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Ski Touring Skills and Avalanche Awareness Course

Learn and practice the skills and knowledge to ski tour away from the resorts with one of our IFMGA Mountain Guides

Ski touring away from the busy resorts is our favourite winter activity, and on this course we aim to pass on the knowledge required to plan and execute short trips safely.

This two day course involves an overnight in a high mountain hut, giving us access to interesting terrain on both days and plenty of opportunity for skiing and discussion.

There are multiple options for our venue and overnight stay, depending on conditions and avalanche hazards for the weekend. All of which will be discussed during the course.

Our two preferred venues for early season skiing is the Bonatti hut in Italy, just through the tunnel near Courmayeur, and the Grand Saint Bernard Monastery in Switzerland, on the border with Italy.

Both overnights are comfortable and offer lots of ski touring opportunities.

  • Led by experienced IFMGA Mountain Guides
  • Small group sizes
  • Early season scheduled trips
  • Private trips on request

How good a skier I do I need to be?

These weekends are suitable for intermediate off piste skiers, who have completed several day tours previously. It isn't suitable for a first time ski tourer, as we want to concentrate on the avalanche course rather than basic skills.

Ski Touring Avalanche Course

Really useful 3 days learning to minimise our ski touring risks and skill up if the worst does happen. Ben is a really patient teacher - we all learnt a lot - Lara 2017

Why ski with Vertical Frontiers?

Skiing with a mountain guide allows you to ski good safe snow. Mountain guides can also work on glaciers (unlike ski instructors) so you can experience some of the best terrain the mountains have to offer. If you want a specific ski lesson then you should book an instructor, but if you can ski to the side of the piste and want to try some more challenging terrain, or you're an experienced off piste skier who wants to explore, then hiring a mountain guide is the thing to do.

We are passionate skiers and during the winter log a fair amount of time on skis, off the lifts, and ski touring as well. Skiing is our number one priority in the winter. The mountaineering gear gets put away until the summer as searching out the best conditions for the weather and clients is satisfying, and great fun! All our guides are fully qualified IFMGA mountain guides and all are english speaking. Most are British and are members of the British Mountain Guides Association.

Safety is our main priority

Our guides know both resorts intimately, and will plan the weekend based on the weather and conditions at the time. Safety is our main priority and we equipe each skier with avalanche safety gear such as an avalanche transceiver, probe and shovel (included in the trip price).

Weekend Itinerary – Pre-trip preparation:

We begin our skiing right away, so you will need to have your own skis or arrange ski hire before we meet on day 1.

Day 1

We meet you at your accommodation in Chamonix around eight o’clock, picking up any other members of the group before heading to a local cafe, for a briefing and coffee. This is a very practical course, but it is worth spending half an hour looking at the map and talking through some planning ideas before heading for the hill.

We then aim to have a half days skiing using the local lift system, either at the Grand Montet area in Chamonix or through the tunnel in Courmayeur. The plan is to cover some easy off piste ground, looking at micro terrain and group management. We can cover a lot of ground very quickly by using the lifts, and it'll get your ski legs back in shape 🙂

After lunch on the go, we then skin up to our hut for the night. This will take around two hours or so, plus a few stops along the way. During this skin we use the maps to identify terrain and avalanche features which will be useful for our day 2 ski.

Day 2

This is our ski touring day, and we get out the door promptly after breakfast to make the most of the day. This is all about route planning and interpretation, and we aim to complete a two to three hour tour making group decisions along the way.

This course is less about snow science, and more about decision making and team dynamics, which is the most important stuff really. With that in mind, we get you out front leading the team for short sections and we make route choices as a team.

After skiing back to the car we transfer back to Chamonix, aiming to have everyone back by 4.00pm at the latest, in time for bus transfers to the airport.

Vertical Frontiers - Off Piste Gallery

Back Country Avalanche course prices 2017/18:

£295 per person

Prices include guiding fees and transport from Chamonix. It does not include any uplift costs, ski hire, insurance or accommodation, including the night in the mountain hut.

A hut night typically costs 50€ half board.

A minimum of two bookings is required for the trip to run.

2017/2018 open dates – contact us to book your place or to enquire about a private trip.

  • Saturday 16th - Sunday 17th December

Private trips are £795 for two people, and then £185 per person there after.

You might also be interested in our Private Ski Guiding and our Vallee Balanche Descents, both of which can be added before or after our weekend.

What is included?

  • All guiding fees for your IFMGA Mountain Guide
  • A guiding ratio of 1:6
  • Avalanche safety equipment including transceiver, shovel and probe. You will need a rucksack for these, that can be hired from us if need be
  • Group Guiding equipment such as first aid, shelters etc will be provided by your guide
  • Transport within the Chamonix valley and to our ski touring venue on the Saturday morning, and of course back to Chamonix on Sunday afternoon. We aim to be back in the valley for 4.00pm in time for people to get to Geneva for a flight home.

What is not included?

  • Lift passes if we find ourselves using one somewhere, although plan A is to ski tour right from the car.
  • Ski hire. You will need skis suitable for off piste skiing as well as boots which can all be hired in Chamonix. We highly recommend booking ahead in high season
  • Accommodation in Chamonix for the night preceding our course.– lots of options here
  • Rescue insurance, which needs to cover you for off piste skiing. Check out the BMC and Snowcard
  • Bring some money for lunch and coffees

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+33 (0) 787371926

We are open for enquires 7 days a week all year, we check and respond to emails once a day during the high season

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