REVISED FOR 2020 - Make the transition from skiing on-piste to skiing off-piste and explore the best of the Chamonix background with Chamex ski instructors

SKI INSTRUCTION
The course is run by our ENSA qualified ski instructors, who are based in Chamonix and have an unparalleled knowledge of the local off-piste terrain.
Video analysis
We use a video analysis to personalise the tuition and improve your technique.
AVALANCHE RESCUE SKILLS
Companion avalanche rescue training

CHAMONIX OFF-PISTE COURSE

5 days of off-piste ski instruction and freeride in Chamonix and Courmayeur

From 795.00€

Price per person for groups of minimum 4 skiers

View Dates
   

Beginner tech level

 

Fitness level 3/5

 

5 days course

 

Groups of 6 maximum

 

Available January - April

 

Chamonix based Ski Instructors

 

Avalanche rescue training

Chamonix is the perfect place to make the transition from skiing on-piste to skiing off-piste and experience full-on freeride fun. With your Chamex ski instructor, you will improve your backcountry skiing technique and receive an introduction to all the essential skills for skiing all-mountain terrain.

Assessment of your off-piste level

The first day of the off piste ski course is dedicated to the assessment of the overall level and abilities of the group. There is plenty of nice and easy off-piste terrain in Chamonix, such as at Le Tour, Flegere or Brevent, where your instructor will ski with your group to determine everyone's level and plan a good itinerary for the week ahead. As safety is our main priority at Chamex, you will also do a basic avalanche-awareness training course on the first day. 

Improving your off-piste technique

The rest of this freeride course is dedicated to improving your off-piste skiing and to pushing your limits. Group sizes are kept small so that you can benefit from personal instruction to improve your skills, technique and knowledge. Your instructor will lead you through various technical exercises to progress your skiing to the next level. Your ski instructor will tailor a program adapted to the overall abilities of the group, weather, snow conditions, and local knowledge.

Skiing with confidence

Our goal is for you to leave this course with a sense of achievement as well as memories of a great backcountry ski week. We aim for you to reach the point where you can ski confidently on different types of terrain in various snow conditions. Video analysis will help you identify and correct any imperfections, whilst highlighting your strengths so that you can work on improvement and then apply your new skills in the incredible Chamonix valley off-piste ski areas. Video feedback will enable you and your ski instructor to:

  • Analyse your skiing style and question how you ski versus how you think you ski
  • Identify any weak spots in your technique so that you can correct them
  • Identify your strengths so that you can improve and hone them
  • Set personal goals that are attainable by the end of the course

 

Off-Piste Safety

Above all, mountain safety is our highest priority, which is why as well as imparting skiing techniques we also teach you how to ski off-piste safely. Avalanche awareness, transceiver search, and snow transformation are essential to your skill set as a confident off-piste skier. Understanding the principles of snow stability allows us to find the best snow in a safe and informed manner, especially when skiing backcountry routes that can take you far away from the patrolled ski areas.

Chamex Ski Instructors

You will have the advantage of being taught by our ENSA qualified ski instructors, ensuring an unparalleled quality of tuition. ENSA is the Ecole Nationale de Ski et d'Alpinisme) - the prestigious national ski school based in Chamonix. Our team are hand-picked not only for their excellent teaching skills but also for their extensive local knowledge, which means that they know Chamonix inside-out and are the best people to show you exactly what our valley has to offer - as well as where to get the best coffee on the mountain! You'll ski everything from beautiful couloirs to deep forests, exploring everything that the valley has to offer with the best instructors to guide you.

Off-Piste in Chamonix

Chamonix has incredibly varied terrain, making it the perfect place to learn to ski off-piste. Over the 5 days of this course you will learn how to handle different conditions and types of snow. Much of your training will take place at Les Grands Montets, Chamonix's biggest ski area, where you will find everything from open slopes to powder bowls.

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.

By the end of the course you should be confident enough to ski the Vallee Blanche, one of the most famous off-piste itineraries in the world, as well as some of the other classic Chamonix off-piste descents.

Dates

Chamonix Off-Piste Course dates - 2020

Start date Spaces
Price from
 
January 06, 2020
795.00€
January 13, 2020
G
795.00€
January 20, 2020
G
795.00€
January 27, 2020
G
795.00€
February 03, 2020
G
795.00€
February 10, 2020
795.00€
February 17, 2020
795.00€
February 24, 2020
795.00€
March 02, 2020
G
795.00€
March 09, 2020
795.00€
March 16, 2020
2
795.00€
March 23, 2020
795.00€
March 30, 2020
795.00€
April 06, 2020
795.00€
April 13, 2020
795.00€
L
   Limited Availability
F
Fully Booked
G
Guaranteed
2
Two More to Guarantee

Itinerary

Welcome Meeting in Chamonix

You will meet with your group and Chamex mountain guide at the Chamonix Experience office in Chamonix Sud on Sunday evening to discuss the programme for the week. Your mountain guide will let you know what to expect from the weather and snow conditions and you will have the chance to ask any last minute questions.

Day 1 - Le Tour & Col de Balme

Le Tour is a good place for your guide/instructor to assess everyone's ski level and run through the basics of mountain saftey and avalanche awaress. The off-piste is easily accessible and the gradient is not too steep. Le Tour also offers brilliant tree skiing and long runs to Switzerland over the Col de Balme. The back bowls of Le Tour are also perfect for studying how wind, terrain and temperatures affect the snow pack and avalanche risk, so here is where you will do your avalanche awareness training to get the week off to a safe start.

