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Situated at the foot of Massif des Écrins and dominated by the towering La Meije peak (13,070 ft), La Grave is a quaint ski resort village in the French Alps and a veritable paradise for freeriders and the hardiest powder chasers. It bears an intimidating reputation due to its challenging off-piste freeride terrain and its wide array of open bowls, steep couloirs and magnificent glaciers. With only one groomed trail on a glacier, this resort is a resort in name only—the better part of La Grave’s massive vertical boasts rugged and glaciated terrain and spectacular descents stretching into the distance, making it ideal for more experienced backcountry aficionados! On top of that, this tranquil backcountry skiing haven is never crowded, so it is perfect if you’re looking for your own private powdery playground. Remember, this demanding area is not for newbie skiers, so make sure you hire a knowledgeable guide. Find out more about why La Grave is one of the best places for backcountry skiing in Europe from 57hours.

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  • Admire the out-of-this-world vistas of the French Alps all around you

  • Push your off-piste skills to a new level on diverse top-tier terrain

  • Escape the crowds and suit all your ski needs in this serene haven

Available itineraries

Intermediate Backcountry Skiing With a Guide

Treat yourself to five days in La Grave, France, and experience some of the best off-piste skiing in the world! Although skiing in La Grave and its area is known for challenging off-piste terrain and steep slopes, your guide will adapt to the level of the group and tailor an ideal adventure for you. Witness and ski on some of the classic routes in this area. If you already have some experience in the backcountry, but want to upgrade your skills, prepare for an exhilarating La Grave backcountry skiing adventure!

  • Day 1: Evaluation and classics in the area

    On the first day of this electrifying adventure you’ll meet up with your guide who will evaluate the level of the participants so that he can tailor a perfect trip for you! You’ll head out to La Grave’s classics such as Les Vallons de La Meije and the Chancel route and get a chance to ski down some scenic routes and head down through several steep couloirs, all while taking in the glorious mountainous vistas that the French Alps offer.

    Day 2: Experience the Girose Glacier, the La Banane and Patou couloirs

    On this day you’ll experience some steep slopes and descents and ski on the Girose glacier, the highest point you can reach using a lift in the resort. On the Chancel Route, you’ll head down La Banane and Patou, the steep-sided couloirs, with La Banane being longer and, as the name suggests, a bit curved.

    Skiers on the Girose Glacier

    Days 3, 4 and 5: Conquer stunning couloirs, Saint Christophe, Trifides…

    During these three days, your guide will show you and take you through different alpine valleys and some legendary couloirs such as Couloir de Fréaux, la Voûte and the Chirouze couloirs. Couloir de Fréaux has the easiest access and is narrow and steep at first, after which you can enjoy skiing down a long descent and eventually reach the village of Les Fréaux. La Voûte contains an open slope and gets progressively steeper as you move along. The Chirouze couloirs count three steep couloirs, one more stunning than the other. You’ll also ski towards the small village of Saint Christophe en Oisans and the Trifide couloir.

    The left Chirouze couloir
Advanced Backcountry Skiing With a Guide

Get ready to enjoy the fields of untracked powder while skiing on some of the best and most challenging off-piste terrain in the world! This is a true paradise for any advanced freerider who wants to challenge themselves even further and reach a new level in the backcountry. On this 5-day adventure, your guide will show you the ins and outs of some classic spots as well as some routes for the more advanced enthusiasts and adapt the terrain choice to your abilities. Hire an expert guide and enjoy backcountry skiing in La Grave!

  • Day 1: Evaluation and Classics in the area

    On the first day of this electrifying adventure you’ll meet up with your guide who will evaluate the level of the participants so that he can organize a perfect trip for your backcountry needs! You’ll head out to La Grave’s classics such as Les Vallons de La Meije and the Chancel route and ski down some stunning and memorable routes. Along the way, you’ll head down through several steep couloirs, all while enjoying the peaceful atmosphere and the otherworldly vistas the French Alps offer.

    Day 2: Experience the Girose Glacier, the Banane and Patou

    On this day you’ll experience some steep slopes and descents and ski on the Girose glacier, the highest point you can reach using a lift in the resort. On the Chancel Route, you’ll head down La Banane and Patou, the steep-sided couloirs, with La Banane being longer and, as the name suggests, a bit curved.

    Skiing down a couloir, La Grave

    Day 3: Combeynot massif

    Let your guide take you to the Combeynot massif, a real skiing paradise where the snow is great, the slopes are quite steep and there are many couloirs on top of that. The views from this massif are breathtaking and even though the terrain is steep, you won’t regret it once you’ve conquered it!

    Combeynot Massif, La Grave

    Days 4 and 5: Conquer stunning couloirs and glaciers

    During the last two days of this adventure, you’ll head out to different valleys from the cable car and/or by using the skins. Ski on some legendary couloirs such as Couloir de Fréaux, la Voûte and the Chirouze couloirs. Couloir de Fréaux has the easiest access and is narrow and steep in the beginning, after which you can enjoy skiing down a long descent. La Voûte contains an open slope and gets steeper and steeper as you go. The Chirouze couloirs count three steep couloirs, one more stunning than the other. You’ll also ski towards the small village of Saint Christophe, visit La Meije Glacier and spend two days and one night in a mountain lodge!

