Vanoise Haute Route

​This celebrated ski tour is sometimes called 'La Poule' (the chicken) because of the shape it takes when traced on a map. The Massif de la Vanoise is situated just south of the Mont Blanc massif and borders Italy. It is also referred to as the Graian Alps.

Level 4 Guiding & Coaching

5 days, 6 nights

Prerequisites: Ski Touring Skills Or equivalent

Price: £1245*

* Fully inclusive price

 Course Dates

Course Highlights

  • Fantastic ski touring journey through one of the most beautiful regions of the Alps
  • Complex terrain around the Vanoise ice cap and varied skiing adds much interest
  • The glaciated ski descent under the N face of the Grande Casse is truly amazing.

The most famous peak in the range is the Grande Casse (3852m) - a fantastic peak offering a very challenging ski ascent (steep and exposed). Fortunately the Vanoise Haute Route itself is a very friendly tour over the majestic Glaciers de la Vanoise.

We start the tour at Val Thorens (or Pralognan in case of bad weather on the first day) and make the circuit of the Glaciers de la Vanoise finishing at Champagny en Vanoise. The Vanoise is well known for its wildlife especially being home to the magnificent and rare bearded vultures.


The course convenes at Moutiers which is on the main rail line and centrally situated to give easy access to the Vanoise. Moutiers has excellent rail links from Geneva (4hrs) Lyon (3hrs). Course convenes at Hotel Le Terminus in Moutiers

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Is This Course For Me?

Ski ability required: Prior ski-touring experience, effective turns off-piste in a variety of snow conditions, and a high level of fitness.

Sample Programme

Sunday evening, meet at Hotel Le Terminus with a warm welcome by ISM guides at 6.45pm and course briefing followed by an evening meal.

Day 1
Bus to Val Thorens and take the lift system to the Col de Thorens. A short skin (2hrs) takes us to the Col de Gebroulaz from which an excellent ski takes us to the extremely comfortable Refuge Roc de la Perche (Jacuzzi available!). [We can reach the Refuge Roc de la Perche in bad weather by taking the bus to Pralognon la Vanoise and making a 3-hour ascent to the hut.]

Day 2
After the excellent breakfast provided by this hut we ascend the valley and break off left to the Col d'Aussios. We make a long traverse then descend past the Refuge d'Aussios (2329m, no guardian) to a flattening in the valley. We then climb a short distance to the Refuge de la Dent de Parrachee. Frank the hut guardian ensures that we have a warm welcome!

Day 3
The day starts with a 3-hour ascent to the Col Labby. The last section is a little technical so may require portage for the skis. From the col we can see the Glacier de Vanoise stretching out to the horizon. We then enjoy the magnificent descent down the Glacier de Mahure followed by a short skin we reach the Refuge d'Arpont. This hut is well known for visits from the bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus). This huge bird is 95-125 cm long with a wingspan of 275-308 cm (10 feet!). It weighs up to 7kgs.

Day 4
We steeply ascend on to the Glacier de Vanoise to the Dome de Chasseforet (3586m, 4hrs). The descent to the north is delightful giving a fantastic ski slope to the Col de Pelve. We then have to ascend to the Col du Dard and cross another glacial plateau before steeply descending to the Col de Vanoise and the Refuge Felix Faure.

Day 5
This is a really special day to finish the tour. We ascend to the Col de la Grande Casse (3091m, 3hrs) and then traverse under the north face of the Grande Casse and make the long descent to Champagny en Vanoise. Shuttle bus back to Moutiers.

Saturday, breakfast at the hotel is included before departure.

Please note that local bus fares are NOT included in the price of this course.

Maps: French IGN Les Trois Vallees Modane 3534OT

Course Dates

Week Start Finish Price  
14 2 Apr 2017 8 Apr 2017 £1245