Guidebook

Challenging Big Mountain Ski Tours Above Pralognan

A selection of tough ski tours beneath, around and to the summit of the mighty Grande Casse, high above Pralognan-la-Vanoise.

Description

Pralognan-la-Vanoise, in the heart of the Vanoise National Park, is the final settlement before human civilisation gives way to the wilds of the high mountains. It's only a small town but its location, right beneath the legendary Vanoise peaks, make it a ski touring mecca.

The town lies just to the east of the 3 Valleys ski area - the largest ski resort in the World - but it is amazingly quiet despite its proximity to that most famous of mountain destinations. The character of the 2 places couldn't be much more different either - the 3 Valleys is flashy and modern but Pralognan-la-Vanoise is much more rough and ready; a "real" mountain town.

Listed in this guidebook are some of the toughest ski tours accessed from Pralognan-la-Vanoise, including 3 lines on the Grande Casse, one of the most famous mountains in France. Some of the routes described here are day hits, other are multi day missions and all are mountain adventures of the highest calibre.

One option for starting your Vanoise ski touring career is to work your way through these routes which start in nearby Courchevel, and 2 of which finish in
Pralognan-la-Vanoise itself.

https://fatmap.com/guidebooks/12910/escape-the-crowds-:-5-gorgeous-ski-tours-from-courchevel

Another fabulous trip from Pralognan-la-Vanoise is the 5 day Vanoise Circuit, which might just be the best hut to hut tour in France. That's a big claim but don't just take our word for it - ski it yourself!

https://fatmap.com/guidebooks/13781/the-vanoise-circuit-:-france's-best-hut-to-hut-ski-tour

Suffice to say that whatever ski tour you do in the area, there is a lifetime of further exploration to be had in this most scenic of mountain regions.

Le Laisonnay via Col de la Grande Casse.
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Le Laisonnay via Col de la Grande Casse.

Albertville
5 - 6 hrs
13.2 km
696 m
1,659 m
36 °
A superb finale to the Vanoise circuit under the Grande Casse North Face.
Difficult
Private
Grande Casse, Grand Couloir
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Grande Casse, Grand Couloir

Albertville
5 - 6 hrs
7.4 km
1,442 m
1,442 m
47 °
A ski mountaineering classic involving a steep climb from the Refuge de la Vanoise to the summit of the Grande Casse, the highest in the Tarentaise.
Severe
Private
Grande Casse, Face Nord Centrale
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Grande Casse, Face Nord Centrale

Albertville
0 - 1 hrs
1.5 km
22 m
834 m
49 °
The huge line straight down the centre of the North Face, starting with a very steep, narrow opening from the centre of the top ridgeline of the Grande Casse. One only for the experienced skiers and mountaineers.
Extreme
Private
Grande Casse, Petit Face Nord
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Grande Casse, Petit Face Nord

Albertville
0 - 1 hrs
1.1 km
0 m
686 m
47 °
Only slightly easier than neighbouring ‘Face Nord Centrale’, the Petit Face Nord offers a great alternative to the Face Nord Centrale with slightly less exposure whilst retaining the amazing feeling of skiing on this wild north face.
Extreme
Private
Pointe de la Réchasse
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Pointe de la Réchasse

Pralognan-la-Vanoise
6 - 7 hrs
14.7 km
1,268 m
1,868 m
45 °
A prominent summit at the north end of the Glaciers de la Vanoise icecap.
Moderate
Private
Dôme des Nants via the Col des Thurges
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Dôme des Nants via the Col des Thurges

Albertville
1 day +
20.2 km
2,242 m
2,242 m
34 °
A big day up on to the Glaciers de la Vanoise
Difficult
Private
Col de la Glière - Sud
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Col de la Glière - Sud

Pralognan-la-Vanoise
5 - 6 hrs
11.5 km
1,234 m
1,815 m
51 °
A great tour for spring snow seekers.
Difficult
Private
Col des Volnets
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Col des Volnets

Pralognan-la-Vanoise
5 - 6 hrs
9.0 km
1,267 m
1,267 m
49 °
A great 'medium-steep' spring snow line.
Difficult
Private
Col du Vallonet
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Col du Vallonet

Albertville
6 - 7 hrs
9.5 km
1,634 m
1,634 m
50 °
A spring-time mega-classic!
Severe
Private
Grand Bec North West Face 'Voie Gromier'
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Grand Bec North West Face 'Voie Gromier'

Albertville
6 - 7 hrs
9.4 km
1,711 m
1,711 m
56 °
The Chauchefoin line - a Vanoise steep classic.
Extreme
Private
Pointe du Creux Noir via the (ex-) Glacier de la Patinoire
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Pointe du Creux Noir via the (ex-) Glacier de la Patinoire

Pralognan-la-Vanoise
5 - 6 hrs
11.3 km
1,142 m
1,736 m
45 °
An early start will be needed for this east-facing couloir.
Difficult
Private