Photo 1

The Derby de la Meije is a race that runs on a terrain called "high mountain "

This domain, "les Vallons de la Meije" is different from other ski resort. You will be in a very high altitude : 3530m for the start zone at the Lauze pass situated between the Pic de la Grave and the Dome de la Lauze. (Picture 1).

The first part is on the Girose glacier.

Photo 2 

The route goes on the secure slope on the glacier to the Ruillans pass 3211m (picture 2)

Photo 3 
From that point you enter the Vallons de la Meije. The terrain is not laid out. There will be directional nets and Few poles to show blatant dangers.

Photo 4

This set up is not complete. You must be confident with your route. (Picture 3) Left as it is means virgin terrain with rocks,  blocks hidden by a new snow fall, depending the route taken as with the inside moraine (locally called forbidden area) you might face ice blocks coming from serac falls from the north faces of the Rateau and La Meije. (Picture 4)

Photo 5

.The lower part runs in a larches forest. (Picture 5).

The finish line is at Chal Vachere (around 1800m) if the snow conditions are sufficient.
Photo 6

Your return will be on the right bank of the Beou de la Meije canyon under your responsibility. The area is not supervised and the conditions can be changing : lack of snow, iced areas and no snow at the end. Please do not take off your skis in iced areas... (Picture 6)

Remember it s a long and demanding race : 1800 m altitude difference (without the return) for a distance of around 8 km.


  • A race committee of 5 mountain and first aid professional members .
  • A team of 50 ski patrollers minimum spread all over the route of the race.
  • A helicopter on the area with a doctor specialized in urgent care
  • A SDIS ambulance in La Grave

We insist on the necessity to do a preliminary exploration of the route (possible until the day before the race). No exploration on the race's day.

During your exploration please wear your Avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe...

The Avalanche transceiver must be in good working order (brand new batteries) and is mandatory on the race's day..

A helmet, Officially recognized for skiing, is mandatory on the race's day.

You are skiing in Les Vallons de la Meije :

You technical level, physical condition, psychologically, and the slope conditions, weather, terrain steepness, snow quality, glacier area, ,
If you ski on the glacier the previous day's make sure you are well equipped : a harness and the necessary material for a self rescue (crevasse kit) and a rope. (Picture 8)

Your equipment depends on your goals and remember to check your material.

Look at the info, Avalanche risk, weather... given by the patrollers. Get informations from the professionals : mountain guides, ski instructors, patrollers and the glacier ski patrols.We advise you to check out your itinerary.