This two and a half day avalanche training course is provided by IFMGA mountain guides who, as well as being experts on backcountry travel and safety, are also passionate skiers and mountaineers. For anyone planning to ski, snowboard or tour off-piste, this course is essential for recognising and avoiding the avalanche hazard and for minimising the risk of accidents.
The Foundation-level avalanche course provides a complete introduction to the avalanche phenomenon, avalanche terrain, decision making, and rescue. This is an ideal first course for those new to travel in avalanche terrain and a great review or upgrade for anyone who has some experience or prior training but feels they need a skills "tune-up."
The foundation course is designed as a stand-alone course for back-country travellers; it also serves as an introduction to avalanches and is a lead in to the advanced-level course for those who wish to progress. The training is structured with time spent in the field and in the classroom. There are well-defined objectives so that you can be clear on what you will come away with from the course.
Participants on the foundation-level course can expect a minimum of 2 hours of classroom instruction and about 10 to 12 hours of field instruction in the following subjects:
Upon completion of the course everyone receives a Certificate of Avalanche Training.
The price includes all course fees, all training materials and the certification of training.
You should aim to arrive in Chamonix in time for the first theory session at 6pm on the first day. At the end of the course we try to spend a full day on the mountain with a short de-brief session at the end. If you are travelling home that day you need to book a flight that leaves Geneva as late as possible to avoid missing the end of the course.
Here at the Mountain Tracks, we give you our word that we will fully refund every part of your package holiday if it is not able to run due to COVID-19.
Our Mountain Tracks and holiday teams are monitoring the COVID-19 outbreak guidance and advice while communicating closely with our suppliers to make sure everything is in place to keep you safe.
Read more: Frequently Asked Questions.
We are proud to offer all of our returning customers a £50 discount.
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Ski Club Winter Arrangements limited (trading as Mountain Tracks)
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On these courses we spend most of the time out on the mountain and you need to have suitable clothing and equipment including a small day pack to carry your safety equipment and any personal items you may need.
Headwear - to include warm hat and sun-cap or wide-brim hat for extra protection from the sun. Although we do recommend helmets for off-piste skiing, for ski touring they are not essential and actually can be a hindrance – they are hot, heavy and you can’t hear very well when wearing it
An outer shell jacket - made of breathable material (Gore-tex or equivalent) with an excellent hood. The lighter the better and so a shell is recommended rather than an insulated jacket and you supplement this with some good quality thermal base and mid-layer tops following the principle of layering – i.e. allowing you to easily add/remove layers depending on the temperature and the activity
A good quality pair of ski trousers - characteristics might include bib-style front with braces (to keep the snow out), side-openings (useful for when you get hot), breathable fabric (Gore-Tex or similar), stretch knee pads, integral snow gaiters. NB: Bib-style trousers can be too warm in spring in which case waist-cut trousers would be better
Mid-Layers - 1-2 thin fleeces rather than fewer thick layers between your skin and the outer shell an approach which gives better heat retention and good flexibility
Gloves - good quality Gore-Tex gloves or mitts
Skis & Boots - All-mountain skis with downhill ski boots or snowboard are suitable for our avalanche training courses
Avalanche Transceiver, Snow Shovel and Avalanche Probe - We recommend simple and intuitive ORTOVOX AVALANCHE RESCUE KIT 3+
Ski Goggles - good quality with a lens for low light is essential in the event of snow and poor visibility
Sunglasses - good quality with 100% UV protection
Rucksack - 20-25 litre with straps for carrying skis
Water bottle - we don’t recommend hydration systems (e.g. camelbak) in winter as they have a tendency to freeze
Suncream and lip salve
Favourite hill snack
The town of Chamonix-Mont-Blanc is situated at 1042m (3,396 ft) above sea level. It sits at the foot of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Western Europe at 4807m (15,770 ft).
Chamonix is considered by many as Europe's mecca for outdoor sports and draws many enthusiasts from all over the world. Unlike many of the purpose built resorts, Chamonix is a proper working town with a large population of about 12,000 inhabitants. This number can be boosted by as many as 80 - 100,000 during the peak months in summer and winter.
As befits a town of this size there are plenty of shops, hotels, cafes, bars, pubs and nightclubs.
Our top reasons to visit Chamonix:
Home of the Vallée Blanche, one of the world’s great off-piste descents
Great destination for weekends and short breaks
Easy access from the UK and just 75 minutes by road from Geneva airport, which has regular flights from many UK airports
Thriving, working town full of shops, bars and restaurants = good shopping, good après-ski
The Alpine capital of France renowned for big mountain skiing, alpinism and extreme adventure
Mont Blanc – the highest peak in Western Europe
Very long ski season with skiing possible until well into May
Good range of accommodation for all budgets
Chamonix Ski Area
The skiing area of Chamonix is generally considered to have some of the best off-piste skiing in the world. Much of this is accessible from the lift systems and includes descents of over 2,000m. The Chamonix valley extends over 20km and there are several separate lift systems and mountains which provide enormous variety and all are included on the Mont Blanc pass.
Off Piste runs include:
The Vallée Blanche
The longest off-piste ski descent in the world (24kms).
Pas de Chevre
Ascend to the top of Grand Montets and ski down to the Mer de Glace and on into Chamonix.
Glacier du Toule
You can ski the Glacier du Toule down towards Courmayeur and then catch the cable car back up to the top of the mountain and ski the Italian side of the Vallée Blanche.
From the back of the Le Tour lift system there is fantastic off-piste skiing towards Vallorcine and Switzerland.
Some of the very best areas can only be reached with an hour's ski tour from the pistes. The effort expended is more than rewarded with the awesome skiing across untracked terrain.
Chamonix is just as much about the climbing and mountaineering in the summer months, with easy access into the high mountains and many magnificent climbs and routes available plus an extensive network of high alpine huts its also a mecca for climbers. Mont Blanc draws over 20,000 ascents a year both by ski and foot and any good weather day in the summer months will see numerous people achieve the summit.
Resort Height: 1,042m
Highest Lift: 3,842m
Nearest Airport: Geneva
Transfer Options: From Geneva the transfer time from the airport is about 75 minutes to Chamonix. We recommend that you book a seat with one of the many transfer companies who offer shared minibus transfers to and from the airport. Mountain Tracks recommends Mountain Drop Offs or Cham Van who both offer comparativly priced transfers and run an efficient services.
More about Mont Blanc
Mont Blanc is the highest mountain in Western Europe. Its height is 4,807 metres (15,780 feet), but varies from year to year by a few metres, depending on snowfall and climate conditions. The mountain lies at 45°55′N, 6°55′E between the regions of Haute Savoie, France and Aosta Valley, Italy
The first known ascent was made on August 8, 1786 by Jacques Balmat and Michel Paccard.
It is a condition of booking that you are insured for your chosen activity and the cover must include medical expenses, personal accident, personal liability, third party risks and rescue (including helicopter rescue). You are strongly advised also to take out cover against cancellation and curtailment.
For more details and to purchase a policy online visit http://www.skiclubinsurance.co.uk/
If you need assistance arranging your personal insurance please let us know.
Accommodation is not included in the price of the courses. For anyone requiring accommodation there are lots of hotels in Chamonix starting at about £60 per night for B&B. Contact our office for more information.
IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV
The IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV symbol is the logo of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association.
Nick, Olly and Matt are all fully-qualified UIAGM Mountain Guides and members of the British Mountain Guides Association.
The International Ski Instructors Association is the world body for professional ski instructors.
The ISIA was formed in 1971 and there are currently 39 member nations representing the very best in ski instruction around the world.