Chamonix Ski-touring Skills Course – 3 Days
Introduction Level | Group Course

Can I join this course?

You need to be in shape for 3 days of ski touring with about 400-600 height meters per day. We don’t expect you to be an expert off-piste skier, but you must be able to ski off-piste with a backpack in variable snow. While we often integrate some off-piste instruction, the focus is on ski touring.

Skills & techniques

The course is a great introduction to ski touring. You will be taught the basic ski-touring techniques, and become more confident using the equipment. It is a way to fast-track your learning and experience opening the possibility to join groups on more advanced adventures.

Flexible program

The guide has a very large selection of tours and training grounds to choose from. We will find good touring routes, that fits the level of the group and the actual conditions in the mountains.

Three-day Ski-touring skills course

Join our 3-day ski touring skills course with lots of teaching and good ski touring. Professional mountain guides will teach the basic skills and techniques of ski touring on varied and easy ski tours., where the pace will be set so that everyone has time to learn. We train the use of avalanche transceivers, shovels and probes.

You will gain experience and confidence, setting a foundation for future ski touring adventures.

Elements being taught:

  • The touring equipment
  • Skinning techniques
  • Transitions (method and efficiency)
  • Skiing with skins on
  • Climbing with skis on the backpack
  • Training with an avalanche transceiver

This course can run with the specified prices when a minimum of 4 participants are joining.

Tour IdWeek No. – YearStart DateFinish DatePrice Per PersonSpacesBook Tour
TS49 Week 49 Monday 4th DecemberWednesday 6th December550€No longer available
TS51Week 51Monday 18th DecemberWednesday 20th December550€No longer available
TS2Week 2Monday 8th JanuaryWednesday 10th January550€No longer available
TS3Week 3Monday 15th JanuaryWednesday 17th January550€No longer available
TS7Week 7Monday 12th FebruaryWednesday 14th February550€No longer available
TS9Week 9Monday 26th FebruaryWednesday 28th February550€No longer available
TS11Week 11Monday 11th MarchWednesday 13th March550€No longer available
TS_PrivateOn requestOn requestOn requestOn requestYes

It is advisable to book well in advance. Not only will you have the chance to choose the dates that fit you the best, but we can also earlier secure the trip and find the best guide for the week.

If we do not reach the minimum required number of participants for the course, we can proceed with the course at an increased fee if participants agree, or alternatively, we will cancel the course and provide a full refund of their payments.

Private groups can book this course all through the winter. Adding extra days onto the course and a hut night is also possible. Just let us know, and we will give you an offer.

We have set the minimum age to 15 years for group courses. Knowing that some young guys and girls can start even younger, we are open to accepting younger participants as long as the group is private.

Transport around is not included,  but small groups can often drive with the guide.
Larger groups must either use the bus/train to get around or have their car.

Included

Planning & logistics
Assignment of guides, planning, information before the course, reservation of lifts.

UIAGM/IFMGA guides – 3 days of mountain guiding
The guides working with us hold the highest recognized mountaineering certificate. They are equally a friendly and sociable group of guides.

Guides expenses
Telepherique and transport expenses

Group equipment (ropes & safety gear)
The guides provide the group security gear (rope, glacier travel equipment).
You only need to make sure you have your equipment.

Excluded

Any cost not mentioned in the  “Included” section. The most important ones are:

Transport to Chamonix
Read more under practical info.

Accommodation in the valley
Read more under practical info.

Lift-passes
You will need the Chamonix Unlimited pass to access the Aiguille du Midi.

Personal ski gear
Check the gear section.

Lunches & drinks
We will normally not stop in any restaurant for lunch. You should bring a sandwich, snacks and enough water for the day (e.g. 1.5l)

Insurance
You should make sure you are adequately insured. Check our page on insurance.

Mountain huts
If you wish to do a night in a hut, expect to cover this expense for the whole group (including the guide’s expenses).

Winter 2023/2024

This course can run with the specified prices when a minimum of 4 participants are joining.

It is advisable to book well in advance. Not only will you have the chance to choose the dates that fit you the best, but we can also earlier secure the trip and find the best guide for the week.

If we do not reach the minimum required number of participants for the course, we can proceed with the course at an increased fee if participants agree, or alternatively, we will cancel the course and provide a full refund of their payments.

Private groups can book this course all through the winter. Adding extra days onto the course and a hut night is also possible. Just let us know, and we will give you an offer.

We have set the minimum age to 15 years for group courses. Knowing that some young guys and girls can start even younger, we are open to accepting younger participants as long as the group is private.

