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Off Piste Course Recommendations

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I am a confident intermediate and have skied 99% of my time on piste. I have around 30 weeks experience typically skiing for 2 weeks every year.

I have an opportunity to ski with some mates on a guided off piste week, but the criteria from the guide/instructor is an ability to ski off piste.

Can anyone recommend any courses &/or instructors who could improve my confidence off piste, particularly in powder?

I had in mind a 5 to 7 day course, perhaps with a group where the focus is to improve skills, ideally based in Europe during January 2018.

I would travel alone, so the idea of a small group with shared experiences would be good.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@DavidYacht, do you actually want to ski off piste or are you thinking of doing this just because your mates are? Got to say you sound like a very committed piste skier....

Ironically, technically, skiing off piste requires broadly the same technique as on piste with a few minor adaptions. Beyond that it's simply down to practice and experience. I've never had any specific off piste tuition but I suspect it would involve a) improving general technique much like normal skiing tuition but off piste and/or b) stopping people from skiing massively different to how they would on piste. Also of course being with a tutor means you go on appropriate terrain and not get yourself in the s**t like most of us have done and still do occasionally.

I've not done one but ucpa courses in France are ideal for singletons.

BTW skiing off piste, certainly in Europe means skiing powder, crud, crust, slush, slough and everything in between. It's not just a pretty face.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Very wise to do a course as if your mates are already competent you could easily feel you are slowing them up.

There are a number of companies that do courses, the minor snag will be avoiding the single supplement in their accom packages. That said snoworks do offer shares and the Ski Club of GB Freshtracks holidays also make provision.

Or you could book a cheap deal with a TO/self help and then join a group course in resort. I would pick an off piste mecca, eg Tignes and Val and then book on an independent course, them come back and ask for a recommendation from a resort expert on here. In Tignes I would recommend Evo2 in Tignes Le Lac who have a dedicated off piste team or TDC if they have a course running at the time you book. Don't leave it to the last minute as off piste clinics often book up early.

Finally, off piste skiing is much more than powder, those are the very good days. Despite all the marketing hype powder is down to the weather gods, there is a good chance in Europe that you will not see it in its purist form in a particular week. There is a tendency to call all fresh snow powder, it is not.
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Yes a good idea. Not sure that the likes of Evo2 have off piste groups every week - I'm pretty sure they don't in Chamonix. Best to enquire there.

Also Warren Smith, Snoworks, etc.

As mentioned - skiing powder on modern skis isn't difficult. At All. It's all the rubbish that comes with it that's more of a challenge.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
@DavidYacht, agree entirely with the previous posts. The bargain maximum social way is any of the UCPA courses at the big French resorts. These include all food, accommodation, equipment and instruction. The main drawback with UCPA tends to be group size. It can be 8 or 10.

If you would like recommendations based on personal experience, either Alison Culshaw (Off Piste Performance) or Mark Gear (All Mountain Performance), both Chamonix based, are terrific. 4 or 5 days with either will make a significant difference to your skiing. If you opt for them, or any other of the excellent similar courses available don't hang about booking. Alison's places for next year will be booked up by the end of summer.
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You'll need to Register first of course.
Layne ... in response to your point. I have skied off piste, done some reasonably challenging things with local experienced skiers but I would like to broaden my horizons. I would hope through my experience so far that I have a platform to work with, but I dont want to hold people back.

I am also aware from this and other sports that you can learn a lot, very fast from good coaching.

On my various forays into fresh powder, I have loved the experience, however too many runs have ended with gaining too much speed, being unable to effect controlled turns, and ending up in a pile while searching for lost skis! Therefore this is probably the area in which I need to gain confidence.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
@DavidYacht, Oh and I would expect that a single course would get you to the required level - assuming your basic technique is adequate. Can't guarantee you'll get powder in Europe though!

Sounds a little as though you're trying to force your turns in powder...
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
I'd have thought you'd be a prime candidate for the the sH Gnarly but Gnice trip.

Re your description of too much speed - sounds to me that you lean back too much possibly to keep you tips up. A better shaped ski may help significantly i.e decently fat with a rocker tip where you can really get over the front of your ski and ski powder as easily a groomer (Obviously that's not a substitute for the appropriate coaching as well - but if you have sub-optimal tools for the job the job becomes harder)
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You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net.
DavidYacht wrote:
Layne ... in response to your point. I have skied off piste, done some reasonably challenging things with local experienced skiers but I would like to broaden my horizons.

