Ski Touring and Ski Mountaineering are becoming increasingly popular in Chamonix. We call it Ski Fitness.
Stay off the Pistes!
Ski slopes are considered a convenient place to learn in a relatively safe environment and to train not far from home.
Not everyone has the knowledge and experience to head for lesser used routes in the remote mountains.
But not many people know that skiing up a designated piste is prohibited in France!! Its as a question of safety; downhill skiers and snow boarders are not prepared to encounter someone skinning up the slope, even close to the side of the slope, so the risk of accident is considered to be unacceptably high.
The Parcours Solution
The Chamonix Mairie (City Hall) and the Compagnie du Mont Blanc (ski lift provider) have created a win/win solution.
They have built several 'Ski Fitness" tracks (parcours) that, in winter, are dedicated for people ascending on skis.
These tracks are located in several ski resorts of the Chamonix valley. They can provide the the feeling of wilderness ski touring, as the tracks are separate from the pistes and they cut through dense forest.
To descend, do not return to the valley floor on the same track. Instead, ski down the piste alongside the downhill skiers and snowboaders.
This way, a ski tourer, with head down, while pushing up the slope on a dedicated track, will never be hit by a descending skier.