Off-Piste Performance Plus, Chamonix

Learn more about Off Piste Performance

The off-piste skiing in Chamonix is world-renowned, so where better to push your off-piste skills to the next level! Chamonix has so many varied off-piste experiences to work on that you are certain to be an accomplished off-piste skier after 5 days of intensive high quality instruction. Chamonix is situated at the foot of Mont Blanc, so not only will your classroom consist of the most amazing scenery, the high altitude means snow conditions are reliable too.

Chamonix has earned its status as an adventure mecca through its concentration of high peaks and the quality and quantity of its extreme skiing terrain. This course takes you into the heart of Chamonix's adventure playground to learn how to get the most out of the endless off-piste lines.

After completing the course you will be a confident off-piste skier, tackling steeper lines and more varied off-piste terrain. You will be confident in assessing the safety of this terrain so as to avoid dangerous areas and avalanches.

Itinerary

The programme includes 5 full days of off-piste skiing instruction. During the week there is 1 'freeskiing' day when no instruction is provided.
The course starts with a welcome meeting on Sunday evening. This is an opportunity to meet the instructors and the rest of the group and to discuss the plans for the week. The skiing will start on the following morning. Please note course from 17th - 21st February is course only (no accommodation).

The principal aims of this week are:

  • To provide first class ski instruction from professional, friendly ski instructors to radically improve your off piste skiing technique and style
  • To give practical mountain awareness training on the hazards and risks associated with skiing off-piste
  • To provide the opportunity to ski the best off piste in the Chamonix Valley

What our clients say about our Chamonix Off-Piste Foundation Courses

"Mark was excellent. He definitely challenged and encouraged me in a very professional manner. He also made it fun and interesting. A big smile and thumbs up from Mark after I had done one hard section of a piste towards the end of the week definitely made me feel as though I had made progress!"

Off-Piste Instruction, Chamonix
Quick Info
Skill Level:1
Stamina Level:1
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Our Off-Piste Performance Plus courses are ideal progression courses for skiers who have previously participated in an introductory off-piste course (or similar) and want to improve their skills and boost their confidence on an instructional off-piste course. The courses have been carefully designed by our team to help you achieve your personal goals and enjoy a superb holiday!

The courses are 5 full days of off-piste skiing instruction with maximum of 6 in the group. This ensures you get lots of individual attention and time to learn and improve your skiing plus have a safer, more enjoyable experience on the mountain with our instructors who have the very highest level of instructor qualifications and a real passion for teaching off-piste skills.

And the course doesn’t finish when the skiing stops: we do our best to ensure your group will really gel over the week. We use comfortable chalet style accommodation with communal areas where you can gather, relax and socialize and where we eat all meals as a group (as well as one group evening meal out during the week). Plus the courses include video analysis and sessions on avalanche safety and awareness.

Itinerary

The programme includes 5 full days of off-piste skiing instruction. During the week there is 1 'freeskiing' day when no instruction is provided.
The course starts with a welcome meeting on Sunday evening. This is an opportunity to meet the instructors and the rest of the group and to discuss the plans for the week. The skiing will start on the following morning. Please note course from 17th - 21st February is course only (no accommodation).

The principal aims of this week are:

  • To provide first class ski instruction from professional, friendly ski instructors to radically improve your off piste skiing technique and style
  • To give practical mountain awareness training on the hazards and risks associated with skiing off-piste
  • To provide the opportunity to ski the best off piste in the Chamonix Valley

Itineraries vary depending on the composition of the group and the weather and snow conditions

About the Ski Area

Chamonix has some of the best off piste skiing in the world. The bustling town sits below the mighty Mont Blanc (4810m) in a spectacular valley surrounded by high glaciated peaks. The Chamonix valley extends over 20km and has 5 main separate ski areas along its length, offering a variety of pisted and acres of off-piste terrain. The legendary Aiguille du Midi cable car, which provides access to the Vallee Blanche, leaves from Chamonix's town centre. From its high glaciated peaks to the lower tree-lined skiing, the Chamonix valley really does give the aspiring off-piste skier the ideal environment in which to learn.

