In this article

​The Trips

These trips are curated to ensure that you are able to improve the skills relevant to your ability level, enjoy exploring the incredible terrain ​Chamonix has to offer, and have a great time in the typically alpine Chalet Les Pelerins. 

The weeks are split in to two different levels by week; Intro/Intermediate, and Intermediate/Advanced. Where numbers allow there are subgroups. These levels and what is typically taught ​is outlined below so you can book the right ​week for you.

Each week includes seven nights accommodation, five days of guiding and instruction, six days skiing, of Mont Blanc Unlimited lift pass, off piste equipment (transceiver, shovel and probe), local transport, good breakfast and dinner with wine, and a day of free skiing. We choose the free day at the beginning of the week based on weather, to make the most of it!

Seb Cazorla curates the trips, an IFMGA certified high mountain guide and French ski instructor. Seb was a former athlete on the French National Ski Team. You can read more about Seb below.

 

aiguille du midi arete ridge

​Chamonix

AIGUILLE DU MIDI ARETE RIDGE WINTER

Chamonix needs no introduction, the world renowned home of steep skiing, freeride, and mountaineering, there is no other resort like it. 

In just half an hour you can go from the valley floor up to 3,842m, being exposed to some of the most beautiful glaciated terrain in the world. The views stretch for miles into Italy, Switzerland, across Mont Blanc and over the French Alps. 

There is fantastic off piste skiing in the Grands Montets area, a fantastic north facing ski area with plenty of altitude. The Aiguilles Rouges with the south facing areas of Brevent and Flegere provide some great slopes and couloirs for when the snow is hard in the valley. 

We don't limit ourselves to Chamonix however, we can also ski in Courmayeur in Italy, Megeve, St Gervais and also Les Contamines, covered in your lift passes. In the event of bad weather in Chamonix these resorts will be on the cards.

​Chalet Les Pelerins

The chalet is situated a perfect distance out of Chamonix; quiet but accessible. The town centre is a ten minute walk away, or two minutes on the bus, located in Les Pelerins by the hospital. It is spread across two floors with five bedrooms for guests and a secure basement for storing skis, boots and other gear. Bedrooms are twin or double rooms, not ensuite.

​The large dining table and living room provides a spacious environment for enjoying dinner and socialising with the other guests on the course. After a days skiing, there will be some reviewing of video analysis as well as discussions with Seb regarding all things skiing and mountaineering. There may also be an opportunity to relax in the hot tub.

Breakfast and dinner are included. Typically breakfast comprises of eggs, croissants, cereal, porridge, fruit, tea, coffee and so on. Dinner is three courses with wine, prepared by a chef. We can cater for most dietary requirements but please let us know ​in advance.

chalet les pelerins chamonix off piste ifmga

The Guide - Seb Cazorla

SEB CAZORLA IFMGA

Seb is a UIAGM/IFMGA accredited high mountain guide, taking clients worldwide for all things mountaineering; alpinism, rock climbing, ski touring, off piste skiing, and expedition leading. He is also a qualified ski instructor and coach, ​giving him a unique skill set whereby he can take clients in to hostile environments, and teach them how to ski there. 

These incredible mountains are Seb's backyard, his playground and his paradise.

Nearly every day is spent in the mountains; when Seb is not guiding clients, he will be found in the mountains on his own adventures, exploring new areas, reaching new summits or playing his guitar. Skiing since a child and as a former athlete on the French National Ski Team, Seb is vastly experienced and knows his field superbement!

​Levels

Defining levels is always quite difficult, and the below is designed to be taken as a rough idea. If you are unsure please ask us for some clarification. It is better to understate your ability and be safe in the mountains. 

For Intro/Intermediate, you should already be able to make controlled parallel turns on hard red slopes, and negotiate black slopes in poor conditions. The upper end of this would be having at least 1-2 weeks off piste experience, ​but areas to improve are linking turns on steep terrain and difficult snow such as ice and crust.

For Intermediate/Advanced, you already have experience with off piste skiing, at least 2 weeks, comfortable with some steeper slopes and tricky snow, as well as knowledge of using a transceiver. The upper end would be comfortable on 40 degree slopes and skiing hard in challenging conditions, you are up for a challenge, want to improve your skiing and explore the terrain.
VALLEE BLANCHE ACTION OUTDOORS

​What is Covered

By the end of the week, we aim to have covered many aspects relevant to the course and group you are in. We endeavour to improve everyone as individuals, working on personal development for individual technique, as well as the group as a whole. By no means does taking one of a ski course mean you will definitely move up a level; in one week only it is almost impossible to cover all the skills required for that level, plus you need time to consolidate new skills! Below outlines some of skills associated with the relevant level.

VALLEE BLANCHE GLACIER SKI

Intro

For the intro weeks, an idea of what might be covered includes:

  • Jump turns on 20-25 degree slopes
  • Swiss Virage
  • Side slip on some steeper slopes
  • Stem turn on red slope angles
  • Holding height whilst traversing 
  • Basic use of transceiver 
  • Understand the 5 levels of avalanche risk
  • Basic group safety
  • Understand the effect of slope angles
  • Awareness of glacier risks
  • Tying in to a rope
  • Basic orientation
  • Basic crampon use

Intermediate

For the intermediate weeks, an idea of what might be covered includes:

  • Jump turn in 25-30 degree slope
  • Moguls on red slope angles
  • Holding height on steeper slopes
  • Safely making small jumps/drops
  • Applying flat turns in shallow angled powder
  • Transceiver use for multiple victims
  • Basics of avalanche mechanics 
  • Measuring slope angles
  • Crevasse knowledge
  • Basic map skills mountainous terrain
  • Steeper walking in crampons
  • Choosing aspect with weather conditions
DR-16
DR-26

Advanced

For the advanced weeks, an idea of what might be covered includes:

  • Jump turns on ​30-40 degree slopes
  • Hard moguls on black slope angles
  • Side slipping on 45 degree slopes
  • Controlling speed on icy traverses
  • Downhill kick turns in exposed conditions
  • Dynamically mixing techniques according to conditions 
  • Lead and organise transceiver search
  • Judging slope angles from maps
  • Know how to avoid terrain traps
  • Crevasse rescue techniques 
  • Make an abseil/rappel 
  • Basic ice axe use
  • ​Front point ascending with crampons

Expert

We don't offer expert weeks as standard, but if there is interest we can arrange them. Expert off piste likely means 3-4 seasons skiing 10+ weeks each season. This level is aimed at developing more and more autonomy in the mountains at a very high level. Expert skills covered would be amongst the following:

  • Jump turns on ​40+ degree slopes
  • Swiss Virage in all conditions
  • Complex, 'sharky' and steep slope side slipping in all conditions
  • Traverse on icy, very exposed slopes
  • Safely commit to drop offs
  • Swapping crampons to skis in exposed positions
  • Understand how to choose slope aspects vs conditions
  • Able to manage an incident 
  • Skiing whilst roped up
  • Navigation in poor conditions
  • Making strategic decisions to find the best conditions
  • Set up a belay and abseil/rappel 
  • Advanced ice axe use 
  • Build a snow shelter
  • Front pointing crampon technique for ascending and descending
  • Advanced rope work
  • Advanced ski touring skills
expert off piste ski mountaineering

​Tutorial Videos

​Dates and Prices

Chamonix
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 Chalet Les Pelerins26/01/2008/03/2015/03/2022/03/20 
Bespoke Chamonix Off Piste - Intro & Intermediate £1509£1509-- 
Bespoke Chamonix Off Piste - Intermediate & Advanced --£1509£1509