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Guided Skiing in Chamonix

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Guided Skiing in Chamonix

I am a trip leader bringing a large group of mature adult skiers to Chamonix . The advanced skiers will surely use the services of the licensed mountain guides to do the off-piste descent of the Vallee Blanche or the Grant Montets, and will gladly pay the high prices that their experience demands. But the more timid intermediate skiers, usually ski in smaller groups and are accustomed to hiring ski guides who are familiar with the mountains to ski with them so that we can enjoy the skiing without fear of getting lost, and can choose the best trails for the weather and snow conditions to meet the needs of the group's skiing ability. Does anyone have any suggestions as to where I might hire ski guides to meet these needs?

reading
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1. Re: Guided Skiing in Chamonix

Not really, it is normally the qualified guides who are relatively expensive.

Your accommodation might be able to provide somebody to show you around.

However, Chamonix is not like most other large ski areas in France. None of the areas are linked. (Before anybody comments Flegere and Brevente are by a cable car but you cannot ski between them).

So the bottom line is you go up on a lift to the mid-station, lifts then span out from there and generally speaking the runs end up back at the same place.

it is difficult to get lost assuming you stay on piste. You can nearly always see a lift station so you have somewhere to head to. (Visibility permitting).

Chamonix has now introduced Ambassadors who wear dark blue jackets and these guys will always help you out. As will the lift attendents or piste patrol.

That is without mentioning the other skiers who, like myself, will always help somebody out.

The good and bad thing is there are loads of English speakers there.

Another option would be group ski school classes. A group could book a ski instructor for a couple of hours a day and use the "lesson" to show you around.

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2. Re: Guided Skiing in Chamonix

I agree with Redzed - it's pretty hard to get lost, I don't think it's really needed.

I am not 100% sure about this so anyone who knows different please do chip in, but I think the "ski guide" service you're talking about, which is neither high mountain guide nor instructor, but just showing you around, is very uncommon in Chamonix, unless it's someone from your accommodation.

I imagine this is because of the strict rules on qualification of guides and instructors.

The nearest I can think of are the Ski Fun tours that the Compagnie des Guides runs

http://www.skifuntours.com/

which do have a good reputation but aren't all that cheap - between 3 or 4 people, you'd be a lot better served by hiring an instructor for half a day for less money.

In fact thinking about it, that's what I'd probably go for - an instructor for their mornings, to get them to a good area for that day and orientate them there, with the afternoons to themselves.

(edit - I mean a private instructor by this, not joining a group)

Edited: 23 November 2010, 14:23
New Jersey
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3. Re: Guided Skiing in Chamonix

Thanks for the useful suggestions. Our ski club came here 10 years ago and we hired the Compagnie des Guides for the first 3 days, and it was a great experience. The drove us around in vans between the mountains even taking us to Megeve one day (which I understand is no longer on the area ticket). But I recall it costing about 50 euro a day each, and that was when the euro was = to the $. Unless I found incorrect information, the daily cost looks more like 125 euro per day, much too expensive for what most of us need. We did return to Brevent and Flegere on subsequent days, and were at ease finding our way around. I will try the ski schools (ESF?) to see if they can supply instructors to make our own private groups. In the past 11 years, I have taken the club members on yearly trips in France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Andorra and we have always skiied escorted for the first 3 days, but in many of those places, if a straggler takes a wrong trail, they can end up in a different country with a 5 hour car ride to return. Thank again for taking the time to anwer my query.

chamonix
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4. Re: Guided Skiing in Chamonix

Redzed & Firebug are pretty spot on with their replies. Its pretty hard to get lost whilst skiing the trails (as opposed to out of bounds) in Chamonix but what is more difficult is to know where is the best place to go and at what time to go there.

Some of the chalet operators still operate "ski guides" who will show you around - their cost being included in the accomodation package. Technically these guides should hold French government recognised ski instructors qualifications (or mt guide quals if they go onto a glacier). In reality a blind eye is usually turned as long as its guiding on the pistes & there is no ski instruction given.

I suggest that you take a private ski instructor for a couple of mornings. The cost is around 170 Euros / half day for up to 4 persons and they will collect you at your accommodation & have priority on the lifts. Mt Guides are allowed onto a glacier but usually only accept full day bookings & generally cost a little more. You can see a list of private instructors at chamonix.net/english/…ski_instructors.htm and hopefully I am allowed to reccomend one in particular: anne bosvieux.

Timid skiers will generally benefit from some well chosen technical guidance from the instructor without slowing the whole group down.

Hope this helps !

Sean

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5. Re: Guided Skiing in Chamonix

Thanks, Sean for the suggestions and for taking the time to reply. We are staying at Le Prieure, so I will check with the concierge, if they have any recommendations, but a ski school sounds like the best source. I looked at the Ski Fun Tours from Ecole de Ski Chamonix, and a few days with them might be just what we need. You pick the day and the place, 72 euro per person for 6 - 8 people, divided according to ability (+ lift ticket + insurance), no queues, they escort you from the hotel each day to a different mountain.

I know it might sound lame to really good skiers, but most of us are in the 60+ range and are just looking to cruise and enjoy the scenery!

chamonix
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6. Re: Guided Skiing in Chamonix

Fun Tours do a great job . Another alternative is to take a private instructor (independant or French Ski school: ESF) , they will be a little less expensive as they may only provide transport for 4 persons but can also explain how to use the free bus service. The hotel has its own bus in the mornings. There is no limit about how many people can ski with

This way you could just do half days wheras I think Fun Tours are only whole days. As I suspect you want help choosing where to ski & a relaxed time, half days may be better for you. Once you have skied around in the morning you will find your way around for the rest of the day. Getting back is easy with the bus service (although not as comfortable as a minibus) and the bus stop is right by your hotel.

Sean

7. Re: Guided Skiing in Chamonix

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8. Re: Guided Skiing in Chamonix

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