Chamonix Powder Touring
For many people 'ski touring' conjures up an image of spring ski journeys in the high mountains. This is indeed a superb time to travel across the high glaciers and cols of the Alps. However spring does not have exclusive claim over this fun and efficient way of escaping the confines of the ski resorts. On this powder packed week, we reveal the secret delights of ski touring in mid winter. Yes, the weather can be poor, yes the avalanche risk can be high...This is why our journeys are often at lesser elevations, on the beautiful wooded lower hills, where we can access some great touring terrain & hugely enjoyable powder skiing....
Chamonix Powder Touring - Course Aims
- To ski great powder snow
- Travel safely & enjoyably through the lower mountains in a mid-winter snow pack & climate
- Develop powder skiing technique
- Complete some great ski touring journeys from a base in Chamonix, accessing tours in the Swiss & Italian Alps & French Aravis
- To understand the issues involved with ski touring on a winter snow pack & plan suitable routes accordingly
- Develop further ski touring skills & avalanche awareness
- Have a sociable and enjoyable weeks skiing in the mountains
- Pre Course. Ideally, Enjoy some warm-up skiing and tackle some 'side-country' powder (off-piste right next to the piste). There are also now a couple of excellent options for way marked skinning routes close to resorts with the option to ski down the Piste after the ascent. Contact us for more details of these & other good places to safely warm up for touring before the course starts.
- As with all our ski courses, we recommend you prepare as much as possible in advance with relevant ‘ski fit’ preparation and then arrive at least a day or two early to both warm up your ski legs & check equipment. This is especially important if you will be renting boots or skis & bindings. Please also make sure your skis are well serviced & bindings correctly adjusted.
- Day 1. This is a team warm up ski & touring training day with whilst hopefully enjoying some brilliant powder skiing along the way. The aim is to use the lifts to get started and then make several short skinning journeys and enjoy exploring some relatively friendly Chamonix backcountry terrain as per what conditions dictate. We often ski at Le Tour and near the Col de Balme, French Swiss mountain border, during this first day.
- Day 2. Travel west down the Arve Valley from Chamonix to the superb Aravis ski station of Combloux. Ski touring journeys from the lifts eg Petit Croise Baulet (2009m), Grand Croisse Baulet (2236m) and L'Eperon (1778m). Powder descents through the woods of the Aravis hills and ski safari back to Combloux using the 'La Giettaz / Evasion' lift system. Around 1-2 hours of uphill skinning today.
- Day 3. Travel south through the Mont Blanc tunnel and in to the magnificent Italian Val d'Aosta. We usually stop at a central cafe location to take in the prevailing weather & snow conditions, not to mention the cappucino! From here we have a variety of choices but one of our favorite winter tours is the ski ascent of Punta Croce (2478m) above Arpy on the South side of the Aosta Valley. This is a lovely 7-800m powder tour through Larch forests to a great ski summit with magnificent views of the Monte Bianco Massif (Around 2-3 hours of skinning uphill)
- Day 4. Swiss Powder Touring! Today's travel direction from Chamonix will be east and in to the Swiss Valais Alps, just a short hop over the border & snowy Cols Montets & Forclaz. Depending on weather, snow & fitness factors we can choose a tour from the low, sheltered and wooded slopes of Mont Arpilles; it's loftier neighbor 'Pointe Ronde' with commanding views down the mighty Rhone or take the train to the lovely small Swiss ski resort of Les Marecottes and tour from there.
SKI: To get the most out of this course you will be at least an intermediate off piste skier. If you are a complete beginner please first take some good quality off piste ski coaching. You will be able to ski pisted black runs with linked parallel turns in good control and have at least skied some powder before and tried skiing in the 'side country' next to the pistes or other non groomed terrain. You do not have to be an expert and good fitness and enthusiasm to try will go a long way! However, as the emphasis of the course is to access great winter powder skiing, you should be someone who enjoys and aims to ski this type of snow.
FITNESS: Climbing up through powder is tiring and you should be fit and ready for up to a maximum of 3-4 hours of ascent with skins on your skis. A decent level of ski fitness is also required for the sustained descents in soft & variable snow conditions.
TOURING: Whilst often physical, skinning in powder is generally less technical and exposed than spring touring on harder 'melt freeze' snow. For this reason extensive ski touring experience is not required for this course and indeed, whilst some experience will be useful, this would work well as an introduction to ski touring and using skins to access terrain deeper in to the backcountry.
If you are unsure of your ski / fitness levels and want to check before booking then please send us an email detailing your relevant experience via our Contact page.
Please refer to our ski touring & off piste equipment list below for full details of the gear required. Check our ski equipment hire page for details on transceiver / shove / probe hire if required.
Just completed this course in Chamonix, great time with just the right mix of touring / skiing / training 'on the hill'. Best ski course I have done and has given me the confidence start trying a few tours and off-piste runs. Skiied in a variety of conditions and snow types but plenty of untracked powder!
To see many more ski testimonials please visit our online High Mountain Guides Guest Book
- 10 - 13 Jan 2017, Tuesday - Friday, 6 / 6 Places Available
Winter 2017 Course Fee
- £595. This is a guiding fee only & does not include any equipment hire, lift pass, food & drink, insurance or any other expenses.
- Course runs on a maximum of 6 ski guests per guide
What’s included in the Price?
- 5 full days of ski instruction, ski touring, guiding & training with an IFMGA Mountain Guide
- Travel to course venues including in Italy & Switzerland from a base in Chamonix
What’s not included?
- Accommodation. We recommend that you stay at Ski Breezy in Chamonix. If they are full or you would like an alternative style of accommodation please see our recommended list for places to stay in Chamonix. A good central option near to our daily meeting point and ski hire shop is the Pt Isabella Hotel.
- Lift passes. As we will use the best place for the day depending on the weather and snow we ask you to leave buying your pass until the first morning of the course. Cost of a day pass in Chamonix is C.50 Euros and any other venues we use will be cheaper than this.
- Flights and transfer from the airport to Chamonix.
- Food and drink during the course
- Ski Equipment. Check the ski course kit list.
Other Relevant Ski Courses
Ski touring provides a fantastic way of exploring the backcountry and enjoying some creative ski journeys and adventures away from the resorts. For those with some off piste ski experience and reasonable fitness this action packed 5 day course provides the inspiration & info... more>
“A ski instruction course designed to improve your technical off-piste skiing, mountain safety awareness and skill, whilst doing lots of good skiing in the process”.
To develop competence and confidence skiing in variable off-piste terrain and to en... more>
As the most famous off-piste ski run in the world, the Vallee Blanche has a lot to live up to...Happily the 18km journey with 2800m of vertical descent through some of the worlds most stunning glaciated alpine scenery rarely dissapoints! Thanks to the huge height gain (2742m) gi... more>
Our guided ski days bring together like minded skiers within the Chamonix Valley for fun off piste skiing and great ski journeys away from the pistes & lifts. They are designed to give intermediate off-piste skiers the chance to explore interesting backcountry terrain with a... more>