VHS BLOG

Tignes and Val D’Isere Backcountry Report

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Dream conditions once again. Half a metre of fresh powder falling on Saturday night, and an immediate return to blue skies. 

Typical spring conditions in the last week has allowed stable sliding on all aspects & steep lines. A highlight for me, was skiing over 1200m of vertical ascent on the East face of the Pointe de la Sana.

In resort, a well needed top up has covered all the rocks and grass that had started to appear. Higher up, the snow is light, dry, soft and grippy. Lower down, especially below the freezing level,  the snow will  transform into spring corn by the middle of the week after some prolonged settled and sunny conditions.

Looking ahead, the weather looks to be settled with clear skies and high temperatures until the weekend where we look to have another round of snowfall over the weekend and into April

We can guarantee the very best conditions across the Alpes on one of our Heli ski Trips, with access to the roof of the alpine. Departing from your chalet in the Tarentaise Valley, we will head to Italy, where runs of over 2500 vertical metres are possible with the safety of your fully certified IFMGA Mountain Guide. 


TIGNES AND VAL D’ISERE BACKCOUNTRY REPORT 20/03/2017

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Panda-eyes, barbecues and slush; Spring has truly set in. A week of bluebird skies and 10° temperatures. A fair-weather skiers dream, although not ideal for the powder lovers.

In resort,  A constant melt / freeze cycle has left us with spring snow. Piste skiing is best in the morning, with the groomed pistes turning to slush by the afternoon. The best snow is found on western facing slopes and southerly aspects in the Backcountry, although powder is scarce.

I was fortunate to be able to do a few heli drops this week. We skied cold powder on high, north facing aspects and in settled valleys, with spring snow lower down. 

The weather next week is forecast to start sunny, with moderate snow coming in mid-week, where we can look forward to a well-needed 10-20cm top up.


Tignes and Val D’Isere BackCountry Report 06/03/2017

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Fornet Trees

Spring is officially here!

We are past that time of year of dark mornings and short days; and at ValHeliSki, we love that! Since our last blog post, we’ve received even more blessings from the Snow Gods, and it’s forecast to continue over the next few days.

Over a metre of the wonderful white stuff has fallen in the last week and another metre is forecast to fall in the days ahead. The weather is then set to return to beautiful blue skies, allowing us to take full advantage of all this snow!

Gaps in the the weather have enabled me to ski all over the resort this week. With better visibility up top, the highlight was skiing Point De La Sana, which has been on the bucket list for quite some time. In periods of low visibility i’ve been sticking to the tree runs of Fornet and Les Boisses, where deep pillows runs are found in abundance.

 

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Glattiere

As always, with all this snow, the avalanche risk is still high at 3/5. Make sure to have your transceiver and ABS pack with shovel and probe. We also thoroughly recommend going out with an experienced guide to ensure the highest levels of safety; but also to make use of their vast knowledge of the best places to ski with the current conditions.

Piste quality is still very good, with soft, grippy snow being found all over the mountain. With half term over, and much quieter pistes, they are staying in great condition throughout the morning and into the afternoon.

For you Powder Junkies, Heliski / boarding conditions are still unbelievable. Departing from your chalet in the Tarentaise Valley, we will head to Italy, where runs of over 2500 vertical metres are possible with the safety of your fully certified IFMGA Mountain Guide. We believe that with the skies set to go blue from next week, there will not be a better time this season to jump in the Heli. Last week, we were featured on Fall-line.co.uk  as one of the best companies to go Heli-skiing in Europe. You can check out the article here – http://www.fall-line.co.uk/six-places-can-go-heli-skiing-right-europe/


Tignes and Val D’isere Backcountry Report 02/03/17

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After a few weeks of no snow fall, and unusually high temperatures for February, laying down those fresh tracks we’re all after, has been nothing but a pipe dream. However, that dream is now a reality, with 38cm falling on tuesday and a further 20cm on wednesday.

I have stuck to skiing the tree runs in Les Boisses and Fornet, due to the high winds and poor visibility up top, and the skiing has been fantastic! Be aware that due to the wind, we have lots of wind loaded snow, and advise precaution if venturing to higher elevations.

The avalanche risk is currently at 3/5, so please make sure you have the correct equipment, and do not venture into unknown territory without an experienced guide.

Looking ahead, more snow is forecast throughout the week, with some sunny spells and another big dump over the weekend!

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 Pillows in the Fornet trees

The pistes are in fantastic conditions with the recent snowfall, filling in where rocks were starting to appear. If you love your carving, be sure to grab the first lifts to make the most of the hard work put in over night by the pisteurs.

