This has a few other names, the French call it Randonnées. Us Brits call it ski touring. The Americans call it backcountry skiing. The choice is yours.
I mention it because it is a growing sport. All the thrills of Alpine (lift catching) skiing but meanwhile earning every turn on the way down. Oh, and your lunch!
There are many ways to get into this sport, but don’t be put off by all the jargon and kit that is associated with it.
I only started doing it 3 seasons ago and promptly got awful blisters going up a piste and was thinking why?
Now I am going on 4 day tours not touching a lift at all.
You don’t have to be fit to start off with. You will go at your own pace. There is a saying amongst cyclists - it never gets easier. You just get faster - and the same adage applies to this sport.
Things you need to know:
Getting started. Going up the piste is not illegal (but slightly frowned upon) and it is your responsibility to avoid people coming down towards you, so watch out and concentrate and ideally go to a dedicated trail away from the lift areas to get some practice in.
Or get out before the lifts open, rip up a piste and be the 1st one down. Fresh tracks all the way!
It is more than likely you will be doing this activity off piste. Check your insurance cover! Some insurers do not cover off piste skiing and some do when you are with a certified guide. So, a guide is a good idea. I use the Bureau to Guides in Morzine and Avoriaz - Bureau des Guides - 0033450759665
So, you are off piste so best to do it with a friend or two, and make sure you are carrying safety equipment. Transceiver, shovel, probe and a mobile phone.
A back pack is essential, not only for the safety gear, but you will need water and snacks for sure. You may start off with 5 layers and half way up the hill you will be down to a base layer, no hat, no gloves and the sweat will be pouring off you and your back pack will be full of the clothing you left the chalet wearing an hour earlier!
I could go on for quite a bit on this subject but please give it a go and help save the planet!
There is a whole new world out there once you are prepared to go up under your own steam. Tons to do in the PDS region and a whole myriad of options once you jump into your car for 1-2 hours. Think Chamonix and Mont Blanc for starters.
Don’t be put off by all the talk of safety gear. It's most likely you will only ever need your shovel for building a jump!
Mix it up with some lifts as well and your day on the hill will be epic for sure.
For example, go up in the Super Morzine bubble lift, put your skins on and hike to Avoriaz, then skins off and ski down to the Goat village for lunch with friends.
We are happy to advise you on this activity, but why not ask the experts Jamie at All Mountain Rental and Manu at Sport2000 Ardent Sport.