The classic French ski resort of La Grave in the Haute Alpes appears to have been saved from the threat of closure.

La Grave is centred on a 12th century village which accesses a massive vertical drop accessed by a three stage gondola that was installed in the 1970s. The lifts climb 2100 vertical metres above the village – one of the 10 biggest vertical in the world – and connect the area to the neighbouring  huge Les Deux Alpes ski area, but there are few groomed runs at La Grave.

But in recent years the famous off-piste skiing destination had been threatened on two fronts – firstly it’s lift structure is getting old and the lift operating company was finding it difficult to keep paying out for maintenance and was at risk of financial collapse, leading to various community initiatives to crowd fund or find other ways to keep the lift in business

Secondly the road access in to La Grave via the Chambon tunnel was found to be in structural danger of actual physical collapse leading to its closure in April 2015  and the creation of a temporary access road which was not a very good solution for skier traffic, albeit the best that was possible.

The good news though is that SATA (Alpe d’Huez’s lift company) has taken on the lease to operate the lifts at La Grave.

SATA have pledged to maintain the unique off-piste identity of La Grave, work on broadening the area’s appeal outside of peak ski season and invest in improving the existing gondola and even extending it up to 3600m to allow pedestrians access to spectacular views of the Ecrins National Park from the summit.

The other good news is that repairs to the Chambon tunnel (above) have been largely completed and it is scheduled to reopen in time for the ski season, meaning an end to long detours and temporary roads.  The local government has been working to repair and strengthen the tunnel and managed to open it during peak season in the summer before closing it again to complete repair work this autumn.

In other news, the talented French photographer Guillaume Le Guillou sent us this video from La Grave 10th September this year, following the heavy snowfall.

10sept2017 was a powder day (seasons dont have seasons) 🤡
pump up the volume hit hd and enjoy

merci Joe Vallone and Marion Haerty pour votre compagnie 🤠
merci Guillaume Le Guillou Photography for your time 📸
merci Chalet 3200 pour la saison 🍕

camera 🎥
p.o.v 1 J-L
p.o.v 2 Marion
drone and tripod Guigui
extra hand cam Joey

#ripcurl #thesearch #evoc #furlansnowboards #spbindings #aphexgear #05320COOP #lifeisgood #powder #crevasses
#glacier #whatisnext #iwantmore #septembersession
#justforfun #nofckfckfckmusic #lastdayforsummerseason2017

Posted by Jean-louis St-arneault de Lasalles on Monday, 11 September 2017