Heli ski conditions are set to be as good as they can be ( EPIC! ) as soon as it settles down in terms avalanche risk. Looking towards next week, when the weather settles, you will not find better conditions to jump in the heli and shred the endless untouched powder.


Overnight Backcountry Refuge Tour

BOOK NOW

 

ABILITY:4-5

FITNESS:4-5

DISCIPLINE:  Skier silhouetteBasic RGB

PRICE: €195pp

PACKAGE DATES: 1st December – 4th May

TO BE BOOKED AS: Group of 6 persons

AVAILABLE FROM: Tignes, Val d’Isere

COURSE OVERVIEW: An overnight trip to a backcountry refuge located outside of the resort boundaries. We depart from the Tichot chairlift in Tignes with the use of Ski Touring equipment or Splitboards after the lifts have shut – after a 2hr hour tour under starlight, we arrive at the refuge where a log fire and dinner welcomes you. A true backcountry experience with nobody around.

 


MEETING POINT:

To do this package we meet at the base of the Tichot chair-lift in Tignes Val Claret (see map above). It is up to you to get to that area. Naturally, you will have to use a lift-pass to do this package. If you have a lift pass for the Espace Killy area there should be no issue, if you don’t have a lift pass for that area a VHS team member can purchase one for you, on your request.

Package available from the resorts of: Tignes, Val d’Isere

Transfer Options to Access the Meeting Point From Resort Price
Your own transport no cost
VHS minibus transport £41 (€49) pp

COURSE INCLUDES:

What's included:
Transceiver; shovel and probe
Transceiver training
Full-day with your UIAGM mountain guide or instructor
Use of our radio communications for safety and instruction

Not Included: lift pass(es) (including Carte Neige backcountry rescue to hospital), adequate travel insurance, food/drink, minibus transport

OPTIONAL EXTRA:

Extras: Price
ABS pack £24 (€29) pp
Edited GoPro footage of your day £32 (€39) pp
Use of our Salomon/Liberty VHS powder skis £21 (€25) pp/day
Splitboard & Skins Rental (multi day discount available) €66pp/day
Packed lunch £29 (€35) pp
60 minute warm-down sports massage £60 (€72)
VHS hoodie £65 (€75)
VHS Hagloffs fleece £90 (€105)
VHS Hagloffs couloir 3 Jacket £410 (€490)

SWEEPER SERVICE:
According to best practice backcountry skiing / snowboarding we offer the use of sweeper on your backcountry day. A sweeper is employed to follow the group while the guide/instructor leads from the front. A sweeper is there to ensure the safety of everyone in the group thereby improving the group’s overall confidence and security. Price: £50 (€60) pp based on a private group of 4.

Sweeper Service Price
Val Heliski Sweeper Service (Private heli trips only) £200 (€240)

POLICY:

– Prices are based on private group booking of 6 people.

– Payment is to be made in full to confirm the booking.

– We require you to leave all ski holiday days available for best weather and availability for this package. We will contact you by SMS in resort to confirm your weather window.

– In accordance with the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 and unless we have already provided the services we have contracted with you to provide or your booking is made in resort, you have the right to cancel your booking at any time up to the end of the 7th working day after the booking is accepted by us. You may do this by writing to us at the above address and you will receive a full refund of any monies paid. If you want to cancel your booking otherwise than as set out above please inform us as soon as possible. You will forfeit your deposit but please note that places on a trip can be transferred to someone else subject to any such replacement agreeing to these Conditions.

– In the event a guide directs the group to a route with better conditions (subject to availability), additional costs may be incurred.

– We reserve the right to exchange any of our products of a similar price or less in the event of adverse weather or snow conditions.

– If this package can not be carried out due to adverse weather we reserve the right to use the guide/instructor for the time they have been booked on an alternative off piste day.

– Adequate travel insurance is required for all VHS packages and is the responsibility of the participant to purchase and provide proof to a VHS staff member on the day of their activity. We recommend purchasing a Carte Neige for the full duration of your lift pass and can advise further, on request.

– Any incomplete groups either (1) pay for the empty seats (2) find a complete group before you arrive in resort (3) come to our drinks night in your local resort every Monday 4.30pm to 7.30pm.

Got a Question?

