Leaving Chamonix, I took a train down south to meet up with friends Ryan Casey and Lacie Hernandez, who were living in a small village outside of La Grave. Ryan was working on patrol exchange between Sun Valley, Idaho and Serre Chevalier, France. For the season he swapped jobs, houses, cars, and lives with a young French ski patroller. In contrast to the destination-resort feel of Chamonix, the small village of Les Guiberts and the skiing in La Grave were much more small-town-roots, set in a dramatic alpine environment. Their host parents Jacques and Lors graciously accepted Ryan and Lacie (and all their dirt-bag American friends) in to a section of their multi-generational home, and graciously tried to ensure that a genuine, comfortable, culturally-experiential stay was had by all.
Ketchum friend Adam Majors was also in town, and together we spent a day at La Grave speedriding laps in the spectacular terrain and talking philosophy-shop on the funky old Telepherique.
On Ryan’s day off from patrol we skied lift-accessed powder laps in the Serre Che terrain, carefully navigating shark-fin rocks reminiscent of Big Sky Montana. Later we found our way in to a beautiful side-country couloir that Ryan said had gone un-skied all season.
To finish, we ran a lap on the local Via Ferrata and explored the spooky abandoned war-time fortresses overlooking town. By the time I caught a bus out of town to the North, I was stimulated and rejuvenated for the final leg of my trip.