Chamonix Ski Touring

Ski touring provides a fantastic way of exploring the magical winter mountains whilst enjoying adventurous ski journeys away from the lifts and pistes.  We are passionate about introducing skiers to this wonderful & addictive activity on our intro weeks and weekends.  We also offer further inspiring journeys, hut to hut tours and high altitude ski summits as a great progression from the intro courses.

For those with some off piste skiing experience and good fitness our action packed 5 day Chamonix intro ski touring course provides the inspiration & information to add a whole new dimension to your ski trips.  You can enjoy a similar journey by doing some, or all, of our popular series of ski touring weekends.  These start in January with Chamonix day trips & training and run through the winter to our spring weekends touring with a night in a mountain hut.  We also offer a series of 1 day intro and intermediate touring options incase you are in Chamonix and can join us for some touring & training then.

All the following courses start and finish from the remarkable winter base camp of Chamonix although many of visit the equally inspiring & nearby Italian & Swiss Alps.


2020 Chamonix Intro Ski Touring Week

2020 Alpine Ski Touring Weekends

2020 Chamonix Ski Touring Days


Jan 11

Chamonix Intro Ski Touring Weekend – January 2020

January 11, 2020 - January 12, 2020
Feb 10

Chamonix Intro Ski Touring Week – Feb 2020

February 10, 2020 - February 14, 2020
Feb 15

Chamonix Intro Ski Touring Weekend – Feb 2020

February 15, 2020 - February 16, 2020
Mar 14
Apr 18

West Oberland Ski Touring Weekend – April 2020

April 18, 2020 - April 19, 2020

From mid-winter days powder touring to mid-April spring ski summits, like here on the Wildstrubel (3243m), superb ski variety can be found through the progression of our ski touring weekends…

Chamonix Intro Ski Touring – 5 Day Course

The ski tourer is able to mix the fun of off-piste skiing whilst making a journey through the magical & remote environment of the winter mountains. On this practical 5 day introductory course we aim to train you in the essential skills required for smoothly completing some classic ski tours whilst becoming a good trained member of a back-country ski team in the process.

Chamonix Intro Ski Touring – Course Aims

  • Provide high quality training so that you develop the skills for ski touring safely and efficiently
  • Complete some enjoyable, short & medium length ski tours in the Mont Blanc Massif
  • Explore the superb variety of venues accessible from a base in the Chamonix Valley, including the potential to visit the nearby French Aravis, Italian Val d’Aosta or Swiss Valais Alps, which often offer different weather and conditions
  • Prepare you for further off-piste and ski touring adventures either with a Guide or independently e.g Skiing The Haute Route
  • Have a fun & sociable week & meet up with other like minded ski touring folk who you may be able to ski with in the future
Enjoying some well earned pristine velvet snow on one of our Chamonix Ski Touring Courses – An Away Day in nearby Val d’Aosta

From our base in the Chamonix valley we can use the extensive range of nearby lifts and high mountain roads to access a variety of styles of ski touring terrain. The start of the week will focus on training and becoming efficient with the fundamental basics like using your skins & bindings, how to skin efficiently and enjoyably and understanding the context and use of your avalanche safety equipment.

Scenic mid winter skinning ascent up the beautiful Italian Val Feret past Rifugio Bonatti. Great views of Monte Bianco South Face.

Essential Ski Touring Skills

There is a lot to take in for the newcomer to ski touring so we try and distill things to the essentials and drip feed information throughout the week. We aim to enjoy a mixture of styles of touring including lift accessed skinning where several enjoyable short tours can be completed right through to a longer single day tour well away from the ski resorts.

  • Understanding your ski touring bindings and becoming efficient in their use.
  • Skinning, the essence of ski touring!  How the skins work, putting them on and taking them off, breaking trail and choosing a line, easy angled & steeper turns (kick turns).
  • Use of ski crampons.
  • Avalanche awareness, route planning, safe travel techniques – choosing terrain
  • Becoming skilled in the use of your essential avalanche emergency equipment, shovel, probe and transceiver
  • Managing ‘transitions’ and being efficient transferring from skinning to skiing modes.
  • Effective skiing techniques for different types of off-piste terrain.  This course is run by a Mountain Guide, not a Ski Instructor, but you will still receive some valuable guidance about off piste technique. Check our ‘Off Piste & Mountain Skills’ course if you would like some more dedicated off piste coaching during the course.
  • Storing skis on your rucksack if you need to travel on foot
  • Introduction to ski glacier travel, skiing in a harness and skinning on the rope.
  • Simple crevasse rescue problem solving.
  • Use of maps, guide books, GPS and the latest Apps for route planning and navigation.
  • Using mountain huts.
  • Emergency Procedures in the Alps.
High altitude skinning journey heading over to the Italian side of the Vallee Blanche from the Chamonix side. A brilliant high alpine tour we often do on the classic intro touring course.