Day 2 - Les Houches

Today we will discover the fun off-piste terrain of Les Houches. This area offers lower altitude skiing with a handy network of lifts and pistes cutting amongst a fairly large off-piste area. It is the perfect place to practise your newly learned techniques before venturing deeper into backcountry terrain. You'll find plenty of variety here from wide snowfields to dense forests, where you can practise skiing amongst trees and making tight controlled turns in ungroomed snow.

Day 3 - Brevent & Flegere

The south facing ski areas of Flégère and Brévent offer fun terrain with many secret bowls, which tend to be among snowboarders’ favourite spots in Chamonix. When Brévent is good, it is possibly the best off-piste in the valley. There is the famous Hotel Face and the ENSA couloirs, to mention only a few of the classic Chamonix off-piste itineraries. Flegere is where the locals head on a powder day while everyone else is out fighting for fresh tracks at Les Grands Montets! Your ski instructor will show you the best spots that only the locals know about.

Day 4 - Courmayeur, Italy

Today we visit the Courmayeur ski area, just on the other side of the Mont Blanc tunnel. Different country, different atmosphere, with delicious food and excellent skiing! There is plenty of very varied backcountry terrain to explore and your efforts will be rewarded by a nice Italian lunch followed by coffee or bombardino! 

Day 5 - Les Grands Montets

Your last day will be spent skiing the most challenging ski area in the Chamonix Valley. Les Grand Montets’ high elevation and north-facing aspect means that this area holds snow the best and until latest in the season. It offers excellent long steep pitches, big powder bowls, exciting mogul runs, and lovely forests where you can practice all the off-piste ski techniques that you have learned this week.

The course ends with debriefing in our office at the end of the final day, and maybe a few drinks with your new riding buddies to celebrate a fantastic week.

Optional Vallee Blanche add on day

Finish your course with an epic descent of Europe's longest off-piste ski run - the legendary Vallee Blanche! Stepping out from the top of the Aiguille du Midi you will join the ranks of freeriders, alpinists and backcountry skiers who come from all over the world to tick this off their bucket lists. Although incredibly impressive, the classic route is not hugely technical so if conditions are favourable you should be ready to tackle it by the end of your course, safely lead by one of our UIAGM mountain guides. This is an optional extra that you can add on as a 6th day, either privately or with the other members of your group. The cost is 390€ for up to 6 people per guide.

Learning Outcomes

Throughout the course you'll be developing various skills that will make you a stronger and more confident off-piste skier, such as how to:

  • Parallel turn on steep slopes
  • Tackle moguls and uneven terrain
  • Control your turns amongst trees
  • Keep your balance in deep snow
  • Increase your strength and stability on your skis

Once you've completed your introduction to off-piste skiing, you'll have opened up a whole new world of possibilities! Continue to develop your skills and become a stronger off-piste skier on our Off-Piste Performance Course or our Chamonix Steep Skiing Course.

Level Requirements

Technical level

You have a good level skiing on piste, and are comfortable skiing on all groomed runs, making small turns, turning on demand, and skiing moguls/ bumps. You have no experience venturing off-piste, and would like to get further from the lifts- skiing powder and “natural” mountain snow. 

Physical fitness

You’re in good physical shape. You can ski with a backpack carrying backcountry essentials (shovel, probe, water, snack.) You can walk uphill for 15 minutes carrying your skis or snowboard on your pack.

Equipment

Clothing

Warm hat

Warm hat

Thermal underwear

Thermal underwear

Fleece or woollen layers

Fleece or woollen layers

Light puffer jacket

Light puffer jacket

Windproof and waterproof jacket

Windproof and waterproof jacket

Windproof and waterproof trousers

Windproof and waterproof trousers

Warm gloves

Warm gloves

Technical gear

Ski goggles

Ski goggles

Free ride skis

Free ride skis

Ski boots

Ski boots

Ski poles

Ski poles

20 - 30 litres rucksack with attachment loops for skis / snowboard

20 - 30 litres rucksack with attachment loops for skis / snowboard

Safety Equipment

Avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe

Avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe

Ski or snowboard helmet

Ski or snowboard helmet

Other essentials

Sunglasses

Sunglasses

Water bottle - Ideally two 1L bottles

Water bottle - Ideally two 1L bottles

Sun cream high protection (for lips and face)

Sun cream high protection (for lips and face)

Included or not

Included

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.

Local Transport

Any local transport that is required during your course.

Office Support

Our team is based at the foot of the Aiguillle du Midi cable car and will be happy to help you with any questions you may have before, during or after your trip to Chamonix.

Not Included

Accommodation in Chamonix

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

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.

Travel to Chamonix

The price does not include flights, airport transfers or any other travel to/from Chamonix. However, we can organise airport transfers for you on request, please contact us for details.

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.

Insurance

Travel insurance including a mountain search and rescue insurance is mandatory on all our trips (we can organise the mountai search and rescue insurance for you on request). We highly advice to have a policy covering the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation. When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

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.

Personal Equipment

Please see the "Equipment" tab to find out what you will need on this trip / course.  For private customised guiding, please contact us directly to confirm your personalised kit list.

Additional Services

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:
  • Full name
  • Mobile phone number
  • Email address
  • Your destination address
  • Flight details (date, time and flight number)
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.

Accommodation in Chamonix

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

Lift passes

CHAMONIX LIFT PASSES - FREE BOOKING & COLLECTION SERVICEYou 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.

 If you have booked a course or a private trip with us, your guide will bring your lift passes along for you. There are two types of lift passes in Chamonix - Mont Blanc Unlimited and Chamonix Le Pass - please don't hesitate to contact us to find out which lift pass will be the best for you.

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

Equipment rental

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

Search & 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 information.

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