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Chamonix Snowboard Freeride Performance

Off-Piste Freeride Snowboard Clinic in Chamonix 

Come to the Alps for a week (or more!) with Chamonix Experience and discover the best riding in the Mont Blanc range. It’s the opportunity to go from being a good rider to a backcountry ripper.

If you’re reading this you’d like to discover the Chamonix valley, or you’re coming back for more! Riding in the Mont Blanc range is addictive!

Riding Chamonix means being in the heart of the high mountains, amidst the glaciers, easily accessible from the lifts or with lifts and little walking. This type of big mountain riding at your doorstep doesn’t exist anywhere else in the world!

In the Mont Blanc range we can find glaciated descents more than 2500m long from the Aiguille du Midi, 2000m long, high altitude glacier runs in the sun on the Italian side of the range from the new Skyway lift, steep couloirs from the Brevent or Grands Montets lift stations, magic forest riding on the Swiss side of the Tete de Balme in Le Tour, and varied riding in Courmayeur, Italy. These amazing spots are all included in one pass- the «Mont Blanc Unlimited».

Tempted? You are guaranteed professional leadership and instruction with UIAGM mountain guides, dually qualified as ski and snowboard instructors.

We have two goals. We want to teach you the specific techniques used to progress in high mountain snow and steep terrain, and also show the strategies used to make informed decisions in the backcountry, for maximum safety.

 

Description

Course objectives

Your UIAGM mountain guide/ snowboard instructor, internationally certified with a dual diploma at the French national school in Chamonix (ENSA), will teach you to:

  • Recognize different types and qualities of snow and to adapt your riding accordingly- soft or aggressive, airing out or in constant contact with the ground- to best match a given style to the terrain
  • Better “read” the mountains, and identify where different mountain orientations may offer different snow characteristics.
  • Visualise your descent, to choose the safest and most efficient line. (And the most fun!)
  • Evaluate the snowpack and determine where and what danger(s) may occur to minimise the risk of an accident. We teach companion rescue methods- including   exercises in avalanche rescue, advanced technique with your avalanche beacon, shovel, probe, and ABS (optional).
  • Apart from the instructional aspects of the course, your guide is here to have as much fun as possible,  and to introduce you to the places/ runs giving Chamonix it’s reputation- the Grands Montets, the Pas de Chèvre, the Vallée Blanche, the Toule glacier, the Brévent couloirs, the Trient couloirs, Pré du Rocher, Courmayeur….)

 

Is this course for you?

This course is designed for those who have already participated in our Introduction to Backcountry Snowboarding week, or for those who already have experience riding in the backcountry.

  • You have to have very good physical condition. You have to be capable to ride, without stopping, any black groomed run or easily descend classic backcountry or sidecountry runs.
  • You have to have experience riding off-piste in all types of snow (good and bad!) deep powder, light powder, spring “corn” and also not so fun (crust, hard snow, wind affected, slush….)
  • Ride « switch » well enough to be comfortable on switchbacks and difficult traverses.
  • Have a real desire to improve your snowboarding, your backcountry decision making, and mountain condition assessment- learn more about the terrain you’re riding to further understand safety essentials. 

 

Price

820€

Price per person; groups of minimum 4 and maximum 6 clients per guide

Course Dates

2017
Start Date End Date Spaces
Dec 25 Dec 29 6
2018
Start Date End Date Spaces
Jan 01 Jan 05 6
Jan 08 Jan 12 6
Jan 15 Jan 19 6
Jan 22 Jan 26 6
Jan 29 Feb 02 6
Feb 05 Feb 09 6
Feb 12 Feb 16 6
Feb 26 Mar 02 6
Mar 12 Mar 16 6
Mar 26 Mar 30 6
Apr 09 Apr 13 6

G
  The Course is guaranteed to run


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

We strongly recommend that you take our Search and Rescue mountain insurance - we can organise this 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.

Accommodation

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.

The given itinerary is a program realized with good weather and good mountain conditions. The guides may tailor the program to suit the needs of the group and the weather/ snow…

Arrival Day - Welcome meeting and briefing

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 / Balme

There is a lot to cover on the first day, and the forests, couloirs and open basins in Le Tour are an ideal starting point. 

The varied terrain allows the guide to check everyone’s general abilities (no stress!), while riding some of the better lower altitude backcountry in the valley. After a few runs in the forests and couloirs on the Swiss side, the guide will set up a companion rescue exercise, and you can (re)familiarise yourself with your beacon, shovel, probe and the methods inherent to their proper use. 

Day 2 Brévent / La Flégère

The Brévent and la Flégère are the two south facing resorts in Chamonix, linked by a cable car or a long traverse- and when the riding here is good we can get a full appreciation for  “steep and deep” and “fun and sun.” The amazing panorama is a bonus. In the right conditions the lower, forested couloirs of the Brevent offer the best riding in Chamonix, with tight turns and tree skiing- a bit of forest slalom technique is a must! 

The day presents many opportunities for the guide to give hints and tips to improve your glade riding, and also present a first look at snow transformation on southern, sunny aspects. 