Chamonix Intro Ski Touring – 5 Day Sample Itinerary

Pre Course. As with all our ski courses, we recommend you prepare as much as possible in advance with relevant ski fit preparation and then arrive at least a day or two early to both warm up your ski legs & check equipment. This is especially important if you will be renting boots or skis & bindings.  Please also make sure that your own bindings are correctly adjusted, skis are well serviced and that skins & ski crampons fit your skis & bindings correctly.  We normally start the week with a pre-course evening meeting for an informal welcome, intro to the team and a chance to discuss prevailing weather & snow conditions.

Day 1. Introduction to the course and final equipment check. Off-piste skiing and touring skills training from the lifts so that more time is spent skiing, skinning and training.  The aim will be to complete several micro journeys to simulate a days touring but without the time pressure of completing a longer tour.  Venue, e.g. Le Tour at the head of the Chamonix Valley.

Intro ski touring mini journey above Le Tour at the eastern end of the Chamonix Valley.

Day 2. A day combining further training in an off-piste environment with lift accessed ski touring e.g from Les Contamines or Combloux just down the valley from Chamonix. Several short tours can be completed giving a few hours of skinning uphill and lots of practice managing ski ‘transitions’ without a big time pressure on the day.  The aim is always to find good snow and enjoy some great turns and fresh tracks!

Combloux ski touring guide
A good powder ski from ski touring on the Petit Croise Baulet, Combloux
  • Day 3. An opportunity to combine a great journey up the beautiful Val Feret on the Italian side of Mont Blanc, with spending a night at a mountain hut, the superb Rifugio Bonatti.  There is great north facing mellow terrain around the hut, often powder in mid winter, and opportunities for skiing & training above & below the tree line.  Not to mention enjoying the great Italian hospitality at the Bonatti Base Camp!
Good snowy mid winter conditions for the skinning ascent through the woods to the excellent Rifugio Bonatti…
  • Day 4. After a hut breakfast there is the option to complete a tour to a col above the hut or ski straight down & take the Skyway Monte Bianco lift to high altitude on the Italian side of the Vallee Blanche for an introduction to the important principles of ski mountaineering on glaciers.  This is a fantastic and extremely scenic aspect of ski touring and we will spend some valuable time discussing and practising the skills and strategies for skiing safely on glaciers.
Beautiful velvet snow & fresh tracks on the descent of the Vallee Blanche route. Photo Gav Pike.
  • Day 5. We aim to finish a great week of skiing putting all the recently learnt skills together to complete a longer classic Chamonix ski tour e.g. Col du Tour Noir, Argentiere Glacier or a day tour down the Contamines Valley.  This day also provides a good opportunity to ask any final questions and make plans for future tours with advice from the Guide.
Ski touring above the Argentiere Glacier en route to the Col du Tour Noire

There are a huge amount of excellent alternatives which can be considered in discussions with the guide at the time according to the weather, snow conditions and aspirations of the group.  A feature of this course, and ski touring in general, is staying flexible with the itinerary and, by understanding prevailing conditions, making the most of things accordingly.  The aim is always to have a safe and enjoyable day, whilst skiing some great snow!

Jen Kingwill, Chamonix Intro Ski Touring Course Feb 2018

On the way to the airport now after a great week! I had a wonderful week – the itinerary choice for each day was great, with Kenny finding good snow for us most days. Kenny was excellent  – lots of little tips along the way and sharing his mountain /snow knowledge throughout the week. Bon weekend!

Finding the fresh tracks in the powder above Les Contamines.

Chamonix Intro Ski Touring – Fitness & Ski Pre-requirements

Ski touring is like many other activities in that, the more you do, the more efficient you become, and the less energy you use. Therefore whilst we will be aiming to complete short & medium tours (maximum of around 3-4 hours uphill at an ascent rate of around 250-300m/hour) skiers should be prepared for a physical week with 5 days of skinning, off piste skiing, generally being high in the mountains with a bit of falling over, getting up and dusting the snow off!

