To the west of Mont Blanc, and at the far north western end of the Alps lies the wonderful ‘Evasion’ ski area featuring the brilliant ski resorts of Combloux, St. Gervais, Megeve & Les Contamines. This area is also part of the wider Massif des Aravis and we are delighted to offer quality off piste and ski touring guiding and help our guests enjoy the superb skiing available here.
There is a fantastic variety of back country touring & off piste skiing available from powder tours around the forests to high spring ski mountaineering adventures and couloirs. We offer private guiding for ski touring and off piste skiing in all the Evasion resorts plus around the Aravis. Please check out the inspiring photos and information available below and get in touch to arrange your tailor made programme. We also have open courses available so you can join a team of like minded skiers to enjoy both the lift accessed and more remote touring options available…
Ski Evasion Aravis Touring Days
Ski Touring In The Aravis
Ski Evasion Aravis Week
Our Ski Evasion Aravis week is a mid-winter touring and off piste treat to look forward to whilst the early season snow is falling and building up the powder! This inspiring week of winter powder touring and off piste is based in the Arve Valley town of Sallanches from where we have rapid access to not only the Evasion ski area but to equally inspiring touring options around the Aravis…
This is a great opportunity to sample this inspiring area at a time of year which usually offers fresh tracks in abundance. We aim to spend a highly enjoyable week making the most of the prevailing conditions by combining lift accessed off piste with more remote touring options. Thus whatever the weather and snow conditions throw at us, we will be ready to make the most of it!
For example, whilst you need touring gear for this course – if it’s dumping snow with great powder, we will mainly be skiing fresh tracks off the lifts! If it’s not snowed for a while and the side country is tracked out, we will be skinning to find some fresh tracks and memorable turns.
Ski Evasion Aravis – Course Aims
- Sample a combination of off piste skiing and touring in some of the Ski Evasion Area resorts like Combloux, Les Contamines, St. Gervais and Megeve.
- Complete some great back country journeys using a combination of lift, skinning & booting access making the most of prevailing conditions to enjoy the best snow.
- Ski plenty of fresh tracks!
- Explore a new area and complete some fine short powder tours at low and medium altitudes around the Aravis Massif
- Spend an enjoyable and sociable week in the mountains with a team of like minded skiers
Ski Evasion Aravis – Suggested 5 Day Course Itinerary
This is highly subject to change according to weather and conditions, and hopefully, when the powder days arrive….
- 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.
- There is an informal welcome to the course, guests and guides & evening meet & drink on the Sunday evening in Sallanches.
- Day 1. Introduction to the course and final equipment check. Off-piste skiing, backcountry journeys, fresh tracks and touring warm up shorter or aller retour journeys above the resort of Combloux / Le Plan / La Giettaz.
- Day 2. Off piste skiing, back country & ski touring journeys starting from the lifts of Megeve.
- Day 3. Away day ski touring with the aim of completing a classic day tour away from the lifts in the Aravis Massif.
- Day 4. Head down the Les Contamines Valley to enjoy some long backcountry journeys both from the lifts and with skinning journeys on both the Hauteluce and Contamines side of the resort.
- Day 5. St Gervais / St Nicholas de Veroce area powder skiing with micro touring journeys if required!
There are a huge amount of excellent alternatives which can be considered at the time according to the weather, snow conditions and aspirations of the group.
Ski Evasion Aravis – Off Piste Skiing, Touring & Fitness Pre-requirements
2019 Course Dates & Cost
£645 – 5 Day Course
Maximum group size 6 guests with 1 Guide
What’s included in the course price?
- 5 full days ski touring & off-piste skiing with a Mountain Guide
- Travel to ski venues from a base in Sallanches
What’s not included?
- Flights and transfer / travel to Sallanches (less than 1 hour from Geneva Airport)
- Ski & touring equipment (Note 1* below). Check the kit list below
- Lift passes (Note 2* below)
- Ski Insurance, see our FAQ’s for more information
- Buses, train fares if required
- Any other expenses
- *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 must 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.
- 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.
- Lift Passes in Evasion Ski Area – Costs
Evasion Ski Area
Resort Height: 970m
Maximum Lift Altitude: 1930m
Off Piste Suggestion: Often good powder on the north facing slopes under the Sommet Des Salles leading down to the pistes and Jouty chairlift
Ski Touring Suggestion: Good marked touring trails and the local ‘Petit Croise Baulet (2009m) is an easy touring classic from the Col du Jaillet (1723m).
Piste Suggestion: Brilliant long (and often cold!) blue piste running down from Christomet all the way to Le Plan – La Giettaz near the Col des Aravis. The return journey via the long Tete du Torraz chairlift gives great views of the Aravis and Mont Blanc Massifs, but is high and exposed in poor weather. You can shelter in the Bonjournal, see below!
Café / Restaurante Suggestion: The Auberge Bonjournal has an impressive location on this main watershed ridge and gives great views of the area, if the weather is good!
Resort Height: 1081m
Maximum Lift Altitude: 2350m
Off Piste Suggestion: Some great meadows to explore and get fresh tracks in relatively friendly terrain can be found on the East facing slopes below the téléski des Salles and leading back down (via an easy piste) to Megeve Jaillet base station. See photo below.