Val Heli Ski Terms and Conditions

Val/Tignes Heli Ski LLP, Partnership no’s OC358489 / OC358496
Val/Tignes Heli Ski LLP – numéro d’immatriculation: 801 050 659 R.C.S CHAMBERY / 800 898 074 R.C.S. CHAMBERY
Contact: +4401329339621, info@valheliski.com
Head office: Shirral House, Church Road, Shedfield, Hampshire, SO32 2HY, UK

 

Visa Credit and Debit payments supported by Worldpay    Visa Electron payments supported by Worldpay    Mastercard payments supported by Worldpay    Maestro payments supported by Worldpay JCB payments supported by Worldpay    Worldpay Payments Processing    Worldpay Payments Processing
 


MEETING POINT:

To do this package we meet at the base of the Tichot chair-lift in Tignes Val Claret (see map above). It is up to you to get to that area. Naturally, you will have to use a lift-pass to do this package. If you have a lift pass for the Espace Killy area there should be no issue, if you don’t have a lift pass for that area a VHS team member can purchase one for you, on your request.

Package available from the resorts of: Tignes, Val d’Isere

Transfer Options to Access the Meeting Point From Resort Price
Your own transport no cost
VHS minibus transport £41 (€49) pp

COURSE INCLUDES:

What's included:
Transceiver; shovel and probe
Transceiver training
Full-day with your UIAGM mountain guide or instructor
Use of our radio communications for safety and instruction

Not Included: lift pass(es) (including Carte Neige backcountry rescue to hospital), adequate travel insurance, food/drink, minibus transport

OPTIONAL EXTRA:

Extras: Price
ABS pack £24 (€29) pp
Edited GoPro footage of your day £32 (€39) pp
Use of our Salomon/Liberty VHS powder skis £21 (€25) pp/day
Splitboard & Skins Rental (multi day discount available) €66pp/day
Packed lunch £29 (€35) pp
60 minute warm-down sports massage £60 (€72)
VHS hoodie £65 (€75)
VHS Hagloffs fleece £90 (€105)
VHS Hagloffs couloir 3 Jacket £410 (€490)

SWEEPER SERVICE:
According to best practice backcountry skiing / snowboarding we offer the use of sweeper on your backcountry day. A sweeper is employed to follow the group while the guide/instructor leads from the front. A sweeper is there to ensure the safety of everyone in the group thereby improving the group’s overall confidence and security. Price: £50 (€60) pp based on a private group of 4.

Sweeper Service Price
Val Heliski Sweeper Service (Private heli trips only) £200 (€240)

POLICY:

– Prices are based on private group booking of 6 people.

– Payment is to be made in full to confirm the booking.

– We require you to leave all ski holiday days available for best weather and availability for this package. We will contact you by SMS in resort to confirm your weather window.

– In accordance with the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 and unless we have already provided the services we have contracted with you to provide or your booking is made in resort, you have the right to cancel your booking at any time up to the end of the 7th working day after the booking is accepted by us. You may do this by writing to us at the above address and you will receive a full refund of any monies paid. If you want to cancel your booking otherwise than as set out above please inform us as soon as possible. You will forfeit your deposit but please note that places on a trip can be transferred to someone else subject to any such replacement agreeing to these Conditions.

– In the event a guide directs the group to a route with better conditions (subject to availability), additional costs may be incurred.

– We reserve the right to exchange any of our products of a similar price or less in the event of adverse weather or snow conditions.

– If this package can not be carried out due to adverse weather we reserve the right to use the guide/instructor for the time they have been booked on an alternative off piste day.

– Adequate travel insurance is required for all VHS packages and is the responsibility of the participant to purchase and provide proof to a VHS staff member on the day of their activity. We recommend purchasing a Carte Neige for the full duration of your lift pass and can advise further, on request.

– Any incomplete groups either (1) pay for the empty seats (2) find a complete group before you arrive in resort (3) come to our drinks night in your local resort every Monday 4.30pm to 7.30pm.

Got a Question?

Val Heli Ski Terms and Conditions

Val/Tignes Heli Ski LLP, Partnership no’s OC358489 / OC358496
Val/Tignes Heli Ski LLP – numéro d’immatriculation: 801 050 659 R.C.S CHAMBERY / 800 898 074 R.C.S. CHAMBERY
Contact: +4401329339621, info@valheliski.com
Head office: Shirral House, Church Road, Shedfield, Hampshire, SO32 2HY, UK

 

Visa Credit and Debit payments supported by Worldpay    Visa Electron payments supported by Worldpay    Mastercard payments supported by Worldpay    Maestro payments supported by Worldpay JCB payments supported by Worldpay    Worldpay Payments Processing    Worldpay Payments Processing
 


Espace Killy Backcountry Report 28/03/16

Great spring heli conditions in Italy 2

Calm and settled conditions have ruled through the previous week, with Spring taking a firm grip on the end of March. But more unsettled conditions look to be coming through into the week ahead with the possibility of moderate snowfall.

