Our Off-Piste Coahcing courses are intensive instructional ski courses. Run by our top team of BASI level 4 instructors and IFMGA guides with extensive instructional experience, each course blends off-piste instruction with sessions on mountain safety and awareness and excellent skiing that guarantees they are informative, educational and a lot of fun.
Our courses don’t just run for 6 hours during the day. We do our best to ensure that your group will really gel over the week. We use chalet style accommodation with comfy areas to relax and all meals are taken as a group (including one evening meal out during the week). So even if you come on your own, you are sure to meet loads of like minded skiers and have a great time. You’ll leave the course not only with new skills but with new friends and some wonderful memories!
The course will be led by our team of inspirational Off-Piste Instructors which includes Dave Meyer, Will Evans and Greg Jones.
The course is primarily lift-accessed with some limited hiking to access the best runs. Instruction is offered on a low instructor:skier ratio of 1:4.
In addition to running the course in Méribel we also offer this course in Zinal, Gressoney and Ste. Foy
You should aim to arrive by late afternoon. There will be a welcome meeting and briefing before evening meal.
You will be guided towards a strong posture and balance with precise movements
We will work to ensure that you can ski safely and slowly in steeper terrain - your jump turns will become stronger allowing you to rely on these in all conditions, taking on tighter lines and gradients ranging from 30 to 45 degrees
Your tool box of tricks will grow allowing your skiing to become more dynamic and reactive turn to turn
Specific tactical skills will be emphasised to help guide you to the best choice of line and technique for snow conditions
Throughout, we will be analysing your progression to help you confidently build your skills to take on more exposed and challenging conditions
We will refresh and advance your avalanche safety skills
We will be maximising time on the descents. However, there will be the need to do some short hikes to reach the best lines and depending on conditions there may be some touring for which necessary equipment can be hired in resort
These courses will give you the experience and preparation necessary to consider one of our more challenging Off-Piste Adventure courses such as our Dolomiti Freeride, Off-Piste and Couloirs week or Steep Skiing Clinics
Snow conditions will dictate our agenda. We will always make use of the best snow – if there’s powder, we’ll be there with a chance to focus on faster “freeride” turns for maximum exhilaration. And we love tree skiing so if conditions allow, we will work on more technical and tighter lines
The price includes 7 nights chalet board accommodation (twin-share) with breakfasts, afternoon teas with homemade cakes and delicious evening meal (on 6 evenings). 5 days off-piste instruction with inspirational BASI 4 (or international equivalent) Ski Instructors, group transfers between Geneva airport and the chalet, in-resort transfers.
Additional local expenses include lift pass, lunches, drinks, 1 evening meal, equipment hire
Single room are subject to availability and a supplement.
Here at the Mountain Tracks, we give you our word that we will fully refund every part of your package holiday if it is not able to run due to COVID-19.
Our Mountain Tracks and holiday teams are monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak guidance and advice while communicating closely with our suppliers to make sure everything is in place to keep you safe.
Read more : COVID-19 FAQ
We are proud to offer all of our returning customers a £50 discount.
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ABTOT provides protection for your booking as set out in Holiday Information.
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 Coaching courses. On these courses you’ll be staying in a comfortable catered chalet 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.
We continue to see big changes in ski, boot and binding design and technology, which make off-piste skiing and ski touring much more accessible.
For our Off-Piste Coaching courses, good downhill ski and boot are required.
This winter our lead guides are using Salomon Explore MTN and Salomon QST touring skis. The MTN 95 is an award-winning ski with great stability at high speeds whilst the MTN 88 is a best-selling lightweight touring ski. The QST’s are slightly heavier and therefore suited to charging; perfect for day-touring.
Lockwoods Ski and Outdoor are supporting our guides and we suggest that if you’re interested in any of the MTN or QST skis, you should make Lockwoods your first point of call.
There are many ‘all-mountain’ skis to choose from and we highly recommend skis from Salomon, Dynastar, Movement, Black Crows, Trab Skis, Scott and Volkl. Look for a ski that is the right size for your height, typically the tip of the ski should be somewhere around your nose height. As for the width of the ski or “side cut” a mid-fat ski – 90-100mm under the foot - is perfect for getting to grips skiing off-piste and these skis give you floatation in powder snow but are still easy to handle and carve on the piste.
