weekends are operated in the early winter
season, for those who can only take
a couple of days away, rather than a
full week. The focus is on teaching
ski touring skills, to those planning
a hut-to-hut ski tour later in the season. The
itinerary is flexible to take account
of the previous skills and experience.
course is also ideal to be used as acclimatisation
/ preparation / warm up for one of the famous
week long ski tours such as the Haute
Route (Chamonix to Zermatt), and is operated on every weekend before these trips depart. The weekend
features two day tours, with the night
between spent in Chamonix, to allow
you time to change any equipment that
you wish to alter.
terms of ski ability you should have
good previous off piste experience,
being able to cope with either icy slopes
or deep powder. Any mountaineering skills
or knowledge of ropes are an advantage,
but not essential as all necessary techniques
are taught during the weekend. No ski
touring experience is required.
ability should be fairly good as although
there is only a little steep skiing,
the slopes can be icy or rutted in
places, with breakable crusts. There
is also often more than a little powder
on the descents! You will encounter
most types of snow conditions.
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.
to Chamonix, and check in to the course accommodation.
If you require ski touring kit hire, ensure
that you arrive in town before 18:00, to allow
time for boot and ski fitting. We use an excellent
ski touring specialist shop, which offers
preferential rates for our clients. Key
personal safety kit (alpine harness and transceiver), can be supplied by the guide in the morning, if reserved upon booking.
If you have your own safety kit, you should take it, as it is always better for familiarity. Night in Chamonix.
08:30 you meet your Guide at the course accommodation,
and have an introductory safety briefing,
and they check your kit and supply any extra
safety items required (e.g. transceiver, shovel,
probe, harness). You are then driven the short
distance to start your ski tour. The destination
varies, as a suitable location is dependent
on weather and snow conditions. Some ski tours
can start from the valley floor such as to
Refuge de Loriaz, whereas others require an
uplift such as the Col du Tour Noir from Grands
Montets. During the day you are taught ski
touring techniques, and where time allows,
the use of the avalanche safety / crevasse
rescue kit. Today the focus is much more on
the ski touring techniques, to allow you time
to adapt to the kit, practice kick turns,
fitting and removing skins and ski crampons.
There is usually the chance to take in a col
or a summit during the day, before you ski
back down to the valley at the end of the
afternoon. Guiding ratio 1:6 (max). Night
guide will pick you up again from the accommodation,
and you will tackle another day ski tour
above Chamonix. Examples include the Crochues-Berard
from Index to Le Buet, Traverse of Vallee
Blanche to Helbronner and ski descent of
the Black Bowl variant of the Vallee Blanche,
Col du Tour Noir on the Argentiere Glacier,
or Aiguillette des Houches from Brevent
and the ski down to La Flatiere. The choice
is on putting the skills learnt yesterday
into practice, and giving you a challenging
but realistic objective for the day. There
is also the opportunity for some further
skills training, such as an avalanche beacon
search or some crevasse rescue practice.
By late afternoon you descend to Chamonix,
and are free to depart for home (flights
should be after 20:00, which equates to
an airport transfer leaving Chamonix around
technical elements covered during the course
usually include the following:
Use of skins
turns on steeper terrain
planning and preparation
Techniques on touring
choice & selection
NOTES: Where possible we follow itineraries.
Mountain adventures are weather and conditions
dependant, so occasionally 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.
2 full days IFMGA guiding, 1:6 max ratio
3 days holiday in total, Friday-Sunday
on the planner logo to the right to
see the real time live course availability
weekend trip was great training
for our Haute Route, and was key
to our success on the tour
Fay B ,
Intro Tour Weekend
to learn so much in just two days
guiding, and it really opened
my eyes to the possibilities of
ski touring. I've got the bug
weekend away, and I learned so
much. Gilles [the guide] was such
as great and patient teacher
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.
& 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
course is a shortened version of our popular Intro
Touring & Backcountry week course (click
for itinerary). As with all things skiing,
there aren't any easy shortcuts when it comes to
learning. If you are unsure if you will learn enough
in a weekend, you should consider the longer course,
but for those with more off piste skiing experience,
who can only spare a couple of days away, this condensed
weekend course is ideal.
Pre course open evening
Guests on these trips are invited to an online course open evening a month before your trip. Hosted by one of our guide team, these sessions answer all your pre-trip queries; training, kit, what to expect during the trip, etc.
We want you to feel highly prepared for your trip with us, and have introduced these open evenings in the past years, following guest feedback. These sessions have proven to be a key feature why people travel with us.
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.
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.