The largest commune in the Chartreuse Mountains, Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse, 30 minutes from Grenoble, has been the Mecca of ski touring since the Chartreuse Espace Ski de Rando was opened here by Raidlight-Vertical, a company which specialises in the manufacturing of equipment for both summer and winter mountain sports. This company allows customers to try out jackets, trousers, under shirts, backpacks and other equipment for ski touring for free, as well as a kit for free-riding, mountaineering and trail running. The idea is to enable customers to appreciate the quality of the equipment in view of then purchasing the tried and approved product at the end of it! You can even see the workshop where the clothes are manufactured through one of the building's large bay windows. What's more, in partnership with four local rental companies, around a dozen customers are given skis to use for free on their first day (they just have to pay for the use of the boots and the adjustments of the fastenings). The centre also has a changing room, showers, a gym, massage chairs, computer terminals (where you'll find maps, briefings, routes, safety information for different types of weather, information about avalanches and environmental risks, etc.) and a hot drinks dispenser. The beginner's ski touring route (signposted and cordoned off) starts at the foot of the Raidlight building, at an altitude of 890 metres. You then climb uphill through the fir trees and spruces, where you'll come across chapels and barns but will always be close to the slopes, meaning you can reach them easily if need be. Introductory sessions are available, as well as numerous other activities, including one where you are taught how to use an avalance transceiver, the device essential in the event of an avalanche and known to many as an Arva, which is in fact the most popular brand of this type of transceiver. This activity takes place in Arva Park, located at the foot of the building that houses the Raidlight-Vertical Espace Ski de Rando: grab your shovels and your probe and you're off! The first to find the beacon under the snow wins! After your first introductory session at the Raidlight-Vertical Espace Ski de Rando, you'll be ready to take on some of the classic routes in the area, which include climbing up to the highest summit of the Chartreuse Mountains, Chamechaude, 2,082 metres above sea level, where you can enjoy a magnificent view right across to the Vercors.
The start of the ski trails are marked and secured and begin at the foot of the Raidlight building, situated at 890 meters.© Nicolas PELE / EASYVOYAGE
Head to Arva Park, at the foot of the building that houses the cross-country ski area of Raidlight-Vertical. Go on ahead with your shovels and probes.© RaidLight / Vertical
After your first cross-country ski trip in the Raidlight cross-country ski area, you will be able to climb to the top of the Chartreuse© RaidLight / Vertical
At the top, you can enjoy a wonderful panorama to the Vercors.© RaidLight / Vertical