Introduction to Ski Touring in Chamonix
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 & information to add a whole new dimension to enjoying your ski trips.
The ski tourer is able to mix the fun of off-piste skiing whilst making a journey through the magical & remote environment of the mountaineer. On this practical 5 day introductory course we aim to train you in the essential skills required for smoothly completing some classic ski tours and becoming a good trained member of a back-country ski team in the process.
- Provide high quality training so that you develop the skills for ski touring safely and efficiently.
- Complete some enjoyable, short & medium length ski tours in the Mont Blanc Massif
- Also explore the superb variety of venues accessible from a base in the Chamonix Valley, including the potential to visit the nearby French 'Aravis', Italian Val d'Aosta or Swiss Valais Alps, which often offer different weather and conditions.
- Prepare you for further off-piste and ski touring adventures either with a Guide or independently (e.g Skiing The Haute Route)
- Have a fun & sociable week & meet up with other like minded ski touring folk who you may be able to ski with in the future.
From our base in the Chamonix valley we can use the extensive range of nearby lifts and high mountain roads to access a variety of styles of ski touring terrain. The start of the week will focus on training and becoming efficient with the fundamental basics like using your skins & bindings, how to skin efficiently and enjoyably and understanding the context and use of your avalanche safety equipment.
Essential Ski Touring Skills
- Understanding your ski touring bindings and becoming efficient in their use
- Skinning - How the skins work, putting them on and taking them off, breaking trail and choosing a line, easy angled & steeper turns (Kick turns)
- Avalanche awareness, route planning, safe travel techniques - choosing terrain
- Becoming skilled in the use of your essential avalanche emergency equipment, shovel, probe and transceiver
- Managing 'transitions' (e.g. being efficient transferring from skinning to skiing modes)
- Effective skiing techniques for different types of off-piste terrain (this course is run by a Mountain Guide, not a Ski Instructor, but you will still receive some valuable guidance about off piste technique. Check our 'Off Piste & Mountain Skills' course if you think you need more off piste coaching.
- Storing skis on your rucksack if you need to travel on foot
- Familiarising with your mountaineering equipment - ice axe, crampons, harness.
- Introduction to ski glacier travel and the use of the rope
- Use of maps, guide books, GPS and the latest 'Apps' for route planning and navigation
- Emergency Procedures in the Alps
There is a lot to take in for the newcomer to ski touring so we try and distill things to the essentials and drip feed information throughout the week. We aim to enjoy a mixture of styles of touring including lift accessed skinning where several enjoyable short tours can be completed right through to a longer single day tour well away from the ski resorts.
Intro Ski Touring 5 Day Sample Itinerary
- Pre Course. 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 that your bindings are correctly adjusted & skis are well serviced.
- Day 1. Introduction to the course and equipment check. Off-piste skiing and touring skills training. Venue, e.g. Le Tour at the head of the Chamonix Valley.
- Day 2. A day combining further training in an off-piste environment with lift accessed ski touring e.g from Les Contamines or Combloux just down the valley from Chamonix. Several short tours can be completed giving a few hours of skinning uphill and lots of practice managing ski 'transitions' without a big time pressure on the day.
- Day 3. A classic alpine ski touring day climbing to a steeper pass or summit, e.g Chamonix Aiguilles Rouges or across in the Italian Valle d'Aoste. An opportunity to put together all the skills learnt so far in to practice and take the lead route planning, choosing terrain and general decision making.
- Day 4. An introduction to the important principles of ski mountaineering on glaciers. This is a fantastic and extremely scenic aspect of ski touring and we will spend some valuable time discussing and practicing the skills and strategies for skiing safely on glaciers. We have three high lifts by which the high glaciers of the massif can be accessed. The Midi or Grands Montets in Chamonix and the Hellbronner from Courmayeur.
- Day 5. We aim to finish a great week of skiing putting all the recently learnt skills together to complete a longer classic Chamonix ski tour (e.g. Col du Tour Noir and Ski the Argentiere Glacier). This day also provides a good opportunity to ask any final questions and make plans for future tours with advice from the Guide.
