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Chamonix off piste week 2024
Updated itinerary > 5 days guiding + Chamonix accommodation included
Course overview

We offer two challenging levels of course: Level 1 - Adventure, and Level 2 - Performance. Level 1 is for those with a little off piste experience, such as a day on Vallee Blanche or 'between the piste' off piste. Those on Level 2 will have at least a week's previous off piste experience, such as attending the Level 1 course. If you are in doubt as to how to judge your ski level, click here.

Both courses are a week of the most thrilling ski runs in the Chamonix valley, and Mont Blanc massif. Our aim is for you to enjoy a challenging, thrilling, great off piste week.

Your expert IFMGA Mountain & Ski Guide will show you some of the most remote and beautiful wilderness regions, whilst improving your technique and looking after your safety.
The level of the runs is only limited by your previous off piste experience and the conditions. You do not need to be super fit, but good stamina will make the days easier and allow you to enjoy the scenery.
Key skills taught during this course include...
avalanche transceiver use
glacier travel techniques
recognising avalanche traps
group management off piste
emergency procedures
choice of kit for glacier skiing
crevasse rescue for skiers
route planning & navigation
crevasse rescue ropework
The group for each course is limited to six people per Guide to ensure that you get good access, and learn as much as possible, as we have found that a small group on the mountain achieves and learns far more.
Dates: these are listed in the column on the right, and they show the live availability from our secure online booking system. When you book online, you receive immediate confirmation, your Alpine Information Booklet, course specific kit list and invoice.
Instructors: this course is led by an IFMGA International Mountain & Ski Guide. This is the only qualification that allows you to be instructed on glaciated off piste runs, such as the Vallee Blanche. It is a key selling point that you are led by ski guides, as there are many off piste courses offered by others, which are led by ski instructors who are not guides. If you book one of their courses, you are limited to no glacier skiing, and will not ski the classics that Chamonix is famed for, such as the Argentiere glacier from Grands Montets, the Vallee Blanche, or the Toula Glacier from Helbronner. When looking for an off piste course, ensure that it is led by an IFMGA guide, so you can ski on glaciers.
Skiing the Vallée Blanche
Which level of course?
Level 1 skiers can competantly ski any piste, and will have skied a little between the pistes, or a day or two of off piste at most. Level 2 skiers will have at least a full week of previous off piste skiing experience as an absolute minimum, and usually more.
If you are a little unsure as to which level would suit you best, it's often easier to decide by looking at the photo galleries of the different courses, to see the types of terrain encountered. Here are the photo gallery links; Off Piste level 1 - click here, or for Off Piste level 2 - click here
If you are in any doubt as to which level you are better suited to, then please get in touch, so that we can advise you better, to ensure you get the most out of the course.
Avalanche safety airbags
We have teamed up with Black Diamond, who we also stock in our Windermere mountain store, to rent their avalanche airbags. We selected the Halo 28 JetForce airbag for our hire equipment, as the pack size is well suited to our off piste and intro ski tour courses. The key features are the PIEPS automatic self diagnosis performs full system check on every startup, the travel-friendly fully rechargeable lithium-ion battery which supports 4+ deployments per charge, a Cordura airbag made from puncture-resistant automotive material is easy to repack for practice and multiple deployments, and the unique Jet fan which inflates the 200 L airbag in 4 seconds, and automatically deflates after 3 minutes to create a potential air pocket. Click on the image to the left, for details of how to hire this.

Brief Course Itinerary
The Level 1 - Adventure, and Level 2 - Performance courses run on different weeks, with the itineraries adapted daily to cater for the best snow conditions, and your improving ski level. The itineraries are for guidance, but should give an idea of what you can achieve during the week. Level 2 tackles harder, longer, and deeper off piste...
Travel to Chamonix to arrive for your accommodation check in, which is available from 16:00 on the Sunday afternoon, so there's time to ski before if you wish. In the early evening there is a course safety and itinerary briefing. There is time for kit checks or rental of equipment, including the hire of any off piste equipment. Briefings and sorting equipment is over by 19:00 and then you are free to go out for dinner / drinks. Night in Chamonix.
After your breakfast you meet your guide are driven to one of the ski areas, such as le Tour. The focus of the day is to get skiing straight away, and to introduce you to some of best off piste runs at Le Tour.
For either level of course you will find untracked powder in the bowls and through the trees, with descents towards Tour, Vallorcine or Trient. Optional evening instruction session or route planning social after guiding. Night in Chamonix.
Typically today involves off piste over glaciers, such as one (or more) descents of the famous
Vallée Blanche above Chamonix. If you've done the classic route, there are runs via Helbronner by a more testing route such as the Italian Bowl. Another option is skiing the Glacier de Toule from Helbronner to Le Pavillion, followed by the Vallée Blanche. Optional evening instruction session or route planning social after guiding. Night in Chamonix.
Searching for fresh tracks over glaciers, either the classic Pas de Chevre from Grand Montets to Montenvers, or maybe the Argentiere glacier
. Another option is skiing in the Aiguilles Rouges above Index. As you will by now have spotted there are hundreds of options for off piste skiing in Chamonix, so don't worry as there is too much to choose from.
Optional evening instruction session or route planning social after guiding. Night in Chamonix.
By now your ski level should have developed well, and you could consider a more challenging off piste descent such as the back of Le Tour to Trient, or the Grand Envers from the Aiguille du Midi. Another possibility is to drive through the Mont Blanc tunnel to have a day of Italian off piste with fresh tracks and powder skiing above Courmayeur.
Night off from evening instruction to allow you to relax for your last day of guiding tomorrow. Night in Chamonix.
On the final day of skiing, most groups go for a big day of classic off piste runs. The Grand Montets lift above Argentiere is a classic venue for this, as there are so many lines down to the glaciers or on the front face. An alternative for the level 2 group is to try ski touring on the Argentiere glacier, so as to pick up a new skill to access better off piste next time.
Evening social drinks, then a celebratory meal, with the final night spent in Chamonix.
The accommodation check out is by 10:00. Most arrange their airport transfers to leave around this time, to catch a flight from Geneva about midday. Depart for home.

