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Off Piste skiing - snowboarding - telemarking in the valley of Chamonix.

We could also say that these rules apply to any kind of off piste skiing in the world. absolutemotions can not be held responsible for any accidents that might occur from the information featured on the website. Read our disclaimer.

The best skiing in Chamonix is often experienced off piste, powder is always the best type of snow to go down, but there are many dangers involved (avalanches, crevasses, hidden cliffs...), below are a few tips for off piste skiing in Chamonix. Remember if you want to ski off piste, the best way to have a safe and pleasureable experience is to hire a guide. There is an extremely high numbers of deaths in Chamonix every year, don't ski stupidly, your life depends on it.

  • Hiring a guide is the best way to experience the available skiing. There are more than enough guides in the valley to take you in the most incredible places, if you think the price is a bit steep, just consider the price of a rescue and/or a coffin and the decision will be obvious. here are a few of the available guide companies in Chamonix.
  • What we mean by off piste is skiing alongside the trail or in official areas where the resort allows the off piste skiing. Never ski outside of a resort's official area (usually marked by ropes and marked on the trail maps). Always consult the ski patrol and avalanche bulletins of the avalanche danger prior to going skiing, they are more than happy to help.
  • To ski off piste, you need to ski in groups of at least 3, be equipped with a transceiver (pieps), shovel, probe, have followed and avalanche course, (to know what to do with the pieps, shovel and probe) and a lot of comon sense. Always inquire in town or at the resort itself about the avalanche conditions for the area where you will be skiing.
  • Do not cross under ropes and respect posted signs at all times, these signs are there for your safety and not to keep you from experiencing some good skiing like in North America. If a restrictive sign is placed in an area where there wasn't one previously, respect it, snow conditions change hourly, some of the skiing is on glaciers and crevasses can open up at any time to swallow you up. Remember these signs are for your safety.
  • Always consult the ski patrol (also known as “pisteurs”) about the avalanche danger prior to going skiing, they are more than happy to help. You should also consult the avalanche bulletins. And speaking of bulletins, pay attention to the weather reports posted at ski lifts and in town (Tourism office, Maison de la montagne...) when planning your day. Of course, weather reports can be wrong, or off by a few hours, so when skiing, be alert for signs of fog and cloud coming in.
  • Don't be a Lemming! Do not follow skiers or tracks just because they are going somewhere where it looks cool; if you don't know where you are going, don’t go there. Dangers abound in these areas. This also applies to tracks: it is not because there are tracks going somewhere that it is safe to go there. Ask the ski patrol where it is safe to ski. People have been known to die following, in the fog, the tracks left by a paraglider, you know, those people who start by jumping off cliffs.....
  • Never overestimate yourself. Remember, you might be an expert skier on a trail, but as soon as you leave the groomed areas, conditions will be totally different, more often than not, rendering you a total beginner.
  • Remember that skiing on and off piste in Europe is AT YOUR OWN RISK, you will not be able to sue anybody for anything, this is Europe, judges have brains and you will be charged a hefty fee for any type of rescue, so ski safely.
  • Conditions change hourly, an area that was good in the morning might be dangerous in the afternoon and vice versa, ask a guide or a ski patrol.
  • Don't ski alone. Keep your eyes open! (for suspicious-looking snow (crevasses), potential loose ice, snow or rock especially if it’s warm and snow melts.
  • absolutemotions does not recommend to do some real off-piste skiing unless you are accompanied by a UIAA certified guide, in the course of this newsletter we will not mention areas that are considered real off-piste as the dangers are too great.