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Off piste course recommendations?

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Looking for a really good off piste course for Easter. Any recommendations? Have been reading posts on off piste/avalanches with great interest and noting the comments about the importance of guides having long term experience of local terrain. Last year I skied with a well know Academy of Skiing in Verbier but the off piste was very limited and the level of the group was not high. I am an advanced skiier, comfortable on all pistes, with several weeks of off piste but limited deep fresh powder skills, mostly due to lack of snow. I'm looking for something that is really going to challenge and develop my abiltiy, especially on steeper terrain. Have tackled a few scary descents and would like to improve my confidence in this area. Have been checking out the SkiFreshTracks weeks run by the Ski Club, would be really interested to hear about any experiences of this. Thanks y'all. And for anyone heading off this week...stay safe.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
G-Rock,

No experience of the company you mention but I have come across Mountaintracks and seen them in action. They did the same route as us in Monterosa. I thnk they hire themselves out for the week so google them and see what they have going.
They go to all the right places and the guide I met, Nick Parks, seems very knowledgeable. In Monterosa they have a very good working relationship with UIAGM so this is a good pointer.
If you are part of a group I would be using locals (UIAGM) and Hotel Dufour in Gressoney La Trinite for all your needs or otherwise their offices elsewhere. Always very impressed with those guys but if you are just ones or twos then maybe join in with a company like Mountaintracks.
As I say if you are a group or 4-5 you can pretty tell the guide where you want to go and he will have an opinion on it or should have if he climbs the area all year round. Thats what you are getting with accredited guys, or should be!

Try http://www.mountaintracks.co.uk
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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?
G-Rock, if you are looking for a general commendation for Ski Freshtracks, all I can say is that since I started going on their holidays 2 years ago my skiing has been transformed. I've just come back from two weeks doing pretty much what you're after (although without any specific instructional element) - steeps, occasional thighdeep skiing through bottomless powder, challenging tree runs, boots submerged in soft snow about 90% of the time snowHead ... it's such a tough life rolling eyes wink . Their graded ability holidays really work, and they do keep a close watch on feedback on instructors etc. (and drop those that don't come up to the mark). So if you're on your own or with a mate looking for a course, I would certainly suggest you give them a try. The larger wider-ranging weeks also work well if you're in a bunch of mixed ability friends. If you're in a bunch of similar ability though, you may well do better hiring an instructor privately. I've used Evolution 2 in Chamonix before (they also run in Tignes), albeit for guiding and back-country instruction rather than for straight ski-technique instruction, and been very happy with them.

As to more specifics, I guess you're looking at the SkiFreshtracks' "Off piste Progression 4" week at Tignes. I've not been on that particular course, or skied with any of the guides/instructors listed, but have heard very good things about Elizabeth Chabert as an instructor - and she has been teaching that course for several years (along with Pietro Barigazzi as a guide). From your description you sound as if you are somewhere between a silver-plus and purple on their grading scheme, so that week would look a good one for you. My main concern would be that the published ability range is very wide, so they are clearly expecting a failrly large party, and I'm not sure how they split the time/groups between guides/instructors - so continuity may be an issue. The other place they do a lot of instruction is Flaine - Yann Westerkamp is a great instructor/guide and suberb fun; although they are not running their "Purple Perfection" week this year the week after Easter may just do, if the others on the holiday are of similar standard to you. Talk to them at the booking office and see whether either of those are going to match what you're after - they're pretty friendly and knowledgable, and should be able to tell you whether there is a good ability match with other punters. Finding deep fresh powder at Easter though is as much in the lap of the gods as in the guide (although Yann can certainly find untracked stuff in Flaine weeks after almost anyone else).
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 You need to Login to know who's really who.
You need to Login to know who's really who.
thanks very much for that, will check it out.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
http://www.skimountaineering.com/
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 You'll need to Register first of course.
You'll need to Register first of course.
I've used piste to powder before and found them to be very good.
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 Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Then you can post your own questions or snow reports...
Thanks Kramer. Have you got any comments on the balance between guiding and coaching at Piste to Powder? Is the bias towards one or the other or combined equally?
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