In Chamonix, skiing the VALLEE BLANCHE is an interesting off piste descent for intermediate skiers and for experts.
Hiring a mountain guide (UIAGM and IFMGA certifications) is the best way to explore Alps and Chamonix Mont Blanc Valley.
Yan RAULET Webmaster chamonixskiguide.com Mountain Guide in Chamonix Mont Blanc
CHAMONIX MONT BLANC OFF PISTE VIDEO SKIING THE VALLEE BLANCHE VIDEO DECEMBER 19th 2015
The Valley Blanche is a route on the glaciers with crevasses in the high mountains from Aiguille du Midi 3842 meters to the bottom of the valley 1030 meters.
The greatest descent in the Alps: the Valley Blanche is not a pist, but a high mountain route with unprepared snow on the glaciers, the itinerary is 22 kilometers long and the vertical descent is higher than 2800 meters.
All the views are wonderful and the snow and glaciers landscape offers a big impression of wilderness. All for one of the best memories of your life and for an unforgetable experience.
When the snow is good, the amazing and beautiful classic route is skiable by intermediate skiers (from a good red slope level with a small off piste experience). It will be the best day of your stay in our valley on the biggest glaciers of the Alps in the Mont Blanc range.
In the middle of the descent, it’s possible to have a break at the Requin mountain hut for a good lunch and a drink.
If there is not snow enough in the valley, we will descent by train to the bottom of the valley from the Montenvers railway station.
If this is possible, we will ski down to Chamonix.
Many possibilities are existing from the top of Aiguille du Midi if you have a previous off piste experience and a good skiing ability. Steep slopes, narrow passages between the crevasses, untracked routes can be possible
Even if you are a good skier, it’s highly adviced to take a mountain guide because skiing on a so big glacier is a totally different experience: many crevasses are covered by snow and the dangers can be well hided for a non -experienced personn.
Dates: From Christmas to may, depending on snowfall and mountain conditions.
Price: 345 euros for guiding fees a group up to 4 personns (same price for a group of 1, 2, 3 or 4 personns). 15 euros more per extra personn above 4 personns. For the safety maximum 6 personns per guide. The lifts are not included.
Note: The cable car is free with an unlimited valley skipass (62 euros for the 1 day unlimited pass including train lifts) and costs 49 euros (one way to Aiguille du Midi) if there is snow down to Chamonix.
Skiing standart level: The participants must be able to control their speed, to sideslip conveniantly, to turn precisely with a moderate speed for following the route imposed by the glacier and the crevasses.
Vallee Blanche is a high altitude route (3842 meters to 1030 meters) on non prepared snow, off-piste, on a crevassed glacier. Therefore this descent technical grade is variable and can't be compared to traditionnal ski in a resort.
The notions of middle level skier, or advanced are different among people, it will be easier for the professional to decide whether or not the descent is possible by getting information about (this concerns particularly the less advanced level skier in the team):
FOR YOUR SAFETY THE MOST IMPORTANT IS YOUR PHYSICAL AND TECHNICAL LEVELS (We cannot take booking without this informations)
-Your ease on pistes (blue, red or black piste)?
-The resorts you have been to, and which pistes and off-pistes you've skied?
-Your ability among moguls?
-Your experience or not off-piste skiing?
-Your physical condition (which sports, which level, how often?)?
-Your tool: ski or snowboard?
The less technically or physically advanced skier level will make the global team level. (Attention to not come with a friend to please her or him and end in a trap)
Evidently an off-piste experience will allow you to navigate easily, but we also guide resourceful piste skiers in case not cumulating too many weak points: low fitness level associated with a limited ski level for example.
Of course the guide will be here to help you in a professional way, patiently and carefully, the aim isn’t the performance here.
We are not elitist but want to give an objective, rational, non commercial information about Vallee Blanche realities and the reasonable risk management to plan this route.