Folk with a ski background can soon be instructed in basic touring techniques but the same can not be said for mountaineers wishing to start off piste skiing. This is a course for folk who can already ski with linked short radius turns on pisted black runs and who have some experience descending off-piste terrain in a controlled manner. Skiers need to be confident that they can safely negotiate the off piste equivalent of black runs in all snow conditions. This does not need to be fast or stylish but it does need to be effective and safe!

Well deserved café break at the 2000m Refuge Lognan after a very enjoyable ski descent of the Glacier d’Argentiere on our Intro Touring Course

James, Intro Ski Touring Feb 2016

The course was EXCELLENT. Paul was a great guide and we had some great ascents and descents, and learnt a lot! We will share photos shortly, but the problem is there are too many!

2020 Chamonix Intro Ski Touring – 5 Day Course

Feb 10

Chamonix Intro Ski Touring Week – Feb 2020

February 10, 2020 - February 14, 2020

To book your place – please visit the specific course page above.

2020 Course Cost

£750 – 5 Day Course

Maximum group size 6 guests with 1 Guide

What’s included in the Price?

  • 5 full days ski touring training, guiding & off-piste skiing with a Mountain Guide
  • Travel to ski venues when skiing outside the Chamonix Valley

What’s not included?

  • Accommodation. Please see our Chamonix Venue Info
  • Flights and transfer / travel to Chamonix
  • Ski touring equipment (Note 1* below). Check the kit list below
  • Lift passes (Note 2* below)
  • Ski Insurance, see our Insurance FAQ’s for more information
  • Buses, train fares if required
  • Any other expenses

Course Equipment List

Course Notes

  1. *Please note that the detailed kit list, given via the link above should be followed and all hire kit including boots, skis, skins, ski crampons, poles, transceiver, shovel, probe should be collected in advance of Day 1, so that a swift start to the course can be made. You can arrange with us in advance to hire shovel, probe & transceiver for a cheaper rate than in the shops.
  2. Lift passes. As we will ski at the most appropriate venue for the day depending on the weather and snow, we ask you to leave buying your ski pass until the first morning of the course. We have found that the discounts for buying multiple days are small but the losses if you do not use them are significant so we prefer to retain flexibillity to ski outside the area covered by certain passes.  The cost of an unlimited day pass in Chamonix is c.€65 and any other venues we use will be a lot cheaper than this, down to around 20 euros for a ‘forfait rando’ or free if we are skinning from the car!
Heading off into the Backcountry….a great adventure but lots of skills required including good off piste skiing, touring skills, route choice / terrain selection which goes hand in hand with avalanche awareness. All things covered on our intro touring course!

Gabriela Fedullo, Chamonix Intro Ski Touring Week Course, Feb 2018

I just wanted to thank you all for the AMAZING week I had. It really motivated me to keep learning and training. Kenny’s tips and suggestions have really helped me realise what I have to work on from now onwards, and have also helped for this week to be so nice!

2020 Alpine Ski Touring Weekends – Jan, Feb, March & April

Intro Ski Touring Weekends

Intermediate Ski Touring Weekends

These are dynamic weekends designed to give you an action packed, fun and informative insight into the magical world of ski touring.  We run 5 separate weekends in January, February, March & April and each course is designed to offer consolidation and progression from the previous one.  Doing all 3 intro weekends would give a great opportunity to learn, practice and develop your ski touring skills & experience whilst doing some inspiring ski journeys in 3 superb different locations.  The 2 intermediate weekends give the opportunity to do some more physical and technical tours in a smaller group whilst, on the March weekend,  staying in the same accommodation as the intro group to offer a sociable team dynamic to the weekend.

Each weekend starts and finishes in Chamonix but most then travel to the Swiss & Italian Alps for the 2 days and overnight in a mountain hut, so it’s a great opportunity to explore some wonderful venues, made for ski touring!

Superb ski touring terrain above the Lammeren Hut & Gemmi Pass on our wonderful intermediate level West Oberland weekend.

Our January course aims to make the most of the fresh winter snow pack and is based in Chamonix to take advantage of the lifts, trees and hopefully ski some great powder. The February courses heads to the scenic south side of the Mont Blanc range and tours in the lovely Italian Val Feret with the comfortable Rifugio Bonatti as Base Camp. In March the spring touring season is underway and both the intro & intermediate course is based at the remarkable Grand St. Bernard Monastery run by the hospitable monks. This gives a great opportunity to explore this renowned & fascinating ski touring area on the Swiss – Italian high alpine border.  Our April weekends explore the superb touring country of the West Oberland from the strategic access point of the Gemmi Pass.   A feast of varied touring options!

