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Ski Touring Course Chamonix Introduction

Discover classic ski tours in Chamonix on a 5 day ski touring course

Ski touring is the key to discovering all the secrets of the Mont Blanc Massif. With the right equipment and skills, no peak, hidden valley or remote mountain pass is out of reach!

Our 5 day course will provide a thorough grounding in the skills needed for ski touring in a high mountain environment. It is ideal preparation for multi-day ski tours such as the Haute Route from Chamonix to Zermatt.

You will learn essential ski touring techniques such as how to fix skins and couteaux (crampons for skis), how to travel uphill and how to perform kick turns for traversing on steeper terrain.

We will stay one night in a mountain hut – no ski touring experience is complete without a pre-dawn start high in the mountains, watching the sunrise.

The agenda will also cover the complementary mountain craft skills you will need when ski touring in the Alps, such as avalanche awareness and crevasse rescue.

On this course you will ski some of the most famous Chamonix classic ski tours such as Col du Tour Noir, Crochues Berard, Col du Passon or Col du Belvedere. The nature reserve of the Aiguilles Rouges is renowned for its excellent ski touring terrain and you've a good chance of encountering typical Alpine wildlife such as bouquetin (ibex) or the famous but timid chamois.

There is plenty of accessible ski touring terrain from the main Chamonix ski areas of Brevent, Flegere, Le Tour and Les Grands Montets - meaning that you can be out in the backcountry and away from the crowds in no time.

Of course, we will also be exploring the legendary off-piste terrain of the Aiguille du Midi, crossing over to Pointe Helbronner in Italy before skiing the Vallee Blanche back down to Chamonix.

 

Description

Course objectives: 

  • Learn hot to use the ski touring equipment
  • Learn the essential ski touring techniques (efficient skinning techniques, kick turns)
  • Learn hot to use crampons and ice axe to climb steep snow slopes and couloirs.
  • Avalanche search and rescue techniques
  • Skiing the best snow in the valley!
  • 2 day ski trip with overnight on a mountain hut. 

 

Level requirements

You do not need any previous ski touring experience to join this programme but you should be a competent off-piste skier (be able to ski comfortably in all snow conditions on slopes of up to 35 degrees). You should also have a good level of fitness and be prepared to undertake climbs of 2-4 hours on skis.

If you are not sure if this course is for you, please contact us on info@chamex.com and we will be happy to help.

Price

895€

The price is per person for groups of minimum 3 and maximum 6 participants. We can run this course with 3 participants for additional 150€ per person. If you are interested in a private 1:1 course, please contact us for the price. We will be delighted to create a custom made itinerary for you.

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 30 Apr 03 6
Apr 09 Apr 13 6
Apr 16 Apr 20 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.

Accommodation (half-board)

1 night in a mountain hut with breakfast and dinner included.

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.

Group Equipment

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

Office Support

Our team is based at the foot of the Aiguille 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.

Insurance

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

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.

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.

Welcome Meeting in Chamonix

You will meet with your group and mountain guide at the Chamonix Experience office on Sunday evening for a chat and to discuss plans for the upcoming week. At this point we can check that you have everything you need and answer any questions you might have.

This is simply an example of a typical ski touring course - your week will very likely differ from what is listed below depending on weather and snow conditions. Your mountain guide will plan your course to give you the best possible experience of ski touring in Chamonix.

Day 1 - Les Grands Montets

You will start the day with a couple of warm-up runs to check out everyone’s skiing ability and run through the basics of mountain saftey and avalanche awaress at the famous ski area of Les Grands Montets. From the top of the lift station you will have your first introduction to skiing on glaciated terrain. Your mountain guide will assess the ability of everyone in the group and teach you all the correct techniques for using the ski touring equipment. A possible Grands Montets ski touring route is to put your skins on at the Argentière glacier and ski tour up the Glacier des Améthystes to the Col du Tour Noir.

Day 2 - Vallee Blanche Ski Tour

An exploration of the Chamonix Valley has to include a visit to the Aiguille du Midi and a ski tour of some of the most famous off-piste terrain in the world.

You will cross the Vallée Blanche into Italy to reach Pointe Helbronner on the Italian side of Mont Blanc. Here your mountain guide will teach you some more glacier travel techniques before the fantastic off-piste descent down the Vallée Blanche back to Chamonix.

Day 3 - Aiguilles Rouges Ski Tour

Today you will discover one of Europe's best ski touring areas, the Aiguilles Rouges. It offers so many ski touring possibilities, allowing your mountain guide to choose an excellent itinerary taking the snow conditions and ability of the group into account.

Easily accessible from Flegere ski area, you will be in the Chamonix backcountry in no time. If this is your first experience of ski touring then you've already ticked off one of the dream routes by ski touring in the Aiguilles Rouges!

Day 4 - Overnight Ski Tour

This is where ski touring really comes into its own - skinning up to a remote refuge and spending the night in the mountains, then getting up bright and early the next day to ski off-piste before the rest of the world wakes up.

Your mountain guide will choose the best mountain hut in Chamonix or nearby based on the weather, the snow conditions and the ability of the group. There may be a short drive to the start of the ski tour, depending on which route we take.

Day 5 - Multiday Ski Tour

After waking up to breakfast in a mountain refuge, today brings an early start and a full day's ski touring - an excellent introduction to multi-day ski touring.

By this point you should be feeling confident both in your ski touring skills and your mountain experience. This last day will be a fantastic adventure far from the crowds found in lift-served areas.

