Ski Mountaineering Further Information
Our High-Calibre GuidesAll of our Alpine ski guides hold the International Mountain Guides carnet (IFMGA) and are members of the British Association of Mountain Guides (BMG). They are expert skiers with the mountaineering judgement and instructional skills to ensure that each member safely achieves their full potential. The main personnel on our Ski Mountaineering courses and tours are Jim Blyth and Andy Owen. Jim and Andy went through the British Mountain Guides Scheme together fifteen years ago and are both huge fun to be with in the mountains. Depending on the nature of the tour, they are sometimes joined by additional guides.
Jim Blyth BMG IFMGA
Jim Blyth has been the Director of our Ski Mountaineering programme since its inception. He is a talented mountain guide and instructor who has also led many ski expeditions for Jagged Globe to Japan, Chile, New Zealand, Morocco, Greenland and Mongolia, to name just a few exotic places. A native Scot, Jim lives in France with his wife and three children, is fluent in French and speaks German. Consequently, as you might imagine, he has excellent knowledge of the Alps, including the language, as well as of the mountains themselves. Indeed, we can't think of any other British Mountain Guide currently active with such broad ski touring experience as Jim. Put simply, over the past fifteen years or so, he has amassed a wealth of skiing experience all over the Alps, and further afield in the Greater Ranges.
Andy Owen BMG IFMGA
Andy Owen joined Jim Blyth in 2009 to help expand our All Mountain Skiing programme. Andy has been a guide on Jagged Globe Alpine Courses since his time as an aspirant and works exclusively for us throughout the summer season. During the winter, Andy has guided on our Snow and Ice Climbing courses in Scotland. He has now swopped climbing on the Ben, for European Icefalls, and during the spring, he straps on the planks and shares the joys of ski touring with our clients. Andy spent a couple of ski seasons in Chamonix prior to qualifying as a mountain guide, so he has a long pedigree of skiing and ski mountaineering. He is a huge amount of fun to be with in the mountains, and has relished the opportunity to guide on our growing programme of skiing courses and tours.
Jim Kerr BMG IFMGA
A fully qualified mountain guide for nearly twenty years, Jim climbs mainly in Europe, with trips to Peru, Bolivia, Nepal, Canada and rock climbing in France, Italy, Spain, Sinai and North America. He is a past trainer and assessor for the British Mountain Guides Association and has been a regular Course Director and guide on Jagged Globe Alpine Courses for many years. Jim is based in the Chamonix Valley and is a brilliant skier and teacher, as well as mountaineer and guide. His wealth of experience has been appreciated by our course participants time and time again, and we're lucky to have him as part of our guiding team.
John Falkiner NZMG IFMGA
Based in Verbier for the last 30 years, John Falkiner has been on skiing and climbing adventures all over the world, including Australia, New Zealand, North America, Russia, India, Tibet, Norway and Lebanon. John has been guiding on Jagged Globe Summer Alpine Courses and our Via Ferrata courses for many years.
Ski Mountaineering gradesOur three-tiered grading system should help you make the best selection of course:
Designed for those who want an introduction to Ski mountaineering/touring. To enjoy these courses and for you to take advantage of the instruction being offered, you will have some previous off-piste experience and you should be able to ski linked, short radius turns confidently. When we are not based overnight in the valley, we either do day tours from huts, or a short hut-to-hut tour at the end of the week, allowing you to ski with just a light pack. You should bring along your sense of humour and a desire to learn!
To join these hut-to-hut tours, you need to be a competent off-piste skiers/ski mountaineers capable of skiing slopes up to 35° and ascending for 4 hours with a 10kg pack. A foundation course such as the Introductory Ski Mountaineering would be ideal preparation.
Ski mountaineering requiring excellent skiing ability and control in all snow types. Steep slopes to 45°, carrying skis, axe and crampon work frequently encountered. You need to be able to enjoy ascending for 5 hours with a 12kg pack.