Intro Ski Touring Weekends – Course Aims

  • Spend an enjoyable & sociable weekend in the winter or spring mountains of the French, Swiss or Italian Alps with a like minded group.
  • For the intro courses this always includes instruction in the basics whilst the intermediate groups progress to longer and more technical journeys.
  • Do some inspiring backcountry journeys with a mix of ski lift and skinning acces, find the best snow possible and do some memorable turns and fresh tracks.
  • Complete practical introductory training in the essential skills for ski touring – then consolidate and refine these skills on the intermediate spring weekends
  • Spend an enjoyable night in a mountain hut (apart from the Jan weekend) and become more familiar with using huts to prepare for bigger hut to hut tours in future.
  • Develop skills and confidence with regard to gathering information and planning & completing your own tours safely.
Ski touring in the Aiguilles Rouges above the Chamonix Valley. Great terrain, views and skiing. Photo Gav Pike

Intro Ski Touring Weekends – Sample Itineraries

Our 3 inspiring itineraries have been created to offer you a good mixture of ski touring, training and visiting a great area.  Each weekend venue has been chosen to make the most out of the classic conditions at that time of year and offer interesting opportunities to tour even if the weather and snow conditions are not ideal, although, as with all mountain itineraries, they sometimes need to be changed at short notice according to these factors.

Even though this is only a short course we recommend you prepare as much as possible in advance with relevant ‘ski fit’ preparation and then, if possible, arrive a day or two early to both warm up your ski legs & sort ski equipment.  This is especially important if you will be renting boots or skis & bindings. Please also make sure that your bindings are correctly adjusted & skis are well serviced.

Making the most of the fresh tracks – at Le Tour during our early winter touring weekend.

January Course – Chamonix Day Trips

Jan 11

Chamonix Intro Ski Touring Weekend – January 2020

January 11, 2020 - January 12, 2020

This is a great opportunity to take your first steps ski touring or refresh your existing skills with some very short early season tours and fresh tracks.  We combine a mixture of intro training and lift accessed skinning to find some fresh tracks and hopefully some great turns…

Day 1.  Introduction to the weekend and ski equipment checks.  An opportunity to use the lifts of Chamonix to kick start the ascent and then complete several short skinning journeys making fresh tracks away from the pistes.  This is an excellent & essential intro touring day with plenty of time for some skiing & training the elements described above. Great venues for this day are Les Houches or Le Tour at either ends of the Chamonix Valley.  Return to Chamonix for the evening.

Lovely early winter powder on one of our intro ski touring days at Les Houches at the western end of the Chamonix Valley.

Day 2.  An opportunity to consolidate on yesterday’s training with some longer touring journeys. The Aravis, just down the Arve Valley from Chamonix gives a great opportunity again to use the lifts to gain height, then skin up some hills and get away from the pistes. The Croise Baulet at Combloux is a great example of an attractive & logical ski peak. Achievable by folk just starting touring, this is an enjoyable ascent with superb views of the Mont Blanc Massif. Return to Chamonix late afternoon. Possible to return to Geneva this evening or enjoy some more skiing the following week, when we have some avalanche awareness and glacier travel training days.

Inspiring mid-winter intro ski touring on the Petite Croise Baulet above Combloux & Megève. Chamonix Intro Touring Weekend.

Mike Sweeney, Intro Touring Weekend, Les Houches, Chamonix Jan 2016

Thanks Rob for a great day out. Just the right amount of challenge and encouragement – highly recommended.

February Course – The Beautiful Italian Val Feret & Rifugio Bonatti

Feb 15

Chamonix Intro Ski Touring Weekend – Feb 2020

February 15, 2020 - February 16, 2020

This weekend provides a brilliant contrast between touring on the beautiful wooded slopes of the Italian Val Feret and, if the weather allows, the spectacular high altitude glacier terrain of the Vallée Blanche, accessed via the superb Skyway Monte Bianco lift above Courmayeur…

Mid winter ski touring in the beautiful Italian Val Feret above the great base camp of the Rifugio Bonatti.

