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Avalanche Safety course 2024
Chamonix / Courmayeur based safety skills day extensions
Course overview

Can you ever put a price on safety? No you can't, but these courses are run at a fixed low price to minimise the risks of people putting off getting these key safety skills. The courses take place in either Chamonix or Courmayeur, and you are taught the use of avalanche tranceivers, shovels, and probes. You also focus on avalanche prediction, construct snow pits, and do stability tests to assess the snowpack.
When developing these courses, we wanted them to be accessible to both skiers and boarders. You spend the day on foot or snow shoes (loaned for free), as this needs no previous experience, so you can concentrate on learning as much as possible each day.
This really sets us apart from all the other avalanche courses we have seen, that spend over half the time skiing, not learning. If you want a day of off piste skiing, just hire a guide! These courses are focused on teaching you as much as possible, not a ski day where you occasionally chat about avalanches.
We provide the avalanche tranceivers, snow shovels and probes for the day, but if you have your own you are recommended to bring them to learn how to use them better.
The days are led by qualified IFMGA guides and / or UIMLA International Mountain Leaders, and due to the huge instructional element, we ensure that the leader is British so that they can explain all the essential safety information really informatively. If you are planning on any off piste, snowshoeing, or ski touring this winter, this course will provide you with essential safety skills.
Read all about a course from Kelly the Chamonix.net snow reporter. See what she thought. Click to read the report on Chamonix.net (or on the logo to the right), or click here to see PDF version of article.
On demand: if none of the scheduled course dates suit, we can still operate a course on demand, on any dates from late January until mid April, for a minimum of three people booking together.
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.

Course Itinerary

Key learning points

In the morning at 09:00 you meet your instructor who will be an expert in backcountry travel and snow safety. They will talk through the plans for the days, and the latest conditions. Then it's time for a route safety plan, and sorting out any safety kit that is needed.
There is a great choice of locations to operate these courses, in Chamonix such as the Plan de l'Aiguille, Berard Valley, or La Tour, or in Courmayeur in the Val Ferret or Val Veny. We can always find a suitable and safe location to react to the avalanche forecast.
Course meeting points on the first day at 09:00am:
Chamonix - in the cafe of the Aiguille du Midi cable car station.
Courmayeur - in the cafe of the Funivie Monte Bianco at Palud.
We aim to finish the course at 16:00pm, to give a full day.
The day is conducted in Alpine terrain, where you can study the snow pack safely. To access the regions you either take a cable car, or travel up the valley and then walk in on snow shoes. This means that the course is equally accessible to skiers with no touring experience, winter walkers / climber, or boarders.
This course should give you a greater level of autonomy for your off piste days or winter walking. If you would like to read a bit about avalanche avoidance skills before a course, read this article, and print this avalanche reduction method calculation table to use.
The syllabus of this course goes into great detail, in terms of route choice, avalanche safety and crystal analysis.
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 will attempt.
Evolution of the snow pack
Avalanche tranceiver searches
Rutschblock stability tests
Column snow stability tests
Tranceiver detection fields
Trip planning and preparation
Avalanche form / release patterns
Different types of avalanches
Crystal metamorphasis
Slab formation and layering
Victim recovery methods
Travel techniques on snowpacks
Assessing different snow profiles
Decision making processes
Weather & climatic influences
Adapting to the conditions
Key warning signs of danger
Identifying islands of safety
What sets our avalanche training days apart?
You start learning to interpret that days avalanche forecast, so are learning practical skills immediately, that you will use every day in the winter.
After the outside training day, there is a 1 hour classroom session to talk through a avalanche awareness presentation, to summarise the learning.
We focus on practical, realistic, and every day techniques, rather than trying to impress you with science. Simple tests and safety drills work!
Our days are very hands on and practical, to ensure you learn the skills.
Course Prices
Standard course 1 full day guiding, 1:6 max ratio
1 day holiday in total, usually Saturday
Live availability Click on the planner logo to the right to
see the real time live course availability
Latest Availability
How to book Secure payments, bonded tour operator
Details of how to book
, click here
Book online
Standard Course Inclusions: 1) IFMGA / UIMLA guide for the day, 2) Resort course hosts for logistics & briefings, 3) Pre course information booklet, 4) Equipment discount voucher for our Windermere shop, 5) Loan of avalanche safety gear and snowshoes during the course, if required.
Exclusions: 1) Travel to & from Chamonix / Courmayeur, 2) Cable Cars (approx £25), 3) Accommodation, 4) Personal laundry, telephone calls, lunches, & any purchases in mountain huts / hotels / restaurants, 5) Activities insurance, & excess baggage charges.
Group sizes: Prices are based on 4 - 6 people per instructor. For group sizes of over 6 people, there are multiple guides, and the teams travel independently of each other.
Notes: The loan of avalanche safety kit is included (tranceiver, avalanche probe and shovel).
Photo of soft slab avalanche debris near the Leschaux hut, Chamonix
Current course availability

Course Dates
Avalanche Safety day
  • No Dates Available
Spaces are indicated by the
number in square brackets
before each course date.
NOTE: This trip has scheduled
dates, but if there are three who
are booking together, it can be
operated on any date you wish
Prefer this course on skis? For a bespoke avalanche course on skis, this would be led by an IFMGA ski guide, and the price would be £400 in total per day for between 1-4 people.

Price: £75 Book online

Preparatory trips
Chamonix Off Piste

Aosta Ski Touring

Intro Ski Touring
Silvretta Ski Tour

Next trips
Haute Route to Zermatt
Gran Paradiso Ski
Client feedback

It's amazing how little you really know about snow, and this course really made me aware of the risks I had been taking

Rob G , Avalanche Course

You wouldn't believe how many books I had read about avalanche awareness before the course, but the way it was taught, and the amount of great tips we were given, made it really come alive to me, and explained it so clearly and effectively. Thanks

Alison G , Avalanche Course

It's courses like this that should be done each year, just like first aid, to make you revisit these essential skills

Steve R , Avalanche Course

Press & media
Films & videos
Photo gallery
Location data for this trip

The trips take place either in Chamonix or Courmayeur. Both are easily accessed from Geneva airport via regular transfers or bus services.

Time Difference
GMT +1hr
Local Currency
€ Euros
Travel from UK
1hr flight
Skis & equipment advice
Because 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.
Suggested reading and kit
View full course equipment list, with examples of kit, click here
So why choose us?
We are true specialists in ski touring. See our blog, by clicking on the logo (on the right).
Icicle Blog
Itinerary 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.
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 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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