Skiing & Snowboarding in La Grave
La Grave is a small ski resort in the Massif des Ecrins in the southern French Alps. Dominated by the mighty La Meije peak, La Grave is all about empty slopes of untracked powder and epic backcountry terrain with steep gullies, huge drops and some of the best tree runs in the Alps.
La Grave Ski & Snowboard Guide
Summit 3600 m
Vertical Drop 2200 m
Base 1450 m
Cable Cars 2
Chair Lifts -
Drag Lifts 1
Freeriding Use the La Meije cable car cable car to access 2150 m of non-stop vertical drop and some of the world's best freeriding. La Grave is extreme, take a guide.
Freestyle No park as such but plenty of natural hits and gullies.
Pistes One marked blue piste serves the Trifides and Dôme de la Lauze chairlifts at the very top of the resort.
Beginner Pistes N/A
Intermediate Pistes 1 (on the glacier)
Advanced Pistes N/A
Expert Pistes N/A
Total Riding 9 km
19 December to 01 May
47.50 € Day Pass, 246.00 € 6-Day Pass
includes 25% off a day pass at Serre Chevalier or Alpe d'Huez
Chambéry-Savoie (2 h 15 min)
Grenoble-Isère (2 h 30 min)
Lyon-Saint Exupéry (3 h 15 min)
Office du Tourisme de la Meije
Route nationale 91
05320 La Grave
Phone: +33 (0)4 76 79 90 05
The 1091 RD is currently closed both ways between La Grave & Mizoën.
Latest access info here
La Grave Skiing & Snowboarding Gallery
La Grave Skiing & Snowboarding Videos
Don’t miss the opportunity to ski in the freeride capital of the world. La Grave is not like any other ski area you’ve ever been to. There are no pistes, ski patrol, busy expensive restaurants and crowds wearing expense fashionable ski clothing. La Grave is a natural and magical mountain where you are free to make your turns and to express yourself through your off-piste skiing.
La Grave is located beneath the formidable La Meije mountain. It’s a mecca for off-piste freeride skiing and snowboarding. The La Meije Glaciers Aerial tramway takes skiers and snowboarders to Ruillians Pass at 3200 meters. A 10 minute hike and a drag lift then takes you to the top at a height of 3551 meters.
Even for advanced skiers and boarders, a guide is definitely recommended as they will be able to tailor the descent to your ability and help you avoid the super-steep couloirs and glacial terrain which is the reserve of expert skiers only.
The Skiing and Snowboarding
Floss from FREEFLO loves La Grave! Here, she gives us the lowdown on the best runs in the resort:
La Grave in my eyes is the freeride capital of the world, where it’s possible to ski or board up to 2000 m of vertical drop in a single descent.
There is no place like it anywhere else on earth. It’s a magical and beautiful place overlooked by the awe-inspiring 3984 m peak La Meije. It is a natural, uncontrolled mountain and a ski area for strong intermediate skiers and above. Access the ski area via the iconic La Meije cable car which takes you to 3200 m. You then hike up for 10 minutes to get the top drag lift (if it’s open) and then access two small pisted blue runs which are the only pisted runs in resort. This is also the way to ski over in to La Grave’s sister resort, Les 2 Alpes.
From 3200 m you have two main off-piste descents that are not marked – Vallons de La Meije and Vallons de la Chancel. This is where you need a guide or instructor and you can ski a variety of different routes through forests, open bowls, steeps and couloirs. The skiing can be as hard or as easy as you want to make it. Some variations of the Vallons de la Chancel are slightly less challenging as they’re flatter and shorter routes, but be prepared all the same to ski the bumps and through the trees back to the P1 lift. At this stage, if you’re tired then you can always take the lift down back to the village.
The Vallons De La Meije descent is mostly north facing and is a spectacular run skiing below the Meije. It’s steeper and has some great open bowl skiing. Once committed you can then ski all the way down to below the village of La Grave to the river and have a 10 minute walk out. This run normally takes 1-2 hours of off piste skiing depending on the ski level and fitness of the group.
Off Piste Ski Courses
Freeflo Ski run Off Piste Ski Performance Courses from January to March in La Grave. With a firm focus on backcountry skills, you’ll improve your off piste and steep skiing skiing in a relaxed and fun atmosphere. Book onto a course and build your confidence, mountain awareness and off-piste skills. You’ll go home having had an unforgettable ski experience and with new found respect for the mountains.
Where to Stay
La Grave is geared toward hardcore boarders and skiers and as such there isn’t much in the way of creature comforts. There is a limited but consistently good selection of very reasonably priced hotels and as long as you understand that this isn’t a resort driven by luxury, you won’t be disappointed. Skier’s Lodge is one of the best choices in the town offering a range of guided tours and regular live music.
Where to Eat
The restaurants in La Grave mainly offer French and Italian food. Les Vallons Pizzeria serves pizzas, sandwiches and beers till midnight. People continue to flock here till the closing time. The people are friendly and it is a great place to sit back and relax after a tiring day.
L’Edelweiss Hotel is best known for its French wine. It also serves a four course gourmet French meal as well as cheese fondues and raclette.
For a quick and easy snack to satisfy check out Café Des Glaciers.
On the mountain L’Haut Dessus 3200 m at the top cable car station is a great spot for lunch. They do a Plat du jour for 14 € and a Tartiflette for 12 €, and the views are pretty good!
While nightlife is not that prominent as people get exhausted during the day of skiing and snowboarding, there is a pub called Pub Le Bois Des Fees which attracts a considerable crowd. Sometimes, as a treat there are live performances. The bar at L’Edelweiss Hotel is also popular for its nightcap, but K2 Skiers Lodge Pub the place to be after sunset.
If you fancy a change from all that hard core boarding (and you’re made of stronger stuff than I am!) you could try a spot of ice diving. A small cut is made in the glacier of Lake Besson so that daring divers can explore the underwater world. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity which those of you who have the guts, should definitely try it.