Transport around is not included,  but small groups can often drive with the guide.
Larger groups must either use the bus/train to get around or have their car.

Included

Planning & logistics
Assignment of guides, planning, information before the course, reservation of lifts.

UIAGM/IFMGA guides – 3 days of mountain guiding
The guides working with us hold the highest recognized mountaineering certificate. They are equally a friendly and sociable group of guides.

Guides expenses
Telepherique and transport expenses

Group equipment (ropes & safety gear)
The guides provide the group security gear (rope, glacier travel equipment).
You only need to make sure you have your equipment.

Excluded

Any cost not mentioned in the  “Included” section. The most important ones are:

Transport to Chamonix
Read more under practical info.

Accommodation in the valley
Read more under practical info.

Lift-passes
You will need the Chamonix Unlimited pass to access the Aiguille du Midi.

Personal ski gear
Check the gear section.

Lunches & drinks
We will normally not stop in any restaurant for lunch. You should bring a sandwich, snacks and enough water for the day (e.g. 1.5l)

Insurance
You should make sure you are adequately insured. Check our page on insurance.

Mountain huts
If you wish to do a night in a hut, expect to cover this expense for the whole group (including the guide’s expenses).

Itinerary:
We run this course from December to March; during this period, the snow conditions vary greatly and even if we describe a good program below, we cannot promise which tours you will be doing. The focus is as much on learning skills as doing specific touring objectives.
The guide will make last-minute program adjustments, considering the group size, ski, and touring level, and adjust itineraries for safe but sound skiing.
The goal is to do some great ski touring during the three days, learn techniques, and ski great snow.

In December, it is early season, and we often stay at lower altitudes and will mostly do tours not involving lifts, often touring up into the closed ski area. From January, we will mostly use the lifts to reach higher ground.

Day 0 – Arrival day – Team meeting
We set a meeting in the afternoon when everyone has arrived.
Everybody will have a chance to introduce themselves.
The guide will review the week’s conditions and weather and plan for the coming day.

Day 1 – Ski tour in the Balme area

We go to the Balme area at the end of the valley or any other area where the guide can find an ideal setting for a first day out. For a group for whom touring is an introduction, this is a valuable day to get to know the equipment. If the group hasn’t got any knowledge of using their avalanche transceivers, this is an excellent time to go through this before we head further into the mountains.

Day 2 – Ski tour in the Aiguilles Rouges
We have many options for this day, and the route choice is tremendous if we spend a day in the Aiguilles Rouges. Based on yesterday’s introduction, the guide will find a route that suits the group. The emphasis will be on learning kick-turns, the correct skinning technique, and efficiently taking skins on and off. We might be doing a tour, where you must put the skis on your backpack and climb, using crampons and an ice axe.

Day 3 – Ski touring in the Vallée Blanche
We will do a ski tour in the Vallée Blanche from the Aiguille du Midi in 3842m. We have many possibilities, and it’s worth waiting to see where the snow is best. A great tour is towards Italy, weaving our way through crevassed zones, sometimes roped up, to reach some wide open slopes of cold snow back into the Vallée Blanche. When the snow is abundant, and the group is strong, we can ski to Chamonix. On many occasions, we take the train from Montenvers 1900m if someone in the group is too tired or the snow conditions are not good lower down.
If the weather isn’t good enough to ski from the Aiguille du Midi, we will try and ski tour to the summit of the Aiguilles des Grand Montets by the Rognon glacier.

Clothes

Shell jacket – You need a lightweight, yet relatively sturdy shell jacket that is stowed away and doesn’t take to much space. If you can fit your ski helmet under the hood it’s great. 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 a pair of bibs/salopettes that rise over the waistline to avoid snow coming in.

Base layers – Top and bottom thermal underwear. You can adjust these to be either a light or warm version. It all depends on the temperatures of the day.

Mid-layer – A mid-grade fleece sweater or jacket is great.

Extra warm layer – Light fiber and down jacket.

Warm hat – That covers the 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 that you are too tight in the boots.

Technical equipment

Backpack – 30l-40l durable and lightweight. Should have straps or a system to carry skis comfortably. You need at least one ice-axe holder. If you like to use the backpack for hut-to-hut trips later, you can opt for a size of 40-45l.

Skis* – Good off-piste/touring skis with ski-touring bindings.

Skins* – Skins must be cut to the ski you use. Should have a maximum of 1-2mm to the edge and clip on the back tail—only glue skins.

