- Useful Info
Ski the Vallee Blanche with an experienced IFMGA British Mountain Guide…
The Vallee Blanche is probably the most famous off piste ski run in the world. Up to 22km of spectacular glacial skiing from the top of the Aiguille du Midi above Chamonix right into the town itself, after 2700m of descent.
Our experienced Mountain guides will provide safety equipment and lead you down the classic route or the variations for an unforgettable day out in the high mountains. If the conditions are good then the Vallee Blanche can be tackled by intermediate off piste skiers.
However, the Vallee Blanche conditions can vary day to day and after fresh snow or wind the conditions can be much tougher.
Vallee Blanche Ski Trips:
Our typical two day Vallee Blanche trips include a 2 – 3 hours ski on the first day on one of Chamonix’s ski areas such as the Grand Montet. This allows us to assess your skiing skills and fitness before taking on the Valley Blanche the following day. During this half day’s warm up, we ski on and off piste and also cover some essential safety briefings before the Valle Blanche.
The majority of our Vallee Blanche descents are with private groups on a bespoke basis. We ski with individuals 1:1 or with groups of up to six people. Each winter we do schedule some “open trips” meaning you can book on as an individual to share guiding costs.
How good do I need to be to Ski the Valley Blanche?
The difficulty of the Vallee Blanche varies from day to day, and even hour to hour depending on recent snow fall and how much it has been skied. If it hasn’t snowed for a few days and has been getting skied regularly then it can turn into a well packed blue piste, with a few red moguls here and there. However, after fresh snow fall or wind you can have knee deep powder or crust, and the difficulties increase hugely. Contact us to discuss current conditions before booking your trip.
In general you should be very competent skiing red pistes in control as well as similar slopes off piste. Once we start the Vallee Blanche there is no other option but to finish. If you are unsure of your ability then we highly recommend our two day Vallee Blanche packages (see below) which offer your the chance to ski with a guide before the Vallee Blanche.
Why ski the Vallee Blanche with a Vertical Frontiers IFMGA Mountain Guide?
All of our guides are fully qualified IFMGA Mountain guides with a huge amount of experience of off piste ski guiding and the Vallee Blanche. Although there is no requirement to hire a guide for the descent, teams should be confident in navigating through glacial terrain, able to self rescue in the event of a crevasse fall and have good avalanche awareness.
All Vertical Frontiers guides are fluent english speakers and the majority are members of the British Mountain Guides Association. We are based in Chamonix all season and know the Vallee Blanche conditions day to day.
Snowboarding the Vallee Blanche with a guide
Riding the Vallee Blanche is fine on a snowboard but there are a few things to consider. There are long sections of flat, and as it’s a glacier you won’t be able to simply take off your board and walk. Two telescopic poles are a good idea.
We can also descend a steep variant to avoid a lot of the flat, but this would be on a private booking only.
I would like to thank Ben for some excellent ski guiding earlier this year. We booked several days off piste skiing, with the highlight being the Vallee Blanche, for my son’s birthday. An excellent couple of days, learnt loads of stuff, and felt much more confident about my skiing afterwards. Ben is super nice, very competent and we will definitely book some more guiding in the future!
- Tanya P - Vallee Blanche 2016
We will provide you with a harness and avalanche transceiver, and sometimes boot crampons depending on conditions.
You will need a rucksack, which we can lend you if required.
You'll need off piste skis, and your normal off piste ski clothing. It can be cold descending the arete, so a warm layer that you can then put in your rucksack is a good idea.
We sometimes pop into the Requin refuge for lunch, but mostly just stop and have a picnic on the lower glacier. So bring along a sandwich and bottle of water.
We meet outside the bottom of the Aiguille du Midi lift station (map here) in the morning, we will have contacted you the evening before to arrange the time. It is a good idea to arrive early to purchase your lift ticket or we can arrange this for you on request.
After a quick gear check and a briefing from your guide we board the first of two lifts that take us to the top of the Aiguille du Midi at 3842m.
Here there is time for a quick look around, some photos and toilet stops before the final gearing and roping up to descend the snow arete leading to the start of the skiing. This we do on foot, roped up as a team to your guide. There are roped handrails in place and we take our time. It can be quite daunting before you start but the track is good and we are soon on the flat clipping into our skis.
After one last briefing from your mountain guide the skiing finally starts! We ski as a team following instructions on where to stop and ski. There is time to stop and take photos and dream of skiing all of the other Vallee Blanche variants that come into view. For lunch, we can stop at the Requin Refuge if it isn’t too busy or further down there are safe spots to sit down and have a picnic if you’ve brought one along.
The harder skiing is now behind us and we ski along the flatter sections towards the Montenvers train. The route now splits, if there is enough snow and enough energy in the legs we can continue skiing, through some short technical sections on the glacier before hiking up to a 4×4 track (known as the James Bond track) that leads us in switchbacks down to Chamonix itself.
If the snow conditions or legs aren’t so good, then the taking the train down is the normal option. Here we get first hand experience of glacial retreat as we climb the metal steps and then take a short gondala ride up the the Montenvers Train Station itself, which was originally built just above the level of the glacier in 1909. A twenty minute train journey takes us back down into Chamonix for an afternoon beer!
Booking and Prices:
For private groups our price includes Guiding fees, Guides lift ticket, avalanche transceivers and harness. Depending on conditions we may also provide a shovel, probe and crampons.
The price does not include your lift ticket (60€), rescue insurance and ski hire.
2017/18 Guided Vallee Blanche ski prices:
2017/18 Two day Vallee Blanche trip prices
2-3 hours of training and practice on day 1 followed by a Vallee Blanche descent on day two.
Please note that if the weather and conditions are not suitable for the Vallee Blanche on the day then we will offer a suitable alternative within the Chamonix valley such as off piste skiing at the Grand Montet or similar. No refund will be applicable.
Contact us with your preferred dates and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.