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Steep Skiing Course Chamonix

Steep & deep off-piste in Chamonix, the extreme skiing capital of the world

Chamonix is well known for its steep skiing terrain - the Rectiligne Couloir at Les Grands Montets, the ENSA couloir and Hotel Face at Brevent, the Grand Envers on the Vallée Blanche - need we say more?!

Furthermore, all of this playground is easily accessible by ski lifts – the Aiguille du Midi cable cars take you from the centre of Chamonix town up to the start of the Vallée Blanche at 3842m.

The Chamonix Experience steep skiing course is designed to improve your off-piste skiing skills and push your ski technique up to the next level. In the safe hands of our UIAGM mountain guides you will gain confidence and strengthen your technique to tackle steeper and more challenging terrain than you've ever skied before.

More than just a week of off-piste guiding, you will receive expert tuition in steep skiing skills such as learning how to handle all types of terrain, how to ski safely down couloirs, how to perform jump turns on steep faces, how to control your speed on icy snow, how to use your skis as an anchor and much more besides. We'll also cover essential off-piste skills that could save your life such as avalanche safety and rope work. This course will teach you more in 5 days than most people learn in a whole season.

We will choose slopes that will be challenging for you but not too far above your limits, so that you progress at a steady rate over the 5 days of your steep skiing course in Chamonix.

If you're not quite ready for this course but want to improve your off-piste skiiing skills, we recommend our Chamonix Off-Piste Introduction - a 5 day course where you will learn all the essentials of skiing off-piste terrain in all snow conditions right here in the Chamonix valley.

 

Our Chamonix steep skiing course is divided into two parts: 2 days of technical training and 3 days of focussed ski tuition whilst riding the most amazing couloirs and slopes around Chamonix and Courmayeur.

You will benefit from the advantage of a small ski group, as we accept a maximum of 3 clients per mountain guide. This not only ensures greater safety but also enhances your enjoyment of the course as you will be skiing with people of a similar standard and level of experience as yourself, meaning that you'll all make maximum progress.

Safety training & Course learning outcomes

Above all, mountain safety is our highest priority, which is why as well as steep skiing techniques we also teach you how to ski off-piste safely. Avalanche awareness and transceiver search are essential to your skill set as a confident off-piste skier, especially when skiing the Chamonix backcountry routes that can take you far away from the patrolled ski areas. You'll also learn more advanced safety techniques such as:

  • Ropework and rapelling
  • Using your skis as an anchor
  • Skiing safely down couloirs
  • Controlling your speed on steep icy faces
  • Avalanche search and rescue methods

Our instructors are all qualified UIAGM mountain guides with all the knowledge and experience needed to teach you the essential mountain safety techniques.

 

Description

Level Requirements

Our Chamonix steep skiing course is physically demanding and so it is essential that you prepare yourself. Regular practice of any kind of endurance sport such as ski touring, hiking, running, biking or swimming is the best kind of training. We also recommend core strength exercises – Pilates and yoga are perfect. This course is for expert off-piste skiers only and you will need to be:

  • Confident and quick skiing off-piste on snow of varied quality
  • Experienced in using ice axes and crampons
  • Prepared to climb up steep couloirs and abseil with your skis attached to your rucksack
  • Physically fit with good strength and stamina

The best preparation for this course is to complete our Off-Piste Performance Ski Course first, it will lay the foundations and give you the strength and skills necessary to get the most out of your time.

If you're not sure which course is best for you, or if you simply want to ask us some questions, please contact us on info@chamex.com and we will be happy to help you.

 

Off-Piste in Chamonix

Chamonix has incredibly varied terrain, making it the perfect place to learn to ski steep off-piste. It has a world-wide reputation for extreme skiing and challenging backcountry. Over the 5 days of this course you will learn how to handle different conditions and types of snow whilst maintaining control in steep couloirs, deep powder bowls, dense forests and amongst glaciers.

Les Grands Montets and Aiguille du Midi give access to fantastic off-piste options that will both challenge and exhilirate you. You can ski the Vallee Blanche down one of the many less frequented and more formidable routes such as Grand Envers, or get the adrenaline pumping in the notorious couloirs of the Argentiere basin.

Chamonix's unique location on the border of three countries means that you can experience skiing the best of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps; depending on conditions we may take you over the border for a taste of off-piste skiing in one of our neighbouring resorts such as Verbier or Courmayeur.

