Skills for Off Piste courses
- your technique self assessment
of our skiing courses are off piste. As a minimum level
you will be able to ski anything on piste (competant on
blacks / double blacks / black diamond runs), and have
the following off piste skills at present. Examples of
these courses include the Chamonix Off Piste and Vallee
Piste Level 1 courses: If you are very new to off
piste skiing, or perhaps have just skied a little
between pistes or on their edges. You should be
confident and competant on all pisted runs, but
the key prerequisite is that you are very keen to
move into the off piste world.
Piste Level 2 courses: For this level you have skied
a little bit off piste in soft snow. Typically you
will have managed to get down this terrain, but
will probably have struggled a bit if there was
a crust. Your key ambition is to improve and get
some really good instruction.
this stage you should be fairly confident of safely
coping with most types of conditions off piste,
but you are still a little bit unsure of steeper
slopes and difficult off piste conditions. Again,
you want to improve your techniques and skiing style.
Typically you will have skied between two weeks
and a season off piste for this level.
you are an experienced off piste skier and are ready
for all kinds of conditions. At this level you will
have all the following to cope with: breakable crust
/ crud, icy sections, very deep powder, spring snow
and of course speed on your course!!! Several weeks
off piste skiing will be the minimum experience
for this level.
this top level, you should be put off by no off
piste conditions, and be keen to ski any route that
the Guide judges safe, in a stylish and controlled
fashion. Even at this level our Guiding team will
be able to give you tips and advice to improve.
Skills for Ski Touring courses
- your technique self assessment
considering any of our ski touring courses, these symbols
appear on the top of the course page, and it is imperative
you must ensure that you meet the pre-requisites before
you consider booking a touring course. Examples of these
trips include the Chamonix Intro Touring, Haute Route
& Silvretta Ski Tour courses.
have skied a minimum of two weeks off piste, but
your ambition is to improve and get good instruction.
People should have skied at least a one week off
piste course, and have another week of off piste
experience. Previous touring experience is not required,
as these courses teach the key skills, but sometimes
people have a day or two of touring experience.
should be fairly confident of safely coping with
most types of conditions off piste, but you are
still a little bit unsure of steeper slopes and
difficult off piste conditions (but are happy to
ski them!). You want to improve your techniques
and skiing style. You will have skied between two
weeks and a season off piste and touring experience
should be of between a couple of days and a week
this level you will cope with breakable crust /
crud, icy sections, very deep powder, spring snow
and of course speed! Several weeks off piste skiing
will be the minimum experience for this level. Your
touring experience should be at least two weeks
of hut to hut ski tours, or one week of hut to hut
tours and over ten day ski tours.
should not be put off by any off piste conditions,
and be keen to ski any route that the Guide judges
safe, in a controlled and stylish fashion. Even
at this level our Guiding team will be able to give
you tips & advice to improve. Your off piste
skiing skills should be as above, but touring should
be greater than that required at level in the Improver
don't offer any scheduled ski touring courses of
this level, but if you think that your ski touring
level is higher than the previous level, then we
can provide bespoke ski touring guiding for you
at this level. It is highly likely that this is
only possible in small groups or one or two skiers
per guide at this standard..
- your endurance self assessment
cannot emphasise enough the importance of good mountain
fitness and off piste / ski touring stamina. Enjoying
a 'hard day' of pisted skiing compares with about an hour
of steep ski touring!
this level, even though this is our least physical
level of course, you still need a good basic level
of fitness, as this will help you enjoy the course
more and prevent any injuries. If your course is
a week long, it will take quite a bit of effort
to keep going.
this grade course you will encounter a need to put
in a reasonable amount of physical effort each day.
Each day you will be skiing with a day sack, and
the idea of hiking for up to an hour to get to the
best off piste conditions should not deter you.
one of our ski tour and safaris are this level or
above. You should be able to cope with up to four
hours of ski touring up hill each day. On most of
these tours, your rucksack will weigh between 10
and 15 kg, to carry kit for staying in mountain
good fitness is required for these levels of courses,
and you should expect up to eight hours a day of
travelling through the mountains. In addition you
should be prepared for several days at this level
back to back, normally staying in huts.
is the most demanding level of course, and requires
excellent fitness as you will be skiing tough routes
uphill and off piste with large bags that will be
necessary for you to carry all the technical or
camping equipment. Get into peak shape for this!
is essential for you to select the correct level
of skiing course, both
in terms of your safety and enjoyment, so we have
developed the self rating system below for you to
judge your Skiing Skills and Skiing Stamina levels.
with most sports, your skills get a little
rusty if not practiced regularly, and this could
not be truer for skiing. If you are planning on
attending a course, you could consider arriving
a day or two early to get you "ski legs"
back, and for expert tuition and fine tuning why
a guide? From only £300 per day, split between
up to six people, a day of guiding would really
get you back in the swing of things before
you start your course.
does all this mean?
is hard to assess your ski level, as unlike graded
climbs, assessing your ski level is very subjective.
Our course booking form asks people on ski courses
to outline their previous experience in detail,
and it asks a series of questions to help you explain
your experience and competance. We have tried to
judge the ski and stamina level of each course,
to give you an idea of who it should appeal too,
but we should point out that the conditions and
weather are highly likely to influence the exact
grade of the courses on each week. We make every
effort to ensure that everyone on a course is of
a similar stated level, and on a week will try to
accommodate skiers of slightly different levels
as long as everyone is of the minimum required stated
level. In other words, as long as you are honest
with us about your experience, we can ensure that
you are pushed to your limits on the week. Equally
at the other end of the scale, if you book on a
course with far more than the required level of
experience, do not for example expect that an Off
Piste- Level 1 group can be expected to ski 48°
couloirs or that an Intro Ski Tour group can undertake
vertical ascents of 2000m in a day!
view the full course equipment list,
with examples of kit, please click
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.
in contact to arrange a meeting, and come in for a coffee
to discuss your course in person with a trip