Join me as we complete one of the longest drops in La Plagne, from Roche De Mio at 2700m via Levasset all the way to Champagny at 1250m.
Set off down what we have nick-named the “M25” from the top of the Bubble to Inversens Restaurant. Varies according to how busy, but always advised to ski at a moderate pace to handle the often awkwardly shaped bumps and the even more awkwardly ski-ing skiers! Safely at the crossroads opposite the restaurant and pause to admire the scenery. Here’s where brave skiers can let it all hang out as we go left to follow the line of the Carella chair…. the long schuss winding down to the rope tow which helps if, like me, you’re not going quite quick enough to make it up the short uphill bit at the end. Now a bit steeper and needing better technique to negotiate the right turn down to the Quillis restaurant, the signs to slow down warn you of skiers coming in at different angles, so very necessary. Always a pause just past the restaurant where it drops sharply and lots of people, all deciding when and where to go. Be bold and head more or less straight down, killing speed with some short sliding turns and hitting the fast schuss at the bottom in full control. Keep over the front of your ski’s to maintain speed, veering to the right before having a pause before it steepens off again. Here is where I enter one of my favourite parts of the mountain, dropping off the piste to the left into the valley which runs parallel to the Levasset piste. Almost always soft snow and good shaped bumps, keeping well forward and picking your way down, using your poles to mark each short turn. Very hard work, but exhilerating.
Half way down and the bravest always zoom up the steep jump to the left (not always landing on their feet!). I never do it and go slightly right and stay in the valley, short sharp turns all the way to where the valley ends and re-joins the piste, thoroughly exhausted and skin leaking!
Keeping left onto the track heading for the Borselier restaurant (whose giant hot chocolate is well worth stopping for). Now we leave the end of Levasset, heading behind the bottom of the chair and into Les Bois red.
Like many of the trickier runs, Les Bois (trans. The Woods) starts with a wide and gentle beginning, always good snow into the forest area. After about 500 metres or so the serious skiing begins and you need to be on top of your game as the track becomes much more narrow and steep with some very sharp turns. Not a place to be careless. Turning on your big toes and using your poles to pick the route. I always have a very short pause on each of the sharp turns to make sure that there isn’t a skier prostrate in the snow out of sight. The skiing here is brilliant, when, like most of the time, it’s soft and fresh, but hard graft if it’s hard pack and icy. Just as you’re getting exhausted you arrive at the gentler run to the bottom, wider and easy, but often so fast it takes you by surprise.
At last you arrive at the bottom of the bubble car where there is a snack hut serving delicious home made cakes to be eaten on the way back up. Time for lunch?