Off-Piste Progression

We offer a full programme of off-piste ski courses in Chamonix, with our steep skiing course being one of the most advanced. In order to build up to this level we recommend that you start with our Introduction to Off-Piste Skiing before joining our Off-Piste Performance Clinic. Once you have mastered the required skills and are confident on all types of terrain, you'll be ready to explore the limitless options of the Chamonix valley on our Chamex'Plore off-piste ski safaris.

Prix

995€

Price per person with a maximum of 3 people per ski instructor

Date des Stages

2018
Start Date End Date Spaces
5 fév. 9 fév. 3
12 fév. 16 fév. 3
G
19 fév. 23 fév. 2
G
26 fév. 2 mar. 1
5 mar. 9 mar. 3
12 mar. 16 mar. 3
19 mar. 23 mar. 3
29 mar. 2 avr. 3
2 avr. 6 avr. 3
9 avr. 13 avr. 3

G
  The Course is guaranteed to run


Inclus

Guiding & Tuition

5 days of mountain guiding and ski tuition by a UIAGM qualified mountain guide.

Avalanche Training

Specific avalanche awareness tuition including assessment of the conditions, correct use of a transceiver and how to carry out a rescue using shovel and probe.

Equipement collectif

Cordes, mousquetons, pharmacie et matériel collectif seront pris en charge par les guides de haute montagne

Safety Equipment

We can provide the essential safety equipment of harness, avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel if you do not have your own. We can also lend you a backpack with straps for carrying your skis/snowboard on request.

Transport

Tous les transports pour accéder sur les différents sites pendant tous les jours du stage

Support logistique et implantation locale au coeur même de Chamonix

Notre société est basée dans un superbe environement au pied du téléphérique de l'Aiguille du Midi à Chamonix.

Notre équipe est à votre disposition pour tout renseignement et pour vous assister lors de votre stage avec nous.

Non Inclus

Skis / Snowboards

The price does not include skis/snowboards, boots or clothing. If you do not have your own we can help you organise rental, please ask us for details.

Assurance Secours et rapatriement

Nous vous incitons fortement à souscrire une assurance Secours & Rapatriement pour votre stage. Nous pouvons souscrire une assurance pour vous via notre partenaire assistance. Merci de le demander lors de votre inscrition sur le stage.

Accommodation

Accommodation in Chamonix is not included in the price but we would be happy to advise or organise it on request.

Se rendre à Chamonix

Le tarif ne comprend pas les transferts jusqu'à et depuis Chamonix mais nous pouvons vous assister selon que vous arriviez par train, avion ou bus. N'hésitez pas à nous demander notre asssistance.

Lift Passes

We will advise you on which lift passes you will need prior to your trip. If lift passes are required we can preorder them for you on request.

Food & Drink

The price does not include lunch or snacks. You can bring your own food and we can stop for a picnic, or there may be the option to buy lunch at a mountain hut. Please make sure that you are carrying sufficient water and snacks as we will be in the mountains for a number of hours.

Pre-Course Warm-Up

We highly recommend that you arrive in Chamonix a day or two before the steep skiing course to have some warm up days.

This is also the best way to check your equipment – particularly if you haven’t skied for a while or you have rental equipment. There is nothing worse than to miss out because your boots don’t fit properly or your bindings are not set correctly. It is also strongly recommended to have your skis serviced prior to the steep skiing course.

If you need to hire skis or to have your own skis serviced please ask us for recommendations of ski shops in Chamonix.

Meeting in Chamonix

The week begins with a welcome meeting at the Chamonix Experience office in Chamonix Sud, where you will meet the other members of your group and your mountain guide / ski instructor.

You will have the chance to check your equipment with your mountain guide and ask any last minute questions about the steep skiing course.

Your Chamex mountain guide will brief you on the itinerary, the weather and the prevailing snow conditions, giving you an idea of what to expect for the week ahead.

The itinerary below is given as an example of a typical week, your week may be entirely different depending on weather and snow conditions. Your mountain guide will plan your course to give you the best possible experience of skiing steep off-piste in Chamonix.

Days 1 & 2 - Jump Turns, Rope Work & Avalanche Safety

The first two days of this course are dedicated to your training and preparation for steep skiing.

