La Grave Backcountry Skiing
La Grave Backcountry Skiing weeks are exciting guided ski holidays with the focus on skiing the best terrain and best snow further away from the pistes. Every day we will be exploring a new area to find the best snow and best descents. Some descents will be lift served off piste and some we will be ski touring to get to.
As the week progresses you will pick up the essentials of backcountry skiing . These skills include avalanche awareness, skinning, boot packing, glacier skiing and decision making. As conditions permit we can cover crampon/ice axe skills and crevasse rescue.
Clicking on the ‘Book Now’ button opposite, will open a new tab/window in your browser and direct you to our online tour booking system. Here you can check the course dates and availability
La Grave is a mecca for steep and adventurous backcountry skiing with its famous single lift and virtually no grooming. It is the wild west of ski areas and will suit advanced or expert off-piste skiers looking to explore one of the world’s wildest ski terrains.
- Guides expenses
- Guiding fees
- In resort transport
- Half board accommodation
What's not included
- Transport to/from La Grave
- Equipment rental
- Travel insurance
- Lunch/snacks in the mountains
- Uplifts according to itinerary
Who is this for?
You should be an Advanced off-piste skier to get the most from this course.
You can expect to be skiing from first lift each day. Most days you can expect to do some uphill work (up to 2 hours) to get to the descents. If this all sounds like hard work, don’t worry! It’s your holiday and the pace is up to you – but a sniff of fresh powder and it’s often “maybe just one more run…”!
Accommodation and huts
We’ll stay in a comfortable hotel for the week on a half board basis.
Arrive in la Grave and settle in to the hotel. We meet with your guide(s) in the evening to go over the plan for the week and check your equipment.
Day 1-6: We’ll spend the week exploring the whole of the la Grave area, following the best conditions. This may mean visiting nearby ski resorts such as Serre Chevalier or ski touring from col du Lauteret.
We may have to change this itinerary according to the prevailing weather and conditions (and we like to take into account your ambitions too!)
Good fitness will make it more fun and you’ll get more out of your week! Although we will tailor the course to your ability, we definitely recommend getting as fit as possible before you start. The process of training for your goal will help you focus on your goal – and having a goal will help you focus on your training. So all in all training is good!
Back country skiing and ski mountaineering is all about being able to exercise at a moderate intensity for several hours, and your training should reflect this. Probably the best training is cycling as this targets similar muscle groups and prepares the mind (exercising for long periods in poor weather requires mental strength!). However not everyone has the opportunity to do this and so alternatives such as jogging and gym workouts are also good.
The focus should be on training Cardiovascular Endurance as well as Strength for long days in the mountains – for cardio cycling/running/rowing machines are much better than weight training. Try and exercise for up to a couple of hours at a time at least twice a week. Try yoga, swimming, pilates etc too to help with core stability and balance. Squats and cycling are a good way to strengthen your legs. Remember to build up your workouts over time. If you are not used to exercising much, your muscles and joints need time to build up to avoid injury.
Try and choose an activity that you enjoy and keep a note of what you do and your times – this really helps with keeping the motivation up. If you are not used to training then your local gym will be able to advise you on a plan and schedule to help you achieve your goals. Training does not work overnight! The fittest athletes train as part of their lifestyles and have been doing it for years. Consider training for a good couple of months before coming out to the Alps.
1. Skis with ski touring bindings.Your skis should be a minimum of 90mm underfoot and should be off-piste specific.
2. Ski poles
3. Skins and ski crampons
4. Ski boots and boot crampons – these must fit and be comfortable as we will spend time ascending throughout the week.
5. Ski Helmet
6. Rucksack – 40-50l. with ski straps
7. Transceiver, probe, shovel, harness with 1 screw gate karabiner (can be rented in Chamonix)
8. Sunglasses, goggles, sunhat, sunscreen, lip salve/block
9. 3 sets socks and light coloured thermal tops
10. Lightweight Gore-Tex top/bottoms, warm hat, thick gloves, thin gloves
11. Insulating layers.
12. Personal first aid – blister kit, ibuprofen.
13. Cash for additional hot drinks / snacks on the mountain
14. Water bottle (minimum 1l)
Remember: Kit should be lightweight but functional – you have to carry it. Most of the above is available to rent on arrival in La Grave.
To find out more about our course, availability, or to ask any questions, please get in touch through the website or by phone on +33 (0)845 527 58 12.
We take a 20% deposit to secure your place on one of our courses, and we ask for the balance to be paid 6 weeks before the course start date.
We strongly recommend getting specialist travel insurance that covers cancellation, medical and mountain rescue.
Make sure that it covers glaciated mountaineering and climbing/ skiing. We recommend the Dogtag (www.dogtag.co.uk) – they have comprehensive policies and a good reputation.
Getting to La Grave
Grenoble or Lyon airport will service La Grave the best.
If you are arriving to Grenoble Bus/Train Station – Pole Multimodal, you catch the bus Nr LEL 35 towards (Grenoble – Briancon) it passes through La Grave 4 times a day. It takes approx. 1,5 hours.www.transdev-dauphine.com. Best is to get the ticket online at least two days before or earlier if possible.
This site can also organize your travel with online booking / Tel: +33 (0)821 202 203 www.info-ler.fr/Or: www.info-ler.fr/en/reservation
If you are flying to Lyon you will need to transfer to Grenoble to get to the bus to Le Grave.
Shuttle bus to/from Grenoble bus station – Pole Multimodal and Airport Lyon-Saint Exupéry. When traveling from Lyon-Saint Exupéry airport to Grenoble, tickets can be bought either from the shuttle bus counter inside the airport or directly from the driver. The bus leaves from the bus stand situated between Terminals 1 and 2, Level 1 and arrives at central bus station, next to the railway station and the tram lines A and B Pole Multimodal. The bus leaves for the airport from the central bus station (“gare routière”), which is next to Grenoble train station. www.lyonaeroports.com