I assume you may have sometimes had the fleeting thought whilst skiing that “you’re getting the hang of this” – you’ve finally mastered reds and don’t need your hand holding down black runs. A vision of you morphing into Graham Bell (or Eddie the Eagle depending on your skiing style) comes to mind. Well, if so, you may have reached the level and confidence needed for off piste skiing.
I had always seen off piste skiers darting under ‘Danger of Avalanche’ signs and I merrily stayed on piste safe in the knowledge that hospital was not my next stop. Well, those scaremongering signs were putting me off for no good reason. Off piste skiing is a fantastic next step in your skiing. It is geared towards intermediate skiers but it’s a whole new world to discover…
Just think then, no more hitting ice in the middle of a crowded piste and careering off to god knows where. Off piste skiers you must understand are searching for the best snow. They are not heading out to terrify themselves witless. Sure, there are those off piste skiers who walk for 5 hours a day uphill on skins but I don’t relish the thought of this. I am what they call a ‘lazy skier’ and have had my eyes opened to a skiing nirvana just a hop away from the piste. Heaven!
Like many others, I really didn’t think off piste skiing was my bag – I thought I wouldn’t be good enough and would be expected to face terrain that would leave me cold. However, skiing in Chamonix this year was the ideal location for mastering off piste as it offered a huge amount of easily accessible terrain that didn’t leave me quaking in my ski boots.
It boasts incredible glacial off piste runs such as the renowned Vallee Blanche, as well as lots of fantastic off piste terrain for those skiing powder for the first time.
Our guide, Mathieu, had spent a few days warming us up and giving us tips where necessary and also provided us with full safety equipment of course (off piste is not to be taken lightly). He introduced us to an otherwise alien world away from the clustered pistes, where the snow was un-touched and company sparse. And the best thing was, this parallel world was just a knowing traverse from the lifts – no walking needed at all!
And when the skiing finally all clicked into place, everybody had the same emphatic reaction “that was the best skiing I’ve ever done!” The sense of adventure from getting off the beaten track and the thrill of floating through pristine powder slopes was a fabulous awakening.
What are you waiting for – there’s a whole new world out there!
Do you want to take your skiing to a new level? Contact the heli skiing and off piste experts at Pure Powder or have a look online at their Off Piste Trips in Europe.