La Grave experiences large avalanche

On Thursday, February 11th, an “extremely impressive” avalanche rolled down the Tabuchet glacier around 5 a.m. in La Grave. La Grave is a small mountain town in the French Alps, known for its extreme backcountry ski terrain and glacier skiing.

La Grave is a ski town in name only. It is a distinctly non-resort style traditional village with only one groomed trail high up on a glacier. The vast majority of La Grave’s 2,100m skiable vertical is challenging off-piste freeride terrain with no boundaries and adventure at your own risk.

The huge avalanche started under the L’Aigle refuge and ran for over 1 kilometer, was 200 meters wide and 30 meters high. Nobody was injured however the damage toll was heavy on the town.

The blast of the avalanche “devastated everything in its path”, houses were filled with snow and branches. The cabin on a campsite was washed away, hundred-year-old trees were uprooted and moved over 300 meters. A hydroelectric power station may have been affected, verifications are in progress. A bridge was washed away.

A crisis unit has been installed at the town hall. Urgent works were put in place so that the village residents would have water and the electrical issues were resolved that day.

Such is life in the mountains, soon the snow will be gone and the residents will be enjoying summer.