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Val d'Isere off piste areas/routes

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
As it gets colder I’m really looking forward to winter. I’m going to be based in Val d’Isere and thought I’d see what areas people recommend for off piste? I’ve been a couple of times before but never for a full season and I know I’ve barely scratched the surface of the place.

I’m sure it will all become obvious when I get there but any recommendations would be greatly received or direction to any previous threads on the same topics.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Join up with a group you can trust and with similar abilities and risk profile as yourself. The off piste in the EK is so varied with many traps it that it would be reckless to make recommendations with no knowledge of your off piste training and ability. Mind you - you have good taste in choice of area. Very Happy
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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?
Theres a cool little gully / valley just down from the Foley Deuce if you hang as left as you can thats definatly worth a go, not like anything Ive skid before. Its not steep or deep but very picturesque. If you get to the trees you've gone too far down but you will end up in those trees at the end of the gully so just look behind you.

First time I went down it I was on my own and it just ends in a hole in the rock about a foot wide although there were ski tracks going through the hole that confused me, I just walked up the side to get out but next time I did it there was a group weaseling through the hole.

the entry looks like this:



and the exit:

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Valhender, Welcome to SH's and +1 for what chocksaway, said above.

See if you can, if you have not before, get on one of Henry's Avalanche Talks evenings which he holds in Val early season. http://www.henrysavalanchetalk.com/

Then as said above make sure your with someone or a group who know the area really well, plus you all have all the correct gear with you. Hope we are telling you stuff you already know Toofy Grin
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Thanks all for the contributions so far and yes, that’s some good advice regarding groups. I’d definitely be interested to hear from anyone else who is heading out there this winter.

I’ve got all the kit but want to use the winter to improve my safety knowledge too as it’s relatively basic. The Henry’s Avalanche Talks look ideal for that purpose.
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Get the book
"Val d'Isere - Tignes
Hors-Pistes Off Piste"

from Vamos. It is a book in French and English describing lots of off piste routes in the area. You will need the local 1:25,000 maps as well (Cartes IGN numbers 3633 ET and a bit of 3532ET which also covers Les Arcs) see IGN website. Or you can buy both in the resort (Try the bookshop in the main street) - but if you are anything like me you will want to pore over them before going..
The piste map used to mark the starting point of a few of those routes, but I'm not sure if it still does.
A small number of the routes might be obvious but most you really need to know where you are going or you could end up somewhere you can't get out of or going over a cliff and many go far away from the pistes so you wouldn't guess they are there.
More important you could get in an avalanche so a good idea might be to ski at least some of the time with the off-piste groups run by Alpine Experience or Topski who will put you with a group of your standard led by a qualified High Mountain Guide. €60 for a morning or €80 all day.
Alpine Experience might be best since they are very good and friendly and speak English (a large proportion are native English speakers). Topski is good if you are an expert skier since the top groups are generally higher standard than the ones At AE.



PS
medlington's photos are in "The Lost Valley" . It does not always require going through a tunnel (2 times out of 3 for me - it depends how much snow has mini-avalanched in from the sides) but always good fun to try just for the experience (rather than the ski interest)
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Piste Perdu?
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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!
rogg, yep it is. My kids loved it.
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Mosha Marc wrote:
My kids loved it.


I had to do it 3 times in one morning last season to keep my kids group happy Very Happy Very Happy
They thought it was 'wicked' as there was so much snow Very Happy

I also skied it a couple of seasons ago with very little snow and I was ready for a telling off from my clients. Got to the bottom and they said it was the best ski adventure they had every been on rolling eyes rolling eyes

It is always different
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Ski the Net with snowHeads
rogg wrote:
Piste Perdu?

Oops yes, that's more usual - Though I have heard the English version too. Though strictly I suppose it's an off piste gully or a small canyon - not a valley or a piste. Hardly lost / perdu, either, given the numbers who do it.


OK, here is another: Go up the Gratallu lift (Col du Palet above Val Claret) and do the short hike up the slope to the right. Ski down the other side. It's called the Chardonnet run. (I'll leave you to judge the avalanche danger but lots of people do it).

[Edit: My book is 1992 and I see they called the old lift to there the Merle Blanc . I assume the new edition has updated that.]

