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.
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La Grave Ski Resort
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.
Ski resort activities
In addition to its 10 kilometres of ski slopes, La Grave ski resort also offers a wide range of non-skiing and snowboarding activities. A great way to prolong the pleasure once you take off your skis or, for those who don’t ski, an opportunity to enjoy the mountain in a different way.
For a sporty outing, drive your own dog sled. The secrets of driving will be revealed to you by the village’s qualified mushers, who will accompany you along the route. Let yourself be carried away by the sensations of this means of transport. A day you won’t forget.
Another of the resort’s most unusual activities is the snowshoeing initiation in search of DVA (Avalanche Victims). The best solution to combine the useful with the pleasant.
This short snowshoe hike allows you to discover the avalanche victim detectors, also known in mountain jargon as the famous DVAs. An opportunity to learn about the risks of the mountain, but above all to apprehend them.
Sustainable development of the ski resort La Grave
The project carried out by the current and future municipalities to reinforce the spring, summer and autumn seasons is judicious and full of common sense for the future of the territory. Important actions have been carried out for the sustainable development of the season:
REDEVELOPMENT OF THE STATIONS, REPLACEMENT OF THE CONTAINERS, DEVELOPMENT OF A SPACE AT THE INTERMEDIATE STATION.
On the other hand, there is one issue, arguably the most difficult. If there is one thing we all share, it is the uncertainty that presides over our existence in the face of climate change.
Its effects can no longer be proven. As the melting continues, the temperature of the globe rises and extreme weather events occur. Droughts, floods, tornadoes, fires and violent hurricanes are becoming commonplace in many parts of the world.
The Grave has always been, and increasingly so, a “sensitive area”, a barometer of environmental change, because of its landlocked position, its rich but vulnerable mountain ecosystems, and if it needs to be said again: its glaciers.
Today, La Grave ski resort must continue to assume its position as a village bordering the park, inhabited by a human population with varied activities but respectful of the place, which offers its visitors from outside the park the chance to experience a fragile ecosystem, giving them the unprecedented opportunity to move around, on skis, on foot, etc. This is where all the richness of our territory lies and the activities that can continue to be carried out there.
Unforgettable experiences in La Grave
If heights and adrenaline-filled experiences are your thing, here’s one that won’t leave you indifferent. The paragliding guides welcome you in the exceptional setting of Meije to make you experience unforgettable sensations: touch the sky, fly with the Chocards and feel the euphoria of freedom in the air.
In both summer and winter, you will fly over the Meije glaciers, the villages of La Grave and Oisans… From the La Grave station, there are two flight sectors: the Meije valleys from the La Grave cable car or the 2 Alps sector.
La Grave mountain resort in summer
In summer, the resort of La Grave welcomes you and invites you to discover the sublime landscapes during a hike or a mountain bike ride. Take the cable car to the Ruillans pass at 3,211 metres and the Girose glacier. The panorama stretches between glaciers and peaks as far as the eye can see. The more athletic and trained climbers can try to discover the crevasses of the glacier, roped and accompanied by a mountain professional, by climbing or via ferrata.
If you prefer water activities, the La Grave mountain resort welcomes you at the white water base. Picnic tables and a barbecue in front of the glaciers are also available on site for short breaks between activities. The rafting descent of the Romanche is a very beautiful wild course offering 5 km of navigation, guaranteed sensations!
Hotels in La Grave
Hotel Panoramic-Village La Grave ***
The hotel is located in the village of La Grave, just a few metres from the ski resort. The rooms and suites are located in the chalets. The rooms on the top floor have views of the glaciers, and the rooms on the ground floor have a terrace with panoramic views.
Breakfast is served every morning in the dining room with panoramic mountain views, or on the terrace, weather permitting. Guests can also relax by the fireplace in the lounge bar.
There are 2 seasonal outdoor swimming pools open in summer and a private spa centre with a sauna and hot tub. Come and enjoy.
Hotel Castillan **
Hotel Castillan is close to the Écrins National Park. It offers a swimming pool, a sauna and a shared lounge. Free parking is available on site and free Wi-Fi access is available throughout the property.
Each room at the Castillan has a view of the Meije Glacier. The restaurant is open daily and serves regional cuisine made with local ingredients.
Several activities can be enjoyed in and around La Grave, including skiing, hiking, tennis and paragliding, as it is located just a few minutes from La Grave ski resort.
Gîte Le Rocher Hotel
Gîte Me Rocher is located in La Grave, in the Ecrins National Park, at the foot of the Pic de Maije. It offers free Wi-Fi access and a lounge with views of the surrounding mountains.
The rooms at Gîte Le Rocher have a family-style décor, a balcony and a private bathroom. A buffet breakfast is served every morning and other meals can also be prepared at the hotel.
Guests can play table tennis on site or go hiking nearby. Free parking is available on site and La Grave ski resort is just a few metres away.
Skiing in La Grave: the strengths of the resort
✅ A wide range of services adapted to families.
✅ Proximity of the accommodation to the ski slopes.
✅ Beginners’ slopes accessible from the lower part of the resort.
✅ Ski and snowboard schools with experienced instructors.
✅ Ideal for freestyle enthusiasts, with spectacular freeride circuits outside the marked areas.