There are many great ski resorts for a group of friends, but I always recommend La Plagne in the Paradiski area. This is because the resort has eleven separate villages, each with its own distinct character. Within these villages, there are a number of catered chalets to choose from, all of which are perfect for relaxing after a long day on the slopes or for nursing a hangover in the morning.
La Plagne also has excellent and diverse skiing on offer. It boasts 225km of runs, as well as easy access to the entire Paradiski area, which has a staggering 425km of pistes. In addition to its villages, catered chalets and great skiing, La Plagne has another thing going for it: telemarking. This is a cool alternative skiing technique that’s currently taking off at the resort, which even has its own telemarking school.
Essentially, telemarking is a squat-like motion on downhill skis, during which your heel is unattached. This provides great freedom, allowing you to turn easily and keep your speed under control. You need special equipment to do it, but it is the technique that is most important: if done right, you’ll feel like you’re flying down the mountain.
Who Is It Suitable For?
Much like learning any kind of sport, there is a learning curve with telemarking, and it’s different from person to person. However, this sport is suitable for everyone, and those who are seasoned skiers or snowboarders should take to it quickly. Thanks to the school in La Plagne, it should not take too long to learn the ropes and start enjoying the thrill and freedom that has made this such a popular technique.
How Fit Do You Need to Be?
Telemarking is a complete exercise, which means that it balances your muscles and can be great for your fitness. This does mean that a good level of fitness is beneficial, but it is not mandatory. You will be in a squat-like position, so those used to squatting will be fine, but you will tire quickly if you are not used to it. You may take to the technique faster if you have time to get into shape before arriving, but do not worry too much if you are unable to (just expect sore legs the day after!).
What Equipment Do You Need?
Boots: Boots are the most important piece of equipment and they must be comfortable, neither too soft or stiff and with no pressure points. You should also have a good fit in the heel cup with no movement at all. Always try them strapped into a telemark ski before buying.
Bindings: Depending on your type of boot, you will need either 75mm or NTN bindings. You will then need to decide whether to get a walk mode with a free pivot or not. If you will be using your setup mainly around the resort, I suggest you go without.
Telemarking is all the rage right now, and the superb resort of La Plagne is a hotspot for this alternative activity. Thanks to the resort’s cool atmosphere, great catered chalets and a community dedicated to telemarking, there is nowhere better to try your hand at this exhilarating activity.
Belinda Smythson works for Ski Amis, a specialist ski travel agency and booking service that has been helping avid skiers craft their perfect winter holiday for over a quarter of a century. If you're looking for the best catered chalets, La Plagne is an ideal choice. Ski Amis offers the best accommodation in the Three Valleys, Paradiski, Espace Killy or Chamonix Valley and is the go-to company for winter sports fans searching for the holiday of a lifetime.