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Off-Piste Performance Ski Course

Advanced off-piste ski course in Chamonix, transform your off-piste skills from good to great!

Chamonix is widely known as the extreme free-ride skiing capital of the world and is the perfect place to improve your off-piste skills. Chamonix's ski areas of Les Grands Montets, Brévent, Flégère and Le Tour have huge off-piste potential, not to mention the terrain accessible from the infamous Aiguille du Midi.

Not enough? The Mont Blanc Unlimited ski pass now allows access to Courmayeur and the Helbronner on the Italian side, only a 30 minute drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel, as well as the neighbouring resorts of Megeve, Saint-Gervais and Les Contamines. This large selection of terrain means that you can ski amazing, varied descents all week long.

This course is designed for intermediate off-piste skiers who want to take their skiing to the next level. During the course we will use video analysis to help you to focus on area where you need to improve.

Chamonix Experience's UIAGM mountain guides and ENSA qualified ski instructors will help you to become confident in skiing regular turns in powder bowls, uneven terrain and varied snow. You will learn to read terrain and snow surface to become expert in planning ski descents. You will ski over steep terrain and manage occasional cornice or small cliff drops. Fun fun fun!

 

Off-Piste Progression

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:

  • Control your turns on steep slopes
  • Tackle moguls and uneven terrain with confidence
  • Make tight turns amongst trees
  • Improve your balance in deep snow
  • Increase your strength and stability on your skis

Once you've completed your off-piste performance course, you'll have taken your skiing to the next level and will be ready to explore the endless possibilities that the Chamonix valley has to offer! Continue to develop your skills and become a stronger off-piste skier on our Chamonix Steep Skiing Course.

 

Off-Piste Safety

Above all, mountain safety is our highest priority, which is why as well as 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. Our instructors are all qualified UIAGM mountain guides with all the knowledge and experience needed to teach you the basic mountain safety techniques.

 

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 glaciers 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.

If conditions are favourable you'll have the chance to ski the Vallee Blanche, one of the most famous off-piste itineraries in the world, as well as many other classic Chamonix off-piste descents.

Description

This course is designed to transform your off-piste skiing from good to excellent. You will have tuition from an internationally qualified UIAGM mountain guide and ENSA ski instructor.

The focus for the week will be:

  • Improving your off-piste ski technique
  • Skiing as many of the best descents as possible
  • Improving your avalanche awareness skills

Your mountain guide and ski instructors will tailor the programme to suit weather, snow conditions and the overall level of the group. Each day your guide will choose the area offering the best off-piste skiing at the moment.

We use video analysis to help you to: 

  • Find any weak spots in your ski technique and focus your training there
  • Set goals in what you want to achieve and direct your training there
 
Taste of winter.

September, october, november...winter is almost there :-)Cruising in the Vallée Blanche with Chamonix ExperienceFeiyu Tech

Posted by Seb Montaz Studio on Friday, 4 September 2015

 

Level Requirements

You don’t need to be an expert off-piste skier to join the course, that's what we're here to teach you! However, you will have to be:

  • An intermediate off-piste skier with at least a couple of weeks of experience
  • Fit enough to ski all day with only short stops for drinks and food
  • Strong enough to follow our programme for 5 consecutive days, with enough spare energy to focus on the tuition and your technique. 

Regular cardiovascular training (running, hiking, biking) is the best preparation for the course. We recommend a couple of days of skiing prior to the course to get your ski legs ready and to dust off your skills.

The best preparation to get you ready for this course is to complete our introduction to off-piste skiing course first, where you will learn all the basics and develop your strength.

If you are not sure if this is the course for you, or you would simply like to ask us some questions, please contact us on info@chamex.com and we will be happy to help.

Price

790€

Price per person; groups of 4 to 6 skiers per guide. Courses with only 3 skiers booked can be run for a supplement of 150€ per person.

Course Dates

2018
Start Date End Date Spaces
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 19 Feb 23 6
Feb 26 Mar 02 6
Mar 05 Mar 09 6
Mar 12 Mar 16 6
Mar 19 Mar 23 6
Mar 26 Mar 30 6
Apr 02 Apr 06 6
Apr 09 Apr 13 6

G
  The Course is guaranteed to run


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.

Group Equipment

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

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.

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

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.

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.

Insurance

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

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.

This itinerary is an example of type of skiing and terrain you can expect to experience on this course.

Arrival in Chamonix

You will meet with your group and your 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 about the weather and snow conditions in Chamonix, 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 mountain guide to assess everyone’s ski level and run through the basics of mountain saftey and avalanche awaress. The off-piste at Le Tour is easily accessible and of a gentle gradient. It 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 we will do our avalanche awareness training to get the week off to a safe start.

Day 2 - Brevent & Flegere

The south facing ski areas of Flegere and Brevent offer fun terrain with many secrets bowls. When Brévent is good it is maybe the best off-piste in the valley. There is the famous “Hotel face” and ENSA couloirs to mention only a few of the classic itineraries.

Day 3 - Les Grands Montets

Grand Montets’ north facing aspect means that this area holds the snow the best and the latest in the season. This offers excellent long steep pitches. From the top you have access to the Rognon Glacier. Before setting out your mountain guide will brief you on how to safely ski on glaciated terrain.

Day 4 - Aiguille du Midi & Vallee Blanche

No week to Chamonix is complete without skiing from the Aiguille du Midi. This is where the famous Vallee Blanche starts and where off-piste skiing in a high mountain environment is at its best.

