Chamonix Off Piste & Mountain Skills - Advanced

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This is the third and most advanced course in our trilogy of Chamonix Off Piste & Ski Mountain courses and presents the opportunity to receive very high quality coaching on steep terrain as well as improving technical ski mountaineering skills.  

Course Aims

  • Consolidate your existing very good off piste ski standard; refine technique and build confidence on steeper terrain.
  • Visit some inspiring new terrain around the Mont Blanc Range and ski some classic Chamonix off piste itineraries.  In the process develop knowledge of the area and spot future descents!
  • Complete a technical & physical ski mountaineering day combining elements of a classic hard tour in the high Western Alps such as sustained kick turns, roped travel, mountaineering with axe & crampons, glacier travel, steep ski terrain, avalanche assessment, rope work etc.
  • Meet some like minded and abled ski mountaineers for a challenging, rewarding and sociable 3 days of skiing around the Mont Blanc Range.

Steep Ski Technique

Although you will already be a very good off-piste skier, Alison will work with you to develop more confidence on steep and more technical ground and give you techniques and tactics for when conditions are tough. With a lower ratio than the progression course, this tuition will be even more tailored to your individual needs. Time can be spent working on those individual habits that you have always been trying to change. Alison will analyse your own skiing style and coach the improvements accordingly. 

Ski Mountaineering

To undertake this advanced course your ski touring skills will already be refined and good skinning technique, including a ‘bombproof’ kick turn and efficient transitions will allow us to concentrate on the more technical elements of ski mountaineering like actual mountaineering skills and rope work.

One day with the guide will aim to complete a classic day of high alpine ski mountaineering and the final day will focus on more technical approaches to off piste descents and aim to visit inspiring off piste terrain utilising the skills covered on the 2 previous days.

A sample programme can be downloaded here.

Cost

£850

Group Size

Maximum 3 people

What’s included?

  • 1 days ski instruction and off-piste skiing with a ski instructor
  • 1 days guiding, ski mountaineering & off-piste skiing with a Mountain Guide
  • 1 days instruction & off-piste skiing with a ski instructor & Mountain Guide
  • Loan of harness, crampons, ice axe & helmet if required

What’s not included?

  • Accommodation. We recommend that you stay at Ski Breezy in Chamonix
  • 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 approximately 60 Euros and any other venues we use will be cheaper than this. If you are out for a longer duration, then you may wish to consider buying the Mont Blanc Unlimited pass or the Chamonix Rapid Card.
  • Flights and transfer from the airport to Chamonix
  • Food and drink during the course
  • Ski Equipment. Check the ski course kit list

Course Pre-requirements

To attend this course you need to already be a very strong off piste skier, capable of skiing controlled short radius turns in varied / poor snow conditions on very steep slopes e.g. up to C.45+ degrees. Your ski style may be robust rather than refined but it needs to be reliable and strong.

You will have already completed at least 2-3 weeks of ski touring and be totally competent performing kick-turns on steep and exposed terrain and efficient with ski touring transitions. You will have practiced regularly with your avalanche transceiver, understand the principles of avalanche emergency procedures and generally be a competent member of an off piste / ski mountaineering team.

You will also have previously used ice axe and crampons and be familiar with good technique for front pointing and flat footing.

You will need to be very fit to cope with the demands of steep skiing, ski mountaineering and some physical ascents of up to 1200-1400m. The aim is not to do huge physical tours but to access interesting technical terrain, however, this often requires a fair bit of climbing and you should be very comfortable skinning for 3-4 hours at 3-400m / hour.

This course is suited to folk who are skiing regularly during the season. It is necessary to arrive skiing well, feeling fit and acclimatised and with all equipment functioning perfectly. This means skiing regularly throughout the season before hand or arriving well in advance to make sure ski legs and equipment are all sorted for starting the course!

About Us

‘Chamonix Off-Piste Ski & Mountain Skills' is a joint venture between ‘High Mountain Guides’ and ‘Off-Piste Performance’ aimed at giving you expert advice and coaching in all aspects of mountain skiing.

Alison Culshaw runs ‘Off-Piste Performance' and holds the BASI International Ski Teacher Award.  She has delivered Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to the British Mountain Guides and works as a trainer on the BASI Mountain Safety Courses training aspiring instructors.  When not teaching skiing she'll be off ski touring somewhere.  Her most recent trip took her to the Lyngen Alps in Norway. 

Rob Jarvis runs ‘High Mountain Guides’ and is a full time Mountain Guide based in the French Alps near Chamonix.  He has led mountaineering and ski expeditions around the world including skiing to the South Pole and, a bit steeper (!), Mount Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica.

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