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UCPA off-piste

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Looking at the UCPA 'Ski Off-piste - advanced' week in Argentiere as that seems to fit the bill for timing, a great location and price.

If anyone's been on this, what sort of terrain do they take you on? And how capable are their instructors? For example would they do the Face, Pas de Chevre, Argentiere glacier etc?

They also offer 'Ski Off Piste High Mountain - Expert' but the requirement to ski all sorts of cr*p conditions in style doesn't sound like me, although I've got down lots of stuff safely. Plus it's the top level. Advantage is it includes a mountain guide which opens up more possibilities.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
@jrussell88, you have pretty much answered your own question - their instructors shouldn’t be going anywhere near the Pas de Chevre or Argentiere Glacier as both of those involve glaciated terrain which is beyond the remit of ski instructors- for that terrain you need an IFMGA mountain guide...
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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?
@jrussell88,

You may get a IFMGA/UIAGM guide and be going on the glaciers. When I was there (a good few years ago) there was just a couple of advanced/expert groups and we both had guides. We skied the Pas de Chèvre and spent plenty of our time on the Grands Montets, we went up the Aiguille des Midi a couple of times and skied some steeper variants of the vallee blanche. Why not email Action Outdoors to clarify what the courses entail. You generally will get tips and hints in the advanced groups (if you need them), in the expert groups you do not usually get much (if any) as he/she is mainly a guide and you should be pretty good, quite fast and not falling very often, and in some places in the expert groups no falling at all. You can do some serious skiing in the expert groups. The UCPA will test you anyway and if they think that you will not cope then you will be moved to another group. I would give Action Outdoors a call so that you feel comfortable with course.
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
JayDub wrote:
@jrussell88,

You may get a IFMGA/UIAGM guide and be going on the glaciers. When I was there (a good few years ago) there was just a couple of advanced/expert groups and we both had guides. We skied the Pas de Chèvre and spent plenty of our time on the Grands Montets, we went up the Aiguille des Midi a couple of times and skied some steeper variants of the vallee blanche. Why not email Action Outdoors to clarify what the courses entail. You generally will get tips and hints in the advanced groups (if you need them), in the expert groups you do not usually get much (if any) as he/she is mainly a guide and you should be pretty good, quite fast and not falling very often, and in some places in the expert groups no falling at all. You can do some serious skiing in the expert groups. The UCPA will test you anyway and if they think that you will not cope then you will be moved to another group. I would give Action Outdoors a call so that you feel comfortable with course.


This is good advice, Action Outdoors often ask people to send a quick 'ski CV' over to them, explaining your skiing history (eg, have you already done off piste instruction elsewhere, what have you skied and where?) - it really helps to be totally honest and means that they can recommend the best course for you.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Thanks I'll give them a call.

@JayDub Sounds like the right kind of week - was that an 'off-piste week' or the 'high mountain' week?
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
@jrussell88, It was an 'expert' high mountain week. What you do will generally be defined by a number of factors: the group's ability, what you want to do, the guide's personal tastes, and conditions. We also went to Le Tour to ski some lovely quite steep couloirs in lovely spring snow. The guide/instructor will ask the group what they fancy and try to accommodate it. I asked for some steeps and we skied some - not super hairy. If you are moving around the valley you can expect a good bit of time spent travelling. We did plenty of boot packing and a bit of down climbing using a 'confidence' rope. Lots of courses to try, have a look at Evasion, Pentes Forte each resort has it's own sort of skiing too. Have lots of fun!
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