By Anita Gait
Far from the madding crowd of half-term holidays…
So far we’ve had more than our fair share of empty pistes this season. The resort has been wonderfully quiet and I don’t think I’ve queued for a chair lift since New Year’s week. It’s been great, alas all that is about to change as peak week is upon us again.
It’s half term, the school holidays have begun and families are flooding into resort. Although I will lament the loss of my private mountain and empty pistes it is nice to see the resort buzzing with life.
So, this week is going to be all about beating the rush. There are certain things that ‘pay to know’ in peak week that’ll ensure you enjoy your week without spending the whole time queuing.
First of all, get out early – you can have the first hour of the day to get fresh tracks undisturbed as most people won’t make it out until 10am to10.30am. At 10 o’clock the ski schools begin their lessons so you want to be away from the meeting point at that time. The lifts around them get swamped – one lift to note especially is the Bergerie in Plagne Centre, it’s a very popular one for lessons to start at!
Pack a snack – we are creatures of habit and all seem to work on a similar timeframe. The mountain will empty out drastically between 12pm and 2pm every day as people head in for lunch and the lift queues will disappear. Morning ski school ends and the pistes will once again be all yours. If you can pack a snack in your jacket to tide you over until the crowds re-emerge at 2pm, you’ll have two hours of peaceful skiing with the added bonus of stopping for lunch once the restaurants have emptied out.
Stay out late – as with the first hour of the day the mountain is much quieter for the last hour. Most people will have drifted away by 3.30pm/ 4pm and although the pistes could be chopped up by then, if your legs are up to it, it’s well worth it!
Know your piste map – certain areas of the map and chairlifts get incredibly busy at specific times, but for the majority of them there are other, quieter ways around. For example, the Roche de Mio bubble car in Bellecote always has a massive queue as it is the first stop on the way to the Glacier. What most people don’t know is that you can get the often queue-free Blanchets chair also from Bellecote, then take a short run down to the Carella chair lift and end up at exactly the same spot.
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The Colosses chair also tends to have a substantial queue especially at the end of the day as it is the main connection back from the left side of the resort to Plagne Centre. You used to end up waiting so long that it was more efficient to get the free shuttle bus back to Plagne Centre instead, but with the new super fast chairlift, I must say that even if there are long queues they don’t tend to stay for long.
Lastly, go walkabout and get away from the centre of the map – one very under visited area is off the back of the Arpette chair without heading down to Montchavin. There are a few of chairs, nice blue runs, several blacks and a great off-piste area to play on, but since the area doesn’t really lead anywhere people tend to overlook it, which is fine by me!
That’s it! Just a few tips to help you enjoy your week and the conditions are epic… Guests this week got days of uninterrupted beautiful blue sky. What more could you ask for? Seriously you guys are getting spoiled rotten!