Ski Mo the Alps: Chamonix Ski Mo Training and Pierra-Menta

Summary

Join us in Chamonix, France, the world's home for ski mo, for nine remarkable days. We'll training with Europe's top ski mo coaches, enjoy a local uphill race, and watch Pierra-Menta, one of the world's great ski mo races.

Date

March 8 - 16, 2019

Length

9 days, 8 nights

Tour Category

Village-based

Fees

$4,400 per person

$950 Single supplement fee

Whats included

Shuttle from Geneva airport; accommodations in Chamonix and Arêches, France; all breakfasts and dinners (except one night's dinner on your own); shuttle from Chamonix to Arêches; training with French World Cup Ski Mo champions Valentine Fabre and Yann Gachet; guiding courtesy of Chamonix ski instructor Rachel Kerr; lunches during Pierra-Menta ski outings; ski tickets at Les Planards ski area during training sessions, shuttle from Arêches to Geneva airport. For those taking part in the Chamonix valley uphill race, race entry fee is additional.

Description

It’s here!

We’re excited to be offering a remarkable trip we’ve been dreaming about for several years: ski mo training program in the heart of the Alps with some the best coaches anywhere– and a chance to be part of the wild energy of Pierra-Menta, one of the world’s most famous ski mo races. There’s even an evening taking part in a Chamonix valley uphill race!

Ski Mountaineering, or “Ski Mo” is a growing winter sport for trail runners, and for good reason: It’s great cross-training and it’s a crazy amount of fun!

Nowhere is the energy for Ski Mo greater than in the Alps, where the sport has developed to high-energy, World Cup levels. We’ve pulled together a world-class team, including Valentine Fabre, a top European  Ski Mo racer and coach. Valentine is one of the Chamonix valley’s favorite outdoor athletes – she’s smart, fun, experienced, and a talented coach. (And her Ski Mo résumé is pretty remarkable!) Joining Valentine will be coach and ski instructor Yann Gachet, a medallist in the sprint world cup with numerous top ski mo race results.

We’re delighted and honored to have Valentine and Yann as part of our trip.

Our trip starts with a welcome dinner in Chamonix. The next day, we’ll have a morning of low-key training in town.  Later, we’ll take part in an uphill race in Vallorcine, France,  just 30 minutes from Chamonix. L’Oursinette 2019 is a citizen’s race for all abilities. Skin uphill at the Vallorcine ski area as the sun sets over the peaks. At the finish, race volunteers serve vin chaud – hot spiced wine. It’s a memorable way to start our Ski Mo adventure.

Next, we’ll spend several days developing our Ski Mo skills on the slopes of Chamonix. We’ll work on uphill and downhill techniques, and practice our transition skills. There will be a chance to free ski around Chamonix if you like, too.

Training done, we’ll head the quiet Alps village of Arêches, just 90 minutes from Chamonix. Here, we’ll have the company of another of Chamonix’s notable ski pros, instructor Rachel Kerr. Rachel will lead us over sections of the Pierra-Menta course, as we take in this world-famous race with its wildly enthusiastic fans. Each day we’ll share lunch up high in the mountains, courtesy of Run the Alps guide Bruno Yates.

Curious about Pierra-Menta and the famous energy for which the event is known? Check out videos of the scene, here.

Rachel taking part in Switzerland’s Patrouille des Glaciers, or “PDG,” the world’s most famous ski mountaineering race. (Courtesy photo.)

After four days of skiing through the Alps to watch some of the best Ski Mo racers in the world, we’ll say our farewells to our friends, and to the Alps!

This trips is new for Run the Alps, so we’ll be looking for your input. Full details on equipment recommendations will be shared by January 1, 2018.

To take part in this trip, you should be a capable backcountry skier, used to using climbing skins, and able to comfortably climb 4,000 vertical feet per day, at a steady touring pace. You should be able to take care of yourself in winter conditions, including snow, cold temperatures, and wind. When applying, please give us a sense of your skiing abilities and fitness. Partners are welcome on this trip, at a reduced price without coaching.

Day-by-day
Day 1

Friday, March 8

Today’s our day to meet up in Chamonix, France! You’ll take a 45-minute shuttle from Geneva, to our hotel in the iconic Alps mountain town. In the evening, we’ll meet for drinks and head out to dinner together at one of Chamonix’s many excellent restaurants.

