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Intro ski touring weekend 2024
Three day trip, with two days ski touring guiding & 2 nights Chamonix
Course overview
These 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.
This 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.
In 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.

Skiing 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.

If you want to extend this course, it's the first days of the Intro Ski Tour Week, and in the three days after this itinerary, you'd have a three day ski tour with two nights in mountain huts, so would really put your skills into practice, with your first hut to hut ski tour experience.
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.
Avalanche safety airbags
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.

Brief Course Itinerary
Fri Travel 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.
Sat At 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 in Chamonix.

The 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 17:00).

The technical elements covered during the course usually include the following:
Avalanche beacon searches Use of skins and harscheisen Kick turns on steeper terrain
Crevasse rescue and hoists Basic glacier travel ropework Trip planning and preparation
Transceiver detection fields Techniques on touring skis Equipment choice & selection
ITINERARY 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.

Starting the great ski down from the Domes du Miages in fantastic powder
Course Prices
Standard course
2 full days IFMGA guiding, 1:6 max ratio
3 days holiday in total, Friday-Sunday
Live availability
Click on the planner logo to the right to
see the real time live course availability
Latest Availability
Secure online booking system
Standard Course Inclusions
1) Hand picked IFMGA Mountain Guide for two days (1:6 ratio max)
2) Chamonix concierge service for logistics, advice and support
3) Pre course information dossier, with training plans and kit lists
4) Briefing the first morning, with latest updates and weather reports
5) Equipment discount voucher for our Windermere shop / online
6) Personal safety kit (alpine harness and transceiver), supplied by guide
7) Two nights room only accommodation in Chamonix on Friday & Saturday (optional, see price details)
8) Preferential rates on technical equipment rental in Chamonix
9) Road / rail transport with guide to and from the ski tour start point from Chamonix and within the valley
10) Free 36 page technical Course Instruction Booklet
11) Pre-course online briefing in the month before your trip
Exclusions: 1) Travel to and from Chamonix, 2) Cable Cars (not always required), 3) Ski / boot hire, 4) Travel costs outside Chamonix valley (not normally needed, e.g. Courmayeur c. 30 euros per person), 5) Personal laundry, telephone calls, lunches, evening meals, & any purchases in mountain huts / hotels / restaurants, 5) Activities insurance, & excess baggage charges.
Group sizes: 2 - 6 people per IFMGA mountain guide. For group sizes of over 6 people, there are multiple guides, and the teams travel independently of each other.
Current course availability

Course Dates
Intro Touring weekend
  • No Dates Available
NOTE: This trip has scheduled
dates, but if there are four who
are booking together, it can be
operated on any date you wish

Price: £699 Book online
If no accommodation is needed the course price drops to £599. If you book a Haute Route that starts straight after this weekend you get a £100 discount applied to this course.

Preparatory trips
Chamonix Off Piste

Avalanche Training

Intro Ski Tour Week
Silvretta Ski Tour

Next trips
Haute Route Ski Tour
Gran Paradiso Ski
Client feedback

This weekend trip was great training for our Haute Route, and was key to our success on the tour

Fay B , Intro Tour Weekend

Brilliant 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 now

Peter S , Intro Tour Weekend

Fantastic weekend away, and I learned so much. Gilles [the guide] was such as great and patient teacher

Emelie A , Intro Tour Weekend

Press & media
Films & videos
Photo gallery
Location data for this trip
The 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.
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
Alternative courses
Starting the great ski down from the Domes du Miages in fantastic powder
This 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.

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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