Wednesday, April 4, 2012

La Grave!!!!

Pulling into La Grave I felt like I had come home! This is my third trip to La Grave and I never have enough time to spend there. This time I arrived with 5 other people and we rented a house in the Terrases, which is a small village above La Grave located steep on the mountain side. Walking to the little stone home for the week we walked through chickens and barns full of sheep and goats. Our place had an amazing view of the mountains of La Grave and the Le Meije! It could not have been more perfect. It had not snowed for a couple weeks in La Grave so we decided to do more touring than skiing on the mountain. The first day we toured up the Col De Lauteret with only touring for an hour we dropped through thhe coal and had a 2500 foot run down. The second day we drove a little further past to another valley and toured about 3500 feet up and skied a beautiful face starting with a short couloir. From the top of this peak the views were unbelieveable and all of us spotted a beautiful perfect couloir in the distance. We figured that it would take more than a days trip from where we were to get there. When we arrived back at the car we started talking with a man and he told us that the couloir was just another valley over and it was a half day mission! All 6 of us had a new objective and could not wait to check out the couloir. I only had one more day left in La Grave, I really wanted to have a chance at the coulor Devin. We headed out around 8 am and were hiking toward the couloir Devin , along a beautiful creek in the woods. We skinned to the bottom of the couloir and started to climb upward. The couloir was not incredibly steep, but a perfect pitch of about 40 to 45 degrees. It was one of the longest couloirs I have ever booted up and skied about 2000 feet. It took us about 1 hour 45 minutes to reach the top from where the couloir started. As we skied down we were greeted with surprisingly good conditions with a little knee deep powder!! We all skied for Doug Coombs( anniversary of his passing in La Grave) this day , it being in his old stomping grounds and him being one of the most influential skiers in the world! I also skied for his wife Emily, who has inspired me as well and become a good friend. Skiing back down to valley and arriving at the little village in just about 6 hours since we had left! The village restaurant had some of the best crepes and omlettes I have ever had and they tasted that much better after our 5,000 foot climb and ski!! What an amazing trip to La Grave it was so hard to leave everyone and the town.
Now I am in route to Kirkwood, Ca for the last stop on the Freeskiing World Tour where I am currently tied with Angel Collinson for the overall lead. I then will head back to Chamonix to ski for the rest of the month. Going to Kirkwood mid trip was not part of the original plan, but due to lack of snow the stop was pushed back. It was a tough decision, but with a little help from Rob at Mountain Athlete and Rick Hunt I am able to make the trek back to the U.S. to try and win the world championship!!

1 comment:

shannon said...

Crystal,

Congratulations! and thank you for posting these great photos of your trip, it looks amazing and I'm glad you are all there to crush it together.

cheers,
shannon