Price

The price includes 7 nights B&B chalet accommodation, 5 full days ski instruction and in-resort transfers.
The course from the 2nd-6th January is on a course only basis, we can assist with various accommodation options in Chamonix if you wish.
The price does not include lift pass, lunches, evening meals, equipment hire, travel to/from Chamonix
For the course 17th - 21st February this is course only, 5 guided days with a ski instructor, no accommodation provided.
Single room occupancy is limited and will incur an additional charge. Contact us for details.

Instructors and Group Size

Our Off-Piste Performance Intro courses are led by our team of BASI Ski Instructors which includes Dave Meyer, Bryan Hogg, Annie Donovan, Will Evans and Greg Jones. They are all extremely talented ski coaches who are passionate about off-piste skiing. They consistently prove they have the ability to teach skiers how to hone their technique and confidence in off-piste terrain.They'll ensure you have a fantastic week. On our courses you’ll never ski with more than 6 in a group so that everyone receives excellent individual attention. We often run our off-piste performance plus ski courses with up to 12 skiers and on these courses the lead instructor will be joined by one of our team of IFMGA Mountain Guides. You will alternate between skiing with the instructor - with the focus on how you ski - and with the guide, where the focus is on mountain skills and awareness.

Accommodation and Meals

Our preferred accommodation is Chalet Les Pelerins, a comfortable alpine chalet with accommodation for up to 10 guests. The chalet is conveniently located close to the centre of Chamonix and provides a friendly and relaxed atmosphere ( www.chalet-in-chamonix.co.uk ).

What our clients say about our Chamonix Off-Piste Foundation Courses

"Mark was excellent. He definitely challenged and encouraged me in a very professional manner. He also made it fun and interesting. A big smile and thumbs up from Mark after I had done one hard section of a piste towards the end of the week definitely made me feel as though I had made progress!"

Insurance

It is a condition of booking that you are insured for your chosen activity and that the cover includes medical expenses, personal accident, personal liability, third party risks and rescue (including helicopter rescue). You are strongly advised also to take out cover against cancellation and curtailment. We recommend www.snowcard.co.uk. They specialise in travel insurance for all adventure sports and travel and they offer competitive rates for both single trip and annual policies.

Skill Level Overview

Introductory

Our Introductory level is suitable for people who can ski red and black pistes in resorts without problems and you can deal with moguls and some ice. You will be new to off-piste skiing or maybe have dabbled a little on the sides of the piste or even attended a previous off-piste specific course. You would like to ski powder snow with confidence and learn to link turns off-piste in a variety of terrain as well as being able to control your speed and adjust your turn radius.

Intermediate (this trip)

For our Intermediate graded courses and trips you will have at least a couple of weeks off-piste skiing experience and /or received some previous instructions on an off-piste specific course. You can link 10-12 turns together in reasonable control, speed and style, following the fall line in most conditions. If you’re looking to improve your technique in deeper snow and steeper slopes then our Off-Piste Performance Intermediate level trips are for you. If you want to get some miles under your skis then look at our Off-Piste Adventure Intermediate trips. You aspire to ski fluidly off-piste and you must be happy to hike or ski tour short distances to get to better snow and terrain.

Stamina Level Overview

Level 1

You are fit enough to ski all day on a ski holiday with stops for food and drink. Your able to ski off-piste for most of the day, but nonetheless feel tired towards the end. You would like to be able to ski every day on your trip without having to take a rest day. You regularly exercise 2-3 times a week i.e. you run, hike, cycle, swim or play sports and you’re used to getting your heart rate up and can sustain this for a period of time e.g. 45 min jog, 2-3hr mountain bike ride, 45 min gym session.

Level 2 (this trip)

You are fit enough to ski all day with only short stops for food and drink. You can ski off-piste all day without being too tired at the end of the day; you can ski in this way for multiple days on your holiday. You can also hike or ski tour for around 2 hours per day. You’re used to doing cardiovascular exercise 3 to 4 times a week (bike, run, gym) to maintain your fitness, and you’re able to push yourself if needed for short periods of time at a higher rate than usual.

Off piste performance

On all our off-piste weeks you'll be staying in comfortable catered chalets or hotels. When skiing you need to carry just a small day pack, which contains your safety equipment and any personal items you may need.