Or above Fornet take the Signal lift to the left and ski over the top, tending left to get back to the top of the cable car. (same caveat). Its a huge bowl of off-piste called the Grand Vallon. (If you don't go left there are small cliffs below the bowl and a river at the bottom of the valley).


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Wed 18-09-13 8:25; edited 2 times in total
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The descents from Bellevarde are spectacular. Spatule is my personal favourite. Banane also great. The Cugnai valley amazing also. But so much. And you can cover incredible amounts in a morning. I personally would only go with guide or guided group
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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.
Not sure a lot to add. Agree with the suggestion to ski with local guides to start with on anywhere away from the pistes (Cugnai, Grand Vallon etc). Always ski with a group and always go fully equipped. There is plenty of reasonable off piste around that is within sight or close to the pistes - Le Fornet (NB the big bowl by the Pyramids lift can be very dangerous but is easy to get to), skiing back towards Tignes from the Aiguelle Percee, etc (there are many). It all gets skied out quick.
Just be cautious. Proceed with knowledge.
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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
Valhender, You could do worse than book into a snoworks course for a week while you are there. I did a backcountry course with them in march and ticked off all the routes mentioned previously as well as other such as mickey's ears to lac de chevril and the tarentaise tour. You also get top instruction as a bonus.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Some really useful thoughts here, keep them coming!
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
The routes you can't see from lifts and pistes get skied out later. Eg the Vallonet which starts from the same point as the Grand Vallon but initially involves a long traverse straight ahead from the lift and beyond the bowl. I'd be wary of doing that without a guide.

Some routes I probably wouldn't ski without a guide - such as the Face du Charvet
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Mark1863 wrote:
Proceed with knowledge.


Great quote Very Happy
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
snowball, why not face du charvet without guide? Because can be dodge from avi point of view at wrong time?
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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?
peanuthead, yes, the top half is steep with small cliffs and quite often avalanches. See This rescue report. You enter from the snowy shoulder to the left of the rocky peak after a walk from the Grand Pré chairlift - along the right side of the Charvet mountain.
If, instead, you walk uphill along the left side of Charvet mountain for about half an hour you get to the famous very steep, narrow "Pisteurs Couloir" (45º for first bit and 40º most of the rest) down to the left, just before you would have looked down the opposite edge of the Face du Charvet. I hardly need to say I wouldn't do this without a guide.


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Mon 23-09-13 11:53; edited 3 times in total
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snowball, interesting. I have done face du charvet a couple of times with esf groups, which is generally an exercise in keep up with the leader or you get left behind, but the face du charvet is one of the few places they made us go one by one. If I recall right after the steep bit you go thru a narrow gulley perfect terrain trap. It was january I was there both occasions -impression I got was that slope is at its most dangerous in Spring, but seems to be highly sought after nonetheless as it tends to get perfect corn snow?

I have heard of pisteurs couloir. Don't think I'd be doing with or without guide!
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
peanuthead,

Here's a quick video of Pisteurs couloir

http://www.snoworks.co.uk/blog/?p=4864
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stewart woodward, omg - that looks amazing! Its ok to sideslip the very top? That is now top of my to do list (with a guide)
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
I've only skied it once and it was fresh snow (no tracks) and more snow at the top so we could do turns from the top with more security.
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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!
Quote:

Its ok to sideslip the very top?


No it fecking isn't! It's even less OK to step down it on your skis. If you can't ski it from the top, do something less steep instead! Evil or Very Mad
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^ For sure its a pain when the entrance to a couloir is ruined by skiers (or boarders) side slipping.
However would rather watch that than see someone fall.
IMVHO there is no shame in side slipping an exposed entrance if it makes the rest of your descent safer.
I have more respect for someone that keep it fully in control ?
Rather than the the bold idiot that makes wild gung-ho turns above an exposed cliff.

It has been a long time since I skied in "Val De Yah". Great ski area, shame about the typical clientele Wink
As mentioned the Vamos book is essential reading.
"Les clés de l'Espace Killy" (Didier Givios) is almost meant to be good (but I don't own it).

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Les-cl%C3%A9s-lEspace-Killy-fran%C3%A7ais-anglais/dp/2952249849?tag=amz07b-21.


