Verbier off piste itineraries
Posted: 19 January 2009 06:37 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Some of these are mentioned in the book. Here’s our experience of some off piste days in December and January.
 
From the top of Jumbo you have a few option:
 
Take the Mont Fort cable car and drop of the back, traversing left, dropping into one of the 3 couloirs (entrance can be a bit tight) and then the long descent down to the dam and on to Siviez.
 
Alternatively, take the high traverse towards above the piste that leads to the Gentianes itinerary. You can then either hike up the stairway to heaven (there are obvious steps leading vertically up from the traverse) or continue the traverse, go round the ridge and join the same bowl. Great if you don’t want to walk up and you still get 80% of the decent. At the bottom of the bowl you rejoin the Gentianes itinerary.
 
From the bottom head down to Siviez, take the chair leading to the Valleys and then take the left hand Greppon Blanc drag (right hand ends up 50m short). From here hike up 50m for great views down into the Heremence valley. From here there is a great itinerary (Eteygeon) tht takes you down to the road leading up teh Heremnce Valley. There is a free bus from the road that takes you to Les Masses at the end of the 4 Valleys. The itinerary takes a confident off piste skier approximately 25 minutes and the buses start at 11.30 and go once per hour after that. The bowl is south facing so can trandform relativel quickly. So, follow the ridge line on the right hand side of the bowl and which will bring you out on a North East facing slope with few tracks (even 10 days after last snow). Drop down this and traverse further right for more fresh tracks. You join the funnel of the bowl where you eventually join the track that snakes down to the road. All the way down you can drop off the track through the forest, grazing fields (watch out for hidden fences!) with loads off opportunities for more fresh tracks. Eventually yu will coem out at the road where you take the left fork which takes you down to the caravan. Here you can get very reasonably priced hot dogs, sandwiches, vin chaud, etc etc. There are picnic tables, it’s in the sun and great for a casual lunch.
 
The bus takes you to the old chair at Les Masses. Enjoy the trees and mix of old and new chalets on the way up. Then take the new chairlift from the top of which you can break off left (hike up the ridge 5 mins if tracked) and ski down a great slope (open at top and then woods) back to the chair.
 
If there’s great snow you could then try and find the epic tree skiing down to Mayens de L’Ours. The tree scnenes from this fantastic video are from Mayens <a > 
Then” class=“forum” target=“_blank”>http://vimeo.com/2492092
 
Then</a> head back across to the 4 Valleys to the Greppon Blanc drag lifts. Frm the top traverse right (obvious traverse tracks with big open face below). Stay on the traverse all the way round teh corner until you hit the light woods (it’s a long traverse but don’t be tempted to drop off earlier onto the south facing slope). The traverse tracks will thin out as you approach the woods (even after 10 days of no fresh snow). From here you can drop down into the trees in fabulous deep powder with lots of natural features fro any tricksters. The woods get tighter as you go down but you can keep going left and will always come out on the track back to Siviez. The top section has the best kept snow I’ve found yet in Verbier due to the protection from the trees.
 
Once you’re in Siviez you can do it all again.
 
Another great route (if you have 2 cars or can time it for the once per day bus) is to follow the piste down from Jumbo and then break left and up a few metres onto a flat hump that leas you over to a stepish couloir that opens up a big bowl visible from the bottom of Jumbo. From her you can either head down and walk up 5 minutes back to Jumbo or continue down the valley following the path of the stream. There is a long gentle descent down to a flater area where you head right for the few wooden chalets. From here drop down the the grazing fields to Sarreye (10 minutes up the valley from Le Chable) to pick up you car or get the bus. Note the slope is south facing and you need snow down to 1100 metres. We had a bit of grass hopping at the bottom but it was still great fun.
 
Another option in this area is Bruson across the valley floor from Le Chable. There are 4 slow lifts up (2 chairs and 2 drags) from Bruson at 1100m ish up to the top of the Grand Tsai drag at 2350m. These are the only lifts in Bruson. Because of this it is usually deserted and hence you have all the powder for yourselves! Traversing right from the Grand Tsai lift you have a great North Facing slope which rings you back to the drag lift. Alternatively you can head straight on from the end of the drag which leads into a big open off piste area with many ways down. Stay left to head back to the piste or head right to end up in the woods and the deep sheltered powder. You can take pretty much any route down as there is a snow covered road which you always end up on taking you back to just below the Passay chair. For great views and some other options, skin up from the top of the Grand Tsai drag to the Peak straight ahead approx 40mins. From the top you have amazing views from Verbier to the Petit Combin or on the other side down to Orsieres and up the Trient Glacier and the Argentiere ridge (Col du Chardonnet etc. From the top you can ski a 1500m descent to Orsieres and get the train back to Le Chable or drop down back to the road or further right to Lourtiers (further up the valley from Le Chable). I did this after many days without snow and there were fresh tracks opportunities everywhere.
 
Wendy, if you’ve got this far here’s a hint for the Val D’Anniviers. Head up to the top of Zinal and take the itinerary to Grimetz. As you descend into the bowl stick to the left hand side and hp over the ridge which you can follow down a great gentle slope. When you hit the forest head left again and you will end up in fabulous deep tree sheltered powder which rarely has many tracks. You can then descend throuh the trees (tight in places) down to Grimentz and get the bus back - a fabulous run and similar to the descent from Greppon Blanc down to Siviez.
 
In Val d’Isere this week enjoying the new snow and exploring the great off piste around Le Fornet and Le Lasinant. Be careful in bad weather in Val. The firts day we headed down to Tignes les Brevieres and then due to wind they shut the liaison back. We were sent to Tignes le Lavachet to some promised buses back to Val only to find there weren’t any and the only option was to get a taxi. Apparently the 2 resorts have different ski lift companies who don’t seem that interested in working together!
 
Enjoy the great skiing that’s out there and keep safe,
Bob
 

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Posted: 20 January 2009 09:59 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Good stuff, Bob. Lots of exciting adventures. Do you ever take a guide?
 
Take care with all that new snow in Val d’Isere!
 
Anyone else tried these routes?
 
W
 

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Posted: 20 January 2009 05:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Yep, taking a guide in val d’isere tomorrow as we want to do some stuff where the route finding is a bit tricky - we’re going with eric berthon ex world mogul champion! Also took a guide last year for the haute route and when doing the gebroulaz and borgne glaciers in val thorens. Feel that on glaciers you need to be with someone that knows crevasse rescue (and ideally where the crevasses are).

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Posted: 22 January 2009 09:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Sounds brilliant - so how did it go?
 
W

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Posted: 22 January 2009 10:18 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Did Col Pers & Gorges du Malpasset. Apparently the gorges haven’t been passable for 10 years due to big snow depth required to fill the users river. It was a great tour in a beautiful valley and I’d highly recommend Eric Berthon from Top Ski Val. A brilliant skier but also a fun and very attentive guide. The snow in Espace Killy is just superb at the moment. What a fabulous ski area for lift served off piste. It really kicks Verbier and Chamonix’s arse!

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Posted: 23 January 2009 12:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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also went to HAT (Henrys avalanche talk). Quite interesting and scary!

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