The Vallee Blanche is one of the most famous off-piste* ski runs in the world. The 20 km run in high altitude on snow-covered glaciers with crevasses, is accessed from the Aiguille du Midi top station at 3842m, both experiences should not be missed to gain the ultimate views of the Chamonix Vallee and amazing high mountain glacier scenery. The Vallee Blanche is not a secured ski run; there are no piste markers to follow, no piste basher, and no ski patrol. After a snowfall, this is where powder can be found and fresh tracks made. The descent takes four to five hours, a full day for this trip is required to include the ascent from Chamonix. The run finishes either at the Montenvers mountain rail terminus or in Chamonix itself if the snow conditions allow. On a sunny day with fresh snow, this is the most memorable ski holiday experience and one that will definitely expose you to the delight of the alpine elements.
The Vallee Blanche is best skied in the middle of a ski week or the end of a ski weekend rather than on a Friday when it is a favourite end of week excursion. Despite its reputation as 'something between a blue and red piste' it should not be forgotten that the Vallee Blanche is a high mountain off-piste route and a mountain guide is highly recommended to make a safe and happy descent back to Chamonix. As you will be skiing over snow bridges, with crevasses under your feet, you need to be able to ski a red piste without falling and happy to ski in the deep fresh snow, if there has been a fresh fall.
The most popular Vallee Blanche descent follows the valley floor. After the daunting but exciting ridge walk down from the Aiguille de Midi lift station, where skis are tied to your ruc-sac and crampons used to ensure a safe ridge descent, the skis replace the crampons and you turn towards Italy in a wide valley. You follow the valley down onto the Col du Midi, passing a rock outcrop called le Gros Rognon to the left. A traverse right is next towards the cliffs of the Mont Blanc du Tacul, avoiding any crevasses or depressions you may spot on the way (these are hard to spot making a guide advisable). Now a turn towards the north and the skiable part of the valley narrows considerably, there will be an ice fall and crevasses to the right and seracs to the left, this is the steepest part of the run.
If time allows, a great lunch stop is the Refuge du Requin, the alternative is a picnic on a rock in the most incredible picnic spots. You now enter onto the Mer de Glace, a fairly flat zig-zag between the crevasses where you can see the famous Drus summits here. It also gives you a chance to study the exit of the Pas du Chevre if you are thinking of skiing this later in the ski week. At Montenvers you have the final challenge of the day as there is a steep climb out of the glacier, which requires skis to be tied onto the ruc sac, the climb is possible in ski boots. At the top of the climb, you will be greeted by a refreshment hut, selling a nice cool beer or a hot chocolate.
Finally its a hop on the train or a woodland road zig zag which pops out in Chamonix opposite a bar for a celebratory and photo swap drink before going back to your accommodation - the perfect end to a fabulous ski holiday experience!
*Ski Weekends strongly advise that off-piste skiing should only be undertaken when in the company of a professional ski instructor or guide.
To find out more about ski holidays in the Alps, feel free to call one of our friendly ski experts on 023 8020 6971 or email email@example.com