Off Piste / Ski Touring
Courchevel Off Piste
Skiing beyond the boundaries away from the crowd.
Skiing on untouched, backcountry powder.
Exploring new routes.
Admiring the beauty of the landscapes.
Finding yourself alone, or in a small group, facing the elements .
Sharing a nice dinner with friends by the fire in a restaurant, deep in the valley or in a hut, your mind full of memories with so many stories to tell.
Sometimes, on a tour we have unexpected, but fascinating meetings with local inhabitants.
We ski easily, using the right techniques on very different types of snow and on varied terrain such as coombs, couloirs, forests and steep slopes.
Dipping your skis into the virgin powder, leaving behind you tracks that are fleeting and unique.
All your senses are heightened, aroused by one whole natural element made of air, cold, snow and silence.
Dreaming of our next ascents.
Dreaming of our next explorations.
As the seasons go by, our beautiful memories of descents, emotions, memories and photos are remembered.
Sometimes searching for the Holy Grail : Skiing on backcountry powder.
Huge moments of happiness.
The Ski Excel team will share with you both techniques and knowledge of the mountain.
We will share with you our love for the Vanoise Massif.
We have all regularly practised off piste skiing in this area for more than 18 years.
We also often expore the jewels of the close by massifs during our explorations.
We are truly passionate.
We are all professionals with much experience and have followed very rigorous training programmes. The supervision of off- piste ski requires experience, skills and knowledge of the surroundings.
From our full day or half day ski tours or from our Xperience trips you will get a knowledge and experience that will stay with you for the rest of your life as a skier.
Off piste Introduction
Appropriate equipment adapted to your ski level and your physical abilities is required for the success of your off-piste ski lesson.
We’ll guide and advise you to choose your equipment.
Before we set off, we will undertake a security briefing and take stock of the security equipment you have with you. (eg Avalanche transceiver, shovel and avalanche beacon probe) This is an essential moment that we must have prior to start in order to ski together in a serene and responsible way.
We will, firstly judge your ability levels, and then, using various fun exercises improve your technique on all types of terrain.
You will learn how to use your avalanche equipment, including avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe, and you will be introduced to methods of first aid.
Then, you will ski your first classic route.
We will suggest to you a few routes you might want to ride depending on your progress and according to the prevailing weather conditions:
– Vallée des Avals area ( Courchevel)
– Grande Rosière (The Allues Valley)
– Col de Jean, Combe Fenêtre (Allues area on the left bank)
– Combe Cure (Allues area on the left bank)
– Les Verdets: Saint Martin route (Vallée des Belleville)
– Lake « du Loup » (Caron-Brequin-Masse area)
Off piste advanced training for Experts
After experiencing some of these oustanding routes, the team can help you to achieve independence in your off piste skiing. We cover weather, snow conditions and types, the terrain and the impact of each of these on potential avalanch risks.
Runs down the three outstanding off piste routes in the 3 Valleys described below give an idea of the type of route concealed in the area. We cannot describe all the 100 or more routes. However, we know them all and will have great pleasure sharing them with you.
The descent of Brides les Bains
North -North West facing.
An absolute must for those who enjoy skiing in the forest. A wide-ranging route: no less than 1700 meter vertical drop. Start from the « Lanches » summit (2305 m) next to the pass of « La Loze ». Go round Tania Rock’s mountain restaurant on the left; the way goes on between the arrival of the Loze chairlift and the outside of the restaurant. Cross towards the North West ridge and ride down along the ridge. (Beware of the risks of wind slabs and of the small rocks barely visible or hidden under a thin layer of snow). Then cross the « Fontany » forest to reach the long grassland that stretches to the foot of the high altitude airport runway. The beginning of the standard route starts here; continue to the « Plantin « hamlet (1409m). Beautiful clearings will greet your eyes! Once at the hamlet cross the road next to the restaurant « Le Plantin » then follow the road to « La Tania » for 50 meters until the roadsign « Brides les Bains ». The rest of the itinerary is marked out. Keep on going downhill, pass not far from the « Hauteville » hamlet then from the « Petit Biollay » to the « Grand Biolay ». An underpass under Brives diversion allows to cross to reach the departure of the Olympe cable car. (600m)
(Other routes quite similar to this one also offer a variety of nice descents at a low attitude. Among them, the descent on « Bozel » starts from the ski-piste « Les Brigues » at the junction of the black piste « Jean Blanc » when you leave the piste on your right or else the descent on Bozel via the lake of « la Rosière » and « La Jairaz » from the Avals valley which can be the logical continuation of five routes in this area.)
