Chamonix, France

Off-Piste Coaching Intro Chamonix

A great introduction to off-piste skiing in Chamonix, THE mecca for any serious off-piste skier. The resort is renowned for its snow-sure, high altitude off-piste skiing combined with stunning mountain scenery. The off-piste terrain is extensive and ideal for adventurous skiers looking to improve their off-piste skiing skills whilst taking in the atmosphere of the amazing Mont Blanc massif that towers above Chamonix.

This is an introductory course and is ideal for anyone looking for a new skiing challenge or if you want to get more of a whole mountain experience. At the end of the course you will be able to ski more confidently off-piste, have a range of skills for coping with a variety of snow conditions and will be aware of safety issues associated with the mountains in winter including avalanches.

Our Off-Piste Coaching courses are intensive instructional ski courses aimed at helping you make the transition from piste to off-piste and teaching you the techniques to confidently ski the whole mountain. 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.

On our courses you’ll never ski with more than 6 in a group so that everyone receives excellent individual attention as well as enjoying loads more skiing, minimal waiting and a safer experience on the mountain.

Plus, 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 price includes 7 nights HB accommodation, 5 full days ski instruction and in-resort transfers.
The price does not include lift pass, lunches, equipment hire, travel to/from Chamonix
Single room occupancy is subject to availability and will incur an additional charge. Contact us for details.

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Ski Club Winter Arrangements limited (trading as Mountain Tracks)
Registered in England No. 2099115. VAT No. GB 461 5692 34

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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.

    • A good quality pair of ski trousers. They must be made from a waterproof and breathable fabric like Gore-Tex or similar. It’s useful to have some venting zips on the legs either inside or outside thigh or full length side-zips. Integral snow gaiters and some pockets for handy items are good features.
    • An outer shell jacket made of waterproof and breathable material like Gore-Tex or similar with a built-in hood. We advocate the ‘layering principle’ and so a shell is recommended rather than an insulated jacket.
    • Comfortable underwear with good wicking properties. Very popular at the moment are the wool based layers from companies such as Icebreaker and Smartwool. They are comfy, breathable, warm when needed and can be worn for days without your friends catching a whiff!
    • 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’.
    • Insulation layer like a down or primaloft jacket is a good item to have ready to wear in the event of cold weather, it can live in your rucksack as a spare layer and can come in very handy for sudden changes in the weather.
    • Roll neck rather than a scarf. We use and recommend the ‘Buff¹ ¬ a light, stretchable tube. Excellent despite the name! They do both a fleece/cotton version for warmth or just a cotton one (to keep the sun off).
    • Headwear to include warm hat and sun-cap or wide-brim hat for extra protection from the sun. Mountain Tracks fully supports the wearing of helmets for skiing, although not mandatory for any of our trips we do recommend them.
    • Good quality, ski gloves or mitts if you suffer from cold hands and 1 thinner pair of gloves made from a soft shell or fleece material if the weather is warm. These are particularly useful if you do any ski touring or hiking on the trip as thick gloves quickly become too hot.
      Silk inner gloves can be useful if the weather is cold and you suffer with cold hands.
    • Technical Socks - Investing in good quality ski socks will improve fit, warmth and feel when skiing for long periods. Bring along a few pairs.
  • 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.

    Skis
    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

    Boots
    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.

    Boot Liners
    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.

    Custom Footbeds
    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. 

    Bindings
    Standard downhill bindings.

  • The “Safety Trilogy” - applicable for all our off-piste courses
    Avalanche Transceiver/Beacon 
    Snow shovel
    Avalanche probe


    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

    • Good pair of ski goggles with a lens for low light is essential in the event of snow and poor visibility.
    • Good quality sunglasses with 100% UV protection
    • 25 – 30 litre rucksack with straps for carrying skis. If you wish to use an avalanche airbag/rucksack you are welcome to, you can now hire these in most resorts.
    • 1 – 1.5 litre water bottle – we don’t recommend hydration systems (e.g. camelbak) in winter as they can freeze.
    • Food – bring some of your favourite hill nibbles (chocolate, energy bars)*
    • Suncream and lip salve
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Chamonix

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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.

Off Piste runs include:

 

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 ski tour from the pistes. The effort expended is more than rewarded with the awesome skiing across untracked terrain.

Chamonix is just as much about the climbing and mountaineering in the summer months, with easy access into the high mountains and many magnificent climbs and routes available plus an extensive network of high alpine huts its also a mecca for climbers.  Mont Blanc draws over 20,000 ascents a year both by ski and foot and any good weather day in the summer months will see numerous people achieve the summit.


Resort Information:

Resort Height: 1,042m

Highest Lift: 3,842m

Nearest Airport: Geneva

Transfer Options: From Geneva the transfer time from the airport is about 75 minutes to Chamonix. We recommend that you book a seat with one of the many transfer companies who offer shared minibus transfers to and from the airport. Mountain Tracks recommends Mountain Drop Offs or Cham Van who both offer comparativly priced transfers and run an efficient services.

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.

  • 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 UK residents Ski Club Travel Insurance may be a suitable option.

    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 airport is Geneva which is served by many UK and International airports.

    The transfer time from the airport is about 75 minutes to Chamonix and to get to the resort we recommend that you book a seat with one of the many transfer companies who offer shared minibus transfers to and from the airport. Mountain Tracks recommends Mountain Dropoffs or Cham Van who both offer comparatively priced transfers and run a regular and efficient service.

  • This course will be led by our team of BASI Ski Instructors which includes Dave Meyer, Will Evans and Greg Jones. They are all extremely talented ski coaches who are passionate about off-piste skiing. Our instructors 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.
  • Chamonix has lots of catered chalets and hotels.

    Our preferred chalet is Chalet Les Pelerins. This is a comfortable privately run chalet in the Rue des Pelerins about 15 minutes walk from the centre of the town.

    Our preferred hotel is Hotel Les Lanchers in Chamonix Les Praz. 

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