La Grave

La Grave is not a ski area, as such. It consists of a cable car—actually a “pulse lift” of gondola cabins that ascend as one—that takes you up over 7,000 vertical feet to the top of the Meije glacier. From there, you’re on your own. (Except that you’re advised never to ski alone. A guide is definitely a good idea at La Grave.) Don’t expect grooming, snow-making, avalanche control, or even marked pistes. This is extreme skiing taken to the limit.


While there are many ways down, your main choice is between the La Meije glacier (more extreme) and Chancel (less extreme). Either way, it’s a long way down.

If La Grave interests you, think about getting there soon—its days may be numbered. The lease is coming up, and skier traffic was never huge—it may just not make business sense to continue. Let’s hope it does, because there really is nothing like La Grave.

By the way, “grave” is French for “serious.” Appropriate, yes?