A Ski Resort for Kids – La Plagne
Hey kids…here’s a ski resort just for you…
Recently voted the most popular resort in the world (according to figures released by Domaines Skiables de France (DSF), the association that oversees the French lift companies), La Plagne, in the French Alps, is also a ski resort for kids – full of wonderful and wacky surprises.
Where else can you slide down the mountain on an inflatable body board, climb a 22-metre high ice structure with 45˚ overhangs, or enjoy a kid’s party at altitude?
However, age and height restrictions often thwart the best-made plans. So here’s a list of activities divided into age groups and approximate heights, to make the next outing on snow a success…
AGE THREE MONTHS TO THREE YEARS
Crèche in Montchavin Les Coches – with engaging activities on offer to keep babies and toddlers entertained during the day, parents can make the most of the varied slopes and restaurants in La Plagne in peace. Prices cost from £98 per child (for a half-a-day) to £190 per child (for a day) – maximum age three. For more information, visit montchavin-lescoches.com.
AGE THREE YEARS AND ABOVE
NEW: Imp Run – Plagne Montalbert is now home to a new ‘Imp Run’, where children can follow carved wooden sculptures situated at different points along the blue slope on skis, before heading back to the village. For more information, visit www.montalbert.com/en/winter/. Five group lessons with Oxygène ski school (maximum 10 children per instructor), from 10 am to 12:30 pm, Monday to Friday, cost from £132 per child. For more information, visit oxygene-ski.com.
NEW: Snow-shoeing track – with your family, why not fix some snow shoes to your feet and explore the new snow-shoeing track? Beginning at the top of the new Montalbert Gondola, waddle like a duck along the three kilometre trail, which starts at an altitude of 2,070 m, and admire the characters cut into the surrounding woodland (similar to those on the Imp Run) en route. Hire a pair of snowshoes (that can be altered to fit different shoe sizes) for a half day from £2 per person. For more information, visit la-plagne.com.
AGE EIGHT YEARS AND ABOVE
Freestyle skiing – follow British freestyle athletes such as James ‘Woodsy’ Woods, Katie Summerhayes and Rowan Cheshire, and head to the half-pipe and the snow park on the slopes. Learn the skills in safety, with top instructors and airbags. ESF ski school runs a six-day programme, which includes teaching the basics of ski acrobatics in the snow parks and on the big air mattress in Plagne Centre. (Maximum age 12.) The course costs from £234 pp. For more information, visit esf-plagne.com.
AGE 10 YEARS AND ABOVE
Ice Tower – pull on a harness, grab an ice axe and tackle La Plagne’s impressive Ice Tower with professional climbers. Situated in the Champagny le Haut valley, the 22-metre high, man-made construction is created each season by watering the steel structure from above using snow cannon and letting the ice form in successive layers, including tough 45˚ overhangs. Try scaling the tower from £4 per child and £7 per adult. For more information, visit la-plagne.com.
AGE 13 YEARS AND ABOVE
NEW: Zip wires – eight new zip wires, from 50 m to 200 m in length, have been installed and run from Belle Plagne to Plagne-Bellecôte, two high-altitude villages. Make the most of this new area – complete with spider nets, wooden bridges and a final nine-metre base jump. The wires will be open all winter and offer a fun, new slope-side activity, and a different take on traditional après-ski events. A 90-minute session on the zip wires costs from £13 per child and £20 per adult. For more information, visit elpro.fr.
HEIGHT 1M 30CM AND ABOVE
Bob Raft – grab three friends and brave an 80 km/hr descent down an ice flume in a bob raft. Unique to La Plagne, the self-driving and self-braking machine (which takes four passengers) is ideal for a first experience. Wearing a helmet, lean into each corner and enjoy the rapid ride. Book the bob raft from £33 pp per descent. For more information, visit la-plagne.com.
AGE 14 YEARS AND ABOVE
NEW: Ski touring project – follow the blue jackets of the cool Oxygène instructors and dive off piste and explore the new ski touring itineraries, located across La Plagne’s 10 villages. Oxygène ski school will be offering guided trips for small groups of skiers before the slopes open (7-8:30 am) and again after they close (5:30-7 pm). A morning or evening session with Oxygène ski school costs from £26 per person. A week’s ski touring with Oxygène ski school costs from £237 per person. Skis, skins and boot hire are included, if needed. All levels of skier are welcome. For more information, call +33 (0)4 79 09 03 99 or visit oxygene-ski.com.
Superluge derby – equipped with a helmet and a head torch, zoom down 450 m of slopes on a Superluge sledge, from Aime La Plagne (2,000 m) to La Roche (1,550 m) for an unforgettable après-ski session. At the end, enjoy a warming mug of chocolat chaud or, with parental permission, a smooth vin chaud. Available from Tuesday to Saturday throughout the winter season, start the 90-minute descent at 5 pm from £20 pp. For more information, visit la-plagne.com.
HEIGHT 1M 60CM AND ABOVE
NEW: Swap your skis for a fatbike – hire a brand-new fatbike from the village of Montchavin, board the last gondola to the top of Plan Bois (1,800 m), and speed down the groomed tree-lined runs while wearing a helmet. The thick, under-inflated tyres are designed to grip the snow, and the disc brakes mean that, even in the wettest conditions, the descent is still controlled. Hire a fatbike and helmet from £21 per person (minimum height 1m 60cm). For more information, call +33 (0)4 79 07 81 85 or visit evolution2-montchavin.com.
AGE 16 AND ABOVE
Airboard – when the final skier has left the mountain, take to the slopes on an airboard. As the sun sets, slide down the slopes using your feet, body weight and handles to steer. Taking up to an hour, whizz down the empty pistes and weave through trees with a qualified instructor (who will demonstrate some clever tricks). Available every Thursday and Friday during the winter season, experience a descent on an airboard from £20 per person, including a helmet. For more information, visit la-plagne.com.
Speed Luge & Bob Racing – follow in the footsteps of the competitors in the 1992 Albertville Olympic Games, and summon up the courage to ride in the bobsleigh with a professional pilot, or to go it alone on the speed luge. Reach speeds of 120 km/hr and experience G forces up to 4 G. Open from mid-December until April, the Speed Luge costs from £80 pp per descent and the Bob Racing costs from £90 pp per descent. For more information, visit la-plagne.com.
FOR ALL THE FAMILY
Subli’Cimes festival – boasting six peaks with six experiences, the free Subli’Cimes festival – taking place from 3-15 April 2016 – offers wonderful late-season entertainment. Situated between 1,970 and 2,700 m, it’s ideal for every kind of mountain lover. Families can sit back, relax and enjoy mocktails on the private beach at Zen Altitude, dance to the music and play with balloons at a Kid’s Party, and summon up the courage for a bungee jump in the Mix & Adrenaline zone. For more information, visit la-plagne.com.
One week’s self-catering accommodation in La Plagne costs from €314 pp / £230 pp (four sharing) including lift pass. Return flights (London-Geneva) currently cost from approx. £50 pp with easyJet.
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