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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.