The Meije Glacier cable car opens the doors to a ski area which is not actually a ski area. This magical skiing landmark is one of the world's last true holy grails in which skiers can be free and truly live by their passion. In La Grave there are endless routes down the series of small valleys, for the most daring, those of the Meije, and for those searching a little safety those of Chancel.
Between the 3600 metre high Dome Lauze (the top of the resort) and the 1500 metre base in the village, Romanche, there are no marked ski runs, everyone can choose their own line, where to make their mark. Each person can make their own unique pattern in the La Grave snow. Internationally renowned, the valleys of Meije gather, each year, passionate skiers and snowboarders from all over the world. This is Europe's mecca for freeride skiing.
On the other side of the valley, there is a whole different atmosphere ... Two resort villages; Le Chazelet and Villar d'Arène both welcome skiers of all abilities. These towns offer skiing in a quiet, peaceful and idyllic setting, far from the overcrowded, purpose built ski resorts. The prices of the ski passes are competitive and the slopes are great for young novices, or just if you're out to have some fun.
In winter La Grave is also the meeting place for experienced ice climbers. The valley is transformed into an ice palace, counting nearly 130 waterfalls for all different ability levels. With their crampons and ice axes strapped-on, ice climbers, sometimes from afar, conquer the great walls of ice.
Architecturally La Grave is stunning; it is useless to search for the typical wooden chalets usually associated with the French Alps here. In this authentic town the small chalets that you can imagine are huddling together to keep warm, are all constructed from stone.
For food lovers, the local speciality at party season in Villar d'Arene and La Grave is a wonderful sort of cabbage tart/quiche. Other specialities in the ‘Pays de la Meije' include ravioli, rissoles (small pies), pognes and crozets (similar to meatballs).
Finally, ultimately the most famous event that takes place in La Grave: The "Derby de la Meije", this legendary race pitches the best skiers and snowboarders against the mountain. Riders come from all over the world to participate. Solo, in a team or disguised: everything goes; the only mission is to get to the bottom first. On the day, there is only really one challenge; to do better than last year! The festive atmosphere that coincides with the event is fantastic; great food, street performances and live music.