Fair enough. It was just a question as you said you'd skied "30 weeks" and "99% on piste".

DavidYacht wrote:
I would hope through my experience so far that I have a platform to work with, but I dont want to hold people back.

All sound thinking.

DavidYacht wrote:
I am also aware from this and other sports that you can learn a lot, very fast from good coaching.

Mmmm. Good coaches will quickly identify areas to correct or improve that is true. But the correction or improvement is unlikely to be very fast. Nevertheless, a bunch of sessions spent with a good instructor and a group of like minded individuals can only be a good thing. In effect the instructor is half mountain guide in this scenario. He'll no doubt drag you down places you may have been unsure about attempting. And he won't allow (within reason of course) any of the group to wuss out when things aren't splendid, as they inevitably won't be.

DavidYacht wrote:
On my various forays into fresh powder, I have loved the experience, however too many runs have ended with gaining too much speed, being unable to effect controlled turns, and ending up in a pile while searching for lost skis! Therefore this is probably the area in which I need to gain confidence.

Not an uncommon problem for sure. Partly/mainly comes back to this issue I mentioned earlier of either poor technique and/or doing things differently to on piste.

Are you skiing on fattish ski's? It doesn't completely overcome technique and experience of course but no point restricting yourself on account of poor tools for the job.
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 Ski the Net with snowHeads
Ski the Net with snowHeads
It is fair to say that because of my on piste bias, I have a particular liking for Experience 84's which tend to flatter me. I had a dabble with some Soul 7's a while back, which led to an "all the gear and no idea" moment which I don't particularly want to repeat, hence the idea of getting some lessons. I would rather do this on a dedicated trip, since the last thing I want is to listen to my mates talk about their great days out, while I have been in the classroom.

Sometimes you have to take a step back to make a step forward.

But please keep the ideas coming!
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 snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
snowHeads are a friendly bunch.
Quote:

which led to an "all the gear and no idea" moment which I don't particularly want to repeat, hence the idea of getting some lessons


Admirable. If only more folks were so sensible. DOTM's comment makes more sense than mine about forcing the issue. But hey, we aren't commenting from any sight of what's going on.

Given that 84mm underfoot would have been described as "fat" a few years ago... wink
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 And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
@DavidYacht, I did an introductory course to off piste skiing with alpine coaching this year. Loved it. They don't have a course in January 2018, but do have one in February if that is of any interest. http://www.alpinecoachingsnowsports.net/courses-1/#new-page-3
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
DavidYacht wrote:
I had in mind a 5 to 7 day course, perhaps with a group where the focus is to improve skills, ideally based in Europe during January 2018.

Mid-January would be optimal from the point of view of least busy. So you should be able to get a good instructor/provider, group sizes will probably be smaller and it would be easier to hire ski's more akin to what you are doing should you choose to do that. The flip side is obviously the weather can be pretty bleak. Probably more plusses than minuses.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
I presume all these outfits will throw in some guide of ava gear and safety training which is another plus.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
@Layne, All the ones I did do! There is also free DVA training in Tignes on an evening (it was on 2 evenings last year) in the DVA training area, one led by Evo2 and one by ESF. If you come in Jan wear warm clothing and very warm boots, an hour after dark is a chilling experience Embarassed
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Guy came on here to ask for recommendations of off piste instruction, not really sure why there is a bunch of armchair advice on how he skis (without seeing him ski) or trying to put him off, I'd hazard that most skiers are 99% on piste unless they have someone to go with that gets them in to off piste...

David - Evo2 is a good recommendation, there are also some good weekend trips in Chamonix a few friends on that improved their skills a lot in a short space of time, they were good on-piste skiers but lacked the experience off piste, for sure it made them much safer to ski with!
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
I've done a few good trips with Snoworks. If you're going solo, then I would book only the course and then do DIY flights and accommodation. That will probably work out cheaper than paying for the single supplement on their accommodation.

For example, when I've done courses with them in St. Anton, I've always booked my own flights to Zurich, taken the train to the resort, and found a B&B in town with a single room.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
@sethpistol, because, you know, the internet?
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