Chamonix isn’t only the steep extreme freeride paradise seen in numerous snowboard movies. It also has a lot of varied terrain and is a great place to make the transition from riding on piste to off piste, whilst experiencing all types of backcountry terrain. Long undulating trails, snow-filled couloirs, forest riding, steep wide slopes, short technical slopes... all the elements for a great intro to backcountry riding!
Assessment of your off piste level
The first day of the course is dedicated to the assessment of the technical level and abilities of the group, so that your snowboard instructor can decide the best itinerary for the week ahead. Safety is a priority for us at Chamex, so we will also do basic avalanche training on the first day and familiarise ourselves with transceivers and other important equipment.
Improving your off piste technique
The rest of this freeride course is dedicated to improving your off-piste snowboarding 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 snowboarding to the next level. Your snowboard instructor will tailor a program adapted to the overall abilities of the group, weather, snow conditions, and local knowledge.
Snowboarding with Confidence
Our goal is for you to leave this course with a sense of achievement as well as memories of a great backcountry freeride week. We aim for you to reach the point where you can snowboard 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 snowboard areas. Video feedback will enable you and your snowboard instructor to:
- Analyse your riding style and question how you ride versus how you think you ride
- 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
Above all, mountain safety is our highest priority, which is why as well as imparting snowboarding techniques we also teach you how to snowboard off-piste safely. Avalanche awareness, transceiver search, and snow transformation are essential to your skill set as a confident off-piste freerider. Understanding the principles of snow stability allows us to find the best snow in a safe and informed manner, especially when riding backcountry routes that can take you far away from the patrolled ski areas.
Chamex Snowboard Instructors
You will have the advantage of being taught by our ENSA qualified snowboard instructors, ensuring an unparalleled quality of tuition. ENSA is the Ecole Nationale de Ski et d'Alpinisme) - the prestigious national ski and snowboard 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 snowboard 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 snowboard 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 riding 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 freeriding in one of our neighbouring resorts such as Verbier or Courmayeur.
We are sure that you will leave our course with a sense of achievement as well as great memories of the best descents Chamonix can offer - Les Grands Montets, Couloir des Vans at Le Tour, Pente de l’Hotel at Brévent…
By the end of the course you should be confident enough to snowboard 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.
Optional Vallee Blanche add on day
Finish your course with an epic descent of Europe's longest off-piste 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.