The most famous off-piste ski descent in the world, the Vallee Blanche is part of the stunning wilderness and high mountain terrain of the Mont Blanc range in the French Alps

Breathtaking views
Majestic views of Mont Blanc, Les Drus, Dent du Geant, Grand Capucin, Grandes Jorasses...
One of the longest descents in the Alps
About 20km / 2800 vertical meters of pure off piste
Bucket list ski descent
An absolute must do in Chamonix

SKI VALLEE BLANCHE WITH A GUIDE

20km of off-piste skiing amongst the glaciers of the Mont Blanc Massif with a private guide

From 400.00€

for 1 to 2 people

415€ for a group of 3
430€ for a group of 4
450€ for a group of 5
475€ for a group of 6

   

Intermediate tech level

 

Fitness level 2

 

Available January - March

 

Guide ratio 1:6 maximum

 

Dates on demand

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

Classic Descent

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. 

Grand Envers

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.

Gros Rognon

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.

Itinerary

Meeting Point

Your guide will meet you at the Chamex office which is located 100 metres from the Aiguille du Midi cable car station

Aiguille du Midi Cable Car

The start of the day’s adventure is an experience in its own right, with two cable cars taking you up to 3842m. The Aiguille du Midi is very famous and people come from all over the world to see it! Your Chamonix Experience mountain guide will show you around and take you to the best viewing platforms before you begin your descent.

Skiing the Vallee Blanche

Before you reach the start of the Vallee Blanche you will be roped up to descend the arete, a narrow snow ridge that leads from the Aiguille du Midi lift station to a wide col. The ridge is always a bit of a worry for clients simply due to its sense of exposure, but it is actually not a problem and is very safe, as it is equipped with big ropes and steps that are dug into the ice to make walking down easier. It usually takes 10-15 minutes to get down to the start of the ski descent, where you will put your skis on.

There are several routes down the Vallee Blanche, each varying in difficulty but all equally stunning. The easiest is the classic route, well within the capabilities of competent intermediate skiers when the conditions are good. For better skiers, the Vallee Blanche offers a variety of more challenging routes: Rognon, Grands Envers, Moyen Envers, Petit Envers and Vraie Vallee. Your mountain guide will select a suitable option, depending on the ability of the skiers in the group.

The Vallée Blanche can present the entire range of off-piste conditions, from deep powder to varying degrees of crust and even hard-pack. As such, you should be a confident skier on red runs at the least. If you are in any doubt, or just want to brush up your technique, we recommend our 2 day course - the first day is spent at Les Grands Montets practising off-piste skiing with an instructor, so that you are ready to ski the Vallee Blanche on day two.

Where to have lunch during your Vallee Blanche descent?

We have two options for lunch: either bring a packed lunch and your guide will choose a lovely spot surrounded by glaciers to enjoy a picnic together, or buy lunch at the Requin hut. The Requin hut is a mountain refuge next to the glacier, serving daily dishes and refreshments. It has a wonderful terrace overlooking the Salle à Manger - a stunning area with lots of seracs and ice formations - and is the perfect spot to stop for a break on a sunny day.

Where does the Vallee Blanche finish?

Depending on the conditions, we can ski the Vallee Blanche all the way down to Chamonix, going past "La Buvette des Mottets" and along an old trail through the forest. Or we can finish at the Mer de Glace, where we will descend to the Grotte de Glace ice caves then take the stairs and a small lift up to Montenvers. From here we can ride the historic Montenvers train back down to Chamonix, a lovely trip on an original rack-and-pinion train that takes about 30 minutes.

Level Requirements

Technical level

The Valley Blanche is an entirely off-piste descent; there is not a bit that is groomed. The difficulty of the descent depends on the snow conditions; the snow can be nicely compacted giving similar skiing to that of a blue piste, however, there can be more than knee deep powder snow or wind blown crust up there in which case you will have to have good off-piste skills to ride down safely.

Once you descend down the Aiguille du Midi ridge you are committed to ski all the way down and, unless you have ski touring equipment, there is no possibility of turning back.

As a rule of thumb, if you are comfortable to ski black runs full of moguls, you can ski the Vallée Blanche in most conditions. Powder skiing requires a specific technique and we recommend that you contact us about the snow conditions prior to booking this trip, so that we can advise you on what to expect. 

