Guidebook

Ski Beneath the Chamonix Giants : Freeride La Balme

10 unmissable ski lines below the towering peaks of the Mont Blanc Massif.

Description

With the Aiguille du Midi, Brévent-Flégère and Grands Montets stealing the limelight, it can be easy to overlook La Balme - an absolute gem of a ski area at the northern end of the Chamonix valley. At first glance La Balme looks a little tame (so do most areas when compared to Chamonix's raddest ski lines!) but the resort rewards those with an adventurous spirit - a little exploration goes a long way here!

Once you've peeled back the slightly tame-looking exterior of La Balme you'll find lines which will satisfy any freerider, regardless of their level. There are some mellow-ish lines, but the majority of routes in this guidebook are geared towards the advanced skier able to handle themselves in big, steep and serious terrain.

Many of the lines described here take you down - over the Swiss border - into the little village of Trient, and this only adds to the element of adventure. Don't worry, there's a bus back, but dropping into a different valley - let alone a different country - always makes a run feel more exciting... as if La Balme's freeride routes weren't adventurous enough already!

Vormaine Gullies
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Vormaine Gullies

Chamonix
594 m
45 °
W
5 m
2.3 km
A series of gullies offering great skiing with a lot of variety and options, all easily accessed from a lift.
Difficult
Private
L'Aiguillette Des Posettes, South side
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

L'Aiguillette Des Posettes, South side

Chamonix
707 m
37 °
SE
0 m
2.1 km
A real adventure as you traverse and ski fantastic terrain all the way to the valley floor.
Difficult
Private
Posettes Couloirs
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Posettes Couloirs

Chamonix
893 m
41 °
12 m
3.1 km
Long consistent, but serious couloirs offer amazing skiing.
Severe
Private
Jeurs bowls
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Jeurs bowls

Chamonix
625 m
32 °
N
14 m
2.7 km
This run offers great off piste skiing in relatively gentle undulating terrain.
Difficult
Private
Cirque de Catogne
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Cirque de Catogne

Chamonix
524 m
39 °
W
90 m
2.5 km
A wide open face offering good skiing far from the crowds.
Difficult
Private
L'Arolette Couloir
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

L'Arolette Couloir

Chamonix
326 m
42 °
38 m
0.9 km
Giving 600 meters of fantastic skiing, this is worth the hike.
Severe
Private
Col du Balme to Trient
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Col du Balme to Trient

Chamonix
874 m
47 °
NE
14 m
3.6 km
A real treat with easy access, varied terrain and descent options.
Difficult
Private
Descent to Châtelard
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Descent to Châtelard

Chamonix
950 m
43 °
NW
30 m
3.0 km
A real adventure linking bowls and steep faces all the way to the town of Châtelard.
Difficult
Private
Croix de Fer Couloir
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Croix de Fer Couloir

Chamonix
868 m
39 °
N
0 m
1.8 km
Steep, very serious and sustained skiing leads you to the village of Trient.
Severe
Private
Trient via Les Tornays
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Trient via Les Tornays

Chamonix
912 m
40 °
N
3 m
2.2 km
A serious but fantastic route with a combination of fast, flowing skiing and some steep narrow sections.
Severe
Private