Intro to Off Piste: Val D’Isere & Tignes

The Val d’Isere and Tignes area of France has been famous for many years for its on piste skiing.  However, its excellent lift system and two glaciated areas allow quick access to off piste skiing, day touring and provide an excellent launching pad for multi day ski tours.  There are tours of all lengths and difficulty making it the perfect place to learn off piste and ski touring skills. The course will involve one night in a mountain hut.

Dates: March, April

Ratio: 1:4 Maximum.

Who’s it for: All competent on piste skiers. It is recommended that all skiers arrive at least one day early for the course and do a warm up ski day.

Instruction/Guiding Insurance (essential)
Harnesses & helmets Equipment other than harnesses & helmets
Personal hut fees Valley accommodation
Guides’ hut fees and uplift Personal Uplift
Guides’ lunches and drinks Personal lunches, drinks and drinks at huts
ClimbNow cap

Sample program

The course will begin the night before in Val d’Isere or Tignes allowing us to check through equipment and ensure we can make the first lift the next morning.

Day 1: After meeting at either of the lift systems we travel to the Grand Motte area of Tignes and complete a couple of warm up ski runs. Following this we begin ski touring over the Glacier de la Grande Motte and ascend the Dome de Pramecou (3081m). This will allow us the opportunity to look at the use of a harness, skins and ski crampons. Following this we complete the off piste run, ‘The Tour of the Grande Balme’. The second part of the day will be spent learning to use a transceiver, probe and shovel and off piste skiing.

Day 2: This day will be based around the Col d’Iseran and Glacier du Grand Pisaillas areas of Val d’Isere. The day will begin by completing the Col du Montet (3185m) ski tour. This will give us further opportunity to practice skiing on glaciers and additionally gives us a chance to use ice axe and crampons. The rest of the day will be spent off piste skiing in the Val d’Isere ski area.

Day 3: From the top of the  Montets lift we ski the Col Pers (3009m) off piste run to the Prariond Hut. The hut gives access to a number of good ski cols of which we will do one in the early afternoon. Options are;) Col de la Galise (2987m), Col de la Vache (3127m) and Col d’Oin (3164m). We return to the hut to overnight.

Day 4: From the hut we climb either the Pointe du Gros Caval (3285m) or the Grande Aiguille Rousse (3482m).  This ascent will give us the opportunity to practice all the skills used during the week. Once the summit is gained we ski down past the hut to return to Val d’Isere via the Gorges du Malpasset.

Day 5: A ski safari day. We will aim to traverse fro the furthest point of Val d’Isere to the furthest point of Tignes linking together many off piste and on piste runs and back again. If the group would prefer to ski tour, we can make the ascent of the Point de la Sana (3436m) from the Val d’Isere lift system.

Other possible objectives

  • Point de la Galise (3343m) from the Prariond Hut.
  • Roc de Basange (3220m) from Le Fornet.
  • A mountaineering ascent of La Grande Motte (3653m) from the Tignes lift system.
  • The Cungnai off piste run followed by the ascent of the Col des Fours (2976m) from the Fond des Fours Hut.
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