun really has any effect.

The new high speed (Col) chair on the glacier ensures a minimum of delay, although I understand the lift company is considering removing the Chiaupe drag (which doesn't run during the summer). There are also rumours to the effect that the Compagnie des Alpes is considering closing the La Plagne summer area altogether. Not because of the conditions, but because it doesn't generate sufficient income. Hardly surprising really, how many people are even aware that the La Plagne glacier opens during July and August?

Bit of a grind getting up there, 40 mins or so from Bellecôte. The newish Roche de Mio cable car is fine, via Belle Plagne to Roche de Mio, but then the ancient boneshaker Pomas to the glacier take for ever. Drinks and snacks have to be taken along, as there's nowhere open on the glacier.

So it was back down to the Roche de Mio restaurant d'altitude, a very pleasant lunch, good value and quality. Some strange looks from the hikers and bikers as I wandered in in full ski gear. Before going back to Bellecôte I stopped off for a coffee at Belle Plagne, where there was a sprinkling of tourists engaging in summery activities. The outdoor pool was very popular, with scanty clothing and sun tans very much in evidence on the volleyball court. Strange to find yourself mixing with summer holidaymakers only minutes after skiing on the glacier!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Here are a few photos. Hardly a cloud all day, but cool enough until closing at 1pm to keep the snow in good nick.....

24€60, well worth it I reckon, now I've tried it!
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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?
Thanks PG - it does look like an interesting little glacier (drool)
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PG, have been to La Plagne 3 times, but never been up there due to one reason or another, high winds, lift closures, poor snow etc. Looks great though. Worth another trip?
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Helen, it's a long and exposed trip up to the glacier, wouldn't take much to close the lifts. Looks as if there are some good blacks and reds below the glacier too, I've yet to try them myself. Then there's some blacks east of Aime La Plagne, above Montalbert. Definitely looking forward to exploring the domain properly next season...
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PG, have been almost everywher except glacier, found it a bit tmae at New Year, as most of blacks closed due to thin snow-cover. As I consider myself a rather timid skier compared to the rest of my family I was surprised. It was a couple of years since I'd been there and I didn't feel challenged by the steepness at all, only the long run back down to Champagny each afternoon.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
It does have that reputation, but I think it was davidof who commented (elsewhere) on the superb off-piste from Bellecôte as well as the tree skiing to be had at La Plagne, when you know where to go. Easy enough to nip across to Les Arcs now, especially if staying in Bellecôte or Belle Plagne. Definitely worth another trip!
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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!
My one trip to La Plagne was early December one year on the Snowtrain from Calais, in the company of about 500 high street travel agent employees, many of whom were getting their first taste of skiing at very low cost.

The whole expedition was the inspiration of the late Lucy Dicker and was a brilliant idea. What better way for people at travel agency desks to know about skiing than to actually do it?

More of this should happen, as ski resorts are so empty in early December.
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PG wrote:
Helen, it's a long and exposed trip up to the glacier, wouldn't take much to close the lifts. ...


For some reason, even in good calm weather the glacier area is not often opened during the winter. If there is enough snow elsewhere to satisfy visitors, the runs on the glacier itself are often closed but the main access to the area still works because, as you say, that gives access to some of the more challenging parts of LP and off piste.
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