Day 1.  Introduction to the weekend and ski equipment checks before transferring to the Italian side of the Mont Blanc Massif and enjoying a steady skin up the beautiful Val Feret. The Bonatti Hut provides a fantastic base camp for this weekend and even the approach to the hut through Larch forests gives an enjoyable ascent with good opportunities for skinning training. After lunch at the hut, the afternoon is spent training and enjoying some short skinning journeys to hopefully ski some great snow. Dinner at the hut is usually excellent and a sociable & comfortable night is then spent in the Rifugio…

Firm pack skiing in the Combe Vierge on the Italian side of the Vallee Blanche, accessed from Skyway Monte Bianco. Photo Gav Pike

Day 2.  After a classic café fuelled Italian breakfast we start skinning immediately above the hut and can explore the interesting north facing valleys and cols on these lower hills to the south of the main Mont Blanc range. Fantastic views of Monte Bianco and the Val d’Aosta are revealed as height is gained. The emphasis for the day is to enjoy some ski touring, good skiing and training before descending back down the Val Feret for a late afternoon return to Chamonix.

Another option for the Sunday, only if the weather and snow dictates it’s a good idea, is to ski back in to the Val Feret after breakfast and ascend the high (3400m) nearby Skyway Monte Bianco lift. A spectacularly scenic day of glacier ski touring can then be enjoyed high on the Italian side of Monte Bianco with some glacier skiing training provided before and during the journey. The Combe Vierge, Col d’Entreves and Combe Maudit all provide fine venues for ski touring.  In this way the team can ski all the way back to Chamonix.  Note that a good forecast for the Sunday and a taxi to Val Feret on Sunday are required to make this traverse possible.

Gareth Kaminski-Cook, Intro Ski Touring Weekend – Rifugio Bonatti, February 2018

This was my first ski trekking adventure and I could not be happier with the experience.  Just brilliant. Kathy our guide was so helpful, kind, great fun and passionately informative.  The agenda was also adapted based on the weather so that we filled the two days just perfectly to optimise time skiing back country, trekking, learning skills.  If you are thinking of doing this – just do it.  Thanks Rob and Kathy.

Italian ski touring, powder, larch forests, great views of Monte Bianco South Face, great coffee etc!

Tanya Viscovich, Italian Intro Ski Touring Weekend, Feb 2015

Beautiful 2 day touring trip with Neil, setting off up picturesque Val Feret, skinning up to VERY comfortable Bonatti Hut for excellent veg/bean soup lunch before heading out for more uphill into white yonder. Lovely all home made supper provided by charming hut hostess and very comfortable beds (they have variety of twins>dorm options) and hot water.

Day 2 skinned up and climbed top ridge to summit of la Tete entre deux Sexes. Stunning scenery – Mont Blanc and the Aiguilles in the background on one side – no-one else up there. Perfect ski back down but take snacks for the last 30/45mins ‘skating’ along valley bottom back to car park!  Really good trip for new tourers.  Neil was a great guide with gentle nudges and advice on snow, being in the mountains etc, and more important, very safety conscious, particularly with this seasons conditions. I will def return to val Feret and would highly recommend this trip.

March Course – The Grand St. Bernard Monastery

Mar 14

Our March weekend increases the physical factor in touring on the Jan and Feb weekends and the first day has nearly 1000m of ascent.  This is also an opportunity to tour in the beautiful Western Swiss Valais Alps, with a remarkable base camp of the working monastery at the Hospice Grand St Bernard.  This is completely away from any resorts or lifts and provides a classic alpine touring weekend.

The Col de Grand St Bernard And Famous Monastery – A superb base camp for ski touring

Day 1.  Introduction to the weekend and ski equipment checks before transferring to Bourg St Bernard, high in the Swiss Valais Alps. Here we start the skinning approach up the famous high level route towards the Monastery. En route, we can take in the 2636m Col de Barosson which provides a fun and scenic start to the weekend and your ski touring career! After arriving for the traditional tea and bowl of soup at the Monastery we complete some further technical touring training on the snowy slopes immediately around the buildings. Often in the evening as well as dinner provided by the monks there is a welcome talk, video and opportunity to appreciate the history of the place, building and even attend a service with the monks.  Total Ascent for the day = around 1000m.

Leaving Bourg St. Bernard en route to the Col de Barasson and Hospice

Day 2.  After a Swiss alpine breakfast we leave the Monastery at 2469m and we are skinning straight away into interesting touring terrain. One of the classic tours of the area ascends Mont Fourchon (2900m) and this provides us with a great objective to ski whilst doing more touring training along the way. The return ski is usually right back to the car from where we drive back to finish the weekend back in Chamonix late afternoon.

