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La Grave

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking of going to La Grave in March. Anyone skiied there?
post #2 of 12
Where is La Grave?

I know there's a 14km run down the back side of Les Deux called La Grave, which is fantastic, but I don't think I've heard of an actual resort called that.

Enjoy, anyway...


I ski in a Kilt
post #3 of 12
John--that's the one; it can be accessed from Les Deux Alpes; but there is also more direct access from the village of La Chaumine. Check out the Skiers Lodge there. http://www.skierslodge.com/

Keoki, if I had a week in March to do this trip I wouldn't even think twice. (You do know I am sure that the terrain is rated super steep and there is no grooming whatsoever. Its the real deal.) You'll pay for the lodging, meals and skiing in FF, and your dollar is exchanging really well this season. Also, don't know where you are flying from, but there are some very competitive fares into GVA and Lyon so long as you get your flying done before the end of March.

Back in December,I actually priced out a week's trip to the Skiers Lodge at La Chaumine(you can't do less at Skiers Lodge)in March--I calculated the lodging, meals and guide at about $100/day (total); the lift ticket at about $35/day and air at about $350. A trip to Vail, Aspen, Tahoe, whatever cannot not be done for that (from here--Philly; nevermind that you can't find such terrain here. Those calculations assumed a 7 to 1 exchange rate; not sure exactly what it is now. Do the math, its a no brainer, as they say! (I could not do it, THIS YEAR, because I my ski partner and I--and I do think you would only want to do this trip with a partner of similar expert ability--could not get together on a week.)
I'm going to try again next year.

Go for it man! Just be sure to come back with several lengthy posts about the terrain, snow, food and wine.

JW<FONT size="1">

[This message has been edited by JW (edited February 02, 2001).]</FONT>
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
JW Thanks for the great info and link. Looks like an awesome place. If I pull off the trip, I'll let you know what I find.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Had a great 2 weeks in France. Spent the first week in Chamonix and the 2nd in La Grave. Cham was fun but very crowded. The Cham Jam was in town and as a result the Tram up to the Grand Montet was about an hour and a half long. Once on the mountain however it was awesome. The skiing off of the top of the Telepherique Lognan was superb as was that off of the Telecabine de Bochard. We had a couple of days of wet snowfall at Grand Montet as well as 2 days of sunshine which were great. There really wasn't enough snow however for the classic Pas de Chevre run all the way down to the Mer de Glace. Our first day in Cham we skiied at Les Houches cause most of the other areas were closed due to avalanche danger. Les Houches left much to be desired. Our last afternoon was at La Brevant and although the view of Mt Blanc was obscured by clouds, some of the terrain there is definately worth a visit. We also had an awesome day on the Valle Blanche with no wind and blue skies. Our guide took us down the Envers du Plan section which was full of pow and steep terrain - great fun.

After a recovery/travel day to La Grave, the fun really began. If you havn't skiied La Grave/La Meije and you want to ski the most incredible lift served mountain in the world, you owe it to yourself to go there. We stayed at La Chaumine lodge which is THE PLACE to stay. The lodge serves about 35 skiers and is the ultimate set up. The La Chaumine lodge package includes 7 nights lodging, breakfast and dinner daily and guide services from Internationally Certified Mountain guides that know the area like the back of their hands. Our guide, Eric from Grenoble, was superb and kept us all out of trouble (except for my fall in a 40 degree couloir). The skiing at La Grave is beyond belief - 7000 vertical of steeps/couloirs and wide open bowls. No grooming, no ski patrol/school, no outta bounds, no inbounds -the lift ticket buys you the mountain/glaciers/seracs and crevasses. Anyone who doesn't ski there with a guide is either a local or crazy as the best terrain can be very dangerous to access. One night we watched a video of one of the guests at the lodge who was caught in an avalanche the day before. The slide tossed him over 2 rock bands and it is miraculous that (1) the slide spit him out and (2) that he survived with only a neck sprain. The video was amazing to say the least. We had a couple of excellent powder days that were unbelievable - thousands and thousands of vertical with hardly anyone on the mountain. We made an amazing decent one day of about 2000 vertical meters which included rapelling down a cliff. Standard gear at La Grave includes harness, beacon receiver, shovel, probe and helmet. To get the most out of a trip to La Grave, I suggest you get in the best shape of your life and then train hard for another month. The food at the lodge is awesome and the ability to mingle with an electic group of passionate skiers from all over the world for a week was one of the real treats of my skiing life. Check out the La Chamine lodge at www.skierslodge.com.
post #6 of 12
Keoki--great report. A week at the Skiers Lodge is right at the top of my list. Your post just confirms it.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
JW - it will be a trip of a lifetime. Bring midfats or wider. Our guides were skiing on AK Rockets/AK Launchers - 200 cm. I really benefitted from a week in Chamonix beforehand as it gave me a chance to get over jet lag, aclimatize and get my ski legs (I live in Hawaii). I was with a group of 10 from the USA taking a ski clinic and we had a Skiing Mag editor with us for the week. If you read Skiing Mag, you'll see a feature article on our trip in the next Dec issue. Even the Skiing Editor was in awe of the place. Perhaps I'll run into you next year as I'll be going back.
post #8 of 12

Excellent review.

A Friend of mine was there last season and complained the place was getting too high profile / overrun with adventure seekers and his guide was a bit too conservative (non-Euro) for the place. Just goes to show what a little fresh snow and the right guide can do for the perception of a "place"
post #9 of 12
OOOhhh... this looks very, very good. hmmm...next year perhaps.

>>Makes even Chamonix's off-piste tours looks like Disneyland!<< - Gravity about La Grave

Were you using fat skis around 188cm? or what?
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
I was on K2 Mod x 174's (I'm 5' 6" and about 155 lbs). I think something like the salomon supermountains would have been perfect.
post #11 of 12
I think true fats are the only way to go if you're going to ski La Grave: AK Launchers, Völkl G4, Dynastar Bigs or similar skis with a waist of at least 83 mm. Don't ski them too short either, I suggest you don't go much shorter than 188. The reasons for this are many. The mountain is so big you'll want to save your legs. Long, fat skis better saves your energy for situations when you're going to need it better (and believe me, you will). The wide open terrain really lets you open up your turns and get some speed going, another reason for longer skis. Because of the high altitude and thereby fast and dramatic changes in weather , the snow conditions can vary from deep pow to horrible death crust in just a day. In crust, nothing works better than a sweet pair of fatties. Bla, bla, bla, I could bore you out with reasons for bringing a pair of fat skis. Just do it, OK.

I took the step over to fat skis two years ago and I think that's the only way to go if you're a true off-piste skier. I've been skiing La Grave since 1995, having spent three whole seasons there and a month the other winters since so I think I know the place and what skiing there is about pretty good by now. No other place in the world capture the true essence off skiing better than La Grave. La Grave is soul-skiing!!!

By the way, check out La-Grave.com
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Tobias - where did you live when you spent your winters in La Grave. How much do apts go for?
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