La Grave, France, blurs the line between ski resort and ski mountaineering.

“It’s the defining characteristic of this valley. A pause stronger than the life-affirming ecstasy flashed upon the faces of ‘the experienced,’ those who’ve spent time on this storied mountain—La Meije—tucked deeply into a less trodden corner of the French Alps. A pause more poignant than the very real opportunity to ski a two-hour powder line studded with impossible couloirs, cliffs, and glades.

Pause is what envelopes you when, following a days-long cacophony of planes, trains, and one Verglas-enhanced bus ride up the Col Du Lautaret, you are deposited unceremoniously in the center of town and greeted by imposing shadows and the weight of an encroaching storm.

This is La Grave…”

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