I’ve been doing a lot touring outside of the resort boundaries to find some of the best snow, even then you need to get the timings correct to ensure you don’t end up on re-frozen snow! Hiring a guide is the best way to guarantee that you find the best snow based on the days weather.

Tours such as Point de la Sana, Col de la Premou & Roches Rouges have given some fantastic snow conditions away from the hustle and bustle and tracked out conditions found on the sidecountry lines within the resort – again, if you’re looking at getting some touring done around the Espace Killy, be sure to take a look at our guides page to get a list of local guides and instructors who could show you the best touring in the region.

Many of the north faces are still holding some slightly drier snow that hasn’t been affected by the sun (due to the aspect). Pisteurs Couloir was holding some grippy, chalky snow which required a good set of edges to comfortably get down it – this will be a similar story to many of the other north facing faces/couloirs in the resort until we get another top up of snow (potentially) this week.

The pistes around the Espace Killy are still in fantastic condition, with fresh grooming to be had for the early risers all over the resort. Pistes lower down in areas such as Les Brevieres / Les Boisses are setting up firm in the morning after an overnight freeze but softening by lunch time as the sun comes around to warm the lower slopes up.

With a busy resort this week for Easter week, expect the pistes to get quite bumpy after lunchtime, the morning will be the best time to get the best piste skiing across the whole resort. You will be more likely to find quieter pistes in areas such as Les Brevieres and Les Boisses and with that, great lunch stops to get yourself away from the crowds.

With the potential for some more snow this week, off-piste conditions could improve significantly due to the superb snow depths that we currently have in resort (142cm at 2100m and 240cm at 3000m) and with the addition of fresh snow on top of this base, it will give some great sliding in many areas.

With the addition of this fresh snow on the current snowpack which has been though many melt-freeze cycles, you must still be considerate of the avalanche danger, which will rise following the addition of the fresh snow and particularly when the sun warms the slope, the snowpack will become very water saturated – increasing the danger for surface avalanches.

Heliskiing has some excellent conditions over on the French/Italian border, with untracked fresh still being found higher up in the alpine, now is your last chance to get up in a heli for this season with Val Heliski!

Rochers Rouges Summit

Espace Killy Backcountry Report 15th February

Some periods of settled conditions have allowed us to escape the driving snow and wind which has dominated this week and brought large amounts of snowfall to all areas of the Espace Killy.

I’ve been limited my skiing to the great tree runs around Les Boisses and Fornet during the past week, due to the time it has taken to open the upper lifts, strong winds and heavy snowfalls creating potential hazards higher up in the ski area.

The tree runs have held some dry blower fresh powder in many areas, with constant filling in due to heavy snowfall. These runs have become super playful with all this fresh snow with many natural features providing great airtime.

There have been brief periods of settled conditions that has given some great visibility even on the upper slopes, these have allowed many skiers to get into many of the larger face routes around the Espace Killy, but please be aware that the avalanche danger is still extremely high with all the fresh snow and wind transported snow.

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Where there has been good visibility, we’ve had some chances to get in and slash the untouched, dry and fresh powder higher up in the resort which has been brilliant! I managed to find some great untracked snow around the Laisinant Chairlift area today (Saturday 13th) in a brief pause from the stormy weather, with an absolutely empty mountain – thank you transfer day!

With the heavy snowfalls that we are currently receiving (~30cm fell today) and with it being transfer day, there has been huge tailbacks on the road up to Tignes / Val d’Isere all the way back from Bourg. Please bear this in mind when thinking about driving to resort – snow chains are mandatory whilst travelling up the road.

The Tignes / Val d’Isere link has also been shut frequently throughout the week, due to high winds. The link may be open early in the morning / afternoon, but please be aware that it may suddenly shut due to a change in the weather conditions not permitting the upper lifts to run.

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We are currently seeing lots of snow being shifted by the wind – particularly on higher elevations, be aware that this will create large amounts of wind slab on N – NE facing slopes, especially above 2500m. When the weather does clear in the week, remind yourself that there will be instabilities of this windslab sitting around the resort and will not take much weight to release this instability.
There is also quite obviously lots of fresh snow falling, this will create large amounts of soft slabs to form in more sheltered locations (such as trees and couloirs) – consider the danger of releasing small surface avalanches in these locations where the top layer of snow is not well bonded and will ‘sluff’ off as a skier/boarder passes over it – enough to take you knock you off your feet & over a nasty cliff!


