Analysing terrain data
The exposure grade does not take into account objective hazards (stone fall, seracs, etc) but only the consequences of the skier falling.
Low Exposure (E1): Exposure is limited to that of the slope itself. Getting hurt is still likely if the slope is steep and/or the snow is hard.
Medium Exposure (E2): As well as the slope itself, there are some obstacles (such as rock outcrops) which could aggravate injury.
High Exposure (E3): In case of a fall, death is highly likely.
Extreme Exposure (E4): In case of a fall, the skier faces certain death.
In bad weather or maybe just because you love trees the Crêtes des Lauzières is the place to head in Monêtier.
It’s a top quality tree run, fairly gentle and relaxed at the start then transitioning into a steep pitch that just seems to go on and on.
The aim here is to really try and stay in the centre of the ridgeline.
Go too far right and you end up on an open face that is extremely avalanche prone.
Avalanches here often slide right to the slippery slate-like rock the snow is sitting on.
Go too far left and the mistake is more obvious – cliffs, although in big snow years there are a couple of sneaky lines to be had here.
In terms of route finding, there is a slight bit of side stepping or walking near the start but essentially you can follow signs for the snow-shoeing itinerary.
After that, the main difficulty is to traverse the narrow ridge from the first, gentler part of the run to the second, steeper part.
It often involves a bit of side slipping and with steep slopes on either side it can be a little intimidating.
Take it nice and slowly and you’ll be rewarded by hundreds of metres of tree skiing perfection if you’ve picked it on a day when the conditions are right.
As you near the bottom, you can choose almost any line and all will eventually bring you out near the pistes at the bottom of Monêtier.
If you get lucky, as well as having a great ride you might see some of the resident roe deer or the odd fox going about their business in this forest a long way from the hustle and bustle of the pisted runs.