There’s certainly something special about ducking ropes and gliding off into the unknown. But of course, if you show up at most resorts and pull that move you can easily get your pass pulled. It’s not for everybody, but a week without a pass is worth it to some simply for the reward.
So if you’re in the latter group–and in the know–then you might have spent more than a few hours dreaming about La Grave, France, mainly because there are no ropes to sneak under, no closed gates to rip through while looking over your shoulder. It’s a place for Lost Boys and Lost Girls, who’re comfortable being out there in the uncontrolled backcountry, hiking, climbing more than a little, even rappelling at times.
La Grave boasts no groomers or boundaries. No patrols telling you what to do (or even readily available if you need a rescue). It’s a place where skiers from all over the world come to taste a certain kind of freedom. You could even argue it’s the kind of freedom most people don’t know exists.
Locals say La Grave hasn’t changed much in past decades but the equipment has, opening up new lines and new possibilities for the people who take on its terrain. The spirit of freedom is still the same as it always has been. And that’s a really beautiful thing.
La Grave is the second installment of a three-part series from Faction Skis.