1 day - skiing
The “Vallée Blanche” is probably the most famous off-piste itinerary in the world! A must to do for every ski lovers!
Starting from the top of Aiguille du Midi cable car at 3842m, you will experience a real immersion in the highest mountains of Europe, a world of glaciers surrounded by incredible peaks and granite needles. Then it’s a 17 km run, mostly on glaciers to reach Chamonix. A unique an exceptional experience!
There are different alternatives depending on the group’ level and the snow conditions. Your mountain guide will discuss and decide with you the best one.
The itinerary described here is the “classic” Vallée Blanche:
Meeting point at the Aiguille du Midi cable car:
Your guide will contact you to arrange a meeting point at or around the Aiguille du Midi cable car station in Chamonix. After a briefing on the day’s program and cvhecking your safety equipment, you will take the cable car to the top of the Aiguille du Midi at 3842m.
NB : depending on the number of visitors, a reservation at the cable car is necessary and will determine our departure time. We will book it for you as soon as we get your booking.
Descent of the Aiguille du Midi ridge :
The first part of the Vallée Blanche is actually hiking down “the” snowing and sometimes icy ridge of the Aiguille du Midi. It is an impressive start because it is vertiginous and exposed to the cold and wind. However, it is not difficult. The ridge is equipped with fixed ropes to hold on to. You will be roped up with your guide will also secure you with a rope and help you if you need to carry your skis. We highly recommend to have a backpack on which you can hang your skis! And some other stuff like water, food, extra jkt,… It will definitely makes the ”ridge experience” way more comfortable! It takes between 20 and 40 min before we can put the skis on and start the “Vallée Blanche”!
The Vallée Blanche Glacier :
Before making your first turns, your guide will give you the necessary instructions and recommendations. Beaware, you are at 3800m! and things may be a little different than usual at this altitude. Physical efforts are more difficult and it is essential to start your descent slowly. All you have to do is follow your guide and enjoy the landscapes!
During your itinerary, it is possible to stop at the Requin hut (2516m) and/or to have a picnic on the Mer de Glace glacier.
At the end of the Mer de Glace, we’ll pass by (actualy below) the Montenvers train station. A this point, we’ll have 2 options, depending on the conditions and your energy level.
1st Option: skiing down to Chamonix via “les Mottets”
If there is enough snow, we can continue the descent until the end of the Mer de Glace glacier. Then a 30min hike (with skis on the shoulders or on the back pack) will take us to “Les Mottets”, where we’ll find a small “buvette” (meaning that we can get some food and drinks whilme restinf after the 30min hike!J). The rest of the run down to Chamonix follows a 2-3m wide road in the forest. This option offers a fantastic 17km run with 2800m of negative elevation! Impossible to find such a run somewhere in the world!
2nd Option: Montenvers train down to Chamonix
When there is not enough snow below 2000m to ski down to the valley, we’ll stop below the Montenvers train station next to its famous ice cave. It is then necessary to climb the 600 steps (30min to 1h) to join a cable car, and then the train to get back to Chamonix (the train takes about 30 min).
Important: the program and itinerary can be adjusted at any time by the guide according to the weather and mountain conditions.
About the Vallée Blanche
The Vallée Blanche is a mountain itinerary on glacier. Without being steep, nor technically difficult, you must be able to ski off-piste with changing snow conditions (fresh snow, powder, crusty, windy, hard,…). Depending on the quality of the snow, which can change within a few hours, the difficulty greatly varies.
To fully enjoy this ski trip in the heart of Europe’s highest mountains, we recommend a good skiing level / experience meaning that you should be at least comfortable on the red slopes and have already experiences in off-piste skiing.
The altitude is also an element to be aware of. Skiing in fresh and sometimes dense snow at this altitude requires a very good physical condition. The itinerary also imposes, depending on the snow conditions, a 30 to 40min hike to reach the Mer de Glace cable car and then the Montenvers train, or the “Mottet buvette” when it is possible to ski down to Chamonix.
In the mountains, humility is safety. Do not overestimate your level and do not hesitate to contact us if you have any doubts. The most incredible day of your life can quickly turned into the worse experience ever if you don’t make the right decisions. Our team is committed to help you find out how to have the best ski day possible!
Be aware that in a group there are as many skiers as ski levels. No one will be left behind, so your guide will adjust the day according to the slowest.
The Vallée Blanche is not forbidden to snowboarders. However, the classic itinerary is not very steep and includes long traversing and/or flat sections. Technically easy on skis, these parts require, in snowboard, a very good experience to anticipate and deal with them without having to take off your snowboard (a dangerous thing to do on a glacier).
There are more interesting runs to do in snowboard (Envers du Plan for example) but steeper.
Therefore, we ask for a very good level of snowboarding to do the Vallée Blanche.
There is no age restriction as long as your fitness and ski level allow it! Your guide will/may adapt the itineary if needed and take the necessary time.
It can be interesting and reassuring to do a day of skiing with a guide beforehand to prepare yourself and make sure you’ll get the experience ever!
For children, their level of skiing and their ability to progress off-piste is the most important point. The altitude makes the physical efforts, especially for children under 16 years old, very exhausting. We recommend a minimum age of 13 years old and an excellent ski level (ideally with a previous day of skiing with one of our guides). A minor must be accompanied by a parent for any activity with one of our mountain guides.
In general, we call “high mountain itinerary” all off-piste itineraries during which you evolve under your own responsibility. It is therefore necessary to be able to estimate and manage the risks related to this activity, particularly the choice of the right itinerary, the avalanche risk, crevasse rescue technics, etc…
In the case of the Vallée Blanche, another problem, and not the least, is added: the glacier.
Skiing on a glacier involves more difficult management and route finding (because there are crevasses and specific equipment). The knowledge and experience required are higher to perform this type of route safely.
Just like any off-piste itinerary, especially in the high mountains, the Vallée Blanche involves risks. From avalanche danger to crevasses, skiing the Vallée Blanche means “putting your spatulas” in an environment that is not secured and where you have to accept the risks whether you are accompanied by a guide or not.
Being accompanied by a guide will not make the dangers of the mountain disappear but thanks to his expertise, you will be able to appreciate the beauty of the landscapes while following his instructions.
A certified mountain guide is not an all risk insurance ! To evolve in the high mountains alone or with a guide, you must be aware and accept the risks related to this exceptional universe from all points of view.
Our mountain guides are qualified, equipped and trained to provide you with the safest experience possible. They will anticipate any risky situations and deal with most of the dangers for you. This is not to make you feel less responsible, on the contrary, the safety of a group, experienced or beginners, is the business of every member of the group! Your responsibility is to follow the instructions of your guide.
A certified mountain guide is an experts in safety first of course. But they are before that passionate and fascinating persons. Spending a day with them means learning, understanding and sharing the pleasure of being in the mountains!