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Sat 21-09-13 10:34; edited 2 times in total
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snowball wrote:
rogg wrote:
Piste Perdu?

Oops yes, that's more usual - Though I have heard the English version too. Though strictly I suppose it's an off piste gully or a small canyon - not a valley or a piste. Hardly lost / perdu, either, given the numbers who do it.


OK, here is another: Go up the Gratallu lift (Col du Palet above Val Claret) and do the short hike up the slope to the right. Ski down the other side. It's called the Chardonnet run. (I'll leave you to judge the avalanche danger but lots of people do it).


You can drop in on Chardonet part way down with easier access from the piste. If it's your first time doing the Chardonnet bowl, I'd go in this way so you can see what you would have come down if you'd done the hike. Also to help asses risk from the top. If you were to do the hike and drop in first time round and find out you don't like it, there's no other way out than down.
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feef, fair enough, though I suppose you could go back down the small slope you just climbed up. The hardest bit of Chardonnet is the top.
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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.
Haggis_Trap wrote:
^ For sure its a pain when the entrance to a couloir is ruined by skiers (or boarders) side slipping.

Yes, once even a couple of people have side slipped (and they tend to take exactly the same line) - or even one in soft snow - you tend to get a trench down that line which makes it harder (and more dangerous) to ski it properly.
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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
Quote:

"Les clés de l'Espace Killy" (Didier Givios) is almost meant to be good (but I don't own it).

Is a great book - detailed route guides and great pics .... but a very heavy hardback - not for your rucksac !
Read this beforehand and take the Vamos guide with you.

Plenty of guides run groups you can join for the day or the week.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:
What areas people recommend for off piste?
Virtually everything in the bowl off the Col des Ves Chair (near the altport above Tignes Val Claret) is left unpisted. It's excellent after fresh snow. As the lift is slow, it all takes a while to get tracked out.

Alternatively, you can access a fair bit ot of the the same area by traversing left from the Col du Palet draglift.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Quote:
Les clés de l'Espace Killy" (Didier Givios)...Is a great book - detailed route guides and great pics
I've seen it in a shop in Tignes for about £30 - it looks excellent.

It's also currently available on Amazon UK - at only £114 Shocked http://www.amazon.co.uk/Les-cl%C3%A9s-lEspace-Killy-fran%C3%A7ais-anglais/dp/2952249849?tag=amz07b-21
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
mountainaddict, Crikey - I'll bring a box load back if that's the mark up on Amazon!! My copy was about €40 in the Tabac in Le Lac
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
chocksaway: They can't be selling any at that price! I've never heard anything like it! You can also get it in Val Claret for around €40. Think I'll add it to my wish list for Santa.

I know that the advice is always go with a guide etc etc - but are there any routes in there that are at the more mellow end (ie potentiallysafer) end of the scale? Just wondering - but would probably still aim to join an off piste guided group....
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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?
The runs off the back of the signal lift (above Fornet) I mentioned are not steep (but there can sometimes be avalanche danger from the steeper slopes on the left edge of the bowl - so keep clear of them if in doubt). Look out for the traverse left at the end of the main slope to return to the top of the cable car.
There is also lots of (mostly) very mellow stuff keeping skiers' left off the very top of the Fornet ski area (Pays Desert). But make sure you tend right at the bottom to get back to the lifts or you could have a long walk back.
Cugnai is a famous, long off piste run. Straight ahead from the Cugnai lift (top of Solaise area) and off to the right. Various ways down - fairly obvious. Watch out for the steepish start and extreme left edge of parts of the route can have avalanche danger. Ends curving around to the right at the bottom, back to the Manchet Express lift.
Also lots of not very steep off piste to skiers' right of Manchet lift (also left of it and the piste). But Very far right on that side gets steeper and again can be avalanche danger.

This is a huge piste map http://www.valdinet.com/item_files/espace_killy_piste_map.jpg (click to make even bigger)


Last edited by Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see? on Sat 5-10-13 16:34; edited 10 times in total
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mountainaddict, I have done a selection of those with various groups (including with 'they who shall not be mentioned wink ). My copy is at 'chez moi en hiver' but as I recall they are graded so you can compare with what you have done before. Maybe see you around town this winter??
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