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Snowholes & Survival 2022
Course overview Course dates & availability
You are learning skills that could save your life, if you were to be caught out in the future, whether in Scotland or the Alps. For just £299 for the weekend, you can't afford not to book on one of these popular safety courses.
We care for the environmental impact of snowholes, and this course is carefully planned in line with our role as a Leave No Trace partner, to ensure that we leave the mountains as we found them.
We fully check your equipment, to ensure it is up to the task, and that your safety is not put in jeopardy. It is essential that you have a four season sleeping bag of your own, but we provide waterproof bivi bags to keep your sleeping bag dry, as well as a foam roll mat.
Snow safety and avalanche awareness is a key focus of the weekend, and you will be wearing avalanche tranceivers throughout the course. Safety winter kit such as tranceivers, shovels, probes & snowshoes are required.
On demand: if no scheduled course dates are showing in the column on the right, we can still operate a course on demand for just three or more people booking together, on any dates that suit from January through until the end of April.
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.
Course Dates
Snowhole & Survival
  • No Dates Available
NOTE: This trip has scheduled
dates, but if there are 3 people
booking together, it can be
operated on any date you wish
Price: £299 Book online now
Alternative courses
Winter Alpine Intro course
Chamonix Ice & Alpine Gullies
Two person winter week
Client feedback
You never know how much you need these skills until it is too late. Essential learning. Thanks guys
Hannah Benton , Snowhole & Survival

Course Photo Gallery

Brief Course Itinerary
In the morning you meet at 10:00 in Chamonix with your instructor who will be an expert in backcountry travel and snow safety. Over a briefing they will talk through the plans for the next days, and the latest conditions. Then it's time for a quick route safety plan, and sorting out any safety kit that is needed. There is a great choice of locations to operate these courses, such as the Plan de l'Aiguille, Berard Valley, or La Tour. We can always find a suitable and safe location to react to the snow conditions and avalanche forecast.
Typically the days are conducted in rolling nordic syle terrain, where you can study the snow pack safely. To access the region you either take the train up the Chamonix valley, or take a cable car, and then walk in on snow shoes to reach the region. This means that the course is equally accessible to skiers with no touring experience, winter walkers / climber, or boarders. The key learning points of these courses are as follows:
Avalanche tranceiver searches Slab formation and layering
Kit selection for Alpine winters Winter navigation methods
Tranceiver detection fields Travel techniques on snowpacks
Trip planning and preparation Construction methods for snowholes
Choosing sites for snowholes Decision making processes
Different types of avalanches Weather & climatic influences
During the day you will learn about snow pack evolution, crystal metamorphasis, and layering. You also judge snow stability, and are taught how to react to an avalanche in terms of tranceivers, probing and search patterns. Later in the day you reach the area for the snowholes and are taught how to construct one. Even with snow shovels, it takes about one hour per occupant to construct your shelter, and good teamwork is required. You learn how to look after your kit, then move in to your snowhole!
A well built snow shelter will be relatively warm and will protect you from the elements. As darkness falls you cook dinner and go to bed. Your instructor will ensure you have built a good shelter, so you should get a good nights sleep. In the morning you wake up, and get the stove on for some hot drinks to coax you out of your sleeping bag. Then you pack up, and set off on the second day of your winter journey. The trek ends back in the valley, and you travel back to Chamonix to arrive around mid afternoon.
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
2 full days mountain guiding, 1:6 max ratio
2 days holiday in total, Saturday-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) IFMGA Mountain Guide or UIMLA International Mountain Leader for two days, with their kit and food, 2) Chamonix course hosts for logistics & briefings, 3) Pre course information booklet, 4) Equipment discount voucher for UK shops, 5) Chamonix logistics support, 6) Loan of group safety equipment (tranceivers, shovels, probes & snowshoes).
Exclusions: 1) Travel to & from Chamonix, 2) Cable Cars (c.£15) or in-valley travel (c.£5), 3) Accommodation, 4) Personal laundry, telephone calls, lunches, & any purchases in mountain huts / hotels / restaurants, 5) Your food and bowl, fork, mug & stove, 6) 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.
Upgrade options
Avalanche Skills Training
£75 (throughout the season)
To learn avalanche prediction, reutschblocks and use of avalanche transceivers. Course is available on any day during the week (includes ARVA), details.
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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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