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Monte Rosa freeride week 2020
Based in Gressoney - 5 days off piste guiding - Half-board lodge in Italy
Course overview

This week is designed to enjoy the best off piste conditions in the Monte Rosa massif, based in a lodge at 2300m on a half-board basis, so that you literally spend the week in the mountains, and can ski in and out every day of the trip. Our aim is for you to enjoy a challenging, thrilling, great off piste week.

The advantage of staying in this altitude lodge in the middle of the ski area of Gressoney, is that you are alone on the slopes in the evening, and in the morning you can do the first tracks before the opening of the lifts. The week is always guided by a local Alpine IFMGA ski and mountain guide.
As you'd expect from this region of North Italy, the food is amazing, the welcome is warm, and the area is unspoiled and relatively quiet. Fortunately this region is far less marketed than other commercial resorts. The high massif of Monte Rosa is very snow sure, and offers a huge variety of skiing.
Your expert IFMGA Mountain & Ski Guide will show you some of the most remote and beautiful wilderness regions, whilst improving your technique and looking after your safety. If you all wish, you can elect for the opportunity to try using ski touring kit for a day during the week.
A night at each end of the trip is spent in Chamonix on a B&B basis, to facilitate access via Geneva airport. The guide meets you early on Monday morning to drive you to Gressoney for the week, and you stay half-board in the lodge until the Friday when you return to Chamonix for the last night.
The level of the runs is only limited by your previous off piste experience and the conditions. You do not need to be super fit, but good stamina will make the days easier and allow you more breath to enjoy the scenery.
Key skills often taught during this course include...
avalanche transceiver use
glacier travel techniques
recognising avalanche traps
group management off piste
emergency procedures
choice of kit for glacier skiing
crevasse rescue for skiers
route planning & navigation
crevasse rescue ropework
The group for each course is limited to six people per Guide to ensure that you get good access, and learn as much as possible, as we have found that a small group on the mountain achieves and learns far more.
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.
Instructors: this course is led by an IFMGA International Mountain & Ski Guide. This is the only qualification that allows you to be instructed on glaciated off piste run. It is a key selling point that you are led by ski guides, as there are many off piste courses offered by others, which are led by ski instructors who are not guides. If you book one of their courses, you are limited to no glacier skiing, and will not ski the classics that Gressoney and Monte Rosa are famed for. When looking for an off piste course, ensure that it is led by an IFMGA guide, so you can ski on glaciers.
Skiing the Vallée Blanche
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 the image to the left, for details of how to hire this.

Brief course itinerary
The itineraries are for guidance, but should give an idea of what you can achieve during the week...
Travel to Chamonix to arrive for the 17:00 check-in followed by and course safety and itinerary briefings. There is time for kit checks or any rental of equipment that is required. Briefings are over by 19:00 and the Chamonix hosts accompany the group to pre-dinner drinks. Night in Chamonix.
After breakfast you meet your guide and drive to Gressoney, and get straight up the ski lifts, then drop your bags off at the lodge, and enjoy a good day off piste skiing in the resort. There's all sorts of terrain from open snowfields to tree skiing
. Night in Gressoney lodge on half-board basis.
Typically today involves off piste over glaciers. The guide will typically spend an hour or two early in the week teaching or refreshing your avalanche awareness skills, and the use of avalanche transceivers and search patterns
Night in Gressoney lodge on half-board basis.
Searching for fresh tracks over glaciers, or through the forests to the valley floor
. As you will by now have spotted there are hundreds of options for off piste skiing in Gressoney, so don't worry as there is too much to choose from.
Night in Gressoney lodge on half-board basis.
By now your ski level should have developed well, and you could consider more challenging off piste descents. Your guide is an expert in the region, so will find you the best off piste with fresh tracks and powder skiing every day.
Night in Gressoney lodge on half-board basis.
On the final day of skiing, most groups go for a big day of classic off piste runs. An alternative is to try ski touring on the glaciers, so as to pick up a new skill to access better off piste next time.
Evening social drinks, then a celebratory meal, with the final night spent in Chamonix.
Breakfast then the accommodation check out is by 10:00. Most arrange their airport transfers to leave around this time, to catch a flight from Geneva about midday. Depart for home.

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.

Course Prices
Standard course
5 full days IFMGA guiding, 1:6 max ratio
7 days holiday in total, Sunday-Saturday
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) IFMGA Mountain Guides for five days, 2) Chamonix course hosts for logistics & briefings, 3) Pre course information booklet, 4) Equipment discount voucher for use in our Windermere mountain store, 5) Two nights B&B accommodation in Chamonix (inc. bedding & towels), and 4 nights half-board in a mountain lodge in Gressoney, 6) Free 36 page technical Course Instruction Booklet, 7) Road transport between Chamonix and Gressoney, and the tunnel and autostrada tolls.
Exclusions: 1) Travel to and from Chamonix, 2) Cable cars (c.40€/day), 3) Equipment hire, 4) Personal laundry, telephone calls, lunches, & any purchases in mountain huts / hotels / restaurants, 5) Transport outside that detailed in the itinerary, 6) Sunday pre-dinner drinks & Friday celebratory meal & drinks, 7) Activities insurance, excess baggage charges.
Group sizes: 3 - 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
Monte Rosa Freeride
  • No Dates Available
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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: £1099 Book online

Alternative courses
Intro Touring & Backcountry
Haute Route (Cham-Zermatt)
Zermatt Backcountry Skiing

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Location data for this trip
The closest airport is Geneva, and then the groups meet in Chamonix, and are driven to Gressoney for the week. You return to Chamonix at the end of the trip, as there are frequent airport transfers from there, which take c.90 minutes.
Time Difference
GMT +1hr
Local Currency
€ Euros
Travel from UK
1hr flight
Vallée Blanche reflections
Skis & equipment advice
Because we know it is so important to you to have the most suitable equipment and clothing for off piste skiing, we have devoted a page especially to it, which you can access by clicking on the image to the right, 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 after reading this page you have any queries, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our Chamonix team, who will be able to advise, and to help you avoid any costly mistakes. The key point to highlight is that it is highly unlikely that your piste skis will be suitable for off piste skiing, as they are too narrow at the waist and will not offer enough flotation in the powder. In fact slalom style skis cut through powder to the older crusty snow below.
Epic off piste conditions on the Grands Montets
Prefer a private group?
The course price for our scheduled course dates is just £1099 per person. There's no difference to the scheduled dates course price whether you are booking on your own, or as a small group. However, if you have a group and would like to form a private group whether you have a group of six people or are on your own, we can run an off piste course for you on any week of the winter season. To organise a private week, please get in touch.
Tree skiing down to Trient
Suggested reading and kit
View full course equipment list, with examples of kit, click here
So why choose Icicle?
Itinerary flexibility to allow you to take full advantage of the weather and snow conditions each day, so that you maximise the amount of time spent skiing 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 off piste 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.

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