The "classic" Valley Blanche is the original route. Avoiding all the steep slopes, this route is the easiest one. You will ski in the middle of the Mont Blanc range. Amazing views on Monte Rosa, Matterhorn, Switzerland, Italy, les Drus and Grandes Jorasses
You' will be on one of the most impressive ice falls descending from the Mont Blanc summit.
Remember that you can have all the snow conditions in this area because nobody prepares the snow on this off piste route.
The Gros Rognon is a quite accessible variant of the classic trip. Just on the left of the classic, the snow is less tracked and there is often some fresh and virgin snow.
It can be an excellent opportunity to taste your off piste skills in the deep snow. You can join the classic route anytime you want.
The Envers du Plan is a very interesting variant: a more difficult and steeper route between the crevasses on a wilder section of the glacier of the Giant. The Envers is one of most classic off piste ski route for good skiers, many options are possible on this part of the glacier.
With the Grand Envers, the skiing becomes a big challenge: this route includes a few slopes with an average gradient of 40 45 degrees. You will be obliged to have a perfect control of your skiing and a very good technical level.
An unforgettable experience for only excellent off piste skiers.
Vallee Blanche is more difficult to snowboard and is reserved for very good boarders, because some parts are not steep and traversing, compulsory for a few of them.
While crossing it will be necessary for boarders following the track to not loose any altitude to not come dangerously close to any crevasse
Skiers and boarders follow different curves, which makes it difficult to guide both in the same team: snowboard implicating a steeper routes choice, skiers will need a good off-piste ability to follow these itineraries.
Therefore it's not possible to mix boarders and intermediary level skiers in a team: this is not manageable.
The intermediary level skiers will prefer the classic route less steep slopes, very inconvenient to snowboarders whilst boarders will find easy the Envers du Plan slopes where intermediary level skiers will be technically overtaken.
What helps make the descent easier?
You must have telescopic poles and you must prepare as well as possible your board: a good maintenance of your sole with a good wax for the convenient temperature and humidity of the snow. It's absolutely necessary that boarders opt for a steeper Vallée Blanche glacier area such as the Envers du Plan glacier.’
Why book? This shows your commitment and makes sure of getting a high mountain guide on time.
Team size : It’s preferable for safety to limit the number to 6 participants maximum. Evidently, if less experienced skiers participate, it will be reasonable to decrease the team size in order the guide pays more attention to them.
Some periods are very busy, so, early booking is essential to be guaranteed to be with a professional.
Booking is validated after having sent a 100 euros draft, through Paypal or bank transfer.
The balance will be paid on the day the of the descent.
Cancellation The guide is a professionnal who respects his group and the particippants respect also his work.
His work, his passion and his revenue stream are the mountain activities.
The cancellation is decided by the guide, being in a good place to judge weather and snow conditions.
Thus, according to the conditions, the group level or others, the guide can change the program and can propose different descents.
For avoiding any commercial pressure which is harmful to safety decisions, it's essential to allow the guide to arrange the program without losing his day guide.
Other descents will be proposed to you, there are many very interesting possibilities in Mont Blanc valleys.
However if the conditions are horrible, (for exemple rain in high altitude or very strong wind closing the lift system), the guide can decide to cancel and we give back the deposit.
In case of cancellation, Paypal payment is better to pay you back, without any problem if the guide decides to cancel and not to poor motivation of the participants behalf.
Communication with the guide
Your guide will contact you (email and phone) the latest one week prior to the descent (if you have booked in advance). In order to give you directly the last information concerning necessary equipment, to speak about your technical and physical level, the meeting time might be fixed by the guide on cable-car busy days or because of the weather forecast, not by the participants.
It also will be necessary to give us a phone number you will use in Chamonix in order to allow us to contact you before the descent eventually.
A contact in the evening prior to the descent (preferably between 17 and 18 h) will be very important to exchange the latest information concerning the meeting time and place, the descent conditions, to recheck the participants number and their level.
If you have to drive a long distance in the morning a rational evaluation of the conditions will be made beforehand to avoid any unnecessary journey.
