OXYGENE’S TOP SKI TOURING ROUTES IN THE FRENCH ALPS

R. Bord - Val d'Isère Tourisme

R. Bord – Val d’Isère Tourisme

SKI TOURING

If you’ve been seduced by the increasingly popular sport of ski-touring or split-boarding you’ll know that there’s a lot to gain from getting away from the crowds, skinning up the mountains and earning your turns back down. As well as stunning views, and working up an appetite for your fondue or raclette supper, it’s the opportunity to get to know the terrain and get that little bit closer to nature.

But where to go, and what itinerary to choose? Let us help you out. We’ve compiled a selection of our favourite ski-touring routes to whet your appetite for adventure labelled them for beginners, intermediates and experienced ski-tourers.

Before you go

Hang on a second ! Before you go, it would be remiss of us not to highlight the fact that ski touring, even on marked routes, involves a certain level of risk. We strongly recommend that you take precautionary measures including checking the avalanche risk and the weather forecast. Do also think to let someone know when and where you are going. Equipment-wise, as a minimum, you should carry a fully charged mobile phone, a transceiver, shovel and probe and don’t forget your clothing layers, water and snacks too.

 

HAUTE SAVOIE

GRAND BORNAND

The Aravis mountains have a huge amount to offer anyone willing to spend the time and energy to climb their peaks. Routes for all levels allow you to experience the most magnificent and inspiring landscapes. Equip yourself at any of the following shops: Le Tremplin, Reves d’hiver, Maroly Sport, Allo Skis, Adrenaline Snow Shop, Active Mountain.

Clément Hudry - Grand Bornand Tourisme

C. Hudry – Grand Bornand Tourisme

BEGINNER

Route name: Mulaterie / Almet
Length:5.5km
Climbing: 500m (from 1,300m to 1,800m altitude)
Time: Allow 3 hours

This route is signposted and is a perfect option for anyone who has never ski-toured before. It starts at Chinaillon, at the bottom of the Chatelet chairlift. Passing by the Lac de la Cour you will then climb to the top of the Almet chairlift where you will be rewarded with a stunning view of the Aravis mountain range.

 

INTERMEDIATE

Route name: Col de l’Aiguille Verte
Length: 4km
Climbing: 500m (from 1,400m to 1,900m altitude)
Time: Allow 3 hours

This route offers a bit more challenge as it is fairly steep and takes you off the pisted runs, from Chinaillon (Samence) to the Col de l’Aiguille Verte for magnificent views before an off-piste descent back down. 

 

EXPERIENCED

Route name: Roc des Tours
Length: 5km
Climbing: 600m (from 1,400m to 2,000m altitude)
Time: Allow 4 hours

Setting off in the same direction as the previous route, instead of turning right to ascend the smooth slope of the Aiguille Verte, you head left to make your way up to the rocky summit of the Roc des Tours, being mindful of any snow holes caused by the rocks. After enjoying the views, head back down from the top the way you came to join the smooth descent back to resort.

MEGEVE

Megeve is part of the Evasion Mont-Blanc ski area and boasts some fantastic off-piste that doesn’t get tracked out immediately after each snowfall. With something for everyone including fantastic views of the iconic Mont Blanc, what are you waiting for? Rent your equipment from Ski Technic.

Y. Allegre - Val d'Isère Tourisme

Y. Allegre – Val d’Isère Tourisme

BEGINNER

Route name: Les Chalets de Leutellet
Length: 5km
Climbing: 320m (from 1,450m to 1,770m altitude)
Time: Allow 2 hours

Directly above Mont Joly, this easy route will help you understand the topography of the Megeve ski area. It’s the perfect introduction to both ski-touring and the local terrain, before you undertake other routes in the Mont Blanc area.

 

INTERMEDIATE

Route name: Tete de Very
Length: 10 km
Climbing: 730m (from 1,309m to 2,039m altitude)
Time: Allow 4 hours

Skin up this beautiful route for a stunning view of Mont Blanc. It’s a nice itinerary without any particularly difficult sections.

 

EXPERIENCED

Route name: Grand Croisse Baulet
Length: 12km
Climbing: 1,025m (from 1,420m to 2,236m altitude)
Time: Allow 5.5 hours

Setting off from the Ball Trap in Jaillet, you follow a pretty route through the forest to the top of the Petit Croisse Baulet via the Col du Jaillet. At the summit you will be rewarded with an uninterrupted view of some of the most iconic mountaintops in France: the Aiguille Verte, Aiguille de Midi and Mont Blanc.

SAVOIE

MERIBEL

Meribel valley offers a wide variety of ski-touring options from Les Allues at the entrance of the valley to Mottaret at the top. There are groomed and signposted routes for beginners as well as excellent off-piste routes for the more adventurous. Equip yourself at La Varappe, specialist ski rental shop, just a few doors down from our office, next to the newsagents

BEGINNER

Route name: Altiport de Meribel, forest route
Length: 3km
Climbing: 345m (from 1,680m to 2,025m altitude)
Time: Allow 2.5 hours

This is a perfect route for a first time ski-tourer up a signposted and groomed route through the Altiport forest and up to the Pic noir (direction Col de la Loze). The descent back down is on blue and green runs.

