Ski Mountaineering in Chamonix

Ski mountaineering in Chamonix Mont Blanc, the ultimate alpine experience

Ski mountaineering is, unsurprisingly, a combination of skiing and mountaineering. Taking you away from the crowds and into the mountains, our ski mountaineering course is the ultimate winter alpine adventure – get your skis, crampons and ice axes ready!

Our Chamonix ski mountaineering course will take you into the backcountry of the Mont Blanc Massif to tackle iconic off-piste routes such as the Pas de Chevre, the Rectiligne Couloir and the Vallee Blanche. Much of the course will take place at Les Grands Montets, on the Argentiere glacier and on the vast amount of off-piste terrain accessed from the Aiguille du Midi.

Ski mountaineers can travel over mixed terrain, such as snow, rock and ice, by using a variety of skills including ski touring, off-piste skiing and alpinism. You'll learn how to scale steep couloirs using crampons and ice axes, traverse mixed terrain over rock and ice, abseil over cliffs and ski safely over glaciers and other unpatrolled environments whilst strengthening your off-piste skiing technique and gaining confidence in your mountaineering skills.

This is an excellent preparation course for our ski mountaineering trips such as the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt, Ski Mont Blanc or the Monte Rosa Ski Tour. 

This ski mountaineering course builds on from our Ski Touring Introduction Course, which is ideal preparation if you're not quite ready for the ski mountaineering course just yet.

On our 5 day ski mountaineering course in Chamonix you will ski tour across glaciers, climb a summit with your skis on your pack, spend a night in a mountain hut, learn a new set of skills to keep yourself safe in the mountains and gain more confidence off-piste with our introduction to steep skiing.

Level Requirements

Our Chamonix ski mountaineering course is physically demanding and so it is essential that you prepare yourself. Regular practice of any kind of endurance sport such as ski touring, hiking, running, biking or swimming is the best kind of training. We also recommend core strength exercises – Pilates and yoga are perfect. This course is for expert off-piste skiers only and you will need to be:

Confident and quick skiing off-piste on snow of varied quality Experienced in using ice axes and crampons Prepared to climb up steep couloirs and abseil with your skis attached to your rucksack Physically fit with good strength and stamina

The best preparation for this course is to complete our Ski Touring Introduction Course first, it will lay the foundations and give you the strength and skills necessary to get the most out of your time.

If you're not sure which course is best for you, or if you simply want to ask us some questions, please contact us on info@chamex.com and we will be happy to help you.

Off-Piste Safety

Above all, mountain safety is our highest priority, which is why as well as ski mountaineering 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 ski mountaineer, especially when skiing the Chamonix backcountry routes that can take you far away from the patrolled ski areas. You'll also learn more advanced safety techniques such as:

Ropework and rapelling Using your skis as an anchor Skiing safely on steep and/or narrow slopes Avalanche search and rescue methods Glacier safety and crevasse rescue

Our instructors are all qualified UIAGM mountain guides with all the knowledge and experience needed to teach you the essential mountain safety techniques.

 

Chamonix Backcountry

Chamonix has incredibly varied terrain, making it the perfect place to introduce yourself to the world of ski mountaineering. It has a world-wide reputation for extreme off-piste skiing, challenging backcountry ski tours and towering peaks. Over the 5 days of this course you will learn how to handle different conditions and types of snow whilst using ski touring and alpine climbing techniques to access steep couloirs, deep powder bowls, dense forests and rugged glaciers.

Les Grands Montets and Aiguille du Midi give access to fantastic off-piste options that will both challenge and exhilirate you. You can ski the Vallee Blanche down one of the many less frequented and more formidable routes such as Grand Envers, or get the adrenaline pumping in the notorious couloirs of the Argentiere basin. Ropes, ice axes and crampons will become an essential part of your kit as you become more adept at travelling across high mountain terrain.

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.

Off-Piste Progression

We offer a full programme of off-piste, ski touring and alpine climbing courses in Chamonix, with this ski mountaineering course combining aspects of each of them. In order to build up to this level we recommend that you start with either our Off-Piste Skiing or Ski Touring Introduction courses. Once you have mastered the required skills and are confident on all types of terrain, you'll be ready to explore the limitless options of Chamonix and the Mont Blanc valley.