Fancy exchanging the well-groomed pistes for untouched snow and quiet descents? You might be tempted to venture off-piste.
Off-piste skiing has gained huge amounts of popularity in recent years, and it’s easy to see the appeal.
While skiing off-piste is known for being a challenge, you’ll be rewarded with unparalleled views and a sense of achievement you won’t get even from a black run. The experience gives new meaning to ‘off the beaten track!’
So, if off-piste skiing is calling your name, you might be wondering how to go about it. Here’s a guide to off-piste skiing in the Three Valleys.
Why Ski Off-Piste?
What makes skiing off-piste so enjoyable?
You’ll find yourself completely removed from the crowds and noise of the busier pistes. There’s something uniquely thrilling about making the first tracks in unmarked snow!
The hordes of fledging skiers will be a thing of the past. When venturing off-piste, it’s just you and the spectacular scenery in front of you.
Also, venturing where not many others have gone before is extremely self-satisfying. Why not push your abilities to the limits? The only noise is that of your skis making tracks through the fresh snow.
If nothing else, who doesn’t love a challenge? Even the most ambitious skiers will see themselves satisfied by off-piste areas.
Tips for Off-Piste Skiing
Skiing off-piste in the Three Valleys is an unmissable experience. The views are unparalleled, and the linked ski area means there’s a variety of places to explore.
However, before venturing off-piste, there are a few important things to be aware of. Ski safety is particularly important when heading off the beaten track:
- Keep up to date with avalanche warnings.
- Check the weather forecast.
- Get some advice from locals and experts.
- Plan your route.
- Ensure your transceiver is working.
- Always go with a group.
Also, the further away from the well-marked tracks you go, the more of a necessity having a guide becomes.
When venturing off-piste in the Three Valleys, it’s essential to have a 3 Valleys pass. You never know what area you’ll find yourself in, which is all part of the adventure!
Best Places for Off-Piste Skiing
The Three Valleys have an abundance of places for you to explore off-piste. Due to the immense popularity of resorts like Courchevel and Méribel, the fresh powder is often tracked extremely quickly.
So, avoiding the busy areas is the perfect way to take advantage of fresh snow. But, where should you head for off-piste skiing in the Three Valleys?
Experience the mountains like never before!
For your first off-piste experience, Bel Air above Courchevel-Moriond is the perfect choice.
There are many reasons to visit Courchevel, and its variety of off-piste terrain is one of them. Where better to satisfy your taste for adventure?
Here, the terrain is manageable while still providing thrills for skiers. It’s the ideal location to get to grips with the off-piste challenge.
Col du Fruit
Much of the off-piste area Col du Fruit provides endless routes for you to descend at your leisure.
Making the first tracks in the snow here is a uniquely exhilarating experience, giving skiers a new-found sense of freedom.
The Glaciers of the Vanoise
Take advantage of the many glaciers in the Three Valleys!
The descent from a glacier, such as the Gebroulaz glacier, is an unforgettable experience.
Off-Piste Areas to Avoid
Despite plenty of mixed terrain and exciting challenges, some off-piste areas should be avoided. Some areas should only be attempted by the experts, if anyone at all.
While the keenest skiers are always looking to push themselves, skiing off-piste requires caution.
This off-piste area is particularly prone to avalanches and should only be attempted with a guide.
However, even with a guide, this difficulty of this terrain too much of a challenge to be enjoyable. Stick to areas where you can snake down more freely!
The Couloir L’Echelle
Near to the Saulire gondola, the Couloir L’Echelle is also known as the ‘Death Couloir’. This reputation is not one to be proud of!
This area of off-piste has unpleasant and rocky terrain which would pose a near-impossible challenge even for experts.
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