Ski crampons* – “harscheisen” or simply “knives”. Get these before you visit Chamonix, as they are specific to your binding brand and ski width. It can be a frustrating exercise to find them last minute in Chamonix.

Ski touring boots* – Normal or Lightweight touring model, w. good “walk-mode,” “Vibram-sole,” and “tech binding inserts.”. Note that heavier “free-ride” boots with touring capability aren’t meant for more extended tours.

Ski poles* – A light telescopic ski pole. Make sure to choose a good brand (E.g. Leki). The basket must be wide enough for use in soft snow.

Harness* – When we bring the harness, it is mainly worn all day. Opt for a well-fitting, compact & lightweight ski touring model.

Crampons* – A hybrid model with steel front points and an aluminium backpiece is ideal for ski touring. We avoid full aluminium crampons as they aren’t durable enough. Full steel crampons are suitable, but they are heavy.

Ice-axe* – A short and light ski-touring model.

Ski helmet – We recommend all participants wear helmets. Today’s lightweight ski touring model helmets are well-ventilated, which makes it possible to wear them even when going uphill.

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 new quality model with three antennas.

Avalanche shovel* – A lightweight, extendable model of good quality. 

Probe* – At least 2m long

* You can rent these items in most shops in town. When you rent skis, they should always come with skins & ski crampons. The rental equipment is never very light, as they are built to last.

Various items

Water bottle – 1l water bottle. Water systems will freeze.

Snacks/sandwiches/energy bars – Don’t take too much!

Suncream & sun-stick

Snow goggles

Sunglasses – Category 4

Phone – Type in the emergency number and keep it warm/dry during the day.

Tour Grade: From S2/T1/A

Please read through the requirements for participating in this tour and follow the link to the “grading page.”

Technical Level

You must be a good skier with enough off-piste experience to handle various snow conditions. You should be able to hold an edge safely on hard snow. We also expect you to make controlled turns in 35-degree terrain. In short, steeper sections, you should be able to make a controlled side-slip down.

As this could be your first ski touring experience, we don’t expect you to have tried it before. The guide will teach you the basic techniques of ski touring.

Please note that we will be skiing with a backpack every day.

Fitness

You must be in good shape and be able to walk for several hours while ski touring. We will do rests but do not count on very long resting times. It is often cold, and we need to keep going. We can adjust the tour length to accommodate the group’s fitness and ambitions. It is easier for us if the groups have a homogenous fitness level.

General Information

Getting to Chamonix or the course venue
For most of our clients, the easiest way to get to Chamonix or the Alps, in general, is by plane. The nearest airport is Geneva.
Read more about getting to Chamonix here – Click here.

Valley accommodation
Not everyone wants the same accommodation type, so we rarely include Valley accommodation. Check our suggested hotels, B&B, and campsites on this page – Click here.

If you want us to include hotel nights in the price, please let us know what standard you are looking for.

Insurance
You must take out search & rescue, repatriation, and cancellation insurance. Read more about insurance here – Click here.

Safety
We believe our finest task is to give every client a unique mountain experience without taking unnecessary risks. The experience of the mountain guide, access to the most recent weather forecasts, and information sharing between guides are some of the important elements for making good and sound judgment calls. Suppose conditions or other situations render an attempt at a peak dangerous, avalanche conditions of a ski tour no longer possible, etc.. In that case, the guide will do his/her best to devise a good alternate plan. This might be a 100% change of the program. Emphasis is put on staying safe and having a great time!

Mountain huts
In some of our courses, we stay in mountain huts. On hut-to-hut trips, they are part of the itinerary; at other times, we use them as the starting point for a climb or ski tour.
The mountain huts offer basic accommodation in bunk-style rooms. Blankets and duvets are in the huts, so you don’t need to bring a sleeping bag. It is obligatory to bring a sleeping bag liner.
We are served a simple breakfast and a 3-course dinner (soup, main meal, dessert).
We will let the guardian of the hut know if you are on a special diet (vegetarians, allergies, etc.). Vegans will need to bring supplementary food.
There are hut slippers available for use inside the hut.
It’s helpful to bring cash for personal expenses (water, soft drinks, beer, lunches, etc.)
There is mostly no tap water in the huts, and you must buy bottled water.
You will be able to charge your phone.
Some mountain huts have showers. You must mostly pay for this; only a few huts can provide towels.

Make a booking
Please read through all the course information. Please make sure that you have the required level to join the course.
Contact us if you have any questions.

Read more about the booking process here – Click here.

We will need all to join a course to complete our “Participation Form.”