Clothing (applicable for all ski trips)

  • A good quality pair of ski trousers

    Possible characteristics might include bib-style front with braces (to keep the snow out), side-openings (useful for when you get hot), breathable fabric (Gore-Tex or similar), stretch knee pads, integral snow gaiters. Bib-style trousers can be too warm in spring in which case waist-cut trousers would be better..

  • A shell jacket

    Made of breathable material (Gore-Tex or similar) and built-in hood. We advocate the ‘layering principle’ so a shell is recommended rather than a padded jacket.

  • Underwear

    Comfortable underwear with good wicking properties.

  • Several thin (rather than fewer thick) layers between your skin and the outer shell

    An approach that gives better heat retention and good flexibility. These tops are known as ‘mid layers’.

  • Roll-neck (rather than a scarf)

    We use a 'buff' - a light, stretchable tube. Consider a fleece/cotton version for warmth or just a cotton one to keep the sun off.

  • Headware

    To include warm hat. Mountain Tracks fully supports the wearing of helmets for skiing.

  • Gloves

    A pair of ski gloves fully waterproof and warm are essential, mitts are good if you suffer from cold hands. Bring a thin fleece of softshell pair for warm weather skiing.

  • Silk inner gloves

    Optional

  • Face-mask

    Optional, but useful if you feel the cold.

  • Ski Equipment

    Recent years have seen big changes in ski, boot and binding design and technology, which make off-piste skiing much more accessible. Standard downhill equipment is fully acceptable for our off-piste performance ski courses.

    Skis

    There are many ‘all-mountain’ or ‘freeride’ skis to choose from and we highly recommend Scott's and Dynastar's ranges. Width is good but it is important to choose a ski with the right dimensions for the task. Ideally you want a ski that is in excess of 80mm underfoot but not much wider than 95mm. This will give you enough floatation in powder snow but enable you to still carve on the piste and make short radius turns. A wide ski will give stability in soft and powder snow but for inexperienced skiers they can be hard to turn on the piste, through bumps and in narrow spaces. The introduction of the "rocker" to skis in the last 2 years has help to improve flotation further in soft snow and prevents the ski from diving under the snow.

    For examples of skis that fit the profile outlined above check out these options:

    • Scott Crusade: 133/92/122
    • Dynastar Cham 87: 127/87/103
    • Volkl Mantra: 132/98/118
    • Movement Source: 135/94/121

    Boots

    We recommend downhill ski boots for our performance courses but if you have ski touring boots then by all means bring these. If buying boots they should be fitted by a professional boot fitter. There are too many boots to make specific recommendations.

    It essential you break-in and wear the boots prior to skiing for the first time, even if this is just walking round the house or office.

    When buying new boots its imperative you visit a reputable ski boot fitter to ensure the right boot is purchased for your foot and lower leg shape. Not every boot will fit or suit every person and a good bootfitter will be able to select the right boot to suit your foot shape and type of skiing you do. You should always get a moulded insole or “footbed” made to go inside your ski boots. These will help stabilise any unwanted movement and can also correct or help with alignment problems, high or low insteps and other foot related issues.

    If you do have skis with ski touring bindings and or ski touring boots you can use these on our performance courses.

    You can rent downhill boots and suitable skis in the shops in all of the resorts we visit. If you own your own skis then we do usually recommend you bring them with you but if you are unsure if they are suitable then you can give us a call to check.

    Custom footbeds - Essential kit - to provide additional comfort and ski control.
    Technical Socks - Investing in good quality ski socks will improve fit, warmth and feel when skiing for long periods.

    Accessories

    • Good pair of goggles - essential.

