We want to unite like-minded skiers who wish to learn, improve and explore for 5 days in Chamonix.
We want to create a fun, challenging and rewarding week, whilst having some adventures in the backcountry.
Even better you will be lead by a team of local mountain specialists, an IFMGA Mountain Guide and BASI Level 4 ISTD Ski Instructor.
With our support we will expand your mountain skills enabling you to play safer and better in the mountains.
COURSE DATES: JANUARY 23rd -27th 2017 & MARCH 6th – 10th 2017
GROUP SIZE: 6 PEOPLE
WHAT IS BACKCOUNTRY ADVENTURES
WHAT IS BACKCOUNTRY ADVENTURES
WHAT IS BACKCOUNTRY ADVENTURES?
Backcountry Adventures is simply the best way to explore Mont Blanc's iconic range. Our overall aim is to move away from the standard course format and let people experience what Chamonix's backcountry has to offer while learning new skills to become a better skier.
You will get to ski with the highest qualified BASI Level 4 ISTD ski coaches, who will share their expertise about how to improve mentally, technically and physically as a skier to improve your backcountry skiing. Together with IFMGA Mountain Guides they will help you set new goals or simply help you enjoy your time on the mountains with useful tips and tricks. Their expertise will enable you to access terrain that may have previously seemed unachievable.
With evening socials we will share chats on skiing, videos or photos from the day or even some inspirational stories about past adventures. Our focus is for you to have a great week and to absorb as much of our knowledge and enthusiasm for the mountains as possible. Finally we hope to improve your knowledge of the area and give you the tools to make better decisions in the Backcountry.
The first two days of the week will be skiing with a BASI Ski Coach. They will start your adventures by refining your technique and building confidence on steeper terrain and tougher conditions. We will set goals for each individual and use video analysis to consolidate this. It is also a perfect opportunity for the group to bond in a relaxed environment with a maximum of 6 in the group.
From day three onwards an IFMGA Mountain guide will join the group. The Guides will not only bring their own unique experiences and take on the mountains, but also teach you skills and methods on how move safely in differing terrain. We will work on kick turns, rope work, use of an axe and crampons, avalanche assessment, glacier travel and skiing steeper terrain.
The beauty of having a Guide and Instructor at the same time is to enable maximum safety with a 3:1 Guide/Instructor ratio. This will also maximise the sheer amount of expertise that is on offer to you at all times whether it be Tactical, Technical, Psychological or Physical elements you are trying to improve.
The weeks schedule is subject to change depending on weather, snow conditions and skiers ability.
You need to be a relatively experienced off piste skier, with the ability to link turns smoothly in powder snow with confidence, but wish to add skills to improve your ability when snow conditions become more varied and slopes become steeper. If you are looking to push yourself to the next level this is the course for you. Fitness levels need to be such that you are able to last a good day skiing on the mountain including ski touring and boot packing to access suitable terrain. Some experience of ski touring is necessary to allow us to concentrate on learning new mountaineering skills.
An avid skier since he was a boy and a lover of everything outdoors. James has been in the Alps since 2000 and has worked as a skiing instructor in Nendaz, Zermatt, Cornet Peak, Val d’Isére and Tignes since 2004.
In the ‘noughties’ James set up ‘The Development Centre’ ski school in Tignes and ‘Gapski Ski Instructor Training’. His undying love for the Alps led him to quit his career as a White Water Rafting Guide in Colorado and Norway just so he could spend more time living and playing in the beautiful Alps.
James’ enthusiasm for skiing and imparting ideas and knowledge about this sport is something that he is looking forward to sharing with everyone who skis on a ‘Backcountry Adventures’ week. Whether you want to get geeky about the minutia of skiing with video feedback or want to have a much more holistic approach James will cater to your needs.
Rachel is a Scottish born to be mountain addict. She has been fuelling her addiction to the outdoors for 13 years in the Alpes.
Having taught skiing in Verbier for a few years she now runs her own business in Chamonix, where she lives all year round.
When she’s not teaching everyday you will find her skinning up the piste with a head torch on or running up a mountain getting ready for her next endurance race. Rachel shares her love for the mountains and skiing by running these such weeks as our ‘Backcountry Adventures’ to give her clients a taste of freedom and confidence in the mountains.
Phil Ashby QGM is a Chamonix based IFMGA Mountain Guide, and, like Rachel, was born and brought up in the West of Scotland. As an IFMGA Mountain Guide, he holds the highest qualification for guiding clients in both alpine mountaineering and off-piste skiing. Some of the best skiing in the Mont Blanc Massif requires specialist equipment and techniques - such as abseiling into steep couloirs and descending heavily crevassed glaciers.
In a former life as an officer in the Royal Marines’ Mountain and Arctic Warfare Cadre, Phil spent 7 winters working in Arctic Norway and Alaska. He has been to the North Pole twice and in the year 2000 was awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal.
Phil is a super-strong and experienced big mountain skier with the spare capacity to oversee his clients on the most demanding terrain. He has a reputation for finding the best powder and helping even the most confident skiers to push their limits.
Ben is an adventure photographer and IFMGA mountain guide based in Chamonix and the UK. He specialises in working in remote and cold environments. He has spent nearly 2 years working in the Antarctic and over four months in Greenland. He is also an accomplished ski mountaineer, having made a single push 31hr traverse of the Haute Route, gained 3rd in the Patrouille des Glaciers, competed in the World Championships and many other ultra marathon ski events. He is also passionate about steep skiing and has made numerous descents including: North Face – Col du Plan – 5.3
East Couloir – Pointe des Vignettes – 5.3
SW Couloir – Aiguille de Eboulement – 5.1
NE Face – Aiguille de l’Amone – 5.2
Gervasutti Couloir – Tour Ronde – 5.2
SE couloir – Aiguille du Chardonnet – 5.2