Off Piste Rover La Grave
In 2017 we introduced a trip with a different format - the 'Off Piste Rover'. Rather than having one set location the aim is to rove around the alps, sampling the best resorts on offer from year to year. But when visiting a new area sometimes the security of a well practiced routine is important, and in this case both Alison Culshaw and James Thacker will be on hand to offer instruction and guiding. We enjoyed La Grave, France, so much in 2017 that we will be heading back there in 2018, along with a trip to Gressoney in Italy.
Off Piste Skiing at La Grave - Le Meije
La Grave - Le Meije offers a unique off piste skiing experience unlike any other resort. With just one closed pulse cabin leading to a high mountain freeride area under the north face of Le Meije, it's the resort that isn't really a resort.
The area is unmarked and unpatrolled giving off piste skiers the freedom to ski the whole mountain and explore the glaciers and steep couloirs that the area offers. With lift served access to an altitude of 3200m and just one (albeit long) marked piste this is an area where an organised trip with a ski instructor or guide will pay dividends.
In short 2018's 'Off Piste Rover' is visiting a mecca for off piste skiers, with La Grave offering some of the most exciting and challenging terrain served by lifts in Europe. This combined with a huge vertical drop of up to 2300m in good conditions means there isn't much not to like.
Here the skiing is predominately lift served but by skinning or making a short ascent on foot even more terrain can be accessed. A touring ski/binding is essential to access the whole mountain. This week is predominately aimed at those who might have received ski lessons before and are further aiming to put their skills into practice. Plenty of coaching input will be available along the way as we aim to ski some of La Graves best itineraries, as well as doing some day tours nearby.
Guiding and Instruction
This trip will be led by Alison and James giving the benefits of both high quality guiding and ski instruction, not to mention a great deal of enthusiasm for the excellent skiing the area offers. Having an informal but dual discipline team brings a lot of flexibility to cater for groups of different ability or aspirations as well as allowing ski coaching or guiding time as appropriate. You can download a sample programme here.
In order to provide a unique experience we have arranged accommodation at the 3 star Auberge Edelweiss, a centuries old coaching inn in the heart of La Grave. With comfy rooms and a warm and friendly atmosphere this privately run hotel was our first choice. The lift station is a five minute walk through the village of La Grave, making for a stress free commute.
£1400 per person
5 days skiing
Maximum 8 people (at a ratio of 1:4). The minimum number for the this trip to run is 1.
- 5 days dual guiding and ski instruction with IFMGA Mountain Guide and ISTD
- Accommodation (double or twin rooms) and food on half board basis at the Auberge Edelweiss for 6 nights (Sun 11th Feb - Sat 17th Feb)
- Transport during the trip if required
- Use of shovel, transceiver and probe
What’s not included?
- Transport to and from the resort. Click here for information on getting to and from La Grave
- Lift expenses
- Insurance for cancellation, rescue, repatriation and medical expenses
- Kit. Check out course kit list
For this course you must be able to ski confidently off-piste on slopes of up to 30 degrees in most conditions. You might find it challenging when it gets bumpy, really deep or crusty, but you are prepared to have a go. You are happy to tackle slopes of up to 40 degrees when conditions are good, but perhaps would like to gain more confidence on these slopes. You’ll need to be able to cope with full days out on the mountain. You will have had some prior experience of using skins and have the fitness to skin steadily uphill for a few hours at an approximate rate of 300m per hour. This will feel like hill-walking uphill not running uphill. Please feel free to get in touch if you would like to discuss any aspect of your ski ability or for advice on your preparation.
James Thacker is an IFMGA Mountain Guide, based in Chamonix.
- Off-Piste Ski Ability
- Effective but not efficient, Experienced
- La Grave
- Off-Piste Ski Guiding, Instruction and Ski Touring
- Ski Instructor & Mountain Guide