The Chamonix Experience Off-Piste Freeride Snowboard course has been specially designed for riders who want to explore the Chamonix backcountry and discover the fun of riding untracked fresh snow

Discover the joy of riding powder
snowboard instructors
The course is run by fully qualified snowboard instructors
Avalanche awareness skills
The course includes a companion avalanche rescue training

CHAMONIX SNOWBOARD FREERIDE INTRODUCTION COURSE

Snowboard Off-Piste Freeride Clinic in Chamonix

From 795.00€

Price per person for groups of minimum 4 participants.

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Beginner tech level

 

5 days course

 

Groups of 6 maximum

 

Available January - April

 

High fitness level

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

Snowboarding Safely

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.

Dates

Chamonix snowboard freeride introduction course dates - 2020

Start date Spaces
Price from
 
January 20, 2020
G
795.00€
February 03, 2020
795.00€
February 17, 2020
G
795.00€
March 02, 2020
795.00€
March 16, 2020
795.00€
March 30, 2020
795.00€
L
   Limited Availability
F
Fully Booked
G
Guaranteed
2
Two More to Guarantee

Itinerary

Arrival Day

You will meet your mountain guide / snowboard instructor and the rest of your group in the Chamonix Experience office on the evening before the start your course. We will send you all the details about the meeting in an email a week before start of the course. The meeting is a great opportunity to ask any questions about the freeride course and to check with your mountain guide / snowboard instructor that you have all the equipment you need.

Day 1: Le Tour & Col de Balme

Le Tour is a good place for your instructor to assess everyone's snowboarding level and run through the basics of mountain safety and avalanche awareness. 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 snowboarding 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 riding amongst trees and making tight controlled turns in ungroomed snow.

Day 3: Brevent & Flegere

Your snowboard instructor will decide the itinerary in the morning, depending on weather and snow conditions. There are plenty of off-piste areas in Chamonix and we have the whole valley to choose from. Off-piste tuition will take place wherever the snow is best that day. You'll learn how to read and use the terrain to your advantage, and how to get the best fresh turns without getting “stuck” in deep snow or avalanched at the same time.

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 snowboarding! 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 riding 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 snowboard techniques that you have learned this week.

This programme will obviously be adjusted to the conditions and the guide has the right to make his own decisions about the place you will be taken regarding the avalanche risk and weather conditions.

Learning Outcomes

Off piste progression

At the end of our Intro off piste snowboard course, we want you to:

  • Worship powder snow!!
  • Be confident and stable at a reasonable speed in all kinds of snow and terrain
  • Turn with your edges more than with your shoulders
  • Have good visual anticipation- plan your descent and avoid last second obstacles
  • Ride « switch » on tricky traverses in order to keep an appropriate height
  • Relax on tricky, icy, steep slopes
  • Adapt your riding to different terrain and types of snow
  • Understand the snow, it’s quality and metamorphosis, and be able to choose the best spot to ride considering slope angle and aspect
  • Have a basic knowledge of avalanche awareness
  • Identify avalanche hazards
  • Plan a safe descent using spacing, safe regrouping areas, riding one at a time….

What next?

Completion of our course, and with the agreement of your snowboarding guide, you can take the next step to become a stronger, more experienced rider- our advanced off piste snowboarding course or our splitboarding course take your riding even further afield.

Level Requirements

No previous off piste snowboarding experience needed to join the course - we're here to teach you! However, you will need:

  • Three weeks of snowboarding experience
  • Competence on piste, including black runs and moguls
  • Adequate physical fitness to ride a long run without stopping
  • The ability to turn frontside and backside, without slipping/ sliding too much
  • To edge properly with the ability to make long backsides traverses
  • Proper snowboarding kit, good boots and bindings, a snowboard adapted to off piste riding
  • Be able to use drag lifts (button lift, T-bar lift)

You shouldn’t book this course if:

  • You have less than 3 weeks of snowboarding experience
  • You are slow going down groomed runs
  • You fall every 5 turns (or less)
  • You’re not able to relax on icy, steep, or bumpy slopes
  • You’re not fit enough to do non–stop descents on classic red runs

If any of the above describes your riding, you are better served taking lessons on piste with a snowboard instructor. We can provide one for you.

If you aren’t sure this course is for you, please contact us at info@chamex.com.

We’re happy to help you to take the right decision.

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

Snowboard

Snowboard

Snowboard boots

Snowboard boots

Telescopic poles

Telescopic poles

Ski goggles

Ski goggles

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 guiding by a UIAGM qualified mountain guide & snowboard instructor.

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.

Crevasse Rescue Training

Basic crevasse safety training, including the correct use of rescue equipment.

Group Equipment

Ropes, safety equipment, etc will be provided when needed by your guide.

Local Transport

Any local transport that is required during your course.

Not Included

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.

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.

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.

Accommodation in Chamonix

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

Additional Services

Airport transfers

We can help you to organise your transport to/from Chamonix. We work with well established airport transfer companies using new and comfortable vehicles, 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)

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 passengers 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.

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.

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.

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.

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 information.

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 that is conveniently located directly next door from our office. Open 7/7 08:00-19:00

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