Look what the Wind Brought In

Trip Start Oct 26, 2006
Trip End Aug 2007

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Look What the Wind Brought in

The New Year has arrived and with it snow and the winter characters are starting to drift in. We have definitely noticed the town is becoming more busy. Skiers from all parts of the world are starting to fill up the La Grave streets and telepherique cabins. There are a good amount of Americans, Canadians, and Scandinavians coming into town. Many conversations are a mix of three different languages. My French is still not so good and my Norwegian is non-existent I understand about half the conversations, but since everyone is speaking the mountain language, (How is the snow? Where did you ski? Did you hear the weather forecast?) I am getting the gist. Holly is doing much better. So far it seems the average person on the slope is more like the type of person you would see skiing from Camp Muir as opposed to walking around Whistler Village in big furry moon boots. Although we are in Europe so we have seen our share of one-piece suits.

La Grave is definitely a unique place. Here are some interesting factoids. La Grave is officially not a ski area. In the mid 70s a special permit was granted by the government to build a lift to access the national park land on the slopes of La Meije. Special rules were given by the government as to what type of lift could be installed. No trams or gondolas allowed. This is why the telepherique has five cabins bunched together. It was the owner's way of getting around the government rules. The area which you ski has no trail signs. No grooming. There is no ski patrol. There is no avalanche control work done. In the morning mountain guides do evaluate the avalanche conditions and post what the danger level is. If the danger level is too high they will not run the telepherique. The place has very little frills although there is a restaurant at the top of the telepherique and the pizza is rather tasty. One thing is for sure this place has easy access to some incredible terrain.

It is amazing how a little snow goes a long way in this place. There have only been a few minor storms that have brought snow, however the winds blow and snow gets transferred into this valley. Slowly more terrain is becoming ski-able. A few days ago we followed Colin on a tour up the valley from our apartment to the Pic du Mas de la Grave. The skiing wasn't epic but there were some good turns out there and the weather and sights were beautiful. Pictures are attached.
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spinfast on

Good skiing!
It's starting to look a lot like winter up there. What crazy terrain!

I know you're missing winter in the US (ok maybe not), but here are a dozen or so photos from this past weekends hut trip to Sherman Pass in eastern Washington - http://mackieimages.typepad.com/photos/ski/index.html

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