If you are not sure about your ski level then our two day Vallee Blanche package is great preparation to ensure that you are ready for your descent. Our off-piste ski guide will practice off-piste skiing techniques with you on the first day, usually at Les Grands Montets; the Grands Montets ski area offers the perfect off piste terrain to perfect your skills and gain confidence. You will then be ready to ski the Vallee Blanche on the second day with no hesitation! Please contact us at info@chamex.com for more information about private ski guiding and preparing for the Vallee Blanche. 

Physical fitness

You’re in good physical shape. You can ski with a backpack carrying backcountry essentials (shovel, probe, water, snack.) 

Equipment

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

Snowboard

Snowboard

Snowboard boots

Snowboard boots

Telescopic poles

Telescopic poles

Ski goggles

Ski goggles

3 x Screwgate carabiner

3 x Screwgate carabiner

Free ride skis

Free ride skis

Ski boots

Ski boots

Ski poles

Ski poles

20 - 30 litres rucksack with attachment loops for skis / snowboard

20 - 30 litres rucksack with attachment loops for skis / snowboard

Crampons that fit snowboard boots

Crampons that fit snowboard boots

Crampons

Crampons

Safety Equipment

Avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe

Avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe

Ski or snowboard helmet

Ski or snowboard helmet

Other essentials

Sunglasses

Sunglasses

Water bottle - Ideally two 1L bottles

Water bottle - Ideally two 1L bottles

Sun cream high protection (for lips and face)

Sun cream high protection (for lips and face)

Included or not

Included

Guide Fee

UIAGM / IFMGA mountain guide - a fully qualified and experienced Chamex guide will accompany you for the duration of your trip.

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.

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

Personal Equipment

Please see the "Equipment" tab to find out what you will need on this trip / course.  For private customised guiding, please contact us directly to confirm your personalised kit list.

Lift Passes

You will need a lift pass to access the Aiguille du Midi cable car and the Montenvers train, the Mont Blanc Unlimited is the best option as it covers both. We can have this ready for you on request, please don't hesitate to ask us to organise it for you.

Insurance

Travel insurance including a mountain search and rescue insurance is mandatory on all our trips (we can organise the mountai search and rescue insurance for you on request). We highly advice to have a policy covering the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation. When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

Food & Drink

The price does not include lunch or snacks. You can bring your own packed lunch and we can stop for a picnic on one of the sunny spots with fantastic views of the mountains and glaciers. Or we can stop for lunch at the Requin Hut, a lovely mountain restaurant with a wonderful sunny terrasse overlooking the Salle à Manger. Please make sure that you are carrying sufficient water as we will be on the mountain for a number of hours.

Additional Services

Lift Passes

CHAMONIX LIFT PASSES - FREE BOOKING & COLLECTION SERVICE

You will need 1 day unlimited pass for the Vallee Blanche ski trip. 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.

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 information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where to have lunch during your Vallee Blanche descent?

We have two options for lunch: either bring a packed lunch and your guide will choose a lovely spot surrounded by glaciers to enjoy a picnic together, or buy lunch at the Requin hut. The Requin hut is a mountain refuge next to the glacier, serving daily dishes and refreshments. It has a wonderful terrace overlooking the Salle à Manger - a stunning area with lots of seracs and ice formations - and is the perfect spot to stop for a break on a sunny day.

Where does the Vallee Blanche finish?

Depending on the conditions, we can ski the Vallee Blanche all the way down to Chamonix, going past "La Buvette des Mottets" and along an old trail through the forest. Or we can finish at the Mer de Glace, where we will descend to the Grotte de Glace ice caves then take the stairs and a small lift up to Montenvers. From here we can ride the historic Montenvers train back down to Chamonix, a lovely trip on an original rack-and-pinion train that takes about 30 minutes.

Can I do 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.

Why do I need a guide to ski the Vallee Blanche?

The classic route is not very technical, which leads a lot of people to assume that it is safe to do by yourself. However, although the terrain may not be difficult it is most definitely hazardous. Conditions in the mountains change often and quickly; glaciers in particular are subject to constant transformation. Hazards such as crevasses and snow bridges require expert knowledge; our guides are not only experienced in what to look for but they are also up-to-date with the latest conditions on the mountain so that they know exactly what to expect.