Your mountain guide will take you to ski runs with short steep sections where you can practice your jump turns. There is also the psychological aspect of steep skiing and it is important to get used to exposure to steep slopes.

You will learn basic rope work and how to use crampons and ice axes. Also included is basic avalanche and crevasse rescue training, as these are important skills for safe skiing in high mountains.

Days 3 to 5 - Steep Slopes & Couloirs

The last 3 days of the ski course are dedicated to steep runs and couloirs.

Chamonix has a lot to offer in this aspect and your guide will choose runs with the best snow for you enjoy - such as Couloir des Marbrées, Couloir des Poubelles, Couloir Rectiligne, Couloir de l"ENSA, Col du Belvedere, Col de La Floria, Couloir du Chapeau, Couloirs de Trient.

Vêtements

Bonnet

Bonnet

sous - vetements thermiques

sous - vetements thermiques

T-shirt et couches respirantes (laine ou synthetique)

T-shirt et couches respirantes (laine ou synthetique)

Doudoune legere

Doudoune legere

Veste etanche et coupe-vent

Veste etanche et coupe-vent

Pantalon etanche et coupe-vent

Pantalon etanche et coupe-vent

Gants chauds

Gants chauds

Equipement technique

Baudrier

Baudrier

Masque de ski

Masque de ski

Mousqueton a vis

Mousqueton a vis

Sangle de 60 - 120 cm

Sangle de 60 - 120 cm

Skis de freeride

Skis de freeride

Chaussures de ski

Chaussures de ski

Batons de ski

Batons de ski

Crampons

Crampons

Sac a dos 20 - 30 litres avec les attaches pour fixer les skis ou un snowboard

Sac a dos 20 - 30 litres avec les attaches pour fixer les skis ou un snowboard

Equipement de sécurité

DVA (detecteur de victimes d'avalanche), pelle, sonde

DVA (detecteur de victimes d'avalanche), pelle, sonde

Ski or snowboard helmet

Ski or snowboard helmet

Extras

Lunettes de soleil

Lunettes de soleil

Bouteille d'eau 1 litre minimum

Bouteille d'eau 1 litre minimum

Creme solaire haute protection (visage et levres)

Creme solaire haute protection (visage et levres)

Lift Passes

CHAMONIX LIFT PASSES - FREE BOOKING & COLLECTION SERVICE

You can easily avoid the morning queue for the lift tickets - order your lift passes with us and then just pick them up the day before! We'll collect your lift passes and have them ready for you, free of charge.

For this course you will need the 5 days Mont Blanc Unlimited lift pass, please contact us for further details.

Airport transfers

We can help you to organise your transport to/from Chamonix. We work with well established airport transfer companies which use new and comfortable vehicles and which have the capacity and know-how to handle everything from delayed and cancelled flights, to unexpected traffic jams with professionalism and efficiency.

To book your transfer, we will need the following:

- Your full name

- Mobile phone number

- Email address

- Your destination address

- Your flight details (date, time and flight number)

 

For Geneva airport - Chamonix / Chamonix - Geneva airport:

SHARED TRANSFERS:

This is the most economic and ecologically friendly way of travel. The driver will meet and greet you at the airport, gather you and the rest of the passenger group together and then head off to your chosen destination. The door-to-door service means that you will be dropped off and picked up right at your hotel /chalet / apartment. From 40€ per person for one way and 80€ per person for a return trip.

PRIVATE TRANSFERS:

Private Transfers are the quickest way to get to and from the airport. Your driver will meet and greet you at the airport and guide you to your vehicle. There is no waiting for other passengers. Private transfers are available for one to eight person bookings and travelling together and you are guaranteed sole occupancy of the vehicle for your transfer. And, of course, it's a door to door service, so you won't be lugging any bags very far. 250€ per car for one way and 500€ per car for a return trip.

Equipment hire

We highly recommend that you book any equipment with us at least 2 weeks in advance as the hire shops can have limited availability in the busy season.

You can collect your equipment the evening before the start of the course and return it in the evening at the end of your course. We work with the following Chamonix ski hire and mountain shop :

• Concept Pro Shop which is conveniently located directly next door from our office. Open 7/7 08:00-19:00

 

Optional equipment

Thermos – not essential due to weight, but it can be comforting to have a hot drink on a cold day.

