La Grave, France 2-29-12


Well-known member
Another day off the backside... This time down the Rama Couloir.

Today the sun was warm early as our group timed the backside run to near perfection. We were the first folks on the gondola from town right at the 9am buzzer and up and over the top right away with no warm up laps on the poma. The upper bowls were just coming into excellent corn as we skied them and with the exception of one short stretch that was shaded by rock in the couloir it too was excellent corn snow, though getting thin/dirty toward the very bottom. I believe the total run down the pitch is ~1,400 vertical meters or ~4,600 feet. Rama itself starts out wide enough to ski but toward the bottom it gets very narrow. At the moment It's a touch under 200cm in width at a couple points making for some interesting 'skiing' if you have long boards on your feet. Pelle was insistant that we pay attention to the run and not take pics, so I didn't get any in Rama itself, but here is a short helmet cam clip of the bottom of the couloir taken a day earlier (while we were at Alpe D'huez) by someone in a different group to give you the feel of how tight it gets for the last few hundred verts.


Again the traverse out of the Vallon de la Selle was rock hard until nearly out of the valley where the sun finally hits the snow. The lower elevations were melting fairly quick with one spot of 20 vertical feet we had to down hike, but generally an easy ski all the way into St Christophe. I forgot to mention that by this time the Avi rating had been upped to 3 for afternoon wet slide potential and we did ski across debris from a decent sized slide a little bit before getting into town.

Lunch was much less crowded at the cafe in town this time and the van ride back to LaGrave was in plenty of time to go back up the mtn and get one more run in down the 'classic' lines of the front face. We skied on the glacier side (skiers left of the mtn) This particular day we skied only to the P1 station before downloading. The upper mtn was still very hard snow though a bit more chalk like in places and the lower mtn had softened up to spring skiing/bumps from the warm day.

Just across from the gondola is a sweet patio bar where everyone hung out late in the afternoon. Despite the low run counts, the ski days typically ran from 9am to at least 4:30pm and on some days all the way until 5:30pm before you made it off the mtn. In this case an early end to the day at 4:30 with beers and smiles on the patio.