La Grave – The Art Of Getting “Extreme”

La Grave Raw Tiina Kivelä

Once upon a time in La Grave. 

This past January I traveled to La Grave. The La Grave. For I needed a break, a holiday and to get “extreme” – steep skiing, couloir skiing and lagraving (who knows, knows).

It was exactly as challenging and enhancing as I wished for. Worth the money, so to speak – and my kind of package holiday, definitely. I don’t say it made me a confident pro skier (I wish!) – but it did put me into the most challenging situations I’ve been on skis (and skis on my back and in the storage room when I had to get up 6am every single day on a holiday). Yes, I’m weird with my holiday preferences.

There were a storm and Couloir Olympique (random video of it)– there were shaky legs and sketchy frozen avalanche debris and steep rocky slopes to traverse on – and there were many well earned beers and excited mornings before guide brief and three course french meals (and cheese!). Not to forget all the badass ladies in the camp, who nicely added some balance to the mainly male fellow mountaineers and guests in the lodge (women, please, do come do these kind of things more often – leave the boyfriends home for once and just do it.)

I could repeat this next winter too.  And if you’re going, look for a guide named Erin Smart. She’s a professional you want to ski sketchy couloirs with. 

La Grave Tiina Kivelä

La Grave Tiina Kivelä

La Grave Tiina Kivelä

La Grave Tiina Kivelä

La Grave Tiina Kivelä

La Grave Tiina Kivelä

La Grave Tiina Kivelä

La Grave Tiina Kivelä

La Grave Tiina Kivelä

La Grave Tiina Kivelä

La Grave Tiina Kivelä

La Grave Tiina Kivelä

La Grave Tiina Kivelä

Finally there was the great glacier run, smooth and straight, forever straight if your legs could hold it, your ankles locked, you running so low, leaning into the speed, dropping forever and forever in the silent hiss of the crisp powder. It was better than any flying or anything else, and you built the ability to do it and to have it with the long climbs, carrying the heavy rucksacks. You could not buy it nor take a ticket to the top. It was the end we worked all winter for, and all the winter built to make it possible.

© Ernest Hemingway


Where: La Grave La Meije, 05320 France