ITINERARY NOTES: Where possible we follow itineraries. Mountain adventures are weather and conditions dependant, so occasionally we are forced to alter the plans. If this is the case, suitable alternatives are offered. Please use this outline itinerary as a guide to the types of route / activity that you will attempt.

Course Prices
Standard course
5 full days IFMGA guiding, 1:6 max ratio
Sunday-Saturday, guiding Monday-Friday
Live availability
Click on the planner logo to the right to
see the real time live course availability
Latest Availability
Secure online booking system
Standard Course Inclusions
1) Hand picked IFMGA Mountain & Ski Guide for five days (1:6 ratio max)
2) Chamonix accommodation (room only), generally in twin / double room
3) Chamonix concierge service for logistics, advice and support
4) Road or rail transport in Chamonix valley to and from the slopes each day
5) Pre course information dossier, with training plans and kit lists
6) Briefing the first evening, with latest updates and weather reports
7) Equipment discount voucher for our Windermere shop / online
8) Preferential rates on ski touring kit and equipment hire in Chamonix
9) Free 36 page technical Course Instruction Booklet
10) Optional evening instruction sessions as per detailed itinerary
Exclusions: 1) Travel to and from Chamonix, 2) Cable cars (c.50€/day, click for current prices, with Unlimited Pass including lifts in Chamonix and Courmayeur), 3) Equipment hire, 4) Personal laundry, telephone calls, lunches, & any purchases in mountain huts / hotels / restaurants, 5) Transport outside the Chamonix valley e.g. Courmayeur, 6) Sunday pre-dinner drinks & Friday celebratory meal & drinks, 7) Activities insurance, excess baggage charges.
Group sizes: 3 - 6 people per IFMGA mountain guide. For group sizes of over 6 people, there are multiple guides, and the teams travel independently of each other.
Current course availability

Course Dates
Chamonix Level 1
  • No Dates Available
Course Dates
Chamonix Level 2
  • No Dates Available
NOTE: This trip has scheduled
dates, but if there are four who
are booking together, it can be
operated on any date you wish

Price: £999 Book online

Alternative courses
Intro Touring & Backcountry
Haute Route (Cham-Zermatt)
Zermatt Backcountry Skiing

Client feedback

I learnt so many techniques, skills and tips from you all last week, that my head is still buzzing

Sally D , Off Piste Course

A great mixture of teaching, skiing and socialising with a fun group. Learnt loads, and had a ball of a time

Josei S , Off Piste Course

Amazing week of skiing, with intimate local knowledge to find the best powder for us. Great teaching from our guide, so my skiing went up several gears

Wayne W , Off Piste Course

Press & media
Films & videos
Photo gallery
Location data for this trip
The trips are based in the Chamonix valley in the French Alps, at the foot of Mont Blanc. It is easily accessed via a 90 minute transfer from Geneva airport.
Time Difference
GMT +1hr
Local Currency
€ Euros
Travel from UK
1hr flight
Vallée Blanche reflections
Skis & equipment advice
Because we know it is so important to you to have the most suitable equipment and clothing for off piste skiing, we have devoted a page especially to it, which you can access by clicking on the image to the right, or by clicking here. This page outlines the key equipment you should bring, and gives examples of skis that are suitable for the course. If after reading this page you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Chamonix team, who will be able to advise, and to help you avoid any costly mistakes. The key point to highlight is that it is highly unlikely that your piste skis will be suitable for off piste skiing, as they are too narrow at the waist and will not offer enough flotation in the powder. In fact slalom style skis cut through powder to the older crusty snow below.
Epic off piste conditions on the Grands Montets
Trip video gallery
Skiing at Grands Montets on Level 1 off piste
Skiing Courmayeur (Italy) on Level 2 off piste
Ski technique analysis
We sometimes use video feedback on our off piste courses, whenever it is the best tool for helping people improve their style and skills. Whenever we get film footage of you skiing, we ensure that you get a copy of the film, so when you return home you can show your friends what a brilliant skier you are! Also any photos that are taken of you are uploaded to an online gallery for you to download or share with others. For recent photos, click on one of the links below;

Off Piste level 1 - click here

Off Piste level 2 - click here

Vallee Blanche - click here
Drop off on the Flegere gullies
Suggested reading and kit
View full course equipment list, with examples of kit, click here
So why choose Icicle?
Itinerary flexibility to allow you to take full advantage of the weather and snow conditions each day, so that you maximise the amount of time spent skiing each day.
Our prices are fixed in £ pounds sterling, to protect you from euro currency fluctuations, so that you can budget accurately.
We have a team of over 30 IFMGA guides, and a resort support team, who all want you to have the best off piste skiing possible! For more details on the guiding team and qualifications, please click here.
Any further questions?
A key part of choosing a company is being able to come and talk about your plans with an experienced course advisor face to face. In an increasingly virtual world, we know our clients value speaking to real people, getting open and honest advice. The vast majority of our clients are British, and our office and outdoor store is based in Windermere in the English Lake District.

Get in contact to arrange a meeting, and come in for a coffee to discuss your course in person with a trip advisor. Many people opt for this service, and it is an integral part of what we offer, as we are keen to ensure that you are prepared as possible, and that you select a course that is suitable for you. It makes it easier and more enjoyable for you and us, if you are on the right trip.

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