IGN 3534OT Les 3 Vallées – Modane – Parc National de La Vanoise
Creux de La Stetta
South East aspect
From the top of the Olympic Express chair lift (2290 m) follow the ridge on your right preferring the Belleville Valley side; huge cornices border the ridge! It would be wiser not to get too close. At the top of the dome « Roc de Fer » (2109 m) the ridge slightly bears left. Go down on the side of the « Allues » Valley and reach the « Stetta » trough by skiing on the top part of the dome. Ride alongside the green alder by skiing on the left side of the crevice. Follow your way in between small trees until the « Granjettes »chalets (1549m) than to the barns. From there, orientate yourself to the left towards the « Raffort » village (1343m). Make a few turns between the trees and you will arrive on the side of a road that you’ll have to cross to reach « Méribel la Chaudanne » by taking the Olympe cable car.
IGN 3534OT Les 3 Vallées – Modane – Parc National de La Vanoise
Les Yvoses (Le Bettaix)
Nord Est aspect
A well-known great off-piste route in « Les Ménuires » which goes down behind « Le Teurre » . From the top of the « Lac noir » chair lift head right and climb about 10 meters up to get under rocks then when going downhill, after a few turns, you’ll catch sight of the top of « La Gratte » in the distance. Slide down towards « La Bache » pass (2529m). Head North, slide down, left of the Grintallia Lake then cross on about 500 m towards a pass which is left of the « Teurre » (bump with an antenna on top of it). Then from the pass, tackle North to go behind « Le Teurre » (after a snowfall beware of the « Teurre » slopes) The Yvoses coomb turns, the wide slopes curve and run steeply down into the « Doron des Belleville ». You can ski anywhere on the coomb , there are several possibilities. Orientate yourself thanks to the chalets visible from a distance (when the weather is fine) or on the 2021 side on the IGN map. Down in the valley a bridge allows to cross the « Doron des Belleville » and get a direct access to the Bettaix chairlift.
Variations: You can start the descent from the top of « la Gratte » at any point of its North ridge.
Vertical drop: 1050m. Count 15 to 20 minutes to reach « La Gratte ».
IGN 3433ET St Jean de Maurienne – St François Longchamp – Valmorel
Introduction to ski touring
Do you fancy an adventure through exploration ? You may have observed passes often from a chair or from a restaurant or your chalet ? Why not make the most of a thrilling descent over varied terrain ? There are many remote huts to enjoy as you begin a career of ski touring.
– Firstly you get acquainted with the equipment.
– You learn the climbing techniques (body position, moves, tracks, conversions…)
– and the methods of traversing a steep slope.
An introduction to ski touring is also possible on a half-day trip, although a full-day session is more recommanded.
To make the first day touring a great success, we recommend some essential equipment.
Locally in our ski resorts, a number of specialized sports shops can sell or rent the necessary equipment.
– Ski or mountain climbing trousers (stretch, light and ventilated))
– A waterproof and ventilated anorak (gore tex or similar)
– A down or fleecy jacket.
– Long-sleeved technical and ventilated underwear.
– A woollen hat, sunglasses, ski goggles and ski cap.
– Sun cream for face and lips.
– A backpack with a capacity of 30 litres.
– A flask or camel bag.
– Energy supplies (eg cereal bars…)
– A picnic
– A personal first aid kit.
– A camera
– Freeride touring skis
– Freeride Ski boots
– Sealskins, knives
– Avalanche transceiver, shovel and probe
The Avals Valley area (Courchevel):
– Col de la Grande Pierre
– Dent Portetta et Couloir des Chamois
– Col du Biol
– Les Brèches de la Portetta (see our photos)
– Rocher de Plassa et Descente par les Glacerets
– Petit Mont Blanc et combe des Roches
– Petit Mont Blanc versant Pralognan
– Roc et Lacs Merlet
– Col du Rateau et Col de Chanrouge
– Col du Rouge depuis Col de Chanrouge et Lacs Merlet
Loze area (Courchevel Valley):
– The Loze Rock
Around the hut of « la Pêche » rock (Pralognan):
– Col du Génépy
– Roc du Blanchon
– Chavière pass and the descent through the Polset small valley until the hamlet pass situated at the top of Saint André village.
Around the hut of Félix Faure (Pralognan):
– Vanoise pass, Epaule de La Réchasse, descent through the « Arcelin » valley.
Caron-Brequin-Masse area (Belleville valley):
– Mont Brequin from the top of « La Masse » mountain, descent to the lake « Le Loup ».
