The Best Places for Off Piste
Want to know the best places for off piste? We asked New Generation’s Ski Instructors David Roberts and Pete Miles to give us a little more insight and tips into off-piste skiing in the Three Valleys area.
David works in Verbier, which he explains has plenty of excellent off-piste but a lot of it is steep and technical and it gets tracked-out fast. Whilst Courchevel is famous for its in-resort airport and billionaires, there’s also some great off-piste adventures to be had. Whether it’s skiing the Grande Couloir on Saulire, playing under the Chanrossa chairlift or exploring the Les Avals valley, there’s something for everyone here.
Pete, where would you recommend for beginners wanting an introduction to skiing off piste?
An ideal place to experience skiing outside the markers for the first time would be the area around the Grange piste, stade and drag lift in Courchevel. With a relaxed low angle, green to blue run gradient, it is just enough to get some bouncy little first time turns going in deeper snow. Essentially, there is a zero safety risk on this terrain and very few other hazards so this provides a perfect environment to be introduced to the correct safety equipment needed for off-piste.
What about those at an intermediate level?
Between Val Thorens and Méribel sits the “Zone Freeride” which takes you down into the Saint-Martin de Belleville area (near to the Jerusalem blue run). Although normal caution and off-piste safety equipment is advised this is a mostly low-angle blue run gradient and has an easy route. This area is generally safe in most snow conditions, however, caution must be taken as there are two steeper areas with terrain traps to be aware of such as a fevz w rocks, fencing and ditches when the snow is thin.
And for those experience off-pisters, looking for an advanced course?
Above Courchevel 1850 lies the Saulire and Vizel sectors which are easily accessed steep terrain, with some great boot accessed couloires to explore nearby! However, be aware as this is definitely has a high safety risk are despite the heavy skiing and the areas are often closed after snowfall. Normal caution and off piste safety equipment is absolutely essential here with rocky, complicated terrain including ridges and cliffs.