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Skiing the Vallee Blanche Classic route, Glacier Off Piste Ski in Chamonix

Vallee Blanche, from Helicopter. Photo © Jean-Charles Somville

The famous Vallée Blanche in Chamonix is an off-piste ski route, 20km long with a vertical descent of 2700m. The views are stunning and the high mountain environment provides a real sensation of wilderness. A qualified mountain guide will lead you through the crevasses and avalanche zones safely, with a harness and avalanche equipment, as this is uncontrolled and unmarked terrain.

This is one of those memorable life experiences that you'll never forget. If the conditions are good, this wonderful and magnificent adventure trip is accessible to most intermediate skiers and is a fantastic journey into the largest glaciated domain in the Alps, the Mont Blanc massif.

About half-way down the Chamonix Vallée Blanche, you can stop in the Requin Hut and have an excellent meal and drinks. When there isn't enough snow to come back to Chamonix on skis, it's much nicer and comfortable to stop at the Montenvers train station and take the train back down to Chamonix.

There are a number of variants to the Vallee Blanche, requiring a little more skill and knowledge of the area. Involving steeper skiing over a more difficult terrain. These routes are only recommended for advanced skiers under the guidance of a qualified mountain guide.

The Vallée Blanche, the return to Chamonix

At the end of the Mer de Glace, take the short cable-car ride up to Montenvers or walk up the track (60m vertical). The Montenvers Station has good facilities.

Later in the season when the snow cover is thinner, take the funicular railway down to Chamonix centre.

Be warned, the price of the short lift up and the train down is not included in the ticket up the Midi. If the snow conditions are good, ski back to Chamonix along a track which zig-zags gently down through the forest to Les Planards piste.

Parking: A car and coach park next to the lift station fills very early. Don't rely on finding space here. Parking at the side of the road is discouraged, but the wood barriers which used to line the curb have been removed. Across the main road and accessible via a road tunnel from the Aiguille du Midi car and coach park, there is the much larger, Parc du Grepon with 700 places. Despite it's close proximity, this car park remains virtually empty because there is a charge.