  • Le Refuge des Aiglons
  • Dinner
Day 2

Saturday, March 9

We’ll start the day with a intro to Ski Mo morning with Valentine. We’ll cover ski mo gear, gliding and pole technique, and kick turns. There’ll also be a chance to practice with an avalanche transceiver. This low-key half-day of training will take place at Les Houches ski area in Chamonix Valley.

Later in the day, we’ll take the local train to Vallorcine, France, near the Swiss border to take part in a great community uphill race, the Oursinette. Last year, 74 Chamonix valley residents enjoyed this 6.6 km uphill race with 2,400 feet of climbing, on one of Vallorcine’s alpine ski trails. Racers ranged from some of the best in the region, to locals out for a fun evening with friends and family.

The race starts at sunset, and headlamps are required. We’ll close the day with an informal dinner before a shuttle takes us back to Chamonix.

 

  • Le Refuge des Aiglons
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 3

Sunday, March 10

Today we’ll take part in a full day of training with Valentine, at Les Houches ski area in Chamonix Valley.

(Photo courtesy of Ski Alpinisme, ski-alpinisme.com.)

We’ll practice yesterday’s technical tips, then learn about skiing downhill with skins, skating, and transitions. Later, we’ll get to try all our skills in a mini ski-mo training course, set by Valentine.

 

  • Le Refuge des Aiglons
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4

Monday, March 11

Today, we’ll continue training with Valentine, elsewhere in the Chamonix Valley. She’ll introduce team race strategies, skinning with a partner, transitioning as a team, and even skiing with a bungee cord during climbs. Finally, we’ll practice racing in teams!

 

  • Les Aiglons
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5

Tuesday, March 12

After three days of training and a race, today is a free day to relax and enjoy Chamonix, France. Some of us might free ski at one of the many ski areas in the valley, others might prefer a visit to nearby Courmayeur, Italy, or a chance to soak in Chamonix’s new thermal baths, QC Therme Chamonix.

We’ll be on our own tonight for an early dinner, then we’ll meet for an evening shuttle to the quiet mountain town of Arêches, which will be coming alive for the famed Pierra-Menta Ski Mo stage race.

 

  • Viallet
  • Breakfast, Dinner
Day 6

Wednesday, March 13

It’s Pierra-Menta time! A wild excitement takes over the little Alps village of Arêches, home to Pierra-Menta Ski Mo stage races for the ensuing four days.

Thousands of Ski Mo fans descend upon town, and everyone heads deep into the mountains to cheer on some of the world’s best Ski Mo races.

We’ll be led by the capable and talented Chamonix-based ski instructor Rachel Kerr, and Run the Alps summer guide Bruno Yates will prepare a fondue lunch today up high in the mountains!

After today’s stage of the race, and for evenings to follow, we’ll have the chance to join racers at the evening briefing, at which results are shared– as well as a preview of the next day’s route.

During our stay in Arêches, we’ll enjoy dinners at our quiet Hotel Restaurant Viallet, just a short walk from the village center.

  • Viallet
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 7

Thursday, March 14

Today, we’ll head out into the mountains again, climbing on our skis to watch the next stage of Pierra Menta. As the racers pass, we’ll enjoy another lunch prepared Bruno.

  • Viallet
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 8

Friday, March 15

Rachel will lead us into the mountains of the Beaufort Alps, as we take in another challenging day of Ski Mo racing.

During the evening, we’ll recap our special Ski Mo week and enjoy a final dinner together at the Hotel Viallet.

Rachel Kerr. (Courtesy photo.)

Note: Any day during our time in Arêches, trip participants have the option of taking a rest day and enjoying the ambience in town. For information on the village and this remarkable off-the-beaten-track region, see here.

  • Viallet
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Day 9

Saturday, March 16

Today is our last day! We’ll watch the final stage of Pierra-Menta, and the closing awards ceremony later in the day. After, a shuttle will depart for Geneva– or Chamonix, if you’d like to add a little ski time to your vacation in the Alps.

Rachel taking a break from ski area skiing, ripping it up in Chamonix, France. (Courtesy photo.)

  • Viallet
  • Breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Arrival

Guests should schedule flights to arrive in Geneva on Friday, March 8. Run the Alps will arrange for a shared shuttle to transport you to your hotel in Chamonix, approximately a 90-minute ride.

Departure

Run the Alps will be provide a special group shuttle from Arêches to Geneva at the close of the day on Saturday, March 16th. Run the Alps can assist with airport-based hotel reservations, which are not included in trip costs.

For those interested in extending their stay in the Alps, Run the Alps can assist in trip planning.

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Questions

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