you have spent most of your time on
skis on piste or on popular off piste
runs, and want to escape the crowds,
this course will give you the skills
to access the mountains throughout the
winter season by learning ski touring
and more advanced backcountry skills.
course is also ideal as an introduction
or preparation for famous ski tours
such as the Haute Route (Chamonix to
Zermatt) later in the season.
itinerary is flexible to take account
of the previous skills, experience,
and aspirations, but typically includes
a 50:50 split of ski touring and off
piste backcountry skiing.
this level you have skied a minimum
of two weeks off piste before, such
one week off piste course, and another
week of off piste experience. Your
key ambition is to improve and get some
good instruction. If you are looking
for an early season alternative to this
course, see our Aosta
ski touring week.
is not required, as this course aims
to teach key skills starting with the
basics. Sometimes people have done a
day or two of touring before, but not
received any formal tuition, so use
this course as a springboard to future
mountaineering skills or knowledge of
ropes are an advantage, but not essential
as all necessary techniques are taught.
During the week you are based in Chamonix
Mont Blanc, but often have the the opportunity
to ski tour in Italy or Switzerland
skills taught during this course include...
using skins and touring skis
turns for ascent on skis
of couteaux / harscheisen
crampons and ice axes
choice of kit
for ski touring
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
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 image on the left, for hire details.
The itineraries are for guidance, but should give
an idea of what you can achieve during the week.
Each week this course runs slightly differently
to cater for your preferences, the conditions, and
where the best weather and snow is to be found.
This flexibility allows you to have the course tailored
to your needs. There is even the option of using
two of the days to ski up to stay in a mountain
hut (half board lodging not included, but c.50€pp)
to then ski to reach an Alpine summit or high pass
beyond the hut the next day, before returning to
Travel to Chamonix to arrive for the 17:00
check-in followed by and course safety and
itinerary briefings. There is time for kit
checks or rental of equipment. Briefings are
over by 19:00 and the Chamonix hosts accompany
the group to pre-dinner drinks. Some clients
opt to travel out a day or two early to get
their ski legs back and to test out their
skis, whilst many others opt to do a one day
avalanche awareness safety course. Night in
After meeting your guide in the morning, you
are driven to one of the ski areas, such as
le Tour or Flegere. Day
of introductory level ski touring, practising
how to use the equipment and kick turns, as
well as off piste skiing to refresh your techniques.
At Flegere, groups often skin up to Lac Blanc
and even to Col des Dards, before the long
off piste run down. Evening theory session
on the key safety knots, and skiers crevasse
rescue. Night in Chamonix.
Typically today involves glacier off piste
and perhaps a slightly longer ski tour, such
as skiing onto the Argentiere glacier and
ascending to the Col du Tour Noir, or even
across the Col de Passon to ski down to le
Tour village. Both these itineraries provide
stunning views of the glacier basins, which
normally hold the snow conditions well.
Evening session on Alpine weather
prediction and the effects of mountains on
the weather. Night in Chamonix.
A classic day tour that is well worth doing
is the famous Crochues-Berard. You take the
ski lift from Flegere to Index, and then skin
up for just over an hour to Col du Crochues,
before skiing down and around to cross the
Col du Berard, before the sweeping descent
into the Berard valley, past the hut that
is usually buried under the snows, to finish
at Le Buet.
session on avalanche prediction and tranceiver
search patterns. Night
By now your skiing and touring level should
have developed well, and you could consider
a more challenging off piste descent such
as touring across the Vallee Blanche to Helbronner
point to ski the Toule glacier, before descending
the Italian bowl of the Vallee Blanche. Another
option is a two day tour with a night in a
the price of the optional hut night is not
included, but if you opt to stay in Chamonix,
the course accommodation is included.
On the final day of skiing, most groups go
for a big day of touring, though if the legs
are feeling tired then perhaps a day of great
off piste would appeal such as skiing the
Pas de Chevre from the Grands Montets to Montenvers.
If touring, a popular objective is a ski tour
summit such as Aiguilette des Houches and
Brevent, before skiing a different route to
the valley. Evening social drinks then a celebratory
meal, with the final
night spent in Chamonix.
then the accommodation check out is by 10:00.
Most arrange their airport transfers to leave
around this time, to catch a flight from Geneva
Depart for home.
ITINERARY NOTES: Where possible we follow
itineraries. Mountain adventures are weather
and conditions dependant, so occasionaly 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
full days IFMGA guiding, 1:6 max ratio
7 days holiday in total, Sunday-Saturday
on the planner logo to the right to
see the real time live course availability
Course Inclusions: 1) IFMGA Mountain
Guides for five days, 2) Chamonix course hosts for
logistics & briefings, 3) Pre course information
booklet, 4) Equipment discount voucher for UK shops,
5) Six nights B&B accommodation in Chamonix
(inc. bedding & towels), 6) Free 36 page technical
Course Instruction Booklet, 7) Road or rail transport
in Chamonix valley to and from the slopes each day,
8) Preferential rates on ski and safety equipment
hire, 9) Optional evening instruction sessions as
per detailed itinerary.
1) Travel to and from Chamonix, 2) Cable cars as
required*, 3) Ski and equipment hire, 4) Personal
laundry, telephone calls, lunches, & any purchases
in mountain huts / hotels / restaurants, 5) Any
optional stays in a mountain hut on a half board
basis for you and the guide, 6) Transport outside
the Chamonix valley, 7) Sunday pre-dinner drinks
& Friday celebratory meal & drinks, 8) Activities
insurance, excess baggage charges.
you do not need any accommodation for the course,
a £100 discount per person is offered.
save money, we provide the loan of ice axe
and crampons when required on this course
for free, so the most suitable hire bundle
is the 'Ski Off Piste bundle'. For details,
is great flexibility on the course to use
cable cars or to leave them far behind. Day
passes cost c.45€ (click
for current prices),
but you can save by not using cable cars on
some of the days.
half board stay including wine,
in addition to course price, 2
people sharing. Single
stay in a private self-catering studio in
central Chamonix, from £200
pw in addition to course price. Avalanche
1 day course extension, for a
day of Av
(based on 3 people).
ski ascent over the Col du Passon
and down the La Tour glacier was
a great finale. The instruction
we received from the guides was
Mick C ,
Intro Ski Touring
week really opened my eyes to
the possibilities of accessing
the real back-country, and gave
me the skills to escape all the
busy areas in the future, even
if I visit a popular ski resort
Joe B ,
Intro Ski Touring
hadn't realised how remote some
of the areas I would visit could
be, and was stunned by the landscapes
, Intro Ski Touring
data for this trip
trips all start in Chamonix valley in the French
Alps, at the foot of Mont Blanc. It is easily accessed
via a 90 minute transfer from Geneva airport.
photo & film gallery
& equipment advice
we know it is so important to you to have the most
suitable equipment and clothing for off piste skiing
and touring, we have devoted a page especially to
it, which you can access by clicking on the image,
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 you have any queries,
please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.
full course equipment list,
with examples of kit, click
why choose us?
are true specialists in ski touring. See our
blog, by clicking on the logo (on the right).
flexibility to allow you to take full advantage
of the weather and conditions each day, so
that you maximise the amount of time spent
skiiing each day.
prices are fixed in £ pounds sterling,
to protect you from euro currency fluctuations,
so that you can budget accurately.
have a team of over 30 IFMGA guides, and a
resort support team, who all want you to have
the best skiing possible! For more details
on the guiding team and qualifications, please
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.
in contact to arrange a meeting, and come in for
a coffee to discuss your course in person with a
sellers from our Windermere Lake District mountain store -
Click to shop online...