Travel to Courmayeur.
Welcome meeting and briefing with your guide at 7pm in the hotel.
A warm up day skiing in Courmayeur, there is lots of great off piste in the trees and long runs available from the Youla and Arp cable cars.
A day skiing from the Skyway Monte Bianco, the new lift to Punta Helbronner at 3462m. The Glacier de Toule offers a long open glaciated run, in powder snow its one of the best but also just as good in spring conditions.
Touring day from the Collo San Carlo to Punta Croce. This is a great ski tour to a peak overlooking the Aosta and La Thuille Valley's.
A short drive takes us to Arpy on the Colla San Carlo, a tiny hamlet and cross country ski area. From here there is a 2hr climb to the summit winding first through the larch woods, passing the Lago de Arpy and on to the summit ridge. This is lined with old war defenses and offers an amazing view to the Mont Blanc range.
The route down can be mellow or steep depending on the snow conditions, there steep larch trees offer some great skiing and a fast descent back towards the lake.
Today we return to the Skyway lift and aim to make a descent of the Vallee Blanche from this Italian Side. The typical route is to descend via Combe Virage into the Val Noir, past the ice fall and down to the Salle a Manger. We return to Courmayeur via the local bus service.
We head back to the Courmayeur ski area and take the lift to the highest point of the Arp at 2755m.
From here we can ski some long descents into the Val Veny and return to the lift at Zarotta. There are also some fine day tours to be found towards Mont Fortin by crossing over the Col du Youla.
We return to the Skyway Monte Bianco and aim to make a descent from Col d'Entreves, this is a short ski tour from Punta Helbronner skiing the Glacier d'Entreves back to the mid-station of the Skyway.
Touring possibilities also exist into Combe Maudit under the towing peaks of the Grand Capucin, Mont Maudit and the Arete de la Brenva
|Sat 16 Mar||Sat 23 Mar||Sat 16 Mar
- Sat 23 Mar
The price includes: all guiding fees & expenses, 7 nights B&B hotel accommodation on a twin share basis and local transfers to ski.
The price does not include: uplift costs, evening meals, lunches, beverages, equipment hire, travel to/from Courmayeur.
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Ski Club Winter Arrangements limited (trading as Mountain Tracks)
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This is an extensive list of the recommended clothing and equipment you will need if you are coming on one of our Off-Piste Adventure trips. On all our weeks you’ll be staying in comfortable catered chalets or hotels. When skiing you need to carry just a day pack, which contains your safety equipment and any personal items or extra clothing layers you may need.
Although our Off-Piste Adventure courses rely heavily on the lift systems in resorts, access to and egress from runs sometimes involve climbing and walking a short way and you may undertake 1 or 2 day ski tours, for this reason its best to have skis with ski touring bindings, skins and ski touring boots.
The “Safety Trilogy” - applicable for all our off-piste courses and ski tours.
Avalanche airbags/rucksacks – if you wish to ski with one of these on our courses you are welcome to do so, they are not mandatory but we always support the use of available safety items.
You can hire avalanche rucksacks in a lot of resorts, makes are usually Snowpulse/Mammut, ABS or BCA Float sacks. Prices vary from shop to shop and resort to resort but a guide line price would be from €20-30 per day or around €100-120 for 6/7 days.
Remember it is not enough just to carry this equipment; you have to know how to use it.
How about joining one of our specialist avalanche courses – check out http://mountaintracks.co.uk/discipline/winter-mountaincraft
The Aosta Valley lies in the northwest of Italy an hour north of Turin and just a short drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel from Chamonix. It's strategic location has meant it's been an important crossroads in the Western Alps for centuries. As well as the link to France through the MB tunnel it also links directly to Switzerland via the Grand St Bernard pass.
The principal resorts are Courmayeur and Cervinia.
The most convenient airports are Turin, Malpensa and Geneva.
It is a condition of booking that you are insured for your chosen activity and the cover must include 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.
For more details and to purchase a policy online visit http://www.skiclubinsurance.co.uk/
If you need assistance arranging your personal insurance please let us know.
To get to Courmayeur we suggest you either fly to Turin airport and take public transport or a car hire and drive the 2hrs to Courmayeur. Alternatively flight to Geneva are an option and onward travel by shared minibus transfer, please contact our office for more information on this option.
You should aim to arrive in Courmayeur sometime in the afternoon. There will be an initial briefing with your Mountain Tracks guide on the first evening. This is an opportunity to meet the guide and the rest of the party, to discuss the plans and objectives for the week and to ask any questions you may have relating to the week’s itinerary.
Our Off-Piste Adventure courses are run by our team of IFMGA Mountain Guides led by Olly Allen, Matt Dickinson and Nick Parks.
The guide to skier ratio is 1:6 and we can run with a maximum of 2 groups on the same week.
We stay in a comfortable hotel in Courmayeur village on a bed & breakfast basis, meals can be taken our in the many restaurants that are in the village. Accommodation is provided on a twin share basis, if you wish to have a single room then please ask but they are subject to availability and usually there is a supplement.
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.
