For an introduction to ski touring or an outing of several hours off the beaten track, Combloux and its Les Portes du Mont-Blanc ski area offer a vast playground for the practice of this mountain sport.

With 12 marked routes and the Croisse-Baulet off-piste sector popular with seasoned practitioners, the Les Portes du Mont-Blanc area is a real corner of paradise for practicing ski touring in an exceptional natural setting in the heart of the Alps. .

What is ski touring?

Unlike alpine skiing, ski touring does not require you to take the ski lifts since the ascent is done on skis, which is the whole point.

In order to be able to climb without the risk of slipping backwards, what are called skins are glued under the soles of the skis, strips of fabric today made of synthetic hair – the name refers to the Inuit who used real skins seals – which allow the ski to slide in one direction and prevent it from rolling back in the other. The binding lifts when climbing to free the foot and facilitate movement.

Once the objective is reached, the skins are removed, the binding is blocked and the descent is carried out as in alpine skiing.

Ski touring in Combloux with a view of Mont-Blanc
Ski touring in Combloux facing Mont-Blanc

Signposted routes on Les Portes du Mont-Blanc

To practice ski touring in complete safety, we recommend that you stay on the marked and secure routes of the ski area. The Portes du Mont-Blanc offer you a choice of 12 marked routes spread over the entire ski area, from Combloux to La Giettaz, via the Jaillet massif. Of varied lengths and elevations, choose the route best suited to your level of practice.

The golden rule of ski touring in Combloux

The circulation of snow groomers and the use of cables for grooming make access to the slopes very dangerous when the resort is closed.

Under these conditions, to guarantee everyone's safety, theaccess to ski touring routes on the Portes du Mont-Blanc sector must be done only during station opening hours.

In other words, to prevent accidents, the use of skins on the ski area is strictly prohibited outside these hours.

 

What equipment for ski touring?

As we have seen above, ski touring requires very specific equipment, starting with skis and skins. Some models of bindings (heavier) are compatible with alpine ski boots, but most require a particular boot compatible with bindings with inserts. Size-adjustable poles will also provide more comfort.

For the rest, the ski helmet is essential for the descent, as well as a DVA (Avalanche Victim Detector) if you wish to move away from the marked routes (reserved for seasoned skiers). Of course, always remember to check the weather conditions, consult the snow and avalanche bulletin and find out about your itinerary before leaving.

For the rental of your equipment or for advice on the equipment to choose, get closer to our ski shops.

Learn about ski touring in Combloux

You have never practiced ski touring? Take advantage of the Echappée Rando on Tuesdays during school holidays to discover the practice in complete safety, on an easy route and in a friendly atmosphere. The descent takes place at night in the light of headlamps on green and blue ski slopes. When you return to the snow front, a small buffet awaits you to recover from the efforts of the climb.

For a discovery day at your own pace, you can also call on our instructors at the ESF Combloux or at the Bureau des Guides. These mountain professionals will be able to accompany you and adapt to your level and can offer you different choices of outings: half-day initiation, day, freerando, etc.



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