• Duration

    6 days, 5 nights
    March 12-17, 2022

  • Location

    La Grave, Alpe D’Huez, Les Deux Alpes
    France

  • Maximum participants

    6

  • Price

    $ 500 (reservation deposit)
    $ 2250 (second payment)

Join us on a small group, Advanced level trip extension and take advantage of that long flight you took to arrive in Europe for another 6 days/5 nights of superb high altitude skiing in the French Alps. We are headed to La Grave/Alpe D’Huez/Les Deux Alpes ski resorts for some excellent on piste and off piste descents and of course delicious food and wine. This is another beautiful area of France that is quite high in elevation (topping out over 11,800 feet) with a huge amount of terrain and slopes that range from beginner to extreme. Les Deux Alpes has the largest skiable glacier in Europe as well as the biggest on piste vertical (7,500ft) in the world and is France’s second oldest ski resort behind Chamonix. Alpe D’Huez is another huge French resort and boasts the longest black slope (10 miles long) in the world. Perhaps the crown jewel however is La Grave, a world renowned resort for its backcountry and off-piste skiing. La Grave consists of only one two-stage gondola and then a surface lift to reach the top of the Girose glacier (11,600ft). There are no pistes, ropes, or avalanche control; skiers can descend a virtually unlimited number of lines to the valley floor through a huge variety of terrain. Knowledgeable guides are essential and we will be accompanied by IFMGA certified Ski Guide Ludovic Erard, a Grenoble native. ***Saveur the Journey takes the COVID-19 pandemic very seriously and participation in this trip requires guests and guides to be vaccinated with one of the FDA approved emergency use authorization COVID-19 vaccines. Guests may also be required to provide a negative PCR test less than 72 hours prior to the start of the trip. Guests and guides will adhere to current COVID-19 guidelines as set forth by the CDC and WHO. Please see our COVID-19 Policies for more information.***

Photo credit:Ludovic Erard

Our home base will be a chalet in Chazelet, a quiet hamlet of La Grave at the base of the majestic “La Meije” (13,071ft) with its impressive peak and glaciers. La Grave is a beautiful tiny town with a population hovering around 500. We will eat all of our breakfasts in the chalet as well as some of our dinners, but we will also venture out into the French Villages to sample the local restaurants and cuisine. Every day we will have the possibility of packing our own lunch, which is often necessary when skiing at La Grave, but there will also be ample opportunities for the wonderful meals of slopeside restaurants.

Our Ski guide, Ludovic, will lead us through the impressive terrain of La Grave. A Grenoble native, La Grave is virtually in his backyard and he leads ski trips during the winter and mountaineering and climbing trips there during the summer. At La Grave it is imperative to have an excellent guide as hazards are unmarked and plentiful. The weather, snow conditions and our desires will dictate the lines we ski. Certain routes descend all the way to the valley floor and require taking a taxi to return to the ski resort. Avalanche safety gear (shovel, beacon, and probe) is required for the off piste skiing at La Grave and can be provided by Ludovic.

Photo credit:Ludovic Erard

Within 45 minutes drive are the two other famous French Ski resorts; Les Deux Alpes and Alpe D’Huez. Alpe D’Huez is one of the world’s largest resorts with 249km of slopes, 84 lifts and boasts an average of 300 days of sunshine. Its south facing orientation, and their extensive snowmaking equipment, make it an ideal resort for spring skiing. While there are lots of beginner runs, the resort is well known for its steep, high altitude, free-skiing through open powder fields and couloirs. Test your legs on “La Sarenne,” known in French as “La Piste Mythique” (the mythical slope) which is the undisputed longest groomed slope in the world with 6,560 feet of vertical spread out over an impressive 10 miles. “Le tunnel” is another famous slope here that requires a traverse through a rock tunnel and includes lots of steep pitches and big moguls. Alpe D’Huez is regularly used for famous bicycle climbs in the Tour de France during the summer. 

To best appreciate this Advanced/Expert level trip you must have alpine touring or telemark skis and bindings with skins or a splitboard with skins. While most of our lines will be lift served there will be times when short skintracks or bootpacks will either allow us to access more interesting terrain or avoid a long traverse, or even a taxi ride to get back to the lifts. “Pin-tech” (such as Dynafit), frame, hybrid or telemark bindings are all acceptable. A Splitboard setup with skins and touring bindings is fine as well. You must know how to use your gear, maintain your skins, and be an efficient tourer with good kick turns, form, and stamina. Avalanche safety gear (beacon, shovel, and probe) are mandatory for everyone and you must know how to use your equipment and preferably have completed an avalanche safety course. For the descents you must be an Advanced/Expert level rider, comfortable making dynamic turns in steep and varied terrain and in low visibility/difficult weather if necessary. You must understand how to keep yourself warm (proper layering), fed, hydrated, and healthy while being out all day.

