Okay, you have booked your next ski holiday, directions Les Alpes, and have constantly been keeping an eye on the snow forecast of your selected resort. You finally get there, enjoy yourself for a week or so, do a bit of off-piste here and there, try out the latest equipment craze, enjoy the good food, scenery and fresh air to come back to the UK telling all your friends about how great it was and already mentally planning your next trip. Right?
As fun as it must have been, could you be doing a bit more next time, something which, despite being very simple and straight-forward, will actually be an experience you’ll be able to come home and remember for the rest of your life?
If so, read on, as skiing down the White valley might actually be the answer for you.
The famous Vallée Blanche in Chamonix is perhaps one of the most famous off piste ski descents in the world, 20km long with a vertical descent of 2,700m, one which every skier should try at least once in their life. It starts at 3,812 meters on the Aiguille du Midi and is easy to access via the Aiguille’s dedicated cable car in France or Helbronner on the Italian side. It can sometimes be very busy an arrival at the top so my first advice would be to spend a bit of time looking around, sit down, adjust to the altitude and have a snack before setting off as it will be quite an energetic ride. Another advice would be to try it mid-week rather than on weekend to avoid the heavy crowds!
If the conditions are good, this wonderful and magnificent adventure trip is accessible to most intermediate skiers. However, despite its reputation as ‘something between a blue and red piste’ it should not be forgotten that the Vallée Blanche is still a high mountain off piste route. It is highly recommended to consider skiing with a guide. Most will speak English. A friend of mine who went for this option said he learned more about mountain in a few hours, – right down to snow molecules!- than he had ever leaned in his 20 odd years of skiing so definitely something to consider!
About halfway down the Vallée Blanche, you can stop in the Requin Hut and have an excellent meal and drinks. When there isn’t enough snow to come back to Chamonix on skis, it’s much nicer and comfortable to stop at the Montenvers train station and take the train back down to Chamonix.
There are a number of variants to the Vallée Blanche, requiring a little more skill and knowledge of the area, such as steeper skiing over a more difficult terrain. These routes are only recommended for advanced skiers under the guidance of a qualifiedmountain guide. I have always stuck to the main slope myself, the beauty of the site filling all my skiing fantasies!
Whatever slope you go for, the views are indeed stunning and the high mountain environment provides a real sense of wilderness. This is one of those memorable experiences that you’ll never forget.
Have you skied down the Vallée Blanche yourself or are you planning to? Leave us your comment below!