NEW HIGH LIFT PLANNED FOR LA GRAVE
31st July 2019
New top lift for La Grave proposed, but will it change the character of the iconic off-piste resort in France?
An agreement has been reached to finance the building of a third section to the La Grave-La Meije gondola that will bring skiers, snowboarders, mountaineers and hikers to 3,600m in altitude.
The announcement was made by the private operator of the lift along with the public authorities.
It’s to be one of the highest points in the Alps to be accessible by lift.
La Grave’s planned lift extension will rival Europe’s highest cable car, the Aiguille du Midi at 3,777m in Chamonix and the Kleine Matterhorn in Zermatt at 3,883m that is reached by a 3S gondola lift.
This project to reach the Dome de la Lauze is to cost €11 million.
The objective is to increase the number of visitors by making the mountain accessible to a greater number of skiers and snowboarders.
Téléphériques des Glaciers de la Meije – © @SATG
The colourful La Grave gondolas have been running for decades from the rural 12th century mountain village of La Grave.
There have been ongoing battles over the running of the lift since the area became a ski destination in the 80s.
Most recently in 2017 there were worries over who would buy the lease of the lift system and potentially change the nature of skiing La Grave-La Meije.
A crowdfunding exercise brought in €45,000 to help save the off-piste mountain resort.
Catch up on this news here:
La Grave – La Meije lift
La Grave’s skiers and snowboarders love the rugged mountain for its rough terrain.
Views are mixed and some worry as the quoted goal of the development is “to increase the number of visitors to the site, to make the very high mountain accessible to as many people as possible, to compete with the Aiguille du Midi in Mont Blanc.”
So, is it the end of an era or a bright new dawn for La Grave?
“On the one hand it is fabulous that more skiing will be opened up and more people will experience the unique pleasures of La Grave, however it is a double-edged sword,” says the PlanetSKI content editor, James Cove.
He is a huge fan of the legendary off piste resort and first skied its legendary powder slopes back in the 90s.
Check out this earlier PlanetSKI article on one of the powder days James has enjoyed in the area.
“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.”
“To reach the top of La Meije at 3,600m it had to be done with ropes and skill, now it appears there may be hordes of gawping tourists taking selfies.”
“From a skiing point of view more people will access its slopes and it is probably only a matter of time before some of the slopes are pisted rather than left alone, though this is by no means certain.”
“I will certainly be skiing its slopes once the new lift is built and I look forward to riding it but it will come at a cost.”
“My advice is to go to enjoy the resort before the changes take place and then enjoy it afterwards too. La Grave is unique.”
What is your view of the new lift – good news or bad?
Feel free to add your comments over on the PlanetSKI Facebook page.
La Grave, France
Chose your route
Outlined in the 2017 contract, the resort is bound to keep its skiing below 3,200m unpisted.
Some fans of the area believe that this new development will affect the area’s cult ski status.
We’ll be keeping an eye on the opinions following the news of the extension of the lift.
A pre-2017 La Grave image to save its wild spirit
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