Espace Killy Backcountry Report 14th January 2016

The snow just keeps falling in huge quantities over the Espace Killy with over a metre recorded to have fallen over the past 6 days and another 20cm in the forecast for today (Thursday) creating some fantastic skiing conditions.

..But also some dangerous avalanche conditions – play safe out there!

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The Tignes pistes are in fantastic conditions with frequent snowfalls and constant grooming overnight leading to perfect pistes being set up in the morning. Please still be aware that many of the higher lifts will be slow to open after large snowfalls as the Ski Patrol teams mitigate the avalanche danger around the pistes.

As has been reported in previous backcountry reports, we have had consistently large amounts of snowfall on a day by day basis in the Espace Killy, this fresh snow has sat on very old melt-freeze snow from the long drought period before and throughout the Christmas period.

Because such a large slab is sitting on such a weak layer below it, we are witnessing a very dangerous snowpack with large slab avalanches being released both naturally and skier triggered on a variety of aspects and elevations – be very aware of this if you’re even thinking of heading off the pistes and don’t even consider doing so without the correct equipment, knowledge and a guide if you feel like you are not suitably experienced to judge the danger of a slope.

Due to all of the above, I have once again stuck to mellow slopes lower down in the valley below the tree-line as we’re starting to find large quantities of windslab following very high winds higher up in the Alpine which to stress once again – this windslab is sitting on an extremely weak layer below.

Tree lines down towards Les Boisses have been fantastic and if you don’t fancy heading off the side of the pistes then you will still find great visibility down towards Les Boisses as the pistes wind their way through the Boisses forests, creating much improved visibility than that of the Alpine.

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After Today’s (Thusday) snowfall, there looks to be a break in the weather with only a smattering of snow falling from Friday – Sunday with the temperatures dropping again with this clear spell over the weekend.

The visibility looks set to improve from Saturday through to Monday which is going to create some great skiing conditions combined with the huge amounts of snow that we’ve received over the past 2 weeks, but please always remember that all the untracked powder is sitting on a dangerously weak layer.

The visibility will also allow you to check the slope above you prior to skiing your line – ensure that nobody is skiing a potentially dangerous slope above you.


Espace Killy Backcountry Report 11th January 2016

The end of the week has given way to some more unsettled conditions in the Espace Killy, dumping another load off snow on the snowpack, topping up things nicely, but please don’t forget that the avalanche danger is still high at all levels.

The Espace Killy pistes have obviously had a nice top up overnight and have set up nicely ready for morning groomer. The pistes are again beginning to become bumpy and tracked out by the end of the day, so be aware of this in the flat light. With the forecast high winds for the week ahead, please also be aware that the Grand Mottes may not be able to open.

The Espace Killy Ski Patrol team have begun to get lifts open earlier after the later openings in the mornings following the heavy snowfall earlier in the week. But please be aware that with all the fresh snow that’s forecast to fall early this week that the lift system will be slow to get started – particularly the higher lifts as the Ski Patrol team blast the dangerous slopes around the runs.

Avalanche forecast is high with all this fresh snow

Similar to the start of last week, I have yet again been sticking to the fantastic tree runs around the Espace Killy, in La Dialle, Fornet and Les Breviere due to the avalanche conditions and poor visibility higher up.

The tree runs have been set up perfectly in the morning with some fantastic fresh to be found after overnight snowfalls. Later in the day, the recent mild temperatures have began to turn the cold, dry snow into warm and wet porridge which has been slow to slide on. Don’t worry though, as from Monday (11th) onwards, there is forecast to be a sharp drop in the temperatures and with all the fresh that’s forecast in the week, these tree runs should be running great all day!

La Dialle Trees 8th January

With huge amounts of snow in the forecast at the start of this week, please make sure that you and your ski / board partners are well equipped and well trained in avalanche safety before you even plan on heading off-piste.

Be well prepared to change your plans based on the avalanche conditions off-piste and if you are not experienced in travelling through avalanche prone terrain or would like like to learn more about avalanche terrain and improve your off-piste skiing technique then please do consider hiring a guide to not only keep you safe, but let them show you all the secret powder stashes!

Another way to enjoy all this fresh snow is to join us for a Heliski trip departing from your chalet in Tignes or Val d’Isere, flying over to Italy to grab some guaranteed freshies with the safety of your fully certified IFMGA Mountain Guide. With the recent avalanche conditions, we’re keeping our backcountry skiing to the mellow slopes 30 degrees and below but still finding some fantastic fresh!