Piste Suggestion: Check out the impressive terrain and views from the black ‘Marmotte’ run from Cote 2000m, or for an easier option, the Chamois and link via the blue Pre Rosset to access the ‘longest drag lift in the world’, the Lanchettes. From here you will be ready to warm up with a hot chocolate at the superb cafe / restaurant, see below.
Café / Restaurante Suggestion: In mid winter at least, if you manage to get there, you will be ready to go in! It’s often a long & chilly ascent via the Cote 2000m chairlift and long Lanchettes drag lift, but it’s worth it to reach the superbly located Pré Rosset. As well as being a welcome warm up café / hot chocolate stop they are also a RESTAURANTS d’altitude (Cuisine SAVOYARDE) and even a high altitude winter base camp for skiing and enjoying a night in the mountains.
Ski Safari Journey Suggestion: A great backcountry journey is to link the big ski on the West face of Mont Joly (steep and sustained off piste skiing and only to be attempted in stable snow conditions) with the meadows above Le Planay, a tiny hamlet at 1436m nestled near the end of the Cote 2000m / Altiport valley. From here a short skin up the snow track (pisted in high season) towards Bacré then gives an easy angled ski / push! down to the valley to catch a bus back in to the lift system from the La Livraz ski de fond base camp where there is also a café etc.
Ski St. Gervais
Resort Height: 850m
Maximum Lift Altitude: 2350m
Off Piste Suggestion: Excellent sustained side country, and often good snow, on the NE facing slopes above the Contamines Valley accessed from the Epaule de Joly chairlift. These continue all the way down to the Refuge Porcherey which is another good cosy option for a winter lunch in a more remote location than the suggestion below.
Piste Suggestion: The Red ‘Epaule’ run taking the super N, then NE ridge of Mont Joly from the same lift as above. This also leads down in to the St Nicholas mid station which often has some great powder side country around in mid winter.
Ski Touring Suggestion: There are less obvious classic touring options at St. Gervais than the other resorts in Evasion as many areas are lift accessed however, with a creative approach, some great terrain and fresh tracks can be found. Try the shady powder bowl below the Col du Christ (below the exit traverse skiers left) but be warned – be sure to ski back out rather than try and continue down the heavily wooded valley below, which is full combat!
Café / Restaurante Suggestion: Sous Les Freddy’s, St. Gervais, attractive and cosy old wooden shed below the summit of Mont D’Arbois serving a hearty set meal of charcuterie and potato fritters. Delicious and worth building up an appetite for!
Ski Les Contamines
Resort Height: 1160m
Maximum Lift Altitude: 2440m
Off Piste Suggestion: On a good powder day, take the piste mentioned in the Piste suggestion below and cut the corners on some of the easy angled meadows leading down towards the La Ruelle mid station. A great place to enjoy easy angled sunny powder and warm up your powder skiing technique. Higher & steeper slopes give great side country options, especially on the first clear day after clouds have cleared, from the Aiguille Croche / Tierces chairlift.
Ski Touring Suggestion: The classic Col de la Fenetre is a short ascent after the steep and committing traverse on the West face of the Aiguille de Roselette has been negotiated from near the top of the Büche Croisée chairlift. There is a great long descent from the Col in to the upper Contamines Valley and down the Roman Road. Crampons are required for this last section in anything other than good snowy conditions.
Piste Suggestion: From the top of the Büche Croisée chairlift, take the long and scenic blue pistes leading down to the ‘La Ruelle’ mid-station (1600m) on the Hauteluce side. From here you are crossing from Les Contamines in Haute Savoie (74) to Savoie (73) and it’s a great journey with views out to the fine ski touring peak of the Rochers des Enclaves above the Lac de la Girotte.
Ski Touring In The Aravis
Marked Ski Touring Trails
There are some excellent marked ski touring trails in the area, particularly from Combloux where there are several good sign posted trails which take enjoyable side country routes through the woods and meadows to reach both the Sommet des Salles (1757m) and Croix des Salles (1704m) and thus offering a significant ascents of around 500m from the high parking at Cuchet above Haute Combloux. However both routes have numerous options to re-join the piste along the way so much less ascent is also possible if desired!
There are 2 main routes from Combloux Cuchet. One follows the well marked trails out of Cuchet on to the East facing meadows leading past the Chalet de la Vielle (1363m) and onwards and upwards past Beauegard and in to the woods leading up to the Croix des Salles. Alternatively a slightly longer route heads north out of Cuchets and runs alongside the pistes and Beauregard chairlift for a while, before taking to the wooded trails north of the Pertuis chairlift with various meadows and a more exposed open section at the top leading to the Sommet des Salles. The piste can be joined at almost any point in this last open section.
There are also routes leading this way from Megeve Jaillet, á découvrir….
Ski Evasions Aravis Conditions
If you have skied in any of the Evasion resorts recently or have been ski touring in the Aravis, then please send any relevant comments on snow & ski conditions via contact form at the base of the page. Thanks, bon ski.