Introductory level ski touring trips are appropriate for people looking for their first touring experience. The pace is relaxed and typically we skin for 2-4hrs per day so ascents are about 500 - 800m vertical. You need to be a reasonable off-piste skier (at our Off-Piste Development level), able to link controlled parallel turns in powder snow and ski through trees in control. You need to be prepared to hike short sections on foot carrying your skis on your rucksack (though you won’t need any specific mountaineering knowledge, so crampons and an ice axe are usually not required).
Off-Piste Coaching and Adventure
For our Intermediate graded off-piste ski 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 Coaching Development trips are for you. These are instructor-led courses.
If you want to get some miles under your skis then look at our Off-Piste Adventure Intermediate trips which are led by our team of Mountain Guides. On the Adventure courses you can expect to hike or ski tour short distances to get to better snow and terrain, although no previous ski touring experience is required.
These tours will involve around 3-5hrs of skinning per day, achieving around 800 – 1000m of vertical ascent. We would expect you to be able skin to a pace of 300m of vertical ascent per hour. You need to be able to execute good uphill kick turns on steeper slopes and have some familiarity with use of crampons and ice axe. You need to be a reasonably strong off-piste skier able to deal with a variety of snow conditions (powder, crust, slush) and able to ski on steeper and narrower slopes with the requisite ability and confidence for exposed sections.
For our Advanced Off-Piste Coaching courses you should be an excellent piste skier and have many years experience of skiing off-piste. You should be able to ski off-piste in most conditions linking controlled parallel turns, ski bumpy terrain, trees, narrow gullies and enjoy pushing yourself to achieve new things. Your skiing should be reasonably fluid and autonomous i.e. you can already adapt your turn radius and speed to the terrain and snow conditions off-piste. This course will focus on the technical and tactical skills to ski steep terrain, jump turns and line choice as well as refreshing your avalanche skills and mountain safety. The mission is for your skiing to become more dynamic and reactive!
You are an experienced and confident off-piste skier able to handle most snow types and conditions, you can ski steep slopes (30 degrees+) and make short turns in gullies and ski through trees. These skills have been learned over a number of years of skiing off-piste with mountain guides or experienced groups of friends. You are happy to ski tour to access descents and better snow, so you will have previously used ski touring equipment and can do effective and safe uphill kick turns. You aspire to ski the best snow available and are happy to push yourself to reach the best snow and terrain.
Advanced-level tours are for experienced ski tourers who’ve previously completed another hut-to-hut trip or multiple day tours. A large proportion of the terrain may be steep and exposed; thus confidence in your uphill kick turns on 35+ degree slopes is a must, as is your ability to ski slopes of 40 degrees. You will be a strong, fluid off-piste skier able to handle all conditions. You will be confident of using crampons and an ice axe and happy scrambling/climbing on snow and rock on short climbs to summits, and in gullies to gain a col.
You can ski fluidly and autonomously on all terrain. You often ski couloirs and gullies and seek out steep slopes and you can jump turn in narrow couloirs and have experience of abseiling and sideslipping on steep terrain. You can ski fast with fluid ‘freeride’ style turns and can jump off small rocks and ski trees with no fear or problems. You are happy to ski tour and hike to reach the best snow and terrain and you should have some basic knowledge of using crampons and ice axe. Your aims are to push your skills and challenge yourself further.
Expert level ski tours are pure ski mountaineering journeys in the high mountains. You must be confident skiing steep exposed terrain and ski touring for at least 5 hours per day with long ascents. You will be expected to climb on your feet carrying your skis on your pack to summit mountains above 4000m in altitude. You must be completely confident with your crampon placement and use of an ice axe and you will have some basic rope skills and be happy walking along exposed ridges on mixed terrain to gain the summits of peaks.
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.
You can ski all day comfortably off-piste with only short stops for food and drink, you can do this for multiple days on your holiday. If necessary you can ski tour for around 1-2 hrs up hill plus your happy to do a few short hikes to access good snow with your skis on your shoulder or rucksack. Your stamina and endurance fitness is good and you work hard to maintain a good level of fitness. You will be exercising 3-4 times a week and also at the weekend; thus running a half marathon, doing a 50 mile cycle ride, 3-4 hours on a mountain bike or a full day’s hill walk would all prove possible with this stamina level.
You can ski all day comfortably and will be expected to ascend on skis at around 400m/hr and be able to skin for at least 5hrs with up to 1000m to 1300m of ascent per day. Your stamina and endurance fitness is good and you work hard to maintain a good level of fitness. You will be exercising 3-4 times a week and also at the weekend; thus running a half marathon, doing a 50 mile cycle ride, 3-4 hours on a mountain bike or a full day’s hill walk would all prove possible with this stamina level.
IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV
The IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV symbol is the logo of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association.
Nick, Olly and Matt are all fully-qualified UIAGM Mountain Guides and members of the British Mountain Guides Association.
The International Ski Instructors Association is the world body for professional ski instructors.
The ISIA was formed in 1971 and there are currently 39 member nations representing the very best in ski instruction around the world.