Travel and TransportAll course members are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to the course venue.
Detailed travel advice will be provided along with the confirmation of your booking.
During the courses any travel will be by private car or public transport/taxi. The guides have cars which will be used whenever possible. Occasionally, it may be convenient to use course participants' cars for short journeys.
Accommodation and FoodValley accommodation is in good standard hotels equating to 2 star quality. When not in the valley, we stay in Alpine huts ready to make an early start to ski a chosen summit. The cost of all accommodation is included in the price of the course. The hotel accommodation is provided on a twin-share basis (with the exception of Hotel Le Chaumiere in Chamonix, where, during busy periods, you may be asked to share a triple or quadruple room with other course members of the same sex and in the Dolomites, which is on a bed and breakfast basis) A single room supplement is payable should you want to have a room to yourself. Mountain huts provide clean, basic dormitory accommodation.
All meals throughout the course are included in the cost except for lunch (Dolomites is breakfast only). Course members will need to provide their own lunch and drink on the hill each day. On Ski tours, you may want to bring some snacks along to eat during the day. Most huts will provide a late lunch after you have finished your skiing for the day.
EquipmentYou will need to provide your own personal clothing and equipment, including avalanche transceiver, probe and metal shovel. This should include 'All Mountain' or touring skis with touring bindings, skins, ski mountaineering boots and ski crampons (harscheisen). When deciding what type of skis to bring, consider that a slightly wider 'All Mountain' ski (for example, 84mm wide underfoot), is easier to ski in difficult snow conditions than a narrower and lighter weight ski. Likewise, boots marketed as 'Freeride/Touring', which provide more support than a pure ski touring boot, are suitable for our Introductory Ski Mountaineering week. Skiers looking for more support on descents might prefer to compromise weight, with a stiffer boot. In addition, you will need mountaineering crampons, a lightweight ice axe, rucksack (45l) and a harness. We will send you a full equipment list with your booking confirmation. Skis/skins and all other technical equipment are available to hire from most course venues, but please indicate your requirements on the Equipment Hire section of your Jagged Globe Account on our website. We can then reserve these for you before you arrive in the resort.
We recommend the following ski manufacturers:
For more specific information about equipment, read Ski Mountaineering: An Introduction by Tom Briggs.
Course Inclusions and ExclusionsThe following paragraphs summarise what is included and excluded from our European course cost.
- Valley accommodation in either a 2 star hotel* or in a self-catering apartment, twin sharing, as given in the course description.
- For ski-mountaineering courses when touring and using mountain huts, a shared dormitory bunk.
- For all courses, breakfast and dinner throughout including when in mountain huts (except in the Dolomites, which is on a bed and breakfast basis).
- Instructional fees based on the published student to instructor ratio for the activity being undertaken. Ratios are in keeping with the recommendations laid down by BASI (British Association of Snowsport Instructors) the IFMGA (International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations) and the BMG (British Mountain Guides Association) for Alpine Ski-Guiding.
- All group ski-mountaineering equipment such as ropes and other technical equipment.
- Ice axes, crampons and harnesses as required and when booked in advance.
- Ski passes on the Dolomites week only.
- Ski Passes (except on the Dolomites week).
- Cable car and mechanical uplift costs of any sort.
- Avalanche Safety Gear (transceiver, shovel, avalanche probe).
- Skis, skins, ski crampons, boots and equipment hire.
- Transport between the UK and the course venue.
- The return journey from Zermatt to Chamonix following the completion of the Haute Route and any other taxi journeys or public transport used during the course.
- Skiing, mountaineering and travel Insurance.
- Evening meals in the Dolomites, except in mountain huts.
- Personal skiing, climbing equipment and clothing.
*Please bring enough money with you to cover additional costs, especially cable cars and lunches. Credit cards are widely accepted and can be used for most cable cars. Insurance should be organised and paid for before you travel to the Alps.