Identify your off-piste skill level here.
You can ski on piste confidently, linking fluid turns down the fall line on red pistes. If this is you, this means you are technically ready to tackle off-piste skiing. But, we all know that skiing is 90% in the head, so more importantly you must be willing to accept the challenge! And this is where we can help you.
You’re a competent off piste skier with ideally at least two weeks off-piste skiing experience and can link 10-12 turns together in reasonable control, speed and style, following the fall line in most conditions. All the runs are careful chosen to reflect this level, accessing suitable terrain at an appropriate pace, enabling you to practice and consolidate new skills recently gained. Guiding for the intermediate level is ideal for off-piste skiers who want to really explore the further reaches of the ski domain safely and most importantly, with their confidence intact.
You’re an experienced and very confident off-piste skier. You’re able to handle most different snow conditions and ski steep slopes (40 degrees), make short turns in gullies and ski through trees. You’ll be in the ‘ski pretty much anything’ category and our guides have devised a number of programmes that we think will really appeal to you, discovering some of the Val d’Anniviers best backcountry. Itineraries are kept flexible and our guides will decide each day’s adventure depending on conditions.
You are an experienced highly competent skier. Able to ski fluidly and autonomously on all terrain, including couloirs and gullies. Confident on steep slopes and jump turning in narrow couloirs. If you already ski the steepest slopes and want to challenge yourself in one of the Alps best backcountry areas our guides can arrange that. All the ski resorts in the valley have iconic descents on faces and couloirs. Before tackling them you will be given reminders of steep skiing techniques. Maximum group size: 4 with 1 guide. No further explanation required!
You are looking for your first touring experience. The pace is relaxed and typically we skin for less than 2 hours per day so ascents are less than 600m vertical. You need to be a reasonable off-piste skier (at our intermediate level), able to link controlled parallel turns in powder snow and ski through trees in control. You need to be prepared to hike short sections on foot carrying your skis on your rucksack (though you won’t need any specific mountaineering knowledge, so crampons and an ice axe are usually not required).
You are fit enough to ski all day with only short stops for food and drink. You’re used to doing cardiovascular exercise 3 to 4 times a week (bike, run, gym) to maintain your fitness, and you’re able to push yourself if needed for short periods of time at a higher rate than usual.
You’ll have ski toured before and can execute good uphill kick turns on steeper slopes and have some familiarity with use of crampons and ice axe. You need to be a reasonably strong off-piste skier able to deal with a variety of snow conditions (powder, crust, slush) and able to ski on steeper and narrower slopes with the requisite ability and confidence for exposed sections. These tours will involve around 2-4hrs of skinning per day, achieving around 600- 1000m of vertical ascent. We would expect you to be able skin to a pace of 300m of vertical ascent per hour.
You can ski all day comfortably off-piste. Your stamina and endurance fitness is good and you work hard to maintain a good level of fitness. You will be exercising 3-4 times a week and also at the weekend and have a good cardiovascular stamina.
You are an experienced ski tourer who’s previously completed hut-to-hut trips or multiple day tours. Using the Imperial Crown Haute route as an example of an advanced-level tour, you will be expected to ascend on skis at around 400m/hr and be able to skin for at least 5hrs with up to 1000m to 1300m of ascent per day. A large proportion of the terrain may be steep and exposed; thus confidence in your uphill kick turns on 35+ degree slopes is a must, as is your ability to ski slopes of 40 degrees. You will be a strong, fluid off-piste skier able to handle all conditions. You will be confident of using crampons and an ice axe and happy climbing on snow and rock on short climbs to summits, and in gullies to gain a col.
Your stamina and endurance fitness is good and you work hard to maintain a good level of fitness. You will be exercising 3-4 times a week and also at the weekend; thus running a half marathon, doing a 50 mile cycle ride, 3-4 hours on a mountain bike or a full day’s hill walk would all prove possible with this stamina level.
Be Prepared! Backcountry skiing is all about getting away from the crowds. In the Val d’Anniviers, slopes don’t get skied out at anything like the rate they do in bigger resorts, however walking, usually on your skis with skins, massively enhances your off-piste opportunities. Whilst there is a huge amount of lift-accessed off-piste skiing in the area, often just a brief 20 minutes walking can double the amount of off-piste terrain available. For that reason, we strongly recommend a ‘touring set up’ (touring bindings and skins) and for snow boarders, split boards.
Bespoke Adventure is the best way for families, groups of friends, school parties or corporate groups to get the most out of a holiday.
The programme is suitable for total beginners and is ideal for anyone wanting to learn the essential basic skills for climbing easy alpine peaks.