Course designed for those with a specific Mountaineering and/or Ski Touring background.
Cost: £240 per person 2019/20 Bookings now open!
16th - 20th Dec 2019
6th - 10th Jan 2020
27th - 31st Jan 2020
16th - 20th March 2020
Run in conjunction with Off Piste Performance this course has been running since 2007 with increasing popularity every season. It aims to bring together like-minded people to develop their off-piste performance. Originally it was aimed at mountaineers who already have a good understanding of the mountains and the hazards they can present, and just need to get their skiing dialled! There will be no avalanche awareness training or skinning uphill during this course - it is purely about developing ski performance in the off-piste. More recently we have found this course has appealed to everyone from guides to mountaineers to ski tourers to non mountaineers - anyone that wants to be part of this like-minded group is welcome.
You will be given simple yet effective tools to ski ice, bumps, powder, chopped up powder and whatever other snow we come across in the off-piste. You will have tactics to ski smoothly through the trees and tight spaces, and feel more confident on the steep and icy. Skiing crust will become fun as you’ll be able to be effective in it. And not forgetting gaining the skills to float effortlessly through the powder.
To develop all these skills we will need to spend time on the piste to acquire the techniques but we will quickly put it into practice in the off-piste.
The course is broken down into 4 half day sessions, with a day off in the middle for rest or consolidation. Your session will either run from 9am - 12, or from 1pm - 4pm, depending on which group you are in. This will leave the other half of the day free to practice and digest the information you have been given so that you are ready to move on in the next session.
The team headed up by Alison have such enthusiasm and patience to ensure you get the most from this course and go away with plenty of new ideas to play around with on skis.
The most important pre-requisite for this course is that you are keen to try new things and prepared to have a go. You will be a competent red run skier and have skied some blacks. Ideally you will have put in some mileage in the off-piste and be able to cope in the majority of conditions (but in no particular style!).
To help us to match you with skiers of a similar level, we ask you to sign up to either group 1 or 2.
"I am a competent red run skier and have experience of skiing blacks. I have skied some off-piste and can “cope” in the majority of conditions. I never feel like I am particularly efficient and my legs can tire quickly. I struggle in deep powder and look forward to the day when I can get the enjoyment from this snow that everyone else seems too. I sometimes use a stem when I don't need too."
"I am an experienced off-piste skier and feel competent in the majority of off-piste terrain. I can maintain balance and control when the snow is deep. I’d like to become more efficient, refine my technique and have tactics for dealing with challenging snow conditions. I do not feel nervous or put off when the snow conditions change and like the challenge of deeper snow and firmer icy conditions."
If you are not sure if it's the course for you, or you are unsure which group to sign up for, The course meeting point on the first day for morning groups (9am till 12) is usually Les Marmottons cafe at the bottom of Les Grands Montets, above Grands Montets Sports. Afternoon groups (1pm till 4pm) are normally asked to meet at the mid-station, Lognan, of Les Grands Montets. We will confirm the meeting point the week before the course as it will depend on the prevailing snow and weather conditions.
Throughout the week we may choose to ski at the other resorts in the Chamonix valley; Le Tour, Flégère and Brévent. In the event of bad weather, we may also use Les Houches.
Find out more about the Off Piste Performance team / BASS Chamonix team. This course was designed by Alison Thacker née Culshaw. The courses are run by Alison, Derek and Shona Tate, Fred Dibblee and Dee O'Neill.