Vallée Blanche is one of the most famous off-piste ski runs in the world: with incredible views, a jaw-dropping descent of over 2700m and some of the most exciting terrain possible to ski, there is much to admire. However, there are also a lot of factors to keep in mind when it comes to understanding the risks involved. Read on to find out everything you need to know before you visit Chamonix, in order to prepare yourself for skiing the exceptional Vallée Blanche.
Know Your Limits
There are many different opinions circulating about the level of experience that is required to ski the Vallée Blanche. On the one hand, some suggest that it is no more challenging than skiing a blue run; on the other hand, some say the Vallée Blanche should only be attempted by the most advanced skiers. All intermediate skiers can attempt the Vallée Blanche, so long as you approach it with a keen awareness of the unpredictable terrain and your own ski standards.
First things first, if you have any doubts about your level of ability then I would strongly recommend skiing with a mountain guide, as they are all highly qualified in off-piste and mountaineering. In my opinion, skiing this route with a guide will fill you with confidence and allow you to explore some of the more interesting terrain without fear for your safety.
Even when skiing with a mountain guide, it is extremely important to be aware of your surroundings and the potential dangers around you. You need to remember that the Vallée Blanche is not comparable to an off-piste slope in a ski resort. There are lots of different snow conditions, there are many hidden crevasses with the threat of avalanches, and the route is set on glaciers.
The biggest threat of all is the infamous arête near the cable car station, which is the most dangerous section of the route judging by the number of fatalities. The arête is one of the major reasons you should consider a mountain guide, as they will be able to negotiate the ridge for you and will provide you with ropes while they wear a harness and crampons.
But Don’t Be Afraid!
If you approach the Vallée Blanche with a strong understanding of what to expect, then I can guarantee it will be the highlight of your visit. Chamonix boasts a large variety of ski slopes, but there is nowhere quite like the Vallée Blanche, with its wild surroundings and thrilling terrain, it is an unforgettable experience.
There are so many different routes to try: from the ‘classic’ Vallée Blanche, which is the easiest but with some of the most rewarding views; to the Gros Rognon, which is less tracked with deeper snow; and the Envers du Plan, which is one of the steepest routes set amongst many crevasses.
Getting to Chamonix
If you are hooked on the idea of this off-piste adventure, then don’t delay in booking your flights as Chamonix can get busy during peak season. To make the final leg of your journey from the airport as easy as possible, you can arrange private or shared airport transfer with our team at Shuttle Direct. One of our reliable and friendly drivers will collect you from the airport and take you straight to your ski resort in no time, setting you off to the best start of your visit. Chamonix: here we come!
Lukas Johannes is a driver for Shuttle Direct, the number one provider of shared and private airport transfers all over Europe and northern Africa. If you're planning to visit Chamonix for a ski holiday, Lukas and his colleagues can make sure that you get to and from the airport swiftly and safely with your ski luggage and ski equipment.