Ski Touring Courses
Velvet fresh tracks on the brilliant ski tour of Mont Fourchon, from Grand St Bernard.

Fitness, Off Piste Skiing & Touring Experience Required – Intro Weekends

These weekends are physically demanding but are not aimed at being major endurance events. However you do need to be fit and able to climb steadily uphill (250-300m per hour) on skins for up to around 4 hours maximum.  During the March weekend there is a day with nearly 1000m of ascent skinning but the Jan and Feb weekends are generally more like several hundred metres although this can feel hard work in soft snow!

This is a course for folk who can already ski with confident linked short radius turns on pisted black runs and who have some existing experience successfully descending off-piste terrain and variable snow conditions in a controlled manner.

“The Magic Carpet Ride”, skiing ‘juicy’ spring snow on the descent of Mont Buet at the eastern end of the Mont Blanc Massif in the Aiguilles Rouges.

Spring Intermediate Ski Touring Weekends – Grand St. Bernard & Gemmi Pass

We are delighted to offer our guests these 2 inspiring intermediate touring weekends which not only visit truly inspiring classic ski touring areas, they also form an ideal progression from our winter intro weekends and bridge towards our spring ski mountaineering programmes.

In March the high alpine spring touring season is usually underway and both our intro & intermediate course is based at the remarkable Grand St. Bernard Monastery run by the hospitable monks. This gives a great opportunity to explore this renowned & fascinating ski touring area on the Swiss – Italian high alpine border.  Our April weekends explore the inspiring touring terrain of the West Oberland from the strategic access point of the Gemmi Pass.   A feast of varied touring options!

Intermediate Ski Touring Weekends – Course Aims

  • Spend an enjoyable & sociable weekend in the winter / spring mountains of the Swiss Valais Alps, around the Grand St. Bernard Monastery or superb Gemmi Pass area of the West Oberland.
  • For these intermediate courses this includes consolidation & refinements in the basics of ski touring whilst progressing to longer and more technical journeys.
  • Do some inspiring backcountry journeys, find the best snow possible and do some memorable turns and fresh tracks.
  • Spend an enjoyable night in a mountain hut or hotel and become more familiar with using huts to prepare for bigger hut to hut tours in future.
  • Develop skills and confidence with regard to gathering information and planning & completing your own tours safely
  • These weekends follow on from our classic Chamonix intro ski touring weekends in Jan & Feb and would form a great springboard for doing some of our other spring ski mountaineering programmes.
Heading towards the summit of the Lammerenhorn with the Rinderhorn and Bietschorn beyond.

These are dynamic weekends designed to give you an action packed, fun and informative insight into the magical world of ski touring.  We run 5 separate weekends in January, February, March & April and each course is designed to offer consolidation and progression from the previous one.  Doing all 3 intro weekends would give a great opportunity to learn, practice and develop your ski touring skills & experience whilst doing some inspiring ski journeys in 3 superb different locations.  The 2 intermediate weekends give the opportunity to do some more physical and technical tours in a smaller group whilst, on the March weekend,  staying in the same accommodation as the intro group to offer a sociable team dynamic to the weekend.

Each weekend starts and finishes in Chamonix but most then travel to the Swiss & Italian Alps for the 2 days and overnight in a mountain hut, so it’s a great opportunity to explore some wonderful venues, made for ski touring!

Ski Touring Ascent Of The Wildstrubel with the Rinderhorn and West Face of the Balmhorn beyond

Intermediate Ski Touring Weekends – Sample Itineraries

Our 2 inspiring itineraries have been created to offer you a good mixture of ski touring, training and visiting a great area.  Each weekend venue has been chosen to make the most out of the classic conditions at that time of year and offer interesting opportunities to tour even if the weather and snow conditions are not ideal, although, as with all mountain itineraries, they sometimes need to be changed at short notice according to these factors.

Even though this is only a short course we recommend you prepare as much as possible in advance with relevant ‘ski fit’ preparation and then, if possible, arrive a day or two early to both warm up your ski legs & sort ski equipment.  This is especially important if you will be renting boots or skis & bindings. Please also make sure that your bindings are correctly adjusted & skis are well serviced.

March Intermediate Weekend – The Grand St Bernard Monastery

One of the inspiring things about touring from Grand St. Bernard is the amount of ski terrain to explore, just check out all those red lines on the Swiss ski map!  Possible ski ascents and touring journeys include the fine summit of Mont Fourchon (2902m), Monts Telliers (2959m), Aiguille des Sasses (3014m) or one of numerous ski journeys in the area according to the prevailing snow conditions and weather.  Some time will be spent discussing information gathering and route choice during the weekend and thus how to tour safely and ski good snow!

