COL DES FOURS
‘Skinning’ time : 1hr30
Vertical climb : 450m
Downhill vertical drop: 1000 meters
Off-Piste Le Col des Fours Val d’Isere
Le Col des Fours in Val d’Isere is one of the most emblematic off-piste itineraries in the Val d’Isere/Tignes area. The depart is situated at the Fornet between the Haute Maurienne and Haute Tarentaise.
This itinerary calls for proper ski touring technique, such as kick-turns, and occasionally the use of couteaux. Le Col des Fours isn’t an easy tour and needs a good level of fitness and determination. Le Col des Fours is an excellent example of Free Rando, and offers some great skiing with fantastic views.
450 Vertical Metres
The ‘skin’ starts from the Pont du Neige (2530m), and offers a fabulous view into the Mauriennne Valley. From here it is a climb of 450 metres to the Cold Des Fours, situated at 2976 metres. It’s a beautiful walk and you pass the Col du la Calabourdane (3006m) on the right, and then further on the l’Ouille de Tretete (2948m) on your left. (There is an option of also skiing the north-west facing Tretete en-route to the Col des Fours)
Col des Fours offers adventure, views, and off-piste variations
The final push to arrive at the Col des Fours is always interesting. Sometimes the final traverse may be judged by your off-piste guide to be too risky, and a ‘boot’ up to the summit may be necessary. When you can take the traverse to the Col it can sometimes be tricky, and the use of couteaux to help grip the snow may be necessary. Whatever the route taken the Col des Fours offers some spectacular views. Behind you is the wonderful vista towards the mountains towering above Bonneval, and in front of you a wide open view towards the Mean Martin (3330m) and the Vanoise beyond.
The Col des Fours opens into a vast bowl, which gives plenty of options when choosing the route down. Your off-piste guide can choose going left to access the most northern-western aspect, where the snow stays cold until late in the season. You can also ski straight down from the col, or go right towards the more southerly slopes, which can also be an option in the spring. The main bowl leads down the Fond des Fours Refuge, which is manned later in the season.
From the refuge there is still some skiing ahead of you with various gullies leading into the bottom of the Cugnai, and eventually the Manchet Chairlift. Once on the chairlift you can look back to your right and admire your tracks in the distance, which tell the story of your decent.