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La Grave

La Grave Ski Resort Guide

La Grave, France

Rated: 4/5 (from 6 ratings)

Ski Area Highlights
Recommended ForFreeriders, Expert Skiers, Snowboarders and Snowfall!
Total Piste Length1km1 miles
Highest Lift3,600m11,811ft
Resort Height1,525m5,003ft
 Nearest AirportsGrenoble and Chambery
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La Grave

Incredible 12th century village with legendary off-piste skiing and snowboarding, for confident off-piste skiers (and boarders) only. The massive vertical drop is accessed by a three stage gondola.

Summary

The French ski resort of La Grave is in the French Alps at an altitude of 1,525m5,003ft, with 1km1 miles of marked runs.

La Grave has direct access to 1km1 miles of downhill skiing, with a single marked piste, served by a total of 2 ski lifts. La Grave is directly linked by Ski Lift to the ski areas of Les Deux Alpes.

The ski resort itself is at 1,525m5,003ft, so skiing or boarding back to the resort is usually possible. With ski lifts as high as 3,600m11,811ft, skiing and snowboarding is assured throughout the season.

Snow and Weather

When will it snow in La Grave?

The next notable snow forecast is 2cm1in, expected on 5 December.

See our long-range Snow Forecast for the latest update, or   Join our Snow Mail Here

Snow this week

Snow Forecast by day for La Grave
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Ski Area Stats

La Grave Ski Area

Piste and Lift Stats
Blue Pistes
Easy Trails
 1 1km1 miles
Downhill
Total Length
1km1 miles
Ski Lifts
Number of Lifts
2

Altitudes

La Grave Ski Area Heights

Lift Heights and Resort Altitude
Highest Lift3,600m11,811ft
Resort Altitude (La Grave)1,525m5,003ft
Lowest Piste1,400m4,593ft
Max Vertical2,150m7,054ft

Ratings & Suitability

Ratings for La Grave
Freeriders
Expert Skiers
Intermediate Skiers
Snowboarding
Snow

La Grave Overview

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, er, gnarly, this is the place to meet like-minded souls from all over the world.

You should note that this is very much an off-piste destination, reliant on one key lift, and 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.

 Notable Ski Runs

The longest possible descent in La Grave is 9km6 miles long.

Skiing

La Grave is a stunning and wild mountain area. The term Ski Resort is barely appropriate; apart from the limited glacier skiing noted below, La Grave has no pistes or marked runs. There is a single telecabine that potters up to 3200 metres, pausing for a quick pick-up at an intermediate lift station with the elaborate name of 'P1'. From the top, there is no easy way down and you are warned that you proceed at your own risk - and they mean it.

You really should not ski La Grave on your own, and you should employ the services of the excellent local guides at all times - La Grave is an unpatrolled high mountain region with many lethal dangers; some apparent, some not. Just outside the lower lift station is a wooden Guide's Hut; the guide in residence can advise you on current conditions, the weather forecast and prevailing avalanche risks before you set off.

There is a single Blue run high on the glacier, to enable a ski over to Les Deux Alpes, but this is often only open from early February and depends on substantial snow cover.

Before leaving the top lift station you should have a good idea of your route down. There are two primary itineraries; the Vallons de Chancel and the Vallons de la Meije - either side of the ridge on which the telecabine is installed. Vallons de Chancel provides the easier run but both options offer spectacular off-piste descents with a mixture of steeps, open powder fields and (lower down) forest. Access to each valley requires initial care through fairly narrow, sometimes rocky, entry points. The common route into Vallons de la Meije then requires negotiation of a fairly steep scree slope with an entry that can be challenging.

The start of either run should be enough to get the pulse racing but from then on your guide can choose a specific route to suit your preferences and ability. Cliff drops and steep, narrow couloirs are available for those that wish (or those who ski without a guide!) but good snow conditions should see you enjoying powder all the way down to the tree line where trails will take you back to P1 or the village.

Many more extreme variations are available, including lÓrciére de Droites which descends from the Dome de la Lauze at 3550m. Described by those who know as very serious and involving crevasses, avalanche risk and probable wind slab; skiers and boarders attempting it need solid route-finding skills to successfully navigate 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 back up to walk out.

You are strongly advised to research La Grave further; it is a skiing experience with few rivals in Europe but you must acquaint yourself with the dangers. You can contact the local mountain guides through the La Grave website.

La Grave offers good sking, particularly, for Expert skiers.

Snowboarding

The un-tamed, natural terrain of La Grave creates a freestyle paradise, for extreme snowboarding. There's no park or pipes for boarders, just a dream world of unlimited natural hits for those already technically proficient off piste. Beginners should head over to the short pistes at Le Chazelet or be smart and go elsewhere.

Location and Map

Where is La Grave?

This ski resort is in the French Alps in Grande Galaxie, Hautes-Alpes.

Map

Tap Show Map in Full Screen for Full-Screen, or see J2Ski's Resort map, showing Hotels and Ski Shops.

How to get there

 By Air

The nearest airport to La Grave is Grenoble, 80 minutes drive away.

Chambery, Lyon St-Exupéry, Lyon Bron, Annecy, Geneva, Turin Cuneo and Saint-Étienne airports are all within three hours drive.

Infrastructure

Ski Lift Capacity

The two ski lifts are able to uplift 450 skiers and snowboarders every hour.

Season Dates

When is La Grave open?

We don't currently have confirmed season dates, but hope to soon.

Usual opening is early December (Opens start December subject to snow conditions), and usual closing is Late April.

NOTE:- Ski area, lift and piste opening is subject to Current Snow Conditions.

Piste Map

La Grave Piste Map
La Grave

COVID-19 / Coronavirus

We don't yet have specific details of the COVID-19 precautions being taken in La Grave, but they are likely to include most of the following :-

  • Face masks required on lifts, and in shops.
  • Social distancing in public areas.
  • Reduced lift capacity.
  • Extensive disinfection / sanitization.

French Ski Resort COVID-19 Measures describes further measures that may also be applied.

Visit the La Grave Tourist Office for the latest.

Talking about La Grave

Mentions in recent J2Ski News Items and Snow Reports from our users...

Aprés Ski

La Grave is not the place for banging night life. If you're happy to share a few (quiet) beers with some serious skiers and boarders then you shouldn't be disappointed. The Glaciers Bar and Les Vallons are usually the livelier of the half dozen choices available. No nightclubs, unsurprisingly.

History and Development

La Grave is an ancient French village and 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 complement their famous steeps, not so La Grave.

La Grave