Backcountry Skiing Articles
La Grave is a spirited place. It holds an energy that feels somewhat suspended in time. The attitude and outlook here harken another era in skiing, and though the French Alps are peppered with ancient villages giving way to modern ski lifts with enormous bountiful terrain, the trends and trivialities of our modern sport have managed to bi-pass this particular place.
It’s no secret that the beginning of this year’s ski season has been less than spectacular both here in Jackson and across most of the country. The lack of snow outstanding, we’ve slowly accumulated a solid and are perfectly poised for the major weather pattern change taking effect later this week.
It took about two weeks of living in La Grave and some 10 days of skiing before getting to know some of the more prominent locals and feeling a bit more comfortable with the classic runs. The tiny ancient village, classified by the French government as a commune, holds a residency of about 250 people.
If anything will put you in your place when you’re skiing somewhere new, an avalanche on your first run of your first day ranks pretty high. I’m spending the season in La Grave this year; it’s something I’ve tried to approach with a healthy dose of humility. On my first run, the mountain here made it immediately clear how humble I need to be.