Today we hiked la Cote Rouge from the small Chazelet lift system. It was a magical morning with inversion cloud filling the valleys and lurking mystically over the medieval villages.
Boot packing up the ridge to le Signal de la Grave at 2446 metres, we had awesome views to the Ecrin Massif, with La Meije and its neighbouring peaks wearing French berets (lenticular clouds) from the high winds at altitude.
The skiing was a smooth barefoot salsa on a thin carpet of transformed powder. The rolling East facing slopes took us all the way to the Hameau de Valfroide, a tiny alpine hamlet whose oldest buildings and bridges date back to the 14th century. Retracing our steps on a short afternoon hike we reached a high point that held the fall-line with La Grave. Though catching the last rays of afternoon sun, the descent was a far cry from the graceful morning dance, a refrozen crust – top to bottom. The skiing was nonetheless entertaining, peppered with crashes and giggles.
By mid-run we had all reached a kind of equilibrium, discovering a technique for descending the tricky conditions that suited our individual styles. Certainly some satisfaction can be derived from skiing directly into town and removing your skis at the main street sidewalk.
Lisa Auer Mountain and Ski Guide