Water Bottle – should be at least 1.5 litres and durable. 

Camelbak hydration systems are good as long as they are kept clean, but not recommended for winter sports as the tube tends to freeze up.

Extra Gloves - a pair of spare gloves is essential.

Extra Goggles - spare goggles are highly recommended.

Food

We suggest you bring some snacks that you can take into the mountains with you each day.

Mountain rescue insurance

We don’t include mountain rescue insurance in any of our courses but we strongly recommend that you have it. Mountain rescue may be very expensive, particularly if helicopters are involved. Check with your travel insurance provider if you are covered for the specific activity you are going to do with us.

However, we can organise the mountain rescue insurance for you.The cost is 8€ per person per day for EU residents and 12€ per person per day for non-EU residents. Details of the insurance cover are different for EU and non-EU residents, please contact us for more informations.

Chamonix accommodation

If you need help to find a place to stay in Chamonix, don't hesitate to let us know! We work with a network of excellent chalets, hotels, gites and B&Bs offering Chamonix accommodation to suit all tastes and all budgets.

Rectiligne Couloir

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The Rectiligne couloir is a steeper variation of the Pas de Chevre off-piste route at Les Grands Montets in Argentiere.

Take the "top bin" of the Grands Montets lift up to 3300m, descend the short flight of stairs and turn skiers right onto the Col des Grands Montets. Ski west towards Le Dru along the middle of a large wide glacier; instead of dropping into the Pas de Chevre couloir on your right, turn left where is a steep and narrow entry to the Rectiligne couloir that may require some side-slipping.

The steep and narrow 300m couloir gradually widens to give more space for turns but remains more or less at 42º, good practise for your jump turns! The couloir exits onto the open plains beneath the Glacier du Nant Blanc which offer amazing and fun ski terrain, with the majestic peak of the Drus towering over you. This section is wide enough to often find good untracked snow.

The descent brings you out on the Mer de Glace towards the end of the Vallee Blanche route, where you can either ski back to Chamonix if there is enough snow cover or take the Montenvers train the rest of the way. Navigating your way over the moraine can be complicated and requires very good knowledge of the glacier.

Vallee Blanche, itinéraire du Grand Envers

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C'est l'itinéraire le plus raide et exposé de de la Vallée Blanche, certaines portions de ses pentes avoisinent les 50 degrés et peuvent être complètement couvertes de neige fraîche ou bien comporter des passages de glace vive, dû au fait que l'on évolue en terrain glaciaire de très haute altitude soumis à de forts vents. Il vous faudra donc une bonne expertise technique.

Couloir des Marbrées

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One of the most beautiful descents in the Mont Blanc Massif is to be found on the Italian side; from Courmayeur take the Helbronner cable car to it's summit and head towards the Col de Rochefort.

Dropping in to the couloir from the col is a steep start to your descent of around 45º, gradually phasing out to an average gradient of about 40º. Watch out for windslabs towards the top that can gather when snow accumulates.

The couloir eventually widens out as it comes onto the easier terrain of the Rochefort glacier; after a descent of about 2000m you'll end up in the pine forests of Val Ferret. In good snow conditions you can ski all the way back to Planpincieux in Courmayeur.

As well as being an incredible descent, the Couloir des Marbrees also boasts some pretty special views; Dent du Geant, Matterhorn, Monte Rosa, Mont Blanc du Tacul, Grandes Jorasses are just some of the peaks that can be seen along the way.

Couloir Poubelle

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Despite requiring a 30m abseil over rocks and ice, the Couloir Poubelle is one of the easiest of the Chamonix steeps to access due to it beginning right at the top of the Bochard Gondola at Les Grand Montets.

An inconspicuous-looking orange net marks the boundary between the groomed ski area and this 45º drop known as "the dustbin" in English. The downside to this easy access is that you're highly likely to have an audience as you lower yourself over the edge - now is not the time for stage fright.

Once you've put your ropes away and clipped in to your skis you'll find yourself at the start of a steep narrow couloir that requires a few jump turns to get going. After about 250m the couloir opens out into the wide open bowl of the Pas de Chevre where you can put in some big turns for 500m before you reach the moraine at the Mer de Glace.

Once you've crossed the glacier you can either take the Montenvers train back to Chamonix or, if the snow cover is good enough, ski the zig-zagging "James Bond" trail back down to town.