Snowshoe Weekend 2020
Based in the luxurious
Walter Bonatti mountain hut
those looking for a great weekend adventure,
you can't get much more visual overload than
two days snow-shoeing in north Italy, overlooking
the amazing south face of Mont Blanc.
is a two day course that can either be done
in its own right as a weekend, or before a
course to enhance acclimatisation. It is perfect
for those booked on the one week winter climbing
or skiing courses.
at 9am on Saturday morning, for your guide
to check your equipment. We typically allow
up to an hour for this, before setting off.
This allows time for any last minute purchases
or hiring any kit as required.
is time for getting an early morning flight
on the Saturday, and for those just doing
the weekend, you leave on Sunday evening,
you can be back at work for Monday morning.
are led by an IFMGA International
Mountain Guide, who will instruct you in
the use of snowshoes, and is there to guide
you and look after your safety in terms of
the weather and avalanche awareness.
key feature of this trip, is spending a night
in a luxury mountain hut for the night. For
those who haven't stayed in a hut before,
this is more a gourmet mountain hotel with
duvets on beds, four course evening meals,
and a fully stocked bar!
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.
photos above give you an impression of what the 'hut'
is really like. It's more of a hotel on the mountainside
rather than a hut. It's warm, there are hot showers, a
boot drying room, and the views are amazing. There's plenty
of room, so you are comfortable, and the food is legendary.
The hut guardian Mara and her daughter Sara, run the hut
with military efficiency, but always with a warm welcome
and endless smiles.
for a 9am check-in and course / itinerary briefings.
There is time for kit checks or fitting. Then
you set off from Chamonix for the half hour transfer
to Courmayeur and Planpinceux, where the snowshoe
trek starts. For those who have never used snowshoes,
don't worry as after only about 10 minutes instruction
you will be confident. You set off towards La Vachey
and then up through the trees towards the mountain
hut. On the way up you will stop for lunch, before
you leave the treeline behind and make your way
up to the hut. The guide will check you in, show
you where the boot room, shower room, drying room,
dining room, bar, and most importantly your bed
is. In the afternoon, before the evening meal, most groups elect to head outside to either head higher into the Malatra valley for acclimatisation, or to take some more photos, and perhaps to learn how
to use the avalanche safety transceivers. Then you return to the hut when it's
time for dinner, which is usually four courses of
superb food. Afterwards over a drink from the bar,
there is usually a film shown about the local area,
then it is time for bed in those comfy duvets!
the early morning you emerge for breakfast, and
Italian coffee, cake and cereals are enough to coax
you out of bed. Then in the first light of the crisp
Alpine morning, you put on your snowshoes, and crunch
you way over the well frozen snow. The normal route
is to ascend behind the hut, through the ruined
villages of Malatra, and up the stunning remote
valley. At its head is a mountain barrier, but there are two options to take here; 1) Pas Entre Deux Sauts -
the right is a well hidden pass, and as you ascend
to it you are rewarded with the most amazing views
of the sunrise on the south face of Mont Blanc.
If you are still feeling strong, you can even ascend to the summit of Tete Entre Deux Sauts, which takes a further 30 minutes from the pass. After savouring the views from the high pass, you
loop down into the upper Malatra valley again. 2) Col Malatra - you
ascend on a long traverse up to the left, following part of the famous Tor des Geants trail, to the notch of the Col Malatra. This is a truely wild place, and is real backcountry snowshoeing. The descent is to retrace your steps back to the upper Malatra valley once more.
From the upper Malatra valley, you descend back to the hut, and after
a quick rest you descend back to the valley. Most
groups stop for a celebratory beer and a bite to
eat when they reach La Vachey. Then it's the final
section of the trek and the return drive to Chamonix.
You reach here by late afternoon you are free to
depart for home. We always aim to be back by 16:00,
so for those flying out in the evening, airport
transfers can be booked for any time after 16:00.
For those using this snowshoe weekend as acclimatisation
for a week long course, you will be back in Chamonix
in time for your check-in and course briefings for
the main course which are scheduled for 17:00.
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.
2 full days UIMLA guiding, 1:6 max ratio
2 days holiday in total, Sunday-Saturday
on the planner logo to the right to
see the real time live course availability
Course Inclusions: 1) IFMGA International Mountain
Guide for two days, 2) Chamonix course hosts for logistics
& briefings, 3) Pre course information booklet, 4)
Equipment discount voucher for UK shops, 5) Free 36 page
technical Course Instruction Booklet, 6) Logistics support
and full time in-resort hosts, 7) Transport from Chamonix
to Italy and back, 8) One night half board stay in a mountain
hut for you and your guide.
1) Travel to and from Chamonix, 2) Extra equipment hire
other than that which is included* in the course price as
required, 3) Activities insurance, & excess baggage
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.
The loan of all technical equipment for each client
is included in the course price as required: snowshoes,
avalanche transceiver, avalanche probe and shovel.
Skills Day £75 (throughout the season)
learn avalanche prediction, reutschblocks and use
of avalanche tranceivers. Course is available on
any day during the week (includes ARVA), details.
snowshoeing advice page (click
here) outlines the key equipment you should
bring. Snowshoes are loaned FREE of charge anyway, as
are avalanche safety beacons, so all you need to arrive
with are walking clothes, waterproofs, a small rucksack
and well worn in walking boots (not trekking shoes).
clients choose to book on this trip and upgrade for a
professional outdoor photographer to accompany them, in
addition to the UIMLA guide leading the group. The photographer
costs £200 per day, including their stay in the
mountain hut, so is £400 extra for these two days.
This upgrade is split by those booking the photgraphy
upgrade. Key topics that are covered include;
camera kit for use in the mountains, and winterising
for mountain weather, and the photographic opportunities.
presentation in mountain hut about mountain photography.
issues for mountain and outdoor photography.
photography techniques in the dark outside the mountain
shoot to catch the first rays of sunlight in the
/ humans photography in the mountains, and techniques.
editing, digital photo storage, and your shot analysis.
equipment, and how to travel light in the mountains.
full course equipment list,
with examples of kit, click
why choose us?
are true specialists in snowshoeing. See our blog,
by clicking on the logo (on the right).
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
prices are fixed in £ pounds sterling, to
protect you from euro currency fluctuations, so
that you can budget accurately.
have a team of over 30 IFMGA guides, and a resort
support team, who all want you to have the best
snowshoeing possible! For more details on the guiding
team and qualifications, please click
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.