Skiing La Grave - La Meije, French Alps

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    Highlights:  La Grave, French Alps;  February 2008

    In their last year of living in Belgium, the Engle family took their 2008 winter break at La Grave - La Meiji ski area in the French Alps.  It was our second trip to the famous ski area renowned for primitive skiing, steep couloirs, glaciers with crevaces, cliffs and hanging ice seracs. The uninitiated are strongly encouraged to hire a guide as there is little to no signage, routes are unmarked, the area is not patrolled, and without the beta one could easily ski off a cliff or into a crevace.  We hired a guide on the second day of our six day stay in La Grave.  The rest of the time we got around on our own.  In the middle of our week in La Grave we took at break and skied at a nearby (and more normal) French ski area "Serre Chevalier", near Briancon.

    La Grave has two serial gondolas then two much shorter poma lifts to get to the top of the mountain where the skier is faced with 2,150 meters (7,100 feet) vertical back to the quaint, small moutain village of La Grave.  The village of La Grave has a few hotels, restaurants, and sport shops that all cater to hardcore skiers. 

    The summit region of La Grave is shared by another resort, Les Deux Alps; but the bases are many miles apart. Les Deux Alps is a multi-lift, mega resort complete with a concrete jungle of shops and high rise condos at the base.  It is a destination ski resort for most of France where sharply dressed but mostly mediocre French skiers descend crowded, intermediate pistes. 

    In contrast, the expert only status of La Grave keeps the lift lines non-existent and your peers on the mountain are typcially expert skiers from all over the world, many of whom are wearing climbing harnesses for guided trips and roped belays to uber steep couloirs.

    If you are interested in more info, local photos and some awesome videos of skiing at La Grave, follow this link.  This is the place Jackson Hole guides go when they get bored with skiing in the Tetons.

    La Grave Ski Map (such as it is)


    Following are a photo catalog of our ski adventures at La Grave.  By the end of the week the entire family was skiing the famous steep couloirs of La Grave. 

    Day 1:  La Grave, French Alps; February 10, 2008

    Day 2:  La Grave, French Alps; February 11, 2008

    Day 3:  Serre Chevalier, French Alps; February 12, 2008

    Day 4:  La Grave, French Alps; February 14, 2008

    Day 5:  La Grave, French Alps; February 15, 2008

    Day 6:  La Grave, French Alps; February 16, 2008