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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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 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.
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.