The day of the descent
Be on time, half an hour minimum is necessary to prepare yourself after having parked the car, before taking the cable-car.
To start at 9 for example, it’s preferable to reach Chamonix at 8:15.
(Time to park, prepare, buy tickets)
There’s a big paid car parking: the Grepon parking is opposite to Aiguille du Midi. When you come from Geneve it’s on right side of first roundabout after “CHAMONIX MONT-BLANC” sign.
When you come from top of the valley it’s on left side of 2nd roundabout after having passed the Montenvers small train railway track.
A backpack might be useful to fix skis and get both hands free to walk down on the Vallee Blanche starting ridge.
Bring some drinks and food even if a stop might be planned at Requin hut in the middle of the descent (about 15 euros per person for a meal). If you opt for picnic on the glacier bring some also for the guide: that’s the tradition.
The cable-car cost is 49 euros per person if there’s snow down to Chamonix
Mont Blanc unlimited ski pass, 62 euros per person will be necessary in case skiing ends near Montenvers train top station.
There exists lower prices for people less than 15 years and more than 65 years old , also for families and also in December and April, have a look on “Compagnie du Mont Blanc” site.
Plan warm clothes and good gloves for high altitude skiing, sun cream and sun glasses
Gear list (we will provide you with a harness and an avalanche safety transceiver)
Skis boots, poles or snowboard and telescopic poles
Back pack [20 to 50l] * if you have one prefer it supplying skis attachments
Sun glasses, ski mask.
Water bottle and some food (bars, chocolate, sandwich….)
Linergloves and warm gloves
Ski trousers and jacket
-Never take off your skis or your snowboard, the preasure on snow will increase and multiplicate the risk of fall into a crevasse breaking a snowbridge.
-Be able to stop anytime in case on non expected obstacle
-Keep permanently the view on the terrain for anticipating your next turns (for exemple never jump a bump if you don't know how it is behind this bump)
-Stop always above the guide
-Comply with the orders of the guide (ski 10 meters on the left, on the right of the track of the guide, ski exactly in the track of the guide...)
-Keep a mimimum distance of10 meters between each skier.
About 20 minutes are necessary to reach Aiguille du Midi, on top we will put on the harness and the transceiver before starting the descent.
We will rope up to walk down the Aiguille du Midi ridge.
The guide will then communicate you the specific glacier skiing information, these rules have to be followed for your safety.
We will ski one the Vallee Blanche routes, chosen by the guide, looking at the skiers level, this down to Montenvers train or to Chamonix if possible.
We generally come back between 13 h. 30 and 16 h. to Chamonix this depending on participants level.
A useful shuttle brings back the skiers to the departure parking close to Aiguille du Midi.
VALLEE BLANCHE WEEK-END: (possible also the week)
An unforgettable week end, discovering two of the main off piste skiing areas in the Chamonix valley : the Grands Montets and the Aiguille du Midi with as a bonus a night spent in the ambiance of a mountain hut, normally very calm at this time of year.
D1: Morning. At the Grands Montets (3300 m). Skiing on the Argentière glacier and many other off pist routes of this outstanding ski area depending on your skiing ability. Afternoon,cable car to the summit of Aiguille du Midi (3842 m), then the first part of the Vallée Blanche to the Cosmiques hut for the night.
D2: Ski down the Vallée Blanche, we start early in the morning just before all the skiers starting from the 1st cable car of the Aiguille du Midi, just you and the Valley Blanche...
Sking standart level: French ski school levels 2 and 3
Dates: Every week-end (and during the week) from mid february until mid-may, depending on the snow conditions. (4 personns minimum)
Price: 440 euros per personn (170 euros for guiding + 270 euros for the common fees: mountain hut on half board basis and valley ski pass)
+33 6 12 22 04 82 Yan Raulet mountain guide Chamonix off piste mountaineering vallee blanche glacier travel ski touring climbing mont blanc +33 6 12 22 04 82