 

INTERMEDIATE

Route name: Refuge de la Traie – Col de la Lune
Length: 5km
Climbing: 615m (from 1,170m to 1,785m altitude)
Time: Allow 3.5 hours

This is a fantastic route for getting away from the crowds in resort centre and finding some tranquility in the forest. Setting off from the village of Les Allues, you climb through the forest to the plateau where you will find two refuges, the original Refuge de la Traie and the new Refuge du Christ. From here, the forest thins out as you make your way to the Col de la Lune for an off-piste descent back to resort.

 

EXPERIENCED

Route name: Col du Fruit via plan de Tueda
Length: 8km
Climbing: 820m (from 1,705m to 2,525m altitude)
Time: Allow 4 hours

Setting off from the car park below Lac Tueda in Mottaret, you will cross the Tueda plain to access an area within the Vanoise National Park which has been authorised for skiers to make your ascent of the imposing Col du Fruit to the Emilienne Point. The descent is off-piste down the north face (Courchevel side) of the Aiguille du Fruit.

VAL D’ISERE

Val d’Isere is known worldwide for its stunning skiing and this reputation extends to its awesome ski-touring and off-piste routes too. It’s easy to get away from the most tracked routes on either touring skis or split board and find yourself in an altogether wilder landscape. Book your equipment with Oxygene and choosing either shop fit or in-chalet fit.

Y. Allegre - Val d'Isère Tourisme

Y. Allegre – Val d’Isère Tourisme

BEGINNER

Route name: La Daille – Folie Douce
Length: 3 kms
Climbing: 500m (from 1,850m to 2,350m altitude)
Time: Allow 2 hours

A simple climb on the edge of a green run or signposted route through the forest takes you up through the trees for an arrival at the famous Folie Douce bar/restaurant. Descend back to la Daille however you choose, either off-piste, or on green, blue or red runs.

 

INTERMEDIATE

Route name: Montee de Solaise
Length: 7 km
Climbing: 615m (from 1,850m to 2,400m altitude)
Time: Allow 2-3 hours

To climb to the top of the Solaise there are two route options: a physical route that will take around 1 hour 45 minutes and a much gentler route that takes you via le Fornet and the summer route of the Col de L’iseran. Descend back to resort on blue or red runs.

 

EXPERIENCED

Route name: Bellevarde summit (by the off-piste)
Length: 3 km
Climbing: 850m (from 1850m to 2700m altitude)
Time: Allow 4 hours

The climb is well worth it for the views over Val d’Isere and the off-piste couloirs

LA PLAGNE

La Plagne is a skier’s paradise and ski-tourers can take their pick of routes across the Paradiski area. There are numerous possibilities whatever your level. Book your equipment with Oxygene and choose to collect it in store or have it fitted and delivered in the comfort of your holiday accommodation.

M.Gallot

BEGINNER

Route name: Col de Forcle from Plagne Bellecôte
Length: 5 km
Climbing: 350m (from 2000m to 2350m altitude)
Time: Allow 2.5 hours 

This is an ideal route if you’re new to ski touring. It alternates between groomed and ‘off-piste’ with a stunning view of Mont Blanc. Join the route just above the Roche de Mio gondola station and wind your way up to the Dou du Praz plateau. Continue to climb, following the Col de Forcle trail. From there cross the ski slope and hike up to the top. This last part isn’t groomed and will get you used to climbing off-piste. The descent back to resort is on a blue run.

 

INTERMEDIATE

Route name:  Verdons
Length: 5km
Climbing: 500m (from 2000m to 2500m altitude)
Time: Allow 3-4 hours

Leaving from Plagne Centre, follow the slope towards the start of the Verdons Nord chairlift. Start your climb, either by the piste or in the valley to your right for a hike closer to nature. Your efforts will have been worth it when you reach the summit to a 360 degree view of the Vanoise mountains, the 3 Valleys ski area, the villages of La Plagne and the famous Mont Blanc. For the descent, it’s up to you. Choose off-piste or red or blue runs.

 

EXPERIMENT

Route name: Mont Jovet 
Length: 8km
Climbing: 750m (2100m to 2850m altitude)
Time: Allow 4 hours

From Aime La Plagne climb the slope to the Becoin ridge. Follow the ridge line along until you pick up the line of the Cretes draglift then descend slightly to the Col du Martinet. Climb a further few metres to end up in a wide valley. From here climb up to the Pas des Brebis, before following the stunning ridge up to the summit of Mont Jovet. Descend off-piste in the valley until you join the bottom of the Etroits black run.

Leave a Reply