La Grave, the holy grail of lift-accessed off-piste skiing, is set to expand it’s “permanent” vertical at a cost of €11million (~$12,000,000 USD) according to PlanetSki.
It was first announced in January of 2018 that the municipality of Grave and SATA (operator of the primary cable car at La Grave) intended to extend the cable car to reach Dome de la Lauze at 3600 m (11,811.02 ft). SATA is the company that also runs nearby Aple d’Huez.
Dome de la Lauze is currently accessible by a surface lift but frequently runs into problems according to David Le Guen, commercial and communication director of the La Grave Tourism Development Company. The lift only runs about 50% of the time due to, “…glacial recession… fog, the wind, or the level of the snow.”
The purpose of extending the famous colorful cable car is to provide skiers, hikers, tourists, and mountaineers constant access to the full 3600 m of La Grave-La Meije.
La Grave is known for it’s cult status of ungroomed freeskiing. The mountain offers an enormous 2150 m (7100 ft) of vertical (that’s like two Snowbirds stacked on top of each other, plus some loose change).
Not everybody is thrilled about the expansion of La Grave’s cable car. PlanetSki editor James Cove shared his thoughts on how increased tourism could change the vibe of La Grave.
“One of the things that makes La Grave is its remoteness and its lack of commercialism. It is for keen, experienced, and hardened skiers who earn their turns.”
Locals and die-hards fear that further commercializing the area will lead to changes in the terrain. Cove even stated that it’s within the realm of possibility that La Grave could see groomed piste in the future.
We’ll keep an eye on this story as it develops. For now, check on The Faction Collective‘s edit of La Grave from November 2018.