April Intermediate Weekend – Ski West Oberland – The Gemmi Pass

Apr 18

West Oberland Ski Touring Weekend – April 2020

April 18, 2020 - April 19, 2020

This is a dynamic Swiss Alps weekend designed to give you an inspiring ski experience in the magical West Oberland and explore the boundary of where ‘ski touring’ meets ‘ski mountaineering’.  We run 5 separate weekends in January, February, March & April and this last touring weekend of the season provides both a culmination of this series and wonderful springboard towards our later spring high altitude ski mountaineering programmes.

Swiss Alps Ski Touring
Ski Touring On The Wild Strubel, West Oberland. April 2018

After a 2 hour drive from Chamonix there is rapid access via the Leukerbad Telecabine to Gemmi Pass from where we immediately enter this middle mountain ski touring sanctuary and are able to enjoy the fine ski summit tours and comfortable base camp to the full!  The course starts with an informal meeting and welcome drink on the Friday evening plus equipment check before the very early start on Saturday morning…

Day 1.  After a very early morning meet in Chamonix (c.0545) there is the transfer to Leukerbad to take the ski lift to Gemmi Pass (2350m).  From here we warm up with a short ski and long traverse of the Lammeren plateau.  We can even stop for a brew at the friendly Lammeren Hut before continuing up the valley for some steeper and sustained skinning up to the Schwarzhorn (3104m).  Some fine north facing pitches on the descent lead us back to the Lammerenhutte (2502m) or Gemmi Pass Hotel (2350m) for the night – *see accommodation note below.  There are also other fine shorter objectives in this area which provide fine additions / alternatives if conditions dictate, eg Rote Totz (2847m) and over to Schwarenbach mountain Lodge (2060m) or Lammerenhorn (2861m).

Day 2.  This brilliant day provides a great opportunity to ski the major peak of the West Oberland.  The Wildstrubel (3244m) is a fantastic and logical ski peak with interesting winding valleys on the approach leading to a high & exposed glacier plateau and steep summit pyramid.  The views across the Rhone Valley to the giants of the Swiss Valais are superb and there is some equally good ski terrain to play with on the descent past Lammeren before the traverse of the Lammeren Plateau & small re-ascent to Gemmi.  It’s worth making sure you have sufficient time and are not going far on the Sunday evening as the famous thermal baths in Leukerbad are a great way to finish the weekend!

Setting off from the Lammeren Hut. A great base camp in a superb ski touring area – The West Oberland.

April Alpine Ski Touring Weekend – Course Aims

  • Enjoy 2 days ski touring exploring the brilliant West Oberland area of the Swiss Valais Alps
  • Do some inspiring ski mountaineering journeys, ski summits, find the best snow possible and do some memorable turns and fresh tracks
  • Refine the essential skills for ski touring & explore the boundaries of where ski touring meets ski mountaineering in this alpine touring area which also features some glaciers (crampons and axe can be used on the ascent of Daubenhorn if conditions allow for an ascent of that)
  • Spend an enjoyable night in a comfortable mountain hut / hotel
  • Become more familiar with hut to hut touring and ski mountaineering to prepare for longer ski tours in future
  • Spend a sociable long weekend in the mountains and meet other like minded ski tourers
  • If time allows, finish the weekend with a visit to the brilliant thermal baths in Leukerbad 
  • This weekend could follow on from either our classic or progression Chamonix off piste & mountain skills course and could be followed by, our Ski Gran Paradiso course
Hetty & Tom, Ski Touring, Gemmi Pass, West Oberland, April 2018
Thanks again for a truly incredible week – it’s safe to say we are still both buzzing! Saturday night and Sunday morning were spent eating the majority of the patisserie in Chamonix whilst trying to fully absorb and recount everything we learnt over the course of the week.  I’ve just downloaded the photos – they are brilliant and an amazing momentum of the week.  On top of this was the amount we learnt about how to plan, gather information and safely continue on our adventures. I have no doubt this will be invaluable for the future.  Thank you so much.
The final mountaineering section of the ski mountaineering ascent of The Daubenhorn (2941m). Remarkable views down the north face to Leukerbad and across the Rhone Valley to the giants of the Swiss Valais.