    La Meije glacier
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Meet your guide

Nacho Garrido-Lestache
5.00
Nacho Garrido-Lestache
Nacho is a certified UIAGM/IFGMA Mountain Guide, canyoning guide and ski instructor who began to enjoy the mountains in a professional way in 2000. He enjoys mountains in all of their forms but his specialties are the Aragonese Pyrenees, Chamonix and its Mont Blanc massif as well as La Grave and La Meije. Working as an independent guide has given him the opportunity to implement his values and philosophy into his own work and this is what allows him to adapt to the wishes and abilities of the people who accompany him on these adventures.

Things to know

  • What you get in this adventure:

      • An experienced, UIAGM High Mountain Guide with extensive knowledge of the area
      • Five days of backcountry ski touring
      • Avalanche safety kit if necessary (transceiver, shovel, probe and harness)

    What’s not included:

      • Technical backcountry ski touring equipment
      • Transportation of the participants and guide on the days that you leave La Grave, transportation to La Grave and all the trips during the adventure
      • Food and snacks
      • Accommodations
      • Cable car transportation
  • To enjoy this backcountry adventure, you need to be in very good physical shape. You will be on your feet for 5-7 hours a day for five full days covering a lot of diverse terrain every day. You will need to manage controlled descents in variable conditions. All participants should feel comfortable on challenging red-level resort runs or higher and be able to carry a loaded daypack while skinning up variable degrees of terrain. For the advanced program, you need to be in really good shape seeing as you’ll go uphill on 1000 m of uneven terrain.

  • To participate in this tour, you need to have previous backcountry skiing experience. For the intermediate tour, you need a good level of skiing. For the advanced adventure, cross-country skiing experience is beneficial and recommended, but not essential. You will be skiing, touring, and summiting on glaciated terrain for hours every day. Your guide will take care of the planning, oversee your technique, and teach you how to better manage the terrain. They also have the experience and avalanche training necessary to keep you safe.

  • For technical backcountry ski touring gear, you will need to bring:

      • Alpine touring skis, telemark skis or splitboard with skins (can be rented)
      • Touring boots and poles (can be rented)

    For personal items, we recommend bringing:

      • Helmet
      • Sunglasses or ski goggles
      • Gloves and hat
      • Wind and waterproof shell jacket with hood (Gore-Tex recommended)
      • Ski pants (Gore-Tex recommended)
      • Down jacket or vest
      • Synthetic or wool base layers, underwear and socks
      • One triple-action locking carabiner or two conventional locking carabiners
      • Repair kit and Leatherman for your equipment (can be shared between several people)
      • Water bottle and 1L of water
      • Thermos with a warm beverage — optional
      • Food you can eat on-the-go
      • First aid kit
      • Sunscreen
      • Daypack large enough to carry all items listed (around a 30-40L backpack)
      • Camera — optional
  • All mandatory gear can be rented if you don’t have your own. You can rent:

      • Avalanche safety pack, including backpack, beacon, shovel and probe from Objectif Meije
      • Alpine touring or telemark skis, touring boots and poles can be rented from Objectif Meije

    Ski rental locations are in La Grave and should be picked up the night prior to your outing. If you need to rent gear, let us know and we can help make arrangements.

  • Group sizes and pricing:

      • For this adventure, the max client-to-guide ratio is 4:1.
      • Costs per person decrease as the group grows for this adventure, so it’s the perfect opportunity to ski with friends and family.

    Backcountry skiing in La Grave can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.

    Min. age requirements:

      • If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
      • Minors may be permitted to join private tours on a case-by-case basis.

    If your group has skiers under the age of 18, contact us prior to booking to make arrangements.

     

  • To get to La Grave, most people fly into Lyon-Saint-Exupéry Airport, 2 hours away from La Grave. When you get to Lyon, you can rent a car or take a bus or train to Grenoble, and then take a bus directly to La Grave. You can also fly into Turin Airport 2.5 hours away. From Turin, you can rent a car or take a train to Bardonecchia and then drive to La Grave for 1h 20 minutes.

    The meeting place is in La Grave. Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, whether that’s at the guide shop or a predetermined location. The guide will choose the appropriate terrain dependent on conditions and the ability of the group.

  • 57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and to make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.

    We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, guides and the communities they’re travelling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in La Grave, France, please refer to France Diplomacy’s advice for travelers and foreign nationals.

    Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information

  • A 30% deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 45 days prior to departure. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies.

      • If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to sixty (60) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, Client is entitled to a full refund.
      • For cancellations forty-five (45) to fifty-nine (59) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the total amount paid when Booking.
      • For cancellations thirty (30) to forty-four (44) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of twenty-five percent (25%) of the total amount paid when Booking.
      • After that deadline, Client is not entitled to any refund.
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