La Plagne has 225km of pistes to enjoy and is connected to the Paradiski ski area where you can find another 200km of pistes to enjoy. With 130 slopes in La Plagne alone (10 green, 69 blue, 33 red and 18 black) there are slopes for all abilities to enjoy. On top of this you can also enjoy 80km of cross country pistes, 1 snowpark, a half pipe and 3 boarder cross areas.
The lifts marked on the piste map using straight black lines are of four types; button tow/drag, chair, telecabine and telepherique. They have the corresponding abbreviations:
For télécabine think bubble car and for téléphérique think cable car. Anything prefixed/suffixed with “Express” means a 6 person modern fast chair lift.
Open throughout the winter season and summer season you can enjoy the mountain fun almost all year round.
La Plagne Piste Map & Lift Map
These maps are useful for planning your trip up the mountain, allowing you to see how the resort is laid out and which lifts and pistes lead where - indispensable for organising where to stop for lunch! Paper copies can be found in resort at the Tourist Office, lift pass offices, hotel receptions, etc...
Mountain bikes are allowed on most Cable cars, Gondolas and Chairlifts, they are not allowed on the Bellecote Glacier cable car. For more information on mountain biking in La Plagne (lifts, prices and where to go) please see La Plagne Mountain Biking.
Paragliders and Parapenters are allowed on all Cable cars, Gondolas and Chairlifts. Check out our guide on La Plagne Paragliding for more information.
Pedestrians have access to specific lifts within the La Plagne ski area, these are normally the lifts open in the summer but it is worth checking at the ticket office. Dogs are allowed on all pedestrian lifts on the condition that they are kept on a lead at all times
Babies are allowed on all pedestrian lifts. It is not recommended to expose babies or young children to sudden changes in temperature or altitude. If lift staff feel that your child is too young to ride the lifts they have the right to deny access. In is inadvisable to take children under the age of 3 years old up to the glacier. Head to our Family activities guide for other fun activities to do with children.
The Vanoise Express
The Vanoise Express is the “one of a kind” cable car that links the ski areas of Les Arcs and La Plagne. Opened in 2003, the lift can carry 2000 people per hour in its 2 huge double decker cable cars. Travelling at a speed of 12.5 km/h, it only takes 4 minutes to span the 2kms between Plan Peisey (1612m) and Les Coches 1548m) and when it first opened, it was the biggest, longest and fastest cable car in the world!*
The final design of the lift was created from a set of demanding specifications that aimed to maximise capacity whilst causing the least impact on the surrounding environment. The designers, POMA, and the investors, SELALP (Societe d’Exploitation de la liaison Les Arcs La Plagne), opted for a link with no interim towers; stretching in a single span from one station to the other and therefore minimising the areas that required development. By using double decker cabins, their volume is significantly reduced which consequently limits their impact on the natural surroundings. The aesthetics of the lift stations was also taken into consideration by POMA, and their resulting streamlined shape and larch cladded exteriors blends in well with the local surroundings.
Each car can hold a maximum of 200 people (over two levels) and they run independently of each other on two separate cables. This means that in the event of a technical hitch on one side, service can continue as normal on the other. The aerodynamic shape of the cabins and their dual-cable technology also ensures that they have good wind stability for a more comfortable journey. Customer surveys conducted at the end of its first winter revealed that, of the 400000 skiers that had used the lift, over 95% of them were delighted with the service provided, comfort and above all the views of the new installation.
In the summer, hikers, bikers and sightseers still flock to use the cable car; if only to enjoy the spectacular views of the surrounding peaks or down into the Ponthurin valley, 380m below.
Costing €15 million, the Vanoise Express is the largest aerial lift of its kind ever built.
* The record breaking Vanoise Express has since been beaten by the “3S” gondola that connects Kitzbühel/Pengelstein and Jochberg/Resterhöhe in Austria, when it opened a year later for winter 2004/2005. This lift has a span of about 2,500m between towers and crosses up to 400m above the Saukasergraben valley. However, the Canadian resort of Whistler is opening a new gondola in December 2008, linking Whistler and Blackcombe mountains that will surpass both in terms of distance between towers (3.024km) and height above the valley floor (415m). Trust the North Americans to be the biggest!