Ski the Vallée Blanche!
We offer private, bespoke Vallée Blanche adventures which can be tailored to your exact requirements.
Private guiding costs £400 per day, split between your group, with a maximum group size of 6. We can organise Vallée Blanche trips for larger groups than this so please contact us for a quote.
We strongly recommend hiring a guide for 2 days even if booking privately. This allows you to enjoy a fantastic day of off piste skiing in one of Chamonix’s legendary ski areas and gives you the skills and confidence required to enjoy your Vallée Blanche descent in maximum safety. However, for good and experienced off – piste skiers, a descent without a preparation day preceding it is perfectly feasible.
In order to book a private guide, please contact us.
Having a preparation day allows you to have a day of off piste skiing with your guide where you can brush up on your ski technique, check out the safety kit and systems required for the Vallée Blanche, ask any questions you may have, and do some amazing skiing!
Experience has shown us that having a preparation day greatly increases safety on the Vallée Blanche and allows everyone to feel much more comfortable and relaxed come the big day, so that all you will need to focus on is enjoying yourself!
Our Vallée Blanche trips run every Saturday/Sunday and every Tuesday/Wednesday from mid January to mid April. They are guaranteed to run so if we confirm your booking, the trip will run, even if you are the only person booked! They do book up quickly though so the earlier you can book, the more likely we are to have spaces left – each course has a maximum client to guide ratio of 6:1.
What does the preparation day involve?
Depending on snow and weather conditions, your guide will work out which of the numerous off piste areas in Chamonix has the best snow and will arrange to meet you there at 9am. (We can organise transport to and from the various lift systems in the Valley (at additional cost) so please contact us for more information). From there, the day is extremely flexible and can be focussed towards working on your off piste skills, learning about safe travel through avalanche terrain, practising with safety equipment, or just skiing hard all day in the company of an expert mountain guide! Most people opt for a combination of these things, with a couple of vin chaud stops thrown in!
A typical itinerary on the Vallée Blanche
The day usually begins at 9am, when you meet your guide at the foot of the Aiguille du Midi cable car. They will then check that everybody has the correct equipment and fit you with harnesses and avalanche transceivers. With this done, the Aiguille du Midi lift takes you from 1050m to the mid station at 2300m and then on to the top of the lift at 3800m in just under half an hour! Once at the top there will be opportunities to take some photos and have a look around this incredible and unique lift station.
After a final equipment check in the top station, your guide will then rope everybody up and you will descend the famous snow arete on the Aiguille du Midi. This is an exciting part of the day and adds to the mountaineering feel of the experience. Luckily, the arete is equipped with a handrail and, with your skis strapped to your bag, descending it is (hopefully!) quite enjoyable – it is certainly exciting!
With the rope off, you will need a few minutes to take in the incredible scenery, which on a clear day gives you views to peaks as far away as the Matterhorn and the Gran Paradiso. All you need to do now is ski down.
Which route for the Vallée Blanche?
As you can see from the photo below, there are plenty of places to find fresh snow on the Vallée Blanche! The decision about which route is taken is made by the guide and is based on conditions and the skiing ability of the group. As a general rule, the skiing gets more difficult the further right you go on this photo, with the “classique” route being the most straightforward and the Grand Envers the most difficult.
Having chosen a route, your guide will then find a safe way through the glacier. This is based on their knowledge of the Vallée Blanche and from years of skiing amongst crevasses, so make sure you do as they ask. Your guide will give you clear instructions at each stage of the descent and you will be able to simply enjoy the skiing and the spectacular scenery.
After a couple of hours skiing, including plenty of stops for photos and rest, you arrive at the famous Requin Hut where the various Vallée Blanche routes converge. This is not a normal restaurant next to a ski run, it’s a fully functioning mountain hut that has been looking after skiers and mountaineers for decades. Although you can bring a picnic, many people choose to stop for a hot lunch here, and maybe a glass of wine.The view from the hut is stunning. The peaks of Chamonix are towering above you and there is a clear view of where you have just been and where you are heading next.
After a leisurely lunch, all that is left is the relatively mellow ski down to the Montenvers train and the end of the Vallée Blanche. Although the skiing is more gentle now, the scenery keeps on coming and with most of the tougher terrain behind you, there is plenty of opportunity to take it all in whilst gliding along.
Normally you stop skiing at the end of the Mer de Glace glacier, from where there is a 10 minute walk up steps to a bubble lift which takes you to the Montenvers train, which in turn takes you down to Chamonix. However, in early season it is sometimes possible to ski all the way to Chamonix by continuing off the end of the glacier and then hiking for 15 minutes uphill to reach a windy forest track which leads down to town. Luckily enough there is a small hut selling drinks at the end of the hike so you can ski the final section to town fully refreshed!
N.B. Before contacting us please read the information below and ensure that you have understood it. By paying for your days with us, you confirm that you have read and understood the information below and agree to our terms and conditions, which can be found here. (Try to book as far in advance as possible or we may already be fully booked for your preferred days.)
Please read the following participation statement from the British Mountaineering Council. Off piste skiing carries with it the same risks as climbing and mountaineering. Accordingly, you must accept that accidents and incidents can and do happen:
“The BMC recognises that climbing and mountaineering are activities with a danger of personal injury or death. Participants in these activities should be aware of and accept these risks and be responsible for their own actions and involvement.”
Skiing with one of our guides does not exempt you from these risks. In order to minimise them, you must obey their instructions and abide by their decisions. Your safety is their primary concern, and failure to observe their instructions forfeits their duty of care towards you.