The Vallée Blanche is one of the most famous off piste descents in Europe, with a maximum descent of 2800m back to Chamonix. After leaving the Aiguille du Midi and descending the narrow snow arete the descent takes a line deep into the Mont Blanc Massif, rapidly becoming a wilderness experience.
There are some fantastic views of the steep faces of Mont Blanc du Tacul, Mont Maudit and the Aiguille Verte which commands the skyline for the duration of the descent.
In good conditions the Chamonix Vallée Blanche is also accessible to most good intermediate skiers with off piste skiing experience. This allows skiers of modest ability to enjoy a memorable descent down the largest glacier system in the Mont Blanc Massif, taking in approximtately 17Km of skiing.
As with any activity in the mountains it pays to be flexible, making the most of the prevailing conditions and the Vallée Blanche is no exception. As such there are a few options and variations. In normal conditions 'Le Classique Vallée Blanche' takes the easiest line, carving a large arch into the centre of the glacier directly under the coulours of Mont Blanc du Tacul. From here you ski through some impressive crevassed terrain towards the Geant Ice Fall. The option of visiting the Refuge du Requin (2516m) makes for a pleasant break for many, before rejoining the route at the Salle à Manger. Easier angled skiing leads to the steps and cable car to the Montenvers and a final descent by train. In good conditions it is possible to ski all the way to Chamonix taking the narrow 'James Bond Track' through the forest via Les Planards.
Other variations include: Gros Rognon Varient, Real Vallee Blanche and Glacier du Géant and Combe de la Vierge (both accessed form the Italian side - Pt Helbronner.
Difficulty and Aki Ability: The Vallee Blanche is a big glacier descent and as such you need to be able to ski conservatively with the ability to ski accurately and in control. It's inevitable that the skiing will take place near to large crevasses. Conditions can vary enormously and later in the season the ability to handle bumps in quite narrow corridors is essential.