Ski touring is both peaceful and exhilarating at the same time, and a fantastic way to see the wild majesty of the mountains.If you’d like to get away from the crowds, Chamonix is the perfect place. There are many wonderful day tours, suitable for all levels, accessible from the lifts, taking you into the world of backcountry, far away from the pistes.
Some particularly well known ones: Lac Blanc via the Belvedere, or the Col de Berard – you’ll often see people setting off for these up past the lifts at Flegere. They both head over the back of Flegere into the Berard valley, finishing up at Le Buet, near Vallorcine. Chamonix.net has an overview here.
Another good one is La Tour Noire from the Grands Montets, or the Col du Passon.
Many tours in Chamonix are accessible by boarders. You can do some of them on snowshoes, or with approach skis. This quite tough going so you’ll need to be fit if you’re with skiers as well as they can move much faster on the skinning sections. A much better option is to use a splitboard.
Contact a qualified high mountain guide to discuss what you’d like to do – they will be able to suggest what’s suited to your level and in the best condition at the moment. Guides normally provide avalanche beacons and harnesses, and can suggest where to rent any equipment you need. Touring skis and skins can be rented at plenty of places in Chamonix – try Snell Sports or Ravanel. Snell also rent ABS avalanche bags.
Longer tours are possible of course! The classic is the seven day Haute Route, which we did in April 2009, skiing from Chamonix to Zermatt – you can read about it and see the photos on our site: The Haute Route
Ski touring in Chamonix is a truly amazing and rewarding experience and if you’re thinking of trying it, I can’t recommend it enough!
Some lovely films for inspiration – guide and filmmaker Seb Montaz’s touring videos.