      Useful to have 2 pairs on powder days in case of head plants!
      Good quality sunglasses - UV factor category 4 recommended

    • 20-25 litre rucksack

      1-1.5 Litre water bottle/nalgene bottle - or water drinking system like Camelbak (can freeze in cold weather)

    • Sun cream and lip salve
    • Small first aid kit (i.e. any medications, blister kit)

       The guide will carry comprehensive set for emergencies

    • Headlamp, lightweight and compact LED recommended

      carry spare batteries as well

    • Maps (optional)
    • Note book and pen (optional)

    Safety equipment

    The “Safety Trilogy”

    • Transceiver - we work with BCA and recommend the tried and tested Tracker. ( www.backcountryaccess.com ).
    • Snow shovel
    • Avalanche probe

    Remember it is not enough just to carry this equipment; make sure you know how to use it. If you have never used this sort of equipment before consider joining one of our Winter Mountain Skills courses.

    Hiring Equipment

    Most resorts have ski shops that hire ski equipment.

    Prices do change by resort/country, but here’s an approximate guide to hire costs:

    • Alpine Downhill Skis €25 per day
    • Helmet €6 per day
    • Transceiver/shovel/probe €12 per day

    Our guides also generally have additional sets of safety equipment (transceiver/shovel/probe) which they hire out to clients for €65 for 6 days hire. This must be booked in advance.

Chamonix, France

The town of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is situated at 1042m (3,396 ft) above sea level. It sits at the foot of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe at 4807m (15,770 ft).

Chamonix is considered by many as Europe's mecca for outdoor sports and draws many enthusiasts from all over the world.

Unlike many of the purpose built resorts, Chamonix is a proper working town with a large population of about 12,000 inhabitants. This number can be boosted by as many as 80 - 100,000 during the peak months in summer and winter.

As befits a town of this size there are plenty of shops, hotels, cafes, bars, pubs and nightclubs.

Our top reasons to visit Chamonix:

  • Home of the Vallée Blanche, one of the world’s great off-piste descents
  • Great destination for weekends and short breaks
  • Easy access from the UK and just 75 minutes by road from Geneva airport, which has regular flights from many UK airports
  • Thriving, working town full of shops, bars and restaurants = good shopping, good après-ski
  • The Alpine capital of France renowned for big mountain skiing, alpinism and extreme adventure
  • Mont Blanc – the highest peak in Western Europe
  • Very long ski season with skiing possible until well into May
  • Good range of accommodation for all budgets

Chamonix Ski Area

The skiing area of Chamonix is generally considered to have some of the best off-piste skiing in the world. Much of this is accessible from the lift systems and includes descents of over 2,000m.

The Chamonix valley extends over 20km and there are several separate lift systems and mountains which provide enormous variety and all are included on the Mont Blanc pass.

Numerous options including:

The Vallée Blanche
The longest off-piste ski descent in the world (24kms).

Pas de Chevre
Ascend to the top of Grand Montets and ski down to the Mer de Glace and on into Chamonix.

Glacier du Toule
You can ski the Glacier du Toule down towards Courmayeur and then catch the cable car back up to the top of the mountain and ski the Italian side of the Vallée Blanche.

Le Tour
From the back of the Le Tour lift system there is fantastic off-piste skiing towards Vallorcine and Switzerland.

Some of the very best areas can only be reached with an hour's walk from the pistes. The effort expended is more than rewarded with the awesome skiing across untracked terrain.

In addition there are some great new heli-skiing opportunities available in Italy just through the Mont Blanc tunnel, only 20 minutes away from the town. These drops are not included in the price - ask us for more details.

Getting There

The easiest way to get to Chamonix from the UK is to fly. The nearest airport is Geneva and the transfer time from the airport is about 75 minutes to Chamonix.
Easyjet tend to have the most affordable flights and a comprehensive service that serves many UK regional airports including Bristol, Belfast, Bournemouth, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Luton, Gatwick, Liverpool, Nottingham/East Midlands.

Most chalet operators offer inclusive airport transfers from Geneva airport to Chamonix.

More about Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in Western Europe. Its height is 4,807 metres (15,780 feet), but varies from year to year by a few metres, depending on snowfall and climate conditions. The mountain lies at 45°55′N, 6°55′E between the regions of Haute Savoie, France and Aosta Valley, Italy

The first known ascent was made on August 8, 1786 by Jacques Balmat and Michel Paccard.

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SW11 3SJ, United Kingdom
info@mountaintracks.co.uk
Tel: +44 (0)20 8123 2978
Fax: +44 (0)20 7905 0921

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