Photo credit:Ludovic Erard

Sample Itinerary- subject to change

Day 1 – (SA)-March 12
Drive by van from Geneva to La Grave (3 hours)
Check into chalet
Avalanche safety, orientation, information about ski areas
Dinner out (included)

Day 2 (SU)-March 13

Breakfast at chalet (included)
Depending on weather conditions we will choose La Grave, Les Deux Alpes or Alpe D’Huez
Packed lunch (included) or lunch on your own (if we are at a resort)
Apres Ski
Return to chalet for dinner (included)

Day 3 (M)-March 14

Breakfast at chalet (included)
Depending on weather conditions we will choose La Grave, Les Deux Alpes or Alpe D’Huez
Packed lunch (included) or lunch on your own (if we are at a resort)
Apres Ski
Return to chalet for dinner (included)

Day 4 (TU)-March 15

Breakfast at chalet
Depending on weather conditions we will choose La Grave, Les Deux Alpes or Alpe D’Huez
Packed lunch (included) or lunch on your own (if we are at a resort)
Apres Ski
Dinner out (not included)

Day 5 (W)- March 16

Breakfast at chalet (included)
Check out of chalet
Ski
Leave by 4pm for Geneva area
Check into Le Bonheur dans le Pré
Farewell 4-course dinner (included) 

Day 6 (TH)-March 17

Breakfast at Le Bonheur dans le Pré
Airport transfers to Geneva

TRIP PACKAGE INCLUDES

  • All accommodations (double occupancy)
  • 4 Days of Guided (IFMGA guide) Skiing/boarding at La Grave, Alpe D’Huez, Les Deux Alpes. Avalanche safety gear included
  • 4 days lift tickets
  • Excellent food including 4 dinners, 3 packed lunches, 5 breakfasts
  • Transportation by private van
  • Airport transfers to Geneva (GVA) Airport
  • French and English speaking guide

NOT INCLUDED

FAQ France Trip Extension

Do you have to be an experienced skier/snowboarder to go on this trip?

You must be an ADVANCED/EXPERT skier/snowboarder with backcountry touring experience and riding powder. You must be in good physical shape, be able to and have skied in all conditions (including whiteout, wind, very cold). You must be able to ski/ride in control on all types of terrain and should be very comfortable on equivalent black and double black slopes. Ideally you should have some avalanche safety training. Avalanche beacon, shovel and probe are mandatory equipment and you should be familiar with how to use them. For skiers an all mountain ski  in the 95mm-110mm range that is not too heavy will provide ample float and still tour well.

Do I need avalanche safety equipment?

Yes! Avalanche beacon, shovel and probe are required to participate in this trip and you should be familiar with how they function. We can provide shovel, beacon, and probe. We will do some avalanche safety training and companion rescue. Avalanche airbags may also be a good idea but are not required.

What size pack do I need to bring?

A pack that is about 30-40 liters is perfect. It should be able carry all your essentials for a day of skiing (extra layers, water, food, skins, etc). It should have straps to carry your skis or board as well.

What will the weather be like?

This trip is in mid-march so the weather should be good. The resorts are at quite high elevation so we could have some cold days. Be prepared for weather from 10-40 degrees F.

What are the accommodations like?

The chalet is spacious and comfortable and belonged to the great-grandparents of the current owner. There are 7 rooms with a variety of bed sizes, spread out over 3 stories. The chalet faces south and is located in the small but charming village of Villar D’Arene.

I have dietary restrictions, can you accommodate me?

Please contact us to let us know about your dietary restrictions to see if you can be accommodated.

What if I need to cancel my trip?

If you need to cancel a trip that you have already booked and it is at least 90 days before the start of the trip your deposit is half refundable.  Final payment for the trip is due 60 days before the start of the trip.  Cancellations between 30 and 59 days before the of start of trip that cannot be filled are 50% refundable, if your spot is filled then it is 75% refundable.  Cancellations less than 30 days are non-refundable (100% of booking cost).  For this reason, we recommend you consider purchasing travelers insurance, (try World Nomads) which will cover the cost of your trip in extenuating circumstances.

Do I need to tip our Guides?

Gratuities for guides are not included in the price of you trip and are much appreciated. Tipping is at your discretion. Normally average tips for excellent service are around 10%-20% of the trip cost. Tips are pooled together and shared equally among the guides.

What sort of shape do I need to be in for this trip?

You should be in good ski shape with the ability to tour. We recommend at least an hour of aerobic activity 3 times a week during the 3 months leading up to the trip. Leg exercises such as squats and lunges are great and doing stadium or stair stepper exercises can really help on the skin track or bootpack.

Our team

Aaron Schorsch

Owner- Saveur the Journey

Aaron Schorsch is the owner of Saveur the Journey where he combines his passions of food, travel, outdoor adventures, and culture. He grew up in rural New Hampshire and has lived and traveled extensively in the US and abroad. Aaron learned to snowboard while teaching English in the French Alps but later took up Telemark Skiing. While he still likes to drop a knee on occasion you are more likely to find him with fixed heels shredding the backcountry or resort in a style he likes to call “joyful abandon.” Aaron is a student of food who has worked throughout the food system from growing seed and farming of vegetables, fruits, and livestock to cooking in high end restaurants and managing farmer’s markets. He loves to talk about, think about, dream about and especially, cook and eat food. He is a member of Slow Food international and has been a US delegate at Terra Madre in Turin, Italy.

Ludovic Erard

IFMGA Ski Guide--France

Ludovic is a native of Grenoble France where he works as a fully certified IFMGA guide. Ludovic assists Saveur the Journey‘s Ski trip to the French Alps by leading groups down the famous ’Vallée Blanche." He also is the lead guide for expert level skiers and boarders at the free-ride mecca of La Grave. Ludovic is calm, confident, and extremely skilled.

COVID-19 important information and cancellation policy

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