Part 1: Ski Touring the Col Des Fours in Val D’Isere
Ski touring the Col Des Fours in Val D’Isere is part 1 of my top five classic ski tours in the Tarentaise Valley in the Northern French Alps. Its a low intermediate ski tour with only a 480m of ascent. For your efforts you are rewarded with amazing views and over 1000m of vertical offpiste descent into the vallons des fours. It is a great introductory tour for skiers who have some experience in ski touring already. But it is a tour where your timing is everything! You need to make sure that you have big enough weather window and that you time the last traverse to perfection.
Route: Fornet, Val D’Isere- Col Des Fours- Fornet, Val D’Isere Off Piste skiing: 2976m -1915m W/NW/N Max Ski Gradient: 38 degrees Uphill: 480m 1.5 to 2hrs Total Route time from Fornet: 5-6hrs Skiers Level: Intermediate offpiste skier Ski Touring Level: Low Intermediate Start: Fornet cable car Finish: Fornet cable car Lift pass needed: Val D’Isere Map needed: 3633ET
Depending on your size of group and the speed of the group this tour in the winter you can actually start in Tignes and ski over to Fornet and ski back depending on your size of group and the speed of the group. In springtime when the snowpack is warming I would advise you to start in Fornet in Val D’Isere so you aren’t depending on a ski lift home.
You start on the Col D’Iseran and ski down southwest to Pont de la Neige. At the bridge you will find a flat area so you can transition to uphill skiing. From there you climb 480m to the col. If you are careful with your line you don’t need to be able to do a kick turn. The last two hundred metres of the tour is the most difficult and its when timing is everything. It’s a 200m traverse which is slightly exposed and often icy. As the pitch above the traverse is southeast facing it has the sun on it early and the snowpack warms and often releases some slides.
After you reach the col you have endless options of skiing different lines to the Refuge Des Fours. Choosing your ski down after the refuge becomes a little bit more tricky as you are in more complication terrain. Depending on snow conditions you can then decide to keep left or right of the river des fours back and then back to the Manchet chairlift.
‘Ski tour in comfort and performance; I choose nothing but the best and highly recommend the backcountry selection from Floâ Sports,’ Jocelyn Cockle (Floss) Director of Freefloski
FREEFLO specializes in progressive on and off-piste ski instruction, backcountry ski touring and women-specific ski courses. We offer personal British ski instruction for skiers of all abilities. Our primary objective is helping competent skiers to improve their technique on and off-piste and in the backcountry. Our intuitive coach approach will help you to progress, have fun and enjoy the full freedom of the mountains in a safe and confident manner.
Tignes and Val D’Isere FATMAP put to the Test by FREEFLO: Off Piste Tignes/Val D’Isere
I have a great passion for the off piste and backcountry. I work and live in the ski resorts of Tignes and Val D’Isere as a British Ski Teacher which is why I was very eager to put the FATMAP of the Espace Killy to test.
I put the ULTRA-HIGH RESOLUTION 3D MAPPING Fatmap through its paces and completed the ski tour Col Du Fours in the Espace Killy in poor visibility last Monday on my Samsung Galaxy S4 mini. I solely used the fat map and my friend only used the OS map for navigation so we could compare notes. Being a ski enthusiast and not a huge computer fan (I only started to use a touch screen phone last year), I found the map easy to use and it gave me further support and confidence to navigate a new route in poor conditions. One of the main advantages of the map is that it doesn’t rely on internet signal and once downloaded you can use it anywhere on the mountain.
Use fatmap and find the powder in Tignes and Val D’Isere
The start of the ski tour Col du Fours using the Espace Killy Fatmap
Fatmap Espace Killy, Val D’Isere and Tignes
I used the 3D Fly-Through many times to ensure I was on the right track. It would have been easier if there was a setting that you could use to pause and to re-start the 3D Fly-Through to save time and battery, instead of starting from the beginning each time. Also if the dotted line on the 3D was illustrated in a different colour showing the uphill ski touring route, it would make it clearer to see the route in a uphill and downhill version. These are comments I have already forwarded to the active FATMAP team by using the Slack app. The description of the tour then backs up the 3D Fly-Throughs so it is even harder to take the wrong route. I accessed valuable information quicker and easier using the FATMAP about the route and found out the gradient, aspect, crevasse zones etc; without getting the OS map and compass out. With that information and knowing the weather, avalanche bulletin, history and with my mountain awareness and experience, I could navigate the ski tour and ski down the route safely.
Conclusion: FATMAP is the friend that you can fit in your back pocket. It is the most detailed 3D ski map that I have seen and used. I think that this is a great tool which will support your navigation while skiing off piste. Why wouldn’t you have it in your back pocket as you carry your phone anyway?
I will look forward to putting the FATMAP through its paces further and working with the FATMAP team to add new routes and improvements.
The FATMAP Story:
OUR FIRST 3D MAP
Dave has had a lifelong passion for maps, he made his first 3D map at the age of eleven. A few years ago, he became obsessed with the idea of creating the ultimate map for skiing. Scholarships to Oxford and Cranfield and 15 years as a software engineer have created the perfect storm.
Misha had a mis-spent youth with computers. In between games of Elite he wrote his first computer programme on his Commodore 64 at the age of five. Since then he has been busy building and running successful technology companies in the UK and skiing in his free time. Waiting out a storm on a remote ski expedition to Albania, the idea of FATMAP was born. The idea to use the latest mobile and gaming technology to create true to life 3D models of mountains and the information you really want to know as a skier; all on a device that you can carry in your pocket.
Main features include:
ULTRA-HIGH RESOLUTION 3D MAPPING:
PISTE MAPPING AND PROFILING
INTERACTIVE RESORT INFORMATION
SKI TRACKING, STATS AND SOCIAL SHARING
Different to any ski school FREEFLO offers intutive British Personal Ski Coaching in the snow-sure resorts of Tignes, Val D’Isere and La Grave. We specialise in all mountain and off piste skiing, plus backcountry ski touring and women specific ski courses. Fun and passionate we are highly experienced and fully qualified to work in France. With FREEFLO the quality of your experience, and safety are our priorities. With passion we help people to improve, have fun and to enjoy the freedom of the mountains. For further information please drop an email to: [email protected]