Dynastar Skis: www.dynastar.com
Movement Skis: www.movementskis.com
Black Crows Skis: www.blackcrows-skis.com/
Trab Skis: www.skitrab.com/en-us/
Scott Skis: http://www.scott-sports.com
Volkl Skis: http://www.voelkl.com
There are plenty of other great skis to choose from so if you’re planning on buying skis for ski touring or general skiing and have any questions do not hesitate to call us, or Lockwoods, to discuss the options available.
For off-piste performance courses, standard downhill ski boots are ideal, they offer rigidity, responsiveness and flex depending on the snow conditions. If you have ski touring boots or a pair of the hybrid freeride/touring boots with a walk mode, then these are fine too, bring them with you. We do not recommend you come on a trip with brand new boots.
These days many manufacturers offer ‘thermo-fit’ liners as standard equipment. You may also want to consider a custom liner. Heated and moulded to your foot and boot for a perfect fit, they can make all the difference especially if you have trouble finding really comfortable ‘off-the-shelf¹ boots. Zipfit liners are a great option for anyone seeking total customisation in fit and comfort. They will replace the original liner.
Essential kit – to provide additional comfort and ski control. If you want to get footbeds made or a pair of new boots fitted then we suggest you visit somewhere like Profeet for a professional fitting.
Standard downhill bindings.
The “Safety Trilogy” - applicable for all our off-piste courses
We recommend Simple and intuitive ORTOVOX AVALANCHE RESCUE KIT 3+
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 Ortovox Avabag. Prices vary from shop to shop and resort to resort but a guide line price would be from €30 / CHF 35 per day
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
Meribel is a ski resort in the Tarentaise Valley in the French Alps. Meribel comprises of a number of villages, Les Allues, Meribel Village, Meribel Centre and Meribel Mottart which is the highest at 1,750m. The resort has an extensive lift system linking to Courchevel and Val Thorens. There is skiing above Mottart to 2,952m on Mont du Vallon. Above Val Thorens, situated at 2,300m there is glacier skiing to over 3,000m. Together the area has more than 200 lifts and over 600kms of piste suitable for everyone from first day novices to expert level. The off-piste terrain here is equally impressive with enough choice to satisfy the most demanding backcountry enthusiasts. The highest lifts take you to 3200m (on the Glacier de Peclet).
Meribel itself is at the heart of the Trois Vallée. It its own extensive ski area and easy access to the other 2 valleys. There are many chalets and hotels in the resorts plus plenty of après ski and nightlife if you require it. Shops, bard and restaurants are extensive the each of the villages.
Our top reasons for visiting Meribel
Resort Height: 1,500m
Highest Lift: 2,950m
Nearest Airport: Geneva or Chambery
Transfer Options: Its best to fly to Geneva airport and then book a seat on one of a number of transfer services who offer shared seats to and from the resort. Transfer time by road is typically around 2 - 2.5hrs. You can also fly to Chambery airport and take a road transfer, this is slightly shorter at around 1hr 30 mins. There are train services from Chambery to Moutiers. From Moutiers you would need to take a taxi up to the resort.
For our week long trips to Meribel we have a fixed meeting time at Geneva airport (1430hrs) for joining a private transfer by minibus to the resort. For the return journey we offer the same back to Geneva leaving resort around 0800-0830.
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.
We include in the price of the trip 1 shared, group airport transfer from and to Geneva airport. This is at set times so we ask you to arrange your flights accordingly.
On the arrival day the transfer will depart Geneva airport at 1430, you should book a flight that arrives no later than about 1345 so you have time to collect your luggage and make your way to the meeting point. On the departure day the transfer will pick everyone up from the chalet at approximately 0830, this means you will be dropped off at Geneva at approximately 1100; this should be suitable for flight departures from 1300hrs onwards. So we ask you to book a flight back that leaves no earlier than 1300hrs.
If you have to arrive/depart outside of these times then you will need to make your own arrangements to get to and from Meribel.
For these courses our preferred chalet provider is GoSkiMeribel.
They have a number of very comfortable catered chalets in Méribel where rooms are mostly ensuite, chalets have hot tub/jacuzzi, Wi-Fi, TV and plenty of space to relax and enjoy yourself after skiing. They serve daily breakfast, afternoon tea and a 3 or 4 course evening meal (on 6 nights of the week).
Single room occupancy is subject to availability and will incur 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 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.