Possible descents: Pentes de l’Hotel, la Glière basin, la Floria basin, and- if conditions are great, the «poste a Payot», or the «golf couloir».

Day 3 Grands Montets

The celebrated riding in the Grands Montets- Chamonix’s freeride temple… Many classic runs start from here- the Lognan couloirs, Lavancher bowl, Chapeau couloir, Poubelles (Garbage) couloir, the epic Pas de chèvre, and Rectiligne couloir, among others. From the summit of the Grands Montets cable car, at 3300m, vast, glaciated slopes fall away- requiring specific equipment and presenting the potential hazards associated with glacier travel. 

You’ll ride with a harness, and in certain situations your guide may use the rope and ice screws and/or an ice axe to secure delicate sections. The Rognon glacier is ideal for teaching the basics of informed glacier travel.

Day 4 Aiguille du Midi

A week in Chamonix without a descent of the mythic Vallée Blanche, leaving from the Aiguille du Midi at 3842m, is a must if the conditions permit. The longest lift accessed, glaciated backcountry run in Europe is waiting! 

Given the physical and technical requirements of the course we’ll probably choose one of the steeper variants to the regular Vallée Blanche. The Grand, Moyenne, or Petit Envers with exits to the Mer de Glace in the Requin couloirs, for example.

With a little luck and excellent conditions we could try a « Super Combo »- Pas de Chèvre from the Grands Montets followed with a descent of the Grand Envers ….

You can count on having tired legs, because riding in this majestic setting warrants an all day effort, and your guide will make sure you take full advantage.

Day 5 Dolce vita! Courmayeur, Italy

A day to apply everything learned in the previous week and to evaluate the progress you’ve made. For the last day of the trip- a visit to the Italian side of the Mt. Blanc. No trip to the Mt. Blanc range is complete without a visit to our neighbours in the Val D’Aoste. The Courmayeur resort sits just on the other side of the Mt. Blanc tunnel, a half hour drive.

With tons of shady, north facing riding the Val Veny in Courmayeur houses superb couloirs, steep glades, and wide open bowls easily accessed from the groomed runs.

Across the valley, in the sun, the Toula glacier can be ridden from the new, fast and modern Skyway cable car, reaching 3500m at the summit of the Punta Helbronner. Exceptional views from the top allow a unique perspective on the Valley Blanche, prior to riding the Italian side.

Have an espresso! Possible options include runs on the Toula glacier and it’s variants, many of them very steep - the Cesse or Passerelle couloir, a long, steep trip down the Val Ferret via the Marbrées couloir, or an exposed, unforgettable run « under the cables »- from top to bottom more than 2000m of descent is waiting. You’ve earned your authentic Italian pizza!

 

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.

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

Extras

Sunglasses

Sunglasses

Water bottle (1 litre minimum)

Water bottle (1 litre minimum)

Sun cream high protection (for lips and face)

Sun cream high protection (for lips and face)

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 or climbing Mont Blanc as the tube tends to freeze up.

Extra Gloves - a pair of spare gloves is essential.

Extra Goggles - spare goggles are highly recommended.

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

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.

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.

Food

We suggest you bring plenty of snacks that you can take into the mountains with you each day; things like cereal bars, dried fruit and nuts, chocolate, sugary sweets or your favourite trail snacks are ideal. You can buy all of these things in Chamonix.

Technical

Have your board well waxed and serviced for it to glide well in the given conditions (cold snow and spring snow require differed waxes!).

Check your bindings prior the course that they are in good working condition.

Pas de Chevre

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This scenic off-piste itinerary starts from Les Grands Montets in Argentiere. From the top of the highest cable car you ski west towards the Grands Montets Glacier where the terrain starts to steepen, and you'll veer skier's right to enter into a wide couloir. Once you've skied down to 2800m the descent splits into two coombs, we follow the left one.

This wonderful long descent takes you all the way down to the open plains of the moraine and on to the Mer de Glace, the longest glacier in France. It might sound fairly straightforward but the exit itinerary is complicated and requires very good route finding skills and knowledge of the area.

This route is suitable for experienced off-piste skiers and snowboarders; if you are unsure of your level then consider joining one of our Chamonix Off-Piste Courses, where you will learn all the essential techniques for skiing safely on glacial off-piste terrain.

Vallee Blanche Petit Envers du Plan

Leif_and_laura_skiing_getting_fresh_tracks_on_the_vallee_blanche_photo_-_yves

The Petit Envers du Plan is a truly fun variation of the classic Vallee Blanche descent. It combines some interesting steeper sections with easy angled slopes to give your legs a little rest.

You will pass through labyrinths of magical glacier formations, deep crevasses and huge seracs amongst the towering peaks of the Mont Blanc Massif.

The Petit Envers du Plan is slightly more demanding than the classic Vallee Blanche route and requires good off-piste technique. If you're unsure of your skill level then consider spending a day beforehand with one of our UIAGM mountain guides to assess your skiing and practise all the techniques required to ski safely on glacial off-piste terrain.