Fitness, Off Piste Skiing & Touring Experience Required – Intermediate Weekends

This long spring weekend provides both a physical and technical progression from the earlier courses. Both longer days with more ascent and steeper terrain will be encountered.  So skiers need to be physically fit in order to cope with 1000m+ days of skinning at a pace of at least 300m/hr for up to 4-5 hours.  Previous touring experience is also required for this weekend with the ability to manage your own ski touring equipment during transitions and reliably do effective kick turns whilst skinning efficiently.

Steeper terrain is also encountered on the ski descents so guests need to be competent & confident skiing steep slopes of around 35-40 degrees with controlled short radius turns in varied snow conditions.  Previous use of crampons and axe is useful but not essential if you have all the other skills as we don’t always use these and training can be provided at the time if required.

Course Equipment List

Endless fresh tracks in the powder meadows, Aravis, well worth the skinning ascent to get there!

2019 Alpine Ski Touring Weekends, Dates & Prices

Jan 11

Chamonix Intro Ski Touring Weekend – January 2020

January 11, 2020 - January 12, 2020
Feb 15

Chamonix Intro Ski Touring Weekend – Feb 2020

February 15, 2020 - February 16, 2020
Mar 14
Apr 18

West Oberland Ski Touring Weekend – April 2020

April 18, 2020 - April 19, 2020

To book your place – please visit the specific course page above for your chosen dates

Intro Course Cost

£295 – 2 Day

Maximum Guide : Guest Ratio 1:6

Intermediate Course Cost

March Course

£385 – 2 Day

Maximum Guide : Guest Ratio 1:4

What’s Included In The Price?

  • 2 full days ski touring training, guiding & off-piste skiing with a Mountain Guide
  • Car travel to ski venues when skiing outside the Chamonix Valley
  • Trip planning and booking of mountain huts

What’s Not Included In The Price?

  • Accommodation. Please see our Chamonix Venue Info
  • Dinner, Bed & Breakfast at the Mountain Hut (for the Feb & April courses) plus your part share in the Guides discounted hut fees. Allow c.€85 / night in Switzerland plus the shared cost of the guides discounted hut fees.
  • Flights and transfer / travel to Chamonix
  • Ski Insurance, see our Insurance FAQ’s for more information
  • Buses, train fares, any taxi or public transport costs as required
  • Skis, boots & touring equipment (Note 1-2* below), see our ski touring equipment list
  • Lift passes (Note 3* below)
  • Any other expenses

Course Notes

  1. Please note that the detailed kit list, given via the link above should be followed and all hire kit including boots, skis, skins, ski crampons, poles, transceiver, shovel, probe should be collected in advance of Day 1, so that a swift start to the course can be made. You can arrange with us in advance to hire shovel, probe & transceiver for a considerably cheaper rate than in the shops.
  2. In addition to the equipment items described on the kit list above – for the February, March & April weekends, which are hut based, you will also need a head torch, cash to pay for the mountain hut and your passport for the border crossing to Italy / Switzerland.
  3. Lift passes. As we will ski at the most appropriate venue for the course depending on the weather and snow we ask you to leave buying your ski pass until the first morning of the course. We have found that the discounts for buying multiple days are small but the losses if you do not use them are significant so we prefer to retain flexibility to ski outside the area covered by certain passes. Cost of an unlimited day pass in Chamonix is c.€60 and any other venues we use will be cheaper than this, down to around c.€20 for a ‘forfait rando’ or free if we are skinning from the car!
Powder touring day on the north facing slopes above Vallorcine / Trient at the Eastern end of the Chamonix Valley. Superb!

Calum Williams, Intro Ski Touring Weekend, Feb 2016

Such a shame to be writing this from my office back in London rather than still out enjoying the sun and great snow conditions that we had over the last 2 days…..Just a quick note to say thanks very much for a really well planned and enjoyable two days introduction to the world of ski touring. I feel somewhat prepared for Svalbad now, except perhaps how to fight off the Polar Bears!

Intro Ski Touring Group On Away Day To Les Contamines At Western End Of The Mont Blanc Range

Chamonix Ski Touring Days – Intro & Guided Touring Days

2020 dates still TBC, please see our Chamonix Guided Days page and get in touch to let us know which dates would work well for you to join one of our intro groups (max group size 6 guests to 1 guide) or intermediate touring days (max group size 4 guests to 1 guide).

Enjoying the well earned fresh snow after skinning up through the tree line on a storm day during our intro touring course in Chamonix.