Piste off! Skiers fear new lift will threaten La Grave’s old school charm

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Proposals to build a cable car to access the retreating glacier have sparked a debate about the future of this low-key resort loved by ski tourers

There’s nothing like scrambling along a jagged granite ridge resplendent in russet and lime-green lichen, when it should be covered in snow, to remind you that the climate crisis is in full swing. My guide, Maxant Danilo, and I are at an altitude of more than 2,500 metres in the Hautes-Alpes, but even though it’s late January, conditions on south-facing slopes such as these feel more like late spring. Our snowboards are strapped to our backpacks instead of our feet.

Danilo, who works for a guide collective based in nearby La Grave, tells me the resort actually had one of the strongest starts to a winter season in recent years, with plenty of snow and low temperatures from November until the middle of January. The problem is, the constant mild weather since has melted much of the snowpack.

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