Nothing beats the off-piste thrill
International Academy is launching a new course during the 2013/14 ski season to teach key off piste skills in Chamonix over the course of a weekend
Chamonix is the heart of the backcountry as far as France is concerned with famous routes such as the Vallee Blanche. Off-piste skiing is where it is at with an ever increasing fan base of British skiers coming to realise this.
Anyone with a good intermediate level of skiing can now undertake an off piste clinic course with International Academy to take this next step towards fully enjoying the wonders of powder. Evolution 2 in Chamonix are one of the most respected ski schools in France and their instructors take the reins on this course. They will prepare participants for all aspects of the descent of the 22km Vallee Blanche mastering the conditions off piste at the time of the course; every day is different off piste! There is no better feeling that gliding over the powder without a care in the world.
What makes this so different, and arguably so much better, than piste skiing ?
- Well firstly the sensation of gliding over and through the powder is almost indescribable, quite different to the bumps and lumps of pistes later in the day.
- Next it is the views, what makes these different to you average mountain views is the absence of lifts and huts making them even more spectacular and natural.
- Finally it is the sense of achievement, when the line has been skied and you look back up at your tracks the feeling is one of pride, ‘I did that’. You might even have been the only group that day to ski that chute or bowl.
The Vallee Blanche: Part of the course is to tackle one of Europe’s greatest off piste trails with the confidence to be able to enjoy it. The route is 22km long with a vertical descent of 2,700m making for an experience of a lifetime – it’s on the bucket list for most advanced skiers to do. There are several routes down varying in difficulty but with the experienced Evolution 2 guide on hand skiers will be able to concentrate on technique whilst being guided down. From Chamonix alight at the top of Aguille du Midi, traverse the parapet of the needle mountains, then the route drops into the valley back towards the resort, a round trip of around four hours full of drama and adrenaline highs.
The course starts at £965 with departure dates on the 23rd January or the 13th March running over the respective weekends. Included within the price is a return transfer from Geneva Airport, 4 nights’ accommodation in the 2* Hotel Vert (3* Hotel Gustavia from £1,065), a 4 day Mont Blanc lift pass, 3 days of training (6 hours a day) and a descent of Vallee Blanche on the Monday.
For more call International Academy on 02380 206 977 or visit www.international-academy.com
As this January course runs over a weekend, it is a great intro which could be followed by a holiday with sister company Ski Weekends www.skiweekends.com later to practice the skills gained or perhaps a preceding weekend ‘warm up’ trip. Ski Weekends travels to many resorts in Europe via coach or airplane including the off piste meccas of the Espace Killy, 3 Valleys, Courmayeur and Chamonix.
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I nternational Academy was one of the first companies based in the UK to offer ski and snowboard instructor training courses, and the first in the Canadian Rockies. Over 12 years on, International Academy continues to offer high quality instructor programmes in selected world class ski resorts. The courses provide the opportunity to: Develop skiing skills, knowledge and technique. Become an effective teacher and share expertise with others. Gain an insight into customer service and how ski schools function. Achieve an internationally recognised ski or snowboard instructor qualification. International Academy is part of Harris Holidays Ltd, which offers the support and backing for students of a robust operator to travel with.