Ski resort sheet
La Grave – La Meije ski resort is considered one of the best freeride destinations in Europe. Nestled at 1525 m above sea level, north of the Hautes Alpes, between Serre Chevalier Vallée and Les 2 Alpes. The “Pays de La Meije” (La Meije region) includes magical as well as peculiar locations.
Location of the La Grave ski resort
Part of the ” Parc National des Écrins ”, where La Grave is rather denying of ski fashions and trends; preserving the spirit of pure and authentic mountain (region recognized among the most beautiful in France).
The ski lifts of La Meije Glaciers serve the off-piste ski area of La Grave – La Meije, whose “Vallons de La Meije” are recognized among the most experienced freeriders.
We also find the villages of Villar d’Arène and Chazelet near the resort. The high mountain scenery here is imposing, breath taking, and like no other in France.
If you visit La Grave – La Meije, you are not visiting your regular ski resort. Unlike most ski resorts, this is located in a high mountain area. A place where weather conditions can suddenly change and where you have to be responsible for your own safety.
La Grave is characterized by a special descent
To access this resort, you have to take the gondola that in approximately 30 minutes reaches you to 3200m above sea level where the facilities are placed. A unique environment of large glacial areas, steep corridors where you can enjoy carving, away from the trails and pillars of ski lifts.
There are three ski areas in La Grave – La Meije, with specific characteristics for each one. The most interesting Nordic ski area is found at 1450 m, next to the town of La Grave, which extends up to 3600 m from the La Girose glacier. The only marked and safe blue trail is located between 3200 and 3600 m above sea level; that is to say, 400 m of unevenness. A huge and wild environment, among peaks closer to 4000 meters than 3000. This blue trail is only open from February until the end of the season, always depending on the weather conditions.
For the bravest skiers
The domain is known worldwide, in particular thanks to the Vallons de la Meije trail, facing the north. It offers powder snow that never freezes, with 2150 m of unevenness under the gaze of the Râteau and La Meije glaciers. The second route of the Vallons de Chancel is also sumptuous. As previously indicated, this is a high mountain area that requires a very experienced level of off-piste skiing; Everything we know about the high mountains will never hurt since the area requires extreme caution. Among the inhabitants of the area, they usually refer to the area as “1 marked path, the rest is to imagine”, “The mountain as a playground” and “La Meije as the background”.
The descent from the Vallons de La Meije and the Vallons de Chancel on the “extreme slope” side are the perfect contrast of those found in the Glaciers area. It is advisable to have professional guides for those who do not feel completely comfortable and whose safety prevails over adrenaline.
Activities for the whole family in La Grave
If we want a more relaxed plan, an introduction to the ice wall waterfall in the Haute-Romanche, one of the most famous in France. Or also an initiation to snowkite at the Col du Lautaret when conditions are right (check in advance) as the weather changes rapidly.
To ski with the family, we must head to Chazalet, in front of the Reine Meije, with more suitable slopes for all levels of skiing.
La Grave – La Meije could be considered a Mecca for freeriding and mountaineering, the northernmost ski destination in the Hautes-Alpes. It offers activities beyond skiing to please a larger group of people and receive more and more visitors each year.
For mountaineering enthusiasts, the Office of Guides and Companions of La Grave – La Meije offers routes of immeasurable beauty; such as the Crossing from La Meije to Ecrins through ” Les Agneaux ” and ” les Bans ”.
For those who consider cold to be just a word, the list of activities is even greater; baptism in paragliding, descent in a freeride hovercraft, initiation to snowkite (in the Col du Lautaret) or ice climbing, trekking, electric FatBike and conventional bicycle.
With a more relaxed approach; Mushing routes, snowshoe excursions alone or accompanied (with ESF monitors and independent instructors) with the chance of spending a night in a refuge, yoga and gym classes or even astronomical observation in La Guindaine (center located in Col du Lautaret).
What can we visit in La Grave
Finally, to enhance your stay with a touch of culture, don’t miss a visit to the towns and villages; La Grave, Les Fréaux, Le Chazelet, Les Terrasses, Ventelon and Les Hières. The visit reviews the architecture, history, construction and local heritage, although you can always gather more information by the tourist office.
Another must-see is the Galerie de l’Alpe, a 10minute walk from the Col du Lautaret parking. We will discover the diversity of alpine flora in the mountains, gathered around a thematic exhibition of the Ecrins National Park.
With the special mention of the high area and the tremendous descent it offers, this small resort is perfect to enjoy with the family. Its sunny slopes offer an ideal layout for beginners and their progress: from green to red trails and, remarkable, powder snow. Whether under our own supervision or with the monitors of the resrot, the children will know how to get by and enjoy the snow quickly.
Sport and rest go hand in hand
For resting, there is nothing like having a cup of coffee on the terrace in the sun while enjoying the views. The station has monitors for both children and adults who will be delighted to show all the secrets of the resort. In powder snow, experienced skiers flock to the slopes of this beautiful valley above.
The panorama of the Meije and its glaciers makes snow holidays an unmatchable experience in any other ski resort. On the Col des Plagnes and the Emparis plateau, the spectacular north slope invites you to moderate your speed to fully enjoy the descent. With these tips we can gain a few meters on the descent.