Chamonix Off Piste & Mountain Skills - Progression

Ski Mountain Skills Progression

This course has been designed specifically to be a progression from 'Chamonix Off-Piste and Mountain Skills'. It is aimed at those that have skied with us previously and who are aiming to take their ski mountaineering to the next level. This course aims to improve both your technical off-piste skiing and mountain safety awareness, but in more demanding terrain. The course has been thoughtfully designed by both Alison Thacker (BASI ISTD Ski Instructor) and Rob Jarvis (IFMGA International Mountain Guide). It is run by Alison and Rob, and their small team of guides and instructors.

Course Aim

To develop competence and confidence skiing in adventurous mountain terrain. You will come away from this course feeling that you have increased confidence in both your ski technique and your mountain skills, on steeper ground and in more remote areas.

Ski Technique

Although you will already be a good off-piste skier, Alison will work with you to gain more confidence on steeper ground and give you techniques and tactics for when conditions are tough. With low ratios, this tuition will be tailored to your individual needs. Time can be spent working on those individual habits that you have always been trying to break out of. Over the 2 days you will feel your skiing becoming more efficient in challenging situations.

Alison has experience of delivering these skills to skiers from beginner to mountain guide and other ski instructors. She will analyse your own skiing style and coach the improvements accordingly. Check out some feedback from Alison’s previous ski clients here.

Safe Ski Travel in the Mountains

Touring classic steeper ski mountaineering terrain, under the supervision of an IFMGA Guide, will help you develop further your technical ski mountaineering skills including efficient transitions, glacier skiing, the use of ski & boot crampons, ice axe and perhaps the rope.

Throughout the course, attention will be given to the prevailing snow and weather conditions, and avalanche forecasts. This will help develop your ability for information gathering, planning suitable routes and making good decisions about which terrain to ski; with the two fundamental aims of being safe and having fun.

As well as these training & technical elements, at least one of the touring days will be a long & physical ski tour to give the satisfaction of completing a grand high level mountain ski journey.

A sample programme can be downloaded here.


£750 per person


4 days

Group Size

Maximum 4 people

What’s included?

  • 2 full days of off-piste ski instruction, with a BASI ISTD ski instructor.
  • 2 full days mountain skills training for off-piste skiing, with a IFMGA Mountain Guide.
  • Avalanche Transceiver (Pulse 4.0), Shovel and Probe if required.

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.
  • 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, or buy a Mont Blanc Rapid Card (pay as you go option).
  • Flights and transfer from the airport to Chamonix.
  • Food or drink during the course.
  • Insurance (all clients must have their own insurance for skiing off-piste and ski touring)
  • Kit. Check our course kit list.

Course Pre-requirements

You need to be competent, and reliable, skiing off-piste in all conditions on slopes up to 35 degrees. You should have done at least 10 days ski touring and be competent doing kick-turns. You will have practiced regularly with your avalanche transceiver and be a competent member of a ski touring team.

You’ll need to be able to cope with full days out on the mountain and have the fitness to go uphill at a pace of approximately 300 metres per hour for 3 - 4 hours, and still be able to make a safe and reasonably stylish descent. We strongly recommend that you use the Monday of this week to have a "warm-up day" doing some downhill skiing at altitude. This is a demanding course and you need to be physically and mentally prepared for it. Unless you are a strong ski mountaineer already, this course is most suited to people who are skiing regularly during the season.

Basic mountaineering experience with some previous use of crampons & ice axe is useful but not essential.

These are group courses and you will need to embrace the important team aspect of off piste skiing and touring.  If you are keen to maximise your time in terms of individual ski coaching, or completing longer / more physical tours then private hire is recommended.

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 Thacker 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.


Just had an excellent two days' tuition from Alison in a mix of conditions right down to absolute zero vis. So when better to be told to slacken off your boots and ski by feel? And it works. This is my second set of lessons with Alison; she's very good (actually far better than that), and our thirty-year experienced mountain guide was also raving about his lessons with her. Robert Wine

...the course, great stuff! I felt the techniques and analysis you you showed me helped me a lot. My confidence has gone up and there were several eureka moments! I also feel I am in a position to be able to criticise my own technique and identify where I am going wrong 'on the hoof'. Chris Branson

See chamonix off piste & mountain skills - progression dates

See chamonix off piste & mountain skills - progression dates

Off-Piste Ski Ability
Effective but not efficient, Experienced
Instruction and Ski Touring
Ski Instructor & Mountain Guide