There are many different ways down with various difficulty and steepness. All routes take you through the most amazing landscape of ice towers and deep crevasses, not to mention the surrounding peaks of the Mont Blanc Massif.

Day 5 - Italy

You will drive through the tunnel to Italy and La Palud where the Helbronner lift will take you in three stages up to Point Helbronner. From here there are various options to descend “Glacier de Toule”.

Course ends with debriefing in our office on Saturday evening.

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

Harness

Harness

Ski goggles

Ski goggles

Screwgate carabiner

Screwgate carabiner

60 - 120 cm tape sling

60 - 120 cm tape sling

Free ride skis

Free ride skis

Ski boots

Ski boots

Ski poles

Ski poles

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)

Are you ready for the Off Piste Performance Course?

1) Have you previously completed our off piste initiation course, a similar equivalent or have previous experience skiing off piste?

2) Are you in good physical condition and regularly participating in physical activity (at least 2 times per week) with cardio / endurance training? Can you ski an entire run (from top of the lift to the bottom) with no more than one stop?

3) Have you skied in powder snow 50cm deep or more?

4) Have you skied on backcountry skis or skis with at least a 95mm width under foot?

5) Can you ski using the following techniques?


  • Linked turns with smooth transition with skis pointing down hill

  • True jump turns                                            

  • Controlled, long carving turns at speed on good snow     Point skis downhill with control at speed 

  • Short linked turns on steep terrain, difficult snow (icy/crusty/uneven) at moderate speed

6) Are you able to change the rhythm and size of your turns at short notice to negotiate or avoid the following situations?


  • Change of slope gradient

  • Unexpected obstacle

  • Snow slide or chute

  • Emergency stop

7) Are you able to dissociate yourself from your skis and anticipate the angle and speed of turn required to avoid an obstacle at the last min, without stopping or changing your final intended destination?

8) Do you know how to adapt your technique according to the texture and depth of snow? e.g, dense and wet, crusty, windblown, light powder, etc.

9) Are you able to detect when you are skiing with notions of a bad technic and correct yourself? e.g, Too far forward or back on your skis, legs too close together, poor arm position, not enough ankle flex etc.

 

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.

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

Equipment hire

We highly recommend that you book the 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 on the evening before the start of the course and return it on the evening at the end of your course. We work with the following shop :


  • Concept pro shop (100 Place de l'Aiguille du Midi, 74400 Chamonix-Mont-Blanc, France) open 7/7 8 :00h – 19 :00h

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 1/2 litres and durable. 


  • Camelbak hydration systems. Good as long as they are kept clean.

  • Not recommended for winter sports as the tube tends to freeze up.

  • A pair of spare gloves is essential.

  • Spare goggles are highly recommended.

Food

We suggest you bring with you or buy in resort snack food that you can take out on the hill with you each day. Things like cereal bars, dried fruit and nuts, chocolate, sugary sweets or your favourite hill snacks.

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 and let us know! We work with a network of excellent chalets, hotels, gites and B&Bs and we will find something to suit all tastes and all budgets.

Vallee Blanche Grand Envers

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The Grand Envers is one of the steepest and most difficult runs on the Vallee Blanche. It is also one of the most beautiful runs in the whole Chamonix Valley.

Starting from the summit of the Aiguille du Midi you'll ski down the steep faces of the Col du Plan, crossing the Glacier de l'Envers du Plan and passing the Refuge du Requin with stunning views of the Glacier du Tacul, to finish at the Mer de Glace. If snow conditions are good we can continue to ski down to Chamonix on an alpine forest trail, or we can hike up past the ice caves to take the historic Montenvers train back to Chamonix centre.

This itinerary requires you to ski sustained slopes of 40-50 degrees, stopping only at places indicated by your mountain guide. You have to have good off-piste technique and full control of your skis. If you qare unsure of your ski level then consider spending a day beforehand with one of our UIAGM mountain guides who will assess your skiing and practise all the techniques required to ski safely on steep glacial off-piste terrain. We also run a number of longer off-piste courses for those who want to take their backcountry skiing to the next level.

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.

Glacier de Toule

Chamonix-off-piste-ski-04

The Toule Glacier in Italy offers some fantastic off-piste ski descents. High above Courmayeur, the glacier lies on the south side of Point Helbronner. From Aiguille du Midi we can start our trip in France and ski straight down to Italy across fabulous glaciated terrain.

As well as enjoying some excellent off-piste terrain in beautiful surroundings, you'll also get to see Mont Blanc from a different perspective.

The second best thing about this descent is getting to enjoy lunch and coffee in Italy! On a sunny day we can find a restaurant with a nice terrace and plan our afternoon skiing as we look up at the mountains.

Pre du Rocher

Chamonix-off-piste-ski-02

Pre du Rocher is a great option for a powder day and, with good snow cover, you can ski all the way back down to Chamonix.

Starting from the mid-station of the Aiguille du Midi cable car we head to the north side of Plan de l'Aiguille and descend via the left side of the Torrent de Glacier. Take a moment to look up at the impressive view of the Massif des Aiguilles Rouges when you pause for a rest.

Once we're beneath the glacier we find ourselves skiing amongst the trees on a forested track which takes us back down to the Aiguille du Midi car park.

Please note that the avalanche risk can be high here, especially after a snowfall, so please do not venture here without a mountain guide.