It might have been a bit slow to start but with the arrival of a few massive dumps of snow recently, this winter is now looking pretty amazing!
So much snow fell last week that the pisteurs at Les Grands Montets were gob-smacked and have been hard at work ever since making the ski areas safe and avalanche-free for us to enjoy.
However, the late and sudden arrival of the snow unfortunately makes for fairly unsteady conditions up in the mountains. The avalanche risk has been consistently high and although there is huge temptation is to go ripping through the powder at every opportunity, mountain guides and pisteurs are advising everyone to be cautious and to ski or snowboard safely – especially if you are thinking of going off-piste.
The Chamonix backcountry has so much to offer and there is fantastic off-piste terrain to discover. An ideal way to explore, and to learn essential safety skills, is by doing an off-piste course. Here are our top three…
All Mountain – one of our favourites, this 3 day course takes you all over the Grands Montets into bowls, gullies and powder fields where you’ll learn how to ride off-piste, make steep turns, attack moguls and handle bad conditions such as ice and hardpack. Your guide will seek out the best places for the conditions and teach you how to master the mountain like a boss. Split over 3 half days at 195€ per person, this is ideal preparation for doing the Vallée Blanche – your guide will let you know if you are ready to do it.
Book All Mountain Here
Off-Piste & Freeride – we’re not saying “don’t go off-piste”, it’s far too much fun to miss out on! You’ll have an even better time if you go with a pro and learn how to shred the pow and find the best stashes. Our freeride and off-piste courses go from half days to full weeks for everyone from complete beginners to experienced powder hounds. Starting from just 69€ they are definitely worth it, you’ll experience Chamonix in a whole new light.
Avalanche Awareness – learn invaluable skills and have a great off-piste experience. If you want to explore then you need to learn how to do it safely, especially with the snowpack being as unstable as it is this winter. This half-day course will take you into the mountains and teach you the basics of assessing the snow conditions, evaluating the avalanche risk, carrying out a search using a transceiver and what to do if the worst happens. At just 69€ per person it’s an investment that you’ll use every time you go off-piste. We also offer longer courses for those who want to learn more about avalanche, off-piste and glacier safety.
Book Avalanche Awareness Here
Once you’ve mastered the techniques of off-piste skiing you’ll be ready to tackle the Vallée Blanche – Chamonix’s most famous off-piste run. Riding the lift up to the summit of the Aiguille du Midi at 3842m, stepping out through the ice tunnel onto the arete, skiing down amongst the seracs and crevasses of the Mont Blanc Massif – it is an unbeatable experience for any confident skier or snowboarder.
The Vallée Blanche is not technically a difficult route, it is often compared to being no harder than your average red piste, which is why it is so accessible even to those who don’t have huge off-piste experience. It is glacial terrain though, which is why it is essential to only ever ski the Vallee Blanche with a guide. Glaciers constantly shift and evolve, with crevasses opening up and changing shape with every different weather pattern. This is why none of our mountain guides would ever compromise your safety by taking you down if they thought that conditions were too bad or that you weren’t ready to tackle it.
We also have a ton of other options to offer such as private ski/snowboard guiding, off-piste lessons for everyone from beginners to experiences skiers/snowboarders, longer ski tours with overnight accommodation in mountain refuges, snowshoe treks and so on. Please visit our website or contact us for more details.
The Chamonix ski slopes are now in great condition and the next few days look like they’re going be as glorious as today’s webcam image from Flegere…