The course starts with a briefing at 6.45pm at The Grand Chalet Hotel in Leysin. This is a chance for you to meet your team mates and Guide and go through the details of the course. There will also be time for you to sort out any equipment you need and for you to ask questions. Dinner will follow the briefing.
Based in the Leysin resort, we start by covering the fundamentals of planning a day off-piste skiing. We look in detail at the weather, both past and present and make informed decisions on the snow pack, safe slopes to ski on and where the best snow is. We will enjoy some great off piste skiing, developing your off-piste ski technique, looking at the snow we find on various aspects of slopes, refresh the use of avalanche tranceivers, route choice on off-piste terrain, group management, assessing the snow pack and understanding avalanche terrain.
This is very much an instructional based course with the emphasis on learning, coaching and developing your existing skills. It will take your own ski touring ability to the next level and help you apply your skills to become more indendent, with hands-on training, where you start to make your own decisions and gain experience leading from the front. This theme of learning and coaching, with an emphasis on you taking the lead and starting to make decisions for yourself, will be a thread throughout the week. By the end of the course you should feel more competent and confident to plan your own ski tours independently in the future.
We stay in Leysin and build on the skills developed on day one, with more input from yoru Guide on your off-piste ski technique, skiing styles appropriate for the snow conditions and terrain, group management, avalanche awareness and the snow pack, general route finding and route choice when skiing off-piste.
Weather and conditions permitting, we leave Leysin and head to Arolla, at the head of the Val D'Herrens, above Sion. From Arolla we take the lifts and then skin up to the Dix Hut, below Mt Blanc Du Cheilon. During the ascent we'll look at and discuss the new snow pack, snow conditions at this higher altutude, route finding in the ascent and have a practical session on crevasse rescue and building snow belays, using ropes for security on steep terrain. Once at the hut we'll discuss the snow we encountered during our ascent, the weather forecast and talk through a plan for the following day. We will endeavour to give you the knowledge and skills to do most of the planning yourself, so that you gain experience of starting to make these decisions if you are out with a group independently. Even if the main aim of hte coures for you is only about developing your Ski touring skills, we feel that the more knowledge you have the more you get from an alpine experience and the safer that experince will be.
We leave the Dix hut early in the morning and head up to our chosen objective, taking in our planned route to the summit of an alpine peak. You'll have the opportunity to lead, making route choice decisions, developing your ropework skills on steep terrain and managing a group. It is by having this practical experience, once all the rights skills and experience have been developed, that will help you gain confidence to safely lead a group ski touring.
Another ascent or high pass which will build on all the skills you have learned throughout the week. We will look at security on steep terrain using a rope, route planning, navigation and enjoy some great off-piste skiing.
Depart after breakfast at the hotel.
Maps: Rochers de Naye 262s 1:50,000, St Maurice 272s 1:50,000, Wildstribel 263s 1:50,000, Arolla 283S 1:50 000