Our Off-Piste Coaching 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 our excellent partner hotel for accommodation in Zinal with comfy areas to relax and all meals are taken as a group. So even if you come on your own, you are sure to meet 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 Zinal, we also offer this course in Ste Foy, Gressoney and Méribel.
You should aim to arrive by mid-afternoon
There will be a welcome meeting and briefing with our instructors before the 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
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The price includes: all guide fees and expenses, 7 nights chalet board accommodation (twin rooms)
The price does not include: lift pass, lunches, beverages, personal insurance, equipment hire, travel to/from Zinal
Single room occupancy is subject to availability and will incur additional charges. Please ask for details.
We are proud to offer all of our returning customers a £50 discount.
BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE
Your Financial Protection
£2.50 per person of the cost of any air package is paid to the Civil Aviation Authority to provide ATOL Protection to you. This means the money paid for these arrangements is fully protected. Our ATOL number is ATOL 2911. For more information see our booking terms and conditions.
ABTOT provides protection for your booking as set out in Holiday Information.
Ski Club Winter Arrangements limited (trading as Mountain Tracks)
Registered in England No. 2099115. VAT No. GB 461 5692 34
We accept the following payment methods
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 a good downhill ski and boot are required.
There are many ‘all-mountain’ skis to choose from and we highly recommend skis from Dynastar, Movement, Black Crows, Trab Skis, Scott and Volkl. Look for a ski that is the right size for you 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
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
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 €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
The Val d'Annivièrs is the most easterly French speaking valley in southern Switzerland. From a skiers point of view five of its many idyllic and picturesque villages: St. Luc, Chandolin, Zinal, Grimentz and Vercorin operate ski lifts and pistes all on the same ski pass. Each is a ski area in its own right and stretch between 1200m – 3000m in altitude. With skiing on all aspects of the compass the valley is renowned for its variety of snow and the scope of its freeriding.
The area has a large network of lifts servicing 200km of pistes up to an altitude of almost 3,000m. The whole area is characterised by stunning high alpine terrain, deep valleys and charming villages. The main ski domains of Zinal, Grimentz, St Luc-Chandolin and Vercorin are well-connected by local buses. The area also has the advantages of being relatively unknown (and therefore not so busy) and easily accessible from Geneva, Zurich or Sion airports.
We rate Zinal and the Val d'Anniviers as one of the best areas for off-piste and backcountry skiing in the Alps.
Our top reasons to visit Zinal
Resort Height: 1,670m
Highest Lift: 3,000m
Nearest Airport: Geneva or Zurich
Accommodation in Zinal
For many of our weeks in Zinal we stay at the comfortable Chalet Edelweiss run by our good friends Eric and Penny Kendall. They have created a fantastic chalet in the village of Mottec just 2 minutes from Zinal. The chalet has 5 comfortable twin or double rooms, all with ensuite facilities, complimentary toiletries and fluffy towels. The lounge area has plenty of seating, a large fire place, library, TV/DVD/satellite and music system plus an internet corner and wifi. Penny's cooking is exceptional and you will be fed and watered extremely well all week with breakfast, tea and a 3-course evening meal. It’s possible for the vast majority of the winter to ski directly back to the chalet off piste all the way with over 1500m of descent, arriving to well deserved tea and cakes!
The chalet has a ski room with boot dryer and private car park. They also hose a Scott Ski Test Centre at the chalet with many pairs of freeride and touring skis for hire and test. You can book ski hire with the chalet direct before you travel. If you need to hire boots then this needs to be done at the local ski shop in Zinal village. Find out more about the Chalet at www.skizinal.com
We also work with some of the hotels in the village of Zinal for other weeks like the Hotel Besso and Hotel Europe. Both offer comfortable accommodation plus good food. The village is small with a few shops and a good après ski bar called the Bar e VoX close to the bottom of the main lift at Sorebois.
Recommended Travel Options
The most convenient airport is Geneva followed by Zurich. Train is the best option for the onward journey from the airport to Zinal. Connections are regular and the total travel time is approximately 3hrs 15mins from Geneva with 2 changes and around 4hrs with 3 or 4 changes from Zurich Airport. To look up train timetables use this link Swiss Railway Timetables You can travel as far as Sierre in the main Rhone Valley by train, here you have to change to the Swiss Post Bus (Yellow) and you travel up the Val d'Anniviers by bus (you may need to change in Vissoie). If you are staying at Chalet Edelweiss, you must ask the driver for Mottec (as it’s a request stop) and the bus stops right outside Chalet Edelweiss. This is the large balconied house alongside the road.
Alternatively, you can hire a car at the airport, driving time to the Auberge is approximately 2 hrs from Geneva, and 2.5 hrs from Zurich.
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.
The most convenient airports are Geneva or Zurich airport, from where you can take the train to Sierre (Geneva 2 hrs, Zurich 2.5 hrs).
At Sierre catch the yellow Post Bus to Zinal (you may need to change in Vissoie). Ask the driver for Mottec (as it’s a request stop) and the bus stops right outside the Auberge Edelweiss. This is the large balconied house alongside the road.
Train and bus timetables can be found at www.sbb.ch/en
Alternatively, you can hire a car at the airport: driving time to the Auberge is approximately 2 hrs from Geneva, and 2.5 hrs from Zurich.
You should arrange to arrive in Zinal by late afternoon on Day 1 and we recommend that you arrange your return/onward flight for mid to late afternoon to give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport without having to rush!
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.