Starting at 3812m at the top of the Aiguille du Midi lift station, passing down through the Mer de Glace and finishing at 1035m in Chamonix centre (snow permitting), the Valley Blanche has a vertical drop of nearly 2800m over the course of 23km. With almost one third of the route above 3000m, it means that the snow conditions are often excellent.
The Valley Blanche really is an unrivalled glacial ski itinerary, passing through stunning high mountain scenery with awe-inspiring views of Mont Blanc, Mont Blanc du Tacul, Les Drus and the Grandes Jorasses. It is not only for skiers, we also take snowboarders down the Vallee Blanche.
This is not a pisted or patrolled outing, you will be passing through a glacial region with crevasses and seracs, and so you will need to bring avalanche kit, a harness, crampons, an ice axe and rope as well as your normal ski kit. It makes hiring a guide a wise choice.
Accessed from either the top of the Aiguille du Midi cable car or from the Helbronner cable car in Italy, the Valley Blanche is one of the most lift-accessible off-piste glacial ski descents in the world, as well as one of the longest at over 20km.
Halfway down the glacier, you can even stop to enjoy a traditional meal at the Requin hut, run by a very nice lady called Delphine. The final descent follows relatively easy terrain down past the Mer de Glace glacier and the Montenvers train station where you can either take the train back to Chamonix or walk 20 minutes up to the Buvette des Mottets and then ski down a forest path back to Chamonix.
The season for Vallee Blanche skiing usually begins later in the winter, often mid-January. The reason is that the crevasses on the glacier need to be bridged over by a thick and solid layer of accumulated and packed snow. As the safety of our clients is our top priority at Chamonix Experience, we start our Vallee Blanche ski season when the bridges are solid and the glacier is as safe as possible.
With the expert guidance of our UIAGM qualified mountain guides to help navigate a safe route around crevasses and seracs, you will enjoy one of the best off-piste experiences in the Alps.
There are several different ski routes down the Vallee Blanche
This itinerary avoids all the steepest descents, making it the easiest way to ski the Valley Blanche. It is suitable for intermediate skiers who have some experience in off-piste skiing. You will ski amongst several stunning 4000m peaks of the Mont Blanc range: Aiguille Verte, Grandes Jorasses, Mont Blanc du Tacul and Dent du Geant. You will ski over impressive glaciers that descend all the way from the summit of Mont Blanc, finishing with the Mer de Glace glacier, which is the longest glacier in France.
Petit Envers du Plan
The Petit Envers du Plan is a truly fun variation of the Vallee Blanche descent. It combines some interesting steeper sections with easy angled sections to give your legs a little rest. You will pass through a labyrinth of magic glacial formations of crevasses and seracs. This itinerary is slightly more demanding and requires good off-piste technique.
This is one of the steepest and most difficult runs on the Vallee Blanche. It is also one of the most beautiful runs. This itinerary requires you to ski sustained slopes of 40-50 degrees, stopping only on places indicated by your guide. You will need to have good off-piste technique and full control of your skis.
This is a small variation on the classic Vallee Blanche. This is a good option if you look for an easy run which has less tracked snow. While some sections are slightly steeper, it is still suitable for intermediate off-piste skiers.
Vallee Blanche on a Snowboard
Valley Blanche is suitable for snowboarders who are experienced in off-piste riding. You have to be able to safely get across all kinds of terrain (traverses, flat stretches, etc) without losing height and without falling - you will be riding on a glacier and taking your snowboard off is not an option! In particular, the final part of the descent is long and flat. You will need a pair of telescopic poles and crampons that fit your snowboard boots (check with us about the crampons). Have your snowboard well waxed and serviced for it to glide well in the given conditions (cold snow and spring snow require differed waxes!).
Please note that while the classic Vallee Blanche is the most popular route for skiers, it not the best route for snowboarders as most of the descent is a very low gradient.
Bad Weather & Snow Conditions
If the weather or snow conditions are not suitable to ski the Vallee Blanche, we will not cancel the trip but we will follow an alternative off-piste skiing program. Chamonix is world-famous for its freeride terrain and there are many options for a great, guided off-piste skiing day.