La Plagne is one of the largest and most popular ski resorts in winter, but I bet many of you have never been here in summer... The resort opens its lifts from early July to the beginning of September each year and is a mecca for hikers and holiday makers coming to enjoy the beautiful Alpine views and fresh air.
La Plagne is less well known, however, for its mountain biking despite having around 35 different trails and a number of skills areas which they add to every year.
The number of trails is pretty extensive although the trail building & maintenance leaves a little to be desired in places, with the odd overgrown berm, corners that just don't quite flow, descents that involve climbing (?!) and slightly disjointed sections of track / north shore features that leave you sractching your head as to which way to go.
It's definitely a place to bring your enduro bike, as due to the nature of La Plagne's separated villages and the sporadic summer lift opening schedule, you might find you have to bike across resort to get access to some of the different trails, plus you might find yourself climbing a bit on some of the trails that you'd expect were all down hill. E.g. the blue trail from the top of the Roche de Mio gondola is more fire road than trail and has +150m on it's 11km route (not fun on a DH bike), or the descent to the valley floor from Bellecote (blue trail 8) which is a great 12km trail, with uphill sections.. although it's got some fantastic fast single track through the trees which you can't fail to enjoy! Maybe I've been doing too much downhill recently and not enough XC.....
Going back to the summer lift situation, don't expect all the lifts to be open all through the week. For example if you're staying in Montchavin or Les Coches the Plan Bois lift is open Monday to Friday but the Pierres Blanches lift is only open on Mondays & Thursdays. Or if you're staying in Montalbert, the Fornelet lift is open Mon, Wed, Thu & Friday and the Montalbert lift is open Mon, Wed & Friday. Getting access to the higher parts of resort would need to be done by car or the Echo Bus which you'd have to ride down to. The good news is from Montalbert you can ride a red trail down to the valley floor (with no climbing) and then pick up the Echo Bus in Macot to bring you back to resort. The Vanoise Express is also closed on weekends throughout summer, so if you did want to get across to go biking in neighbouring Les Arcs you'll have to drive there (about half an hour) or just go mid-week.
Given time, more trail maintenance and perhaps picking up some trail building tips from other resorts, La Plagne's mountain biking could be really good. It's just not quite there yet.
If you're new to mountain biking and you want to experience riding in the Alps with very few other mountain bikers on the trails, then La Plagne could be just what you're looking for.
My tips: Bring an enduro bike. Check and plan where you're staying against which lifts are open in advance. If you want, the Echo Bus will take you to other parts of resort that aren't on the timetable (e.g. Aime 2000), but you have to ring one day in advance to book this. And drop into La Mine Bar in 1800 for a drink and a game of miniature ping pong or pool :-)
And if you want to try biking for a day and then do other things, there's a lot to do and see here in summer from archery, white water rafting down the valley, hiking, parapenting, visiting the farm with your family, mini golf, trampolining.. and much more.
Check out our events calendar for even more things to see and do in La Plagne.
If you still want to come mountain biking, read our handy guide to Mountain Biking in La Plagne and look up the kind of trails on offer, plus you should check out the Summer lift timetable if you're thinking of heading this way.
- Mountain Biking
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