The course ends with a debriefing in the Chamonix Experience office on Friday 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

Thin gloves

Thin gloves

Sun hat

Sun hat

Technical gear

Ice Axe

Ice Axe

Harness

Harness

Ski goggles

Ski goggles

Ski / splitboard skins

Ski / splitboard skins

Ski touring skis

Ski touring skis

Ski touring boots

Ski touring boots

Ski poles

Ski poles

35 - 45 litres rucksack with attachment loops for skis or snowboard

35 - 45 litres rucksack with attachment loops for skis or snowboard

Crampons

Crampons

Safety Equipment

Avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe

Avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe

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)

Headlamp with fresh batteries

Headlamp with fresh batteries

Sleeping bag liner

Sleeping bag liner

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

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. When you’re staying overnight in huts its best to take supplies for the days you are away. Huts do sell food but it’s expensive and sometimes stocks run low.

If you have any food allergies or dietary requirements especially if you are a Coeliac (Gluten free) or have a dairy allergy we strongly recommend you bring some food to supplement your hut dinners. The huts are fairly good at providing for vegetarians but less so for other dietary needs. The huts can provide a small basic packed lunch of bread, salami, cheese and chocolate that you can buy each day but it’s important that you don’t rely on this option only. You do need to carry some snack food for each day.

You will also generally stop for short breaks each hour where you should eat and drink something each time in order to maintain your energy levels throughout the day.

Staying in Mountain Huts

The high alpine huts are one of the big attractions to mountaineering or trekking in the Alps. They allow us the time to enjoy the mountains with only light packs and without having to worry about meals or finding somewhere to sleep! Most huts have only very basic facilities. Sleeping arrangements are in mixed sex dormitory-style rooms with bunks; there can be up to 20 people in one room.

Washing facilities are limited and generally there is no running water in any of the huts although this may vary in some huts. There are basins in which you can use bottled water to wash and clean your teeth, but they are NOT generally in private cubicles and are mixed sex. Toilets are generally septic-tank type (so non-flushing) and again mixed sex. You need to be prepared for simple living in the huts and appreciate they are located at high altitude and in inhospitable terrain.

A 3-course evening meal and breakfast are served by the guardian and his team and food is usually nourishing and filling. Beer, wine, soft drinks and snacks are also available. All food and drink in the huts is delivered by helicopter and consequently prices will be high e.g. between 3- 5€ or 8CHF for a 1.5 litre bottle of still water.

1) On arriving at the hut you must take off your boots and leave these together with your ice-axe and crampons in the foyer. Be sure to store these carefully as the hut is likely to get very busy and you’ll need to find all your kit in the morning rush!
2) House slippers are provided and must be worn in the hut
3) Your guide will register you with the guardian and will assign you your bunk
4) Follow the instructions of your guide and keep requests to the guardian and his team to a minimum – they are usually very busy sorting out groups, cooking meals, keeping the hut clean
5) In the morning your guide will often want to leave early – be sure to have all your kit ready to go the night before. Be organized and everything will be much easier!
6) It is recommended to bring ear-plugs for the nights – but make sure that you get up on time!

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.

Mountain rescue insurance

We don’t include the mountain rescue insurance in any of our courses. A 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.

Crochues-Berard Traverse

Ski

One of Chamonix's classic ski tours, starting from La Flegere and passing through the beautiful Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve. We start with a nice traverse from the top of the Floria draglift, towards the Aiguilles Crochues bowl. After a short steep climb to the Col de Crochues, we ski down through the bowl, keeping high so that we can descend from the Col du Berard into the next valley.

At the bottom of the valley there is a flat section where ski tour through alpine forest, alongside a crystal clear stream to the charming old village of Le Buet with its old stone chalets and wooden barns. From here we can pick up the bus or the train back to Chamonix.

Elevation gain 500m // elevation loss 1500m // duration 1day

 

Col du Belvedere

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The Col de Belvedere is a classic Chamonix ski touring route, starting from the slopes of Flegere.

From the top of the Floria drag lift we traverse around a high bowl, passing beneath the jagged ridge of the Aiguilles Crochues. We continue on to the beautiful alpine lake, Lac Blanc, and then skin up to the Col de Belvedere at an altitude of 2780m.

The views from the col are just fantastic and you can see all the way across the Berard and Samoens valleys; this is a remote mountain area in the middle of the Aiguilles Rouges Nature Reserve, so there is also the chance that you may see some alpine wildlife such as bouquetin or chamois!

The descent from the Col de Belvedere is a steep 40° slope, accessed from a narrow 80m couloir; if snow conditions are not good you may need to use ropes to descend safely. Once you've cleared the couloir you'll ski all the way down through the magnificent Bérard valley into the charming little village of Le Buet.

Due to the steep descent and the potential complications in the couloir, this route is only advisable for advanced ski tourers who are accompanied by a mountain guide.

Elevation gain 480m // elevation loss 1450m // Duration 1 day

Aiguille de Bérard, Brèche de Bérard

P1010645

This is another Chamonix classic itinerary which finishes in the picturesque Bérard Valley. 

Staring by the Col du Crochue, which is easily accessible from the Index lift station, ski the traverse to the Combe de l’Envers de Berard and continue still further 200m until you reach a wide South facing couloir. Skin up the couloir to reach SW ridge of the Aiguille Bérard. Follow the ridge which opens great vies of the wild back country of the Aiguilles Rouges massif. The ridge will lead you to the Brèche - a narrow slot between two rocky cliffs. Climb up the passage to reach the opening to the Bérard valley. The descent is truly rewarding, skiing over rolling terrain to the Buet village. 

Elevation gain 635m // elevation loss 1770m // length 10km // duration 1 day