Off Piste

This is something totally different. As yet, very few skiers have discovered the gem that is Vaujany’s amazing back country terrain. Those of us that have experienced it know it is something special.

'Backcountry playground Yeh!'

Vaujany is very close to La Grave – Europe and perhaps the world’s most famous off-piste ski area. Yet often we meet La Grave guides skiing in Vaujany. Why? Because off-piste conditions are often better than on the notoriously fickle La Grave slopes.

Check out some videos here and here


Les Massif Des Grandes Rousses

The layout of the mountains around Vaujany is a very happy coincidence. The huge Massif des Grandes Rousses towers above the village to the north-east, creating a freeride paradise for those “in-the-know”. The good news is that in France it is still perfectly legal to take responsibility for yourself and to ski outside the patrolled areas.


Warning:

Off-piste skiing is a wonderful experience but can be dangerous if you don’t have the necessary knowledge and equipment. You can learn how to do it safely with a local guide. This is reasonably priced if you make up a group and includes the necessary extra equipment such as avalanche transceivers, probes, shovels etc.

We’re always happy to help put groups together and to recommend a good guide. All the guides we know are UIAGM-qualified. Please see contact details at the bottom of the page.

*Please check that your insurance covers off-piste skiing.


Mountain Guides

We can recommend the following mountain guides for off-piste adventures. Usually for groups of 4 to 6. We’ve shared many memorable descents with Denis, Stephane and Anthony, who are happy to show you around the amazing terrain near Vaujany, including the world famous La Grave which is only a 50-minute drive away. They are instructors too, so can help you with your off-piste and powder technique.

Please book direct


Denis Ailloud

  • +33 6075 62092
  • denis.ailloud@wanadoo.fr
Half Day €200 - €230
Full Day €320 - €350

Website

Denis

Anthony Franklin

  • +33 6079 73811
  • anthony@franklinalpine.com
Half Day N/A
Full Day €320 - €350

Website

Anthony

Stephane Garezynski

  • +33 6808 98425
  • sgarzou@hotmail.com
Half Day €200 - €230
Full Day €320 - €350
Colle de l impossible

Just to whet your appetite, here are a few options for a typical day’s off-piste skiing in Vaujany:

From the Dome des Rousse at 2800m or from Pic Blanc at 3330m there is a playground of technical slopes to choose from...

La Combe du Loup

(Valley of the Wolf). This is beautiful, wild country with excellent views across to La Grave and the spectacular La Meije. The first pitch is a steep, wide bowl and often has excellent powder. Great natural “half pipes” and undulating terrain take you through many kilometres of powder-bowls. It’s likely you’ll have the place to yourself. Once, as we ate our picnic on a sunny rock-outcrop, we saw a wolf – later the locals told us they are gradually returning to this part of the Alps.

Great powder on the Piefroid

Traverse over and a short walk up to the ridge this lovely couloir appears. Not too steep this one, but a great feeling as we start the descent, bearing right into another untracked bowl with great views down to Clavans. One option is to continue down to this charming village and have lunch at the refuge there


Pyramide from Pic Blanc at 3300m.

This time we cut left and pass the warning signs by the fence that remind us that we’re off-piste again and responsible for ourselves. Over the cornice and a dramatic traverse across the Grand Sablat glacier, we stop and fasten our skis to our backpacks for the 25 minute walk up to Pic de la Pyramide.

The top is a magic place to stop and gaze down at little Vaujany over 2000m below us, and anticipate the long runs ahead. There are many routes down from here and by now the sun has worked its way around so that the light is perfect, yet the snow still cold and powdery.

The Pyramide cornice has intimidated quite a few skiers but once you’re over and onto the slope, the snow is often so good that confidence quickly returns. It’s steep but on to exhilarating skiing, then gradually the going gets easier as the huge Glacier des Rousses comes into view. We stop and admire the view from one of the rocky outcrops on the far edge before...

The P10 Couloir

This is only one of several interesting routes back to Vaujany. It has a narrow start, widening out with a nice steep lower pitch then an amazing natural half-pipe to finish, finally we emerge above Vaujany’s Montfrais powder fields and pistes with an easy run home.


Roche Melon

This scenic itinerary is still listed as a piste but in fact is now a lovely open off-piste route through trees, open meadows and gulleys, often with excellent powder.

We can supply an off-piste guide book, written by qualified mountain guides, detailing the off-piste in Vaujany, La Grave and Alpe d’Huez. Ask for details. In English and French (maybe in Swedish soon!).


Others

Couloir 263 Canyon de La Fare Couloir des Pioches
Couloir P10 Epaule de La Fare Combe du Cerisier
Couloir P13 Pont (refuge) de La Fare Combe du Loup
Couloir Lucette Grandes Rousses Traverse Piefroid
Pic de la Pyramide Les Cheminees de Mascle Chapelle St Giraud
Col d’Impossible Le Col de l’Herpie Combe du Bras
Couloir Fleur Les Cotes de Rivets Radar
Col du Couard Maurienne/Pic d’Entendard Tete du Serre
L’Agnelin/Diabolo Lac de Quirlies La Crête de Charbonniere
Perrin Sud Le Grand Sablat Roche Melon
Perrin Nord Glacier du Barbarate Glacier Saint-Sorlin