Shell jacket – You need a quality shell jacket. A jacket without insulation is most useful as it will be lighter and easier to stow away in your backpack when we hike or ski tour to reach the best snow.
You should be able to wear your ski helmet under the hood for stormy days. Most jackets today have vents under the arms for ventilation.
Shell pants – They will be the best protection against the element. For pure off-piste skiing, you will be best off with bibs/salopettes that rise over the waistline to avoid snow coming in.
Base layers – Long sleeve upper base layer and long base layer bottom. You can adjust these to be either a light or warm version.
Mid-layer – A mid-grade fleece sweater or jacket is great.
Extra warm layer – Light fibre and down jacket.
Warm hat – Should cover your ears.
Neck gaiter – Something that can warm your neck and protect against wind and bad weather. A “buff” or other balaclavas are great.
2 Pairs of gloves – It’s always wise to have a spare pair of gloves in your backpack. They can get very wet and then cold if you take some tumbles. E.g., bring a pair of warm and less warm gloves.
Socks – Make sure to choose a pair of socks that will keep you warm but not so you are too tight in the boots.
Water bottle – 1l water bottle. Water systems will freeze.
Snacks – A few snacks, nuts, and a small sandwich. We can also eat in a restaurant/cafeteria.
Suncream & sun-stick
Personal items – Money, passport, social security card, insurance card, etc.
Phone – Type in the emergency number and keep it warm/dry during the day.
No hut items for this course.
25-40-litre backpack – Go with a simple backpack. You should have room for extra clothing, water, a shovel, and a probe. You need to be able to attach the skis to the backpack.
You can wear a specific avalanche backpack if you wish, but it’s only obligatory for heli-skiing in the Alps. I can be an added safety!
Ski boots – You can use your normal ski boots for off-piste skiing, but we recommend upgrading your ski boots to a more free-ride/touring-orientated model. These will have “walk-mode,” “Vibram-sole,” “Inserts,” and a softer overall flex. These boots are, today, quite versatile. You can get help in most shops from an educated person, who can guide you in your choice.
Skis – For off-piste skiing, we use specific all-mountain / Off-piste skis. Normal piste skis are too narrow and short for deeper snow. You can rent off-piste skis in Chamonix from various shops. Click here to read more about skis, boots & bindings.
Ski poles – Normal poles are okay. You will need a “wider” basket, so the poles can be useful for pushing around in soft snow.
Ski helmet – We strongly recommend you wear a helmet. We understand it’s a personal choice, but we can impose this as “obligatory” if conditions are delicate.
Ski strap – Used for various things, but mostly to keep your skis together and to attach the tips when carrying them on the backpack.
Avalanche beacon*/** – Choose a trusted model w. Three antennas.
Avalanche shovel*/** – A lightweight, extendable model of good quality.
Probe*/** – At least 2m long
ABS bag – Provides extra security for off-piste skiing but is often “too heavy” for ski touring. It’s very often obligatory to wear an ABS bag when heli-skiing. You can rent in shops or at the heli-skiing bureau.
You will not go wrong with avalanche gear from “Ortovox,” “Mammut,” and “BCA.” Technology and models change often, so read the latest news before shopping. It’s a good idea to go to a specialist shop.
*Can be rented in Chamonix.
** We can supply you with some of these items. Let us know what you need.
The guide will provide all protection and safety gear listed below.
Technical gear – Rope, slings, karabiners when needed.
First-aid kit – An extended first-aid kit
Radio – A radio or other means of calling rescue.