News from the snow
La Grave - La Meije France
La Grave is an ancient French village with very little to offer except some of the greatest off piste skiing and boarding in the world over a monstrous vertical. This is definitely not a place for beginners, piste cruisers or anyone needing a normal ski resort (except as a base if you have transport to get out again). However if you are exceptionally fearless and knarly, this is the place to meet like minded souls from all over the world. You should we wary that as this is essentially an off piste destination, reliant on one key lift, then if either the winds are too strong for the lift to operate, or there's no fresh snow to make the off piste good, you're in for a very limited or limiting experience. That said, given a set of wheels there are several major conventional ski areas nearby including Serre Chevalier and Alpe d'huez.
Incredible 12th century village with legendary off-piste skiing and snowboarding, now linked to the huge Deux Alpes ski area. The massive vertical drop is accessed by a three stage gondola.
La Grave has held its place as an off piste mecca for many decades now. The village is said to have changed little in the 900 years it has stood there and the same can be said for the ski area. Other resorts have opted to create more gentle, recreational skier friendly bashed slopes to compliment their famous steeps, not so La Grave. There are dozens of legendary descents, the longest 2,400 metres. These include lÓrciére de Droites which descends from the Dome de la Lauze at 3550m. Described by those who know as "very serious" and involving avoiding crevasses, avalanche risk and probable wind slab; skiers and boarders attempting it needs route finding skills to successfully get down its complex route - as well as ropes and a harness for one sector. Skiers that have followed locals or guided groups have regretted their mistake as it is a long way up to walk. There are plenty of easier runs, although it is still sensible to use a guide and potentially life threatening not to. The Chancel is one of the easier, probably only about intermediate standard on a good day.
The Castillan in the centre of town has a similar selection and endeavours to use local produce. For a pizza try les Vallons. On the mountain the high altitude Le Haut-Dessus at the top of the gondola is the only option.