Off Piste Clinic
Chamonix off-piste skiing clinics focus on doing a lot of skiing (because it’s fun!) but pinning this around plenty of coaching and instruction from a top BASI ski instructor and a Mountain Guide. Flexibility is the key – at times a more structured instructional session is appropriate and at others on the hoof coaching is better. Keeping it relaxed and fun, we think, is the way forward…
The main aim of this week is to improve your off-piste skiing technique and you spend at least 3 days with a top BASI ski instructor, and up to 2 days with an IFMGA Ski Guide.
Clicking on the ‘Book Now’ button opposite, will open a new tab/window in your browser and direct you to our online tour booking system.
Chamonix has truely world class off piste skiing. We will be skiing all around Chamonix using the best conditions available, this may include skiing on the glaciers of les Grands Montets and from the Aig du Midi (conditions allowing). Chamonix is famous for its long off piste runs with big vertical in stunning surroundings. There is ample terrain to keep off-piste skiers of all levels happy, and being nestled behind Mont Blanc it gets alot of snow!
What's not included
Who is this for?
If you fit our Intro or Intermediate off-piste skier definition then these clinics are for you! Check our ability levels for guidance, but essentially if you have skied off piste before, perhaps had some tuition, but are struggling to master it, these clinics are ideal. They are also a great ski holiday in themselves!
Accommodation and huts
For the first part of the week you will be based in our central 3chalets, Chalet Iceman, Chalet Slider and Chalet Viper – see winter holidays for the listings. Rooms are normally on a twin shared basis with shared bathrooms. The chalets have a fun atmosphere, there are often other like minded people staying in the chalets who are on various other courses. Chamonix town is a short 5 minutes walk away with plenty of restaurants, bars and cafes.
Saturday: Arrive at the chalet and welcome by your hosts. A chance to hire gear, sort out a lift pass etc
Sunday: On and off piste coaching with our BASI instructor.
Monday: Further coaching from our instructor, exploring different off piste terrain.
Tues-thurs: More advanced off piste coaching and exploring the off piste potential of the region with our BASI instructer and IFMGA Guide.
By Friday your skiing will have come a long way and you will have sampled much of the best off-piste terrain the area has to offer. You will be more versed in off-piste safety and will have done more skiing in this week than probably any week before!
Friday: A day of free skiing, without a Guide or Instuctor. Your final day is skiing where you want, when you want, putting your new skills and technique into practice!
Good fitness will make it more fun and you’ll get more out of your week! Although we will tailor the course to your ability, we definitely recommend getting as fit as possible before you start. The process of training for your goal will help you focus on your goal – and having a goal will help you focus on your training. So all in all training is good!
Back country skiing and ski mountaineering is all about being able to exercise at a moderate intensity for several hours, and your training should reflect this. Probably the best training is cycling as this targets similar muscle groups and prepares the mind (exercising for long periods in poor weather requires mental strength!). However not everyone has the opportunity to do this and so alternatives such as jogging and gym workouts are also good.
The focus should be on training Cardiovascular Endurance as well as Strength for long days in the mountains – for cardio cycling/running/rowing machines are much better than weight training. Try and exercise for up to a couple of hours at a time at least twice a week. Try yoga, swimming, pilates etc too to help with core stability and balance. Squats and cycling are a good way to strengthen your legs. Remember to build up your workouts over time. If you are not used to exercising much, your muscles and joints need time to build up to avoid injury.
Try and choose an activity that you enjoy and keep a note of what you do and your times – this really helps with keeping the motivation up. If you are not used to training then your local gym will be able to advise you on a plan and schedule to help you achieve your goals. Training does not work overnight! The fittest athletes train as part of their lifestyles and have been doing it for years. Consider training for a good couple of months before coming out to the Alps.
Unfortunately we can’t recommend a specific brand and model for each item on the kit list, as what is available is constantly changing and, of course, different people are different shapes and sizes with different budgets! However, in general, we use and endorse Sherpa for clothing and Black Diamond for kit because in our experience they are excellent… If you go to a good retailers such as Snow & Rock, explain to them you will be back country skiing and they will be able to advise you on what is best for you. Bring this list with you…
Lastly, if necessary it is possible to rent most hardware items in Chamonix. You can hire boots too, but this is a last resort (no one likes uncomfortable boots).
1. Skis for off piste skiing – we recommend skis that you will enjoy skiing on, but are not too heavy/stiff. They should be ‘fat’ but not too fat. Wider skis make it easier to ski off piste, but too wide can be hard to control and hamper your technique progression. We would recommend an underfoot width of 80-90mm.
2. Poles –
3. Boots – these must fit and be comfortable. We feel it is best not to rent boots. Rather buy some and have them fitted professionally – this will make your week much more comfortable, fun and blister free! ‘Fit’ is more important than whether a boot is ‘stiff enough’ or not.
4. Rucksack – 40-50l. with ski straps
5. Water bottle
6. Transceiver, probe, shovel, harness with 1 screw gate karabiner (can be rented in Chamonix)
7. sunglasses, goggles, sunhat, sunscreen, lip salve/block
8. 3 sets socks and light coloured thermal tops
9. Lightweight Gore-Tex top/bottoms, warm hat, thick gloves, thin gloves
10. Insulating layers. I use a thin ‘100’ weight fleece and a synthetic duvet jacket (thin).
11. Personal first aid – blister kit, ibuprofen.
12. Cash for additional hot drinks / snacks on the mountain
Remember kit should be lightweight but functional – you have to carry it! We can help with equipment rental in Chamonix.
To find out more about our course, availability, or to ask any questions, please get in touch through the website or by phone on +33 (0)845 527 58 12.
We take a 20% deposit to secure your place on one of our courses, and we ask for the balance to be paid 6 weeks before the course start date.
We strongly recommend getting specialist travel insurance that covers cancellation, medical and mountain rescue.
Make sure that it covers glaciated mountaineering and climbing/ skiing. We recommend the Dogtag (www.dogtag.co.uk) – they have comprehensive policies and a good reputation.
Getting to Chamonix
It is best to book flights and airport transfers well in advance of your departure.
Easyjet have many cheap flights to Geneva from all over the UK. Swiss Air have cheap and convenient flights from London to Geneva.
Booking a place on a minibus airport transfer service is by far the best way to get from Geneva airport to Chamonix (it takes about an hour or so, is cost effective and is a door to door service). We can book your airport transfers at a competitive rate – just email us with your flight details…
There are several cash points in Chamonix and Maestro/visa/mastercard are all readily accepted.