An impressively scenic ski journey across the Argentiere Glacier with some of the Alpine Giants North Faces looming above. This tour is pleasant and fairly straightforward but is entirely glacial and, in good conditions... more>
There are a huge amount of excellent alternatives which can be considered at the time according to the weather, snow conditions and aspirations of the group.
Fitness Level and Off Piste Ski Experience Required
Ski touring is like many other activities in that, the more you do, the more efficient you become, and the less energy you use. Therefore whilst we will be aiming to complete short & medium tours (maximum 4-5 hours uphill) skiers should be prepared for a physical week with 5 days of skinning, off piste skiing, generally being high in the mountains with a bit of falling over, getting up and dusting the snow off!
Folk with a ski background can soon be instructed in basic touring techniques but the same can not be said for mountaineers wishing to start off piste skiing. This is a course for folk who can already ski with linked short radius turns on pisted black runs and who have experience descending off-piste terrain in a controlled manner. Skiers need to be confident that they can safely negotiate the equivalent angle of black runs in all snow conditions. This does not need to be fast or stylish but it does need to be effective and controlled.
6 - 10 Feb
5 days, Monday - Friday Inclusive, 4 / 6 Places Still Available (3 People enquiring)
£775 - 5 Day Course
Maximum group size 6 guests with 1 Guide
What’s included in the Price?
- 5 full days ski touring training, guiding & off-piste skiing with a Mountain Guide
- Car travel to ski venues when skiing outside the Chamonix Valley
What’s not included?
- Accommodation. Please see our Chamonix Accommodation Notes
- Flights and transfer / travel to Chamonix
- Ski & touring equipment (Note 1* below). Check the kit list below
- Lift passes (Note 2* below)
- Ski Insurance, see our booking details for more information
- Buses, train fares if required
- Any other expenses
- *Please note that the detailed kit list, given via the link below should be followed and all hire kit including boots, skis, skins, ski crampons, poles, transceiver, shovel, probe should ideally be collected in advance of Day 1, so that a swift start to the course can be made. You can arrange with us in advance to hire shovel, probe & transceiver for a considerably cheaper rate than in the shops.
- Lift passes. As we will ski at the most appropriate venue for the day depending on the weather and snow we ask you to leave buying your ski pass until the first morning of the course. We have found that the discounts for buying multiple days are small but the losses if you do not use them are significant so we prefer to retain flexibillity to ski outside the area covered by certain passes.
- Cost of an unlimited day pass in Chamonix is C.50 Euros and any other venues we use will be cheaper than this, down to around 20 euros for a 'forfait rando' or free if we are skinning from the car!
More Details & Booking
For more details on our terms & conditions, to fill in a booking form and make a payment, please visit our booking page via the link below:
We are always delighted to hear from past, current and future clients so whether you have a booking enquiry, want a conditions report, or some mountaineering advice please do get in touch to discuss your plans...
Good climbing & skiing,
High Mountain Guides
Tel: +44 115 888 2994
Skype: High Mountain Guides
Email: Please use the form below
Other Relevant Courses
Folk wanting a more gentle introduction to ski touring with some off-piste ski instruction from a BASI ski instructor should look at our 'Chamonix Off-Piste & Mountain Skills course. Folk with some existing touring experience wanting to sample longer tours and more technical terrain should look at our Chamonix Ski Mountaineering week. We also have lots of exciting multi-day and ski summit touring options for later in the season...
“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>
Chamonix is a world mecca as a base for ski mountaineering and this 4 or 2 day course gives you the opportunity to sample a superb variety of challenging mountain ski journeys. By making use of Chamonix's famous high altitude lifts, spectacular glacier routes can be completed as... more>
An action packed 4 day course designed for ski mountaineers who want to sample a taste of Italy and climb its highest mountain on skis. The ski touring in the famous Italian Valle d'Aoste is as good as the coffee and we aim to give you an excellent introduction to the area with... more>
The Bernese Oberland is a magical part of the Alps. It's vast glaciers feel more arctic than alpine in scale and provide the ski mountaineer with some truly impressive terrain to tour through. The areas peaks lend themselves perfectly to either logical ski ascents or ski mountai... more>