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Ski Vallee Blanche with a Guide

20km of off-piste skiing over the glaciers of Mont Blanc

The most famous off-piste ski descent in the world, the Vallee Blanche certainly lives up to its reputation! 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 or on the Mer de Glace at Montenvers train station, the Valley Blanche has a vertical drop of nearly 2800m over the course of 23km, and as you stay above 3000m for almost one third of the route, it means that the snow conditions are often excellent.

The Vallee 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 take also snowboarders down the Valley Blanche.

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 Vallee 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. 

The season for Vallee Blanche skiing usually begins later in the winter, often mid-January. The reason is that the crevasses on the glaciers 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 can 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 still remains a run 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.

Description

The Vallee Blanche is part of the stunning wilderness and high mountain terrain of the Mont Blanc range in the French Alps.  

This is not a pisted or patrolled outing, you will be passing through a glacial region with crevasses and seracs and so 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 ski descents in the world, as well as one of the longest at over 20km.

Halfway down the glacier, 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.

Vallee Blanche with a private guide

If you already have a group of friends or do not wish to join one of our groups, we can organise a private Vallee Blanche ski trip for you. The price is 400 per day for a group of 1 to 4 people plus additional 25€ for every extra person. One guide can take maximum of 6 skiers. We can run the private Vallee Blanche on any date.

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.

 

Price

105€

The price is per person for groups of minimum 4 and maximum 6 skiers per group. The price for for a private guide is 375€ per day for 1 to 4 people + 25€ per extra person, up to a maximum of 6. We can run the private Vallee Blanche on demand.

Course Dates

Any date on demand

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 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

Equipment

Please see the "Equipment" tab to find out what you will need. Anything that you do not already have can be rented here in Chamonix, if there is anything you need then please contact us and we will be happy to organise it for you.

For private customised guiding, please contact us directly to confirm your persoanlised 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

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

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.

Meeting Point

Your guide will meet you at the bottom of the Aiguille du Midi cable car or in our office which is located 100 meters away from the lift.

Lift up Aiguille du Midi 3842 meters

The start of the day’s adventure is an experience in its own right, with two cable cars taking you up to 3842m.

Aiguille du Midi is a world famous site 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 platforms.

The descent of 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 worry for the clients, but it is actually not a problem as it is equipped with big ropes and steps are dug into the ice to make walking down easier. It takes between 7 to 15 minutes to get down to the start of the ski descent on the glacier. Once you are down the arete you will put your skis on, ready for the descent.

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: the 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 at least a confident skier on red runs. 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 2.

Where to have lunch during your Vallee Blanche descent?

We have two options for lunch:

Bring a packed lunch and your guide will choose a lovely spot surrounded by glaciers to enjoy a picnic together.

Buy lunch at the Requin hut, a mountain refuge next to the glacier. There is a lovely terrasse overlooking what we call the Salle à Manger - a stunning area with lots of seracs and ice formations.

Where does it finish?

Depending on the conditions, we can ski the Vallee Blanche all the way down to Chamonix, going pass "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.

Aiguille du Midi ridge
"Salle à manger", just below Requin Hut

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

Screwgate carabiner

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

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)

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 informations.

Vallée Blanche Classic

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The classic and most spectacular route down the Vallée Blanche, this itinerary avoids all the steep descents making it the easiest way to ski the Valley Blanche. 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 down to the Mer de Glace, which is the longest glacier in France. From the Mer de Glace we can either ski back down to Chamonix along a forest trail if the snow conditions are good enough, or we can hike up past the ice caves to the lift station and take the historic Montenvers train back down to Chamonix centre.

The classic Vallee Blanche route is suitable for intermediate skiers who have some experience in off-piste skiing. If you are not sure of your ski level then you can combine this trip with a preparatory session when you will spend the day with one of our UIAGM mountains guides who will assess your skiing and practise all the techniques required to ski safely on glacial off-piste terrain.

Vallee Blanche Petit Envers du Plan

Leif_and_laura_skiing_getting_fresh_tracks_on_the_vallee_blanche_photo_-_yves

The Petit Envers du Plan is a truly fun variation of the classic Vallee Blanche descent. It combines some interesting steeper sections with easy angled slopes to give your legs a little rest.

You will pass through labyrinths of magical glacier formations, deep crevasses and huge seracs amongst the towering peaks of the Mont Blanc Massif.

The Petit Envers du Plan is slightly more demanding than the classic Vallee Blanche route and requires good off-piste technique. If you're unsure of your skill level then consider spending a day beforehand with one of our UIAGM mountain guides to assess your skiing and practise all the techniques required to ski safely on glacial off-piste terrain.

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.

Vallee Blanche Gros Rognon

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The Gros Rognon is a slight variation on the classic Vallee Blanche descent. This is a good option if you're look for a fairly easy run with less tracked snow than the more popular classic route.

Gros Rognon means "big rock", which is where you aim for once you've descended the arete from the Aiguille du Midi! Passing between a massive rocky outcrop you'll ski down past the impressive Seracs du Geant and the Refuge du Requin until you arrive at the Mer de Glace, the longest glacier in France. Along the way you'll pass beautiful ice falls, bottomless crevasses, majestic glaciers and the jagged peaks of the Mont Blanc Massif.

While some sections are slightly steeper than the classic Vallee Blanche route, it still remains a run suitable for intermediate off-piste skiers. If you are unsure of your ski level you can join one of our UIAGM mountain guides for a day off off-piste skiing - your guide will assess your technique and practise all the necessary skills for skiing safely on glacial off-piste terrain.