Trying to gauge your own ski ability is pretty tricky, and it does depend on who you compare yourself to!

We have split our ability benchmarks into five sections, and although there is some overlap you should be able to slot yourself in somewhere. The grades take into account experience as well, just because you’ve skied one powder run it doesn’t mean your ready to jump up to the next level!

Under each section there are examples of trips that might be suitable for you, but you should contact us to discuss that further.

Rest assured that we always start our off piste and ski touring trips with a warm up run, but it’s still important to try and match people to the right course and trip.

For our Vallee Blanche descents we offer a half day test ski around the Grand Montet in Chamonix so you can have a warm up and we can assess your skiing ability if your not sure wether your ready for the Vallee Blanche or not.

If your coming on one of our ski touring trips or courses, then have a read through our fitness pages as well.

  • Level 1 – You can link five or six turns on red pistes, but haven’t skied any off piste or soft snow.
    • If you want a dedicated lesson, then we recommend hiring an instructor, but we can guide you around the resort with some off piste tips.
  • Level 2 – You have skied “side-country – i.e. the edges of the piste, over lumps and bumps. You might have skied some soft powder on the piste. Black runs are a fun challenge.
  • Level 3 – You have skied some longer off piste runs in soft snow. Linking more than a few turns is tricky in soft snow, but hard snow is OK. Short steep sections are challenging, maybe by some controlled slide slipping.
    • You would enjoy the classic Vallee Blanche, or other classic off piste runs. A hut to hut ski tour like the Grand Paradiso could be good as well.
  • Level 4 – Bring on the powder! Long moderately steep (red to black run equivalent) powder slopes is what we’re after. Skiing through trees and general off piste obstacles is good fun. Pistes are OK, but you’d rather be off piste.
    • The harder classic off piste runs in Chamonix, or the harder variants on the Vallee Blanche. The Haute route ski tour would be good fun.
  • Level 5 – Like level 4 only steeper, and more committing. Powder runs are good, but steep slopes where control and technique count is what really floats your boat, think jump turns. You are a very experienced off piste skier.
    • At this level you will have a good idea of what your capable of, and after some warm up runs to assess the conditions we can try some steeper lines.
Descending the Aiguille du Midi Arete to the start of the Vallee Blanche.

Descending the Aiguille du Midi Arete to the start of the Vallee Blanche.

Below the Plan D'Aiguille - some great powder on these off piste runs.

Below the Plan D’Aiguille – some great powder on these off piste runs.

A slightly harder variation.... Jumping a small crevasse skiing down off Mont Blanc

A slightly harder variation…. Jumping a small crevasse skiing down off Mont Blanc