La Plagne is big - one of the biggest ski resorts in the world - and while some of its architecture may not be the prettiest, it is surrounded by stunning scenery high on a plateau on the edge of the Parc régionale. La Plagne is made up of six high-altitude resorts and four further down the mountain. A few of the villages are very attractive, most noteably Belle Plagne. La Plagne's six altitude resorts containing the bulk of the accommodation, are all around 2,000m. There's plenty of ski-in/ski-out accommodation and none are further than 100m from the slopes.
La Plagne highlights: Plenty of wide, gentle slopes, ski-in/ski-out accommodation, reliable snowfall due to altitude, easy-to-reach powder-packed off-piste, huge choice of restaurants
Ski area is best for: Intermediates, families, freeriders
La Plagne's 225km of local slopes join with Les Arcs to make the giant 425km Paradiski area. 80 percent of La Plagne's ski runs are above 2,000m and reach up to the Glacier de Belle Côte (3,250m). The 130 local ski runs are split into 18 black, 33 red, 69 blue and 10 green. If that is not enough there is the Vanoise Express, which links up with Les Arcs in just under four minutes, offering access to another 235km of runs.
Beginner/intermediate skiers: The facilities for children are first class and each village resort has its own childminding centre and snow play area where the children can learn to ski through play. La Plagne is a great resort to learn to ski and develop quickly into an intermediate skier and beyond. In each of the six altitude villages there are a number of runs coded violet for absolute beginners with free mini ski lifts.
Belle Plagne has a magic carpet for beginners in the resort. Once you graduate to blue runs most of the resort is open to you and you can ski down from the top of the Grande Rochette and Les Verdons to Plagne centre or even from the top of the Belle Cote (3,417m) down to Belle Plagne via the Roche de Mio.
There is a great short blue run on the glacier right at the top and if you want to you can come down in the cable car. It is a marvellous spot to enjoy the great views all over the Alps around you. For skiers who enjoy a well groomed ski surface this too is the resort for you. The runs are wide and perfectly maintained - great ski ‘motorways' all over the resort.
Expert skiers: Advanced skiers have access to a vast, awesome off-piste ski area. To get the greatest benefit from your stay get yourself a guide. This is not just for off-piste but to get the best of the ski runs. Your guide will help you avoid the crowds and find the best powder, whether it is on the north face of Bellecôte (3,200m), on the strikingly beautiful descent of the Cul du Nant glacier or in the forests that lead down to the villages of Bozel and Macot.
A good circuit to start with is around the summit above Plagne Bellecôte, the Mont Saint Jacques. Start from the top of the L'Arpette ski lift, pass the Tête d'Arpette on the left hand as you face it. You will then arrive at the col between it and the Mont Saint Jacques. From there the descent of the Combe du Grand Clapier gives you excellent snow and a fine view of Mont Blanc. Continue down through the pine Forêt des Frasses to the La Roche ski lift at Aime La Plagne, a descent of 650 metres.
The black ski runs are not all pisted so it is a good place to try out your off-piste skills on a ski run that is otherwise marked out and monitored.
The black/red Mont de la Guerre run is nearly seven kilometres long, from the top of the Les Verdons through some of the La Plagne's most beautiful powder slopes right down to Champagny. The run is marked and secured for safety but not pisted.
Freestylers in La Plagne: The Snowpark de La Plagne is just above Belle Plagne. It is divided up into four zones with differing levels of difficulty for those with little experience of freestyle skiing up to the real pros. The Little Park is conveniently placed in Belle Plagne with a half-pipe and two freestyle areas that enable everyone to find their own level on different units at different levels of difficulty. The Freestyle Park Initiation Fun Zone for the young beginners at Plagne Montalbert in a safe area with bumps, a bordercross track, rails, tables and the chance to try slalom in parallel. A whole new world of winter sports to learn at your own pace.
Non-skiers: Bobsleighing, Super Tyro zip-line, E-fat bikes, paragliding, ice skating.
Apres-ski: The resort is not famed for its apres, but Belle Plagne is the liveliest of the villages with the popular late-night disco Le Saloon
Nearest airports: Chambery (119km/1hr35), Geneva (197km/2hrs15), Grenoble (192km/2hrs10), Lyon St. Exupery (196km/2hrs15)
Nearest station: Aime for Belle Plagne, Plagne Centre and Montalbert; Champagny for Moûtiers; Landry for Montchavin-Les Coches. All between 10 and 30 minutes.
Six-day ski pass: €265