Valley « Des Encombres » area
-« Grand Perron des Encombres » on the North side from the top of « la Masse » mountain.
-« Nant Brun » valley through the pass of « Bonnet du Prête ».
« Belleville » Valley left bank area
From the pass of « La Bache » to « La Gratte » then « Geffriand » to the pass of « La Fenêtre », long ride along the ridges which separate the « Belleville » Valley from the « Encombres » Valley offering several possibilities.
Right bank area of the « Belleville Valley »
-Dos de Crêt Voland
Combes area due South / Funitel (Val Thorens)
-« Borgne » top
« Tougne » small valley area (Allues Valley)
– Tour around the Mont Péclet from the lake « De La Chambre » descent towards Val Thorens.
– Petit Valdez
– « Borgne » spine.
Notre Dame du Pré
– Mount Jovet through « Notre Dame du Pré », descent to Villemartin.
– Epaule Saint-Esprit through the « Luge » pass.
– Pointe de Foglietta
-« L’Agentière » pass.
– Les Terres rouges
– Lorès descent
– Pass « des Fours ».
Our Xperience stays
The 3 Valleys skiing area includes more than a hundred off-piste routes not to mention their variants and other routes seldom visited.
‘Discover the Most Beautiful Routes of the 3 Valleys’ is an exceptional programme which lasts between 5 to 6 days to ride the best of the 3 Valleys : the most beautiful trails and the most important descents.
Each day, you can ski on different areas with one of our ski instructor, always on a loop and never the same itinerary twice in the trip.
To increase your sense of fun and achievement, you may want to end one of those beautiful days with a descent on Brides or Bozel once the ski lifts have closed.
Go and discover the Vanoise Massif. An overnight in a hut, 2 days touring and 3 or 4 days of off-piste skiing in between without any preliminary walking or sealskins.
This hut trip will take place in the middle of the stay, except if the weather conditions forces us to begin with it or postpone it to the end of the stay.
An overnight in a hut which will most likely take place in the « Grand Plan » hut or « Roc de la pêche » hut. These we like very much. However, other huts can host us on the various trails.
This programme has been very successful so far !
We also offer shorter trips out in the mountain, lasting from 2 to 4 days with an overnight in a hut.
We design a custom hut trip to fit your needs, taking into account the weather conditions at the time.
Here are two examples of successful touring trips we have organized for our customers:
March 14th 2012 trip.
– Off-piste skiing in Courchevel Valley and in Allues Valley.
– End of the day: ascent of the Merlet Rock and descent through « Les pas du Roc Merlet » to the « Grand Plan » hut.
– Training to use an Avalanche transceiver.
– Overnight at the hut.
– Ascension jusqu’à La Brêche de Portetta, descente sur Pralogan puis montée au Refuge du Roc de La pêche.
– Ascent to « Portetta » notch, descent on Pralognan then ascent to the « Roc de la pêche » hut.
– Overnight at the hut.
– Ascent to the « Chavière » pass then descent through the small valley of Polset to the « Col » hamlet situated at the top of Saint André village (Maurienne).
– Return to the minibus to Francroz to go back to the 3 Valleys by the « 3 Vallées Express » cable car.
– Off-piste back to the Courchevel Valley to complete the ski trip.
February 25th 2013 trip.
-Off piste skiing in Courchevel Valley and Allues Valley.
-End of the day ascent of Merlet Rock and descent through « Les pas du Roc Merlet » to the « Grand Plan » hut.
-Overnight at the hut.
Ascent to the Portetta notch , descent on Pralognan then ascent to the Félix Faure hut.
-Overnight at the hut.
Ascent to the « Epaule de La Réchasse », descent through the « Arcelin » small valley. Back to the minibus to reach Méribel La Chaudanne, ascent of Mount Brequin from the « Masse », descent to «Le Lac du Loup ».
-Off piste ski back to the Allues Valley to complete the trip.
3 Valleys touring trip
A one-week trip with a new ascent each day and a large variety of off-piste routes. A « freeride touring » programme to explore routes which are accessible with little ski touring or preliminary walk.
You will choose your own programme of trails with your ski instructor who will advise you and adapt it according to your needs, to the snow and the weather conditions
See the non-exhaustive list of the trails we enjoy riding the most in the Vanoise Massif
A lot of sport shops in our ski resorts have the top choice and quality of technical equipment for the high mountains.
Note 2 specialized shops : « Le Camp de Base » in Courchevel 1850 and « La Varape » ( Centre of méribel – Galerie des cimes- phone number : + 33(0) 4 79 08 65 65) We warmly recommend them to you.