Skiing Hut to Hut Touring


For many people this is the quintessential element of what ski mountaineering is all about. The idea of going on a journey through the mountains staying in remote mountain huts is the holy grail.
The western alps is very well catered for by a hut system which provides simple full board and accommodation and alcohol .
Each of the principle alpine countries have their own alpine club which are responsible for the up keep of the huts. In France they are called Refuges or Abri [literally shelter ] In Italy they are called Refugios and in Switzerland they are called Cabannes. In German speaking Switzerland and Austria they are called Huttes – Hence the name derived in English – Hut.

By far the most famous hut to hut ski tour in the world is the Chamonix -Zermatt tour know simply as the Haute Route. While it is undoubtably a fabulous trip , yet because of its fame it is also the busiest ski tour in the world .
Fortunately there are many other hut to hut ski tours that will deliver the solitude and the remote mountain experience which people dream of.
You and your Guide can plan many different itineraries of varying in length and tailor make the trip to the number of days you have available . Often a ski tour with just one night in a hut can be a great way to experience what the sport has to offer.

The Silvretta Traverse, Austria
Suitable for: Beginners

HIGHLIGHTS The Silvretta mountain range runs along the Swiss/Austrian border, south of St Anton. The entire massif is covered with large but gentle glaciers, and the terrain is user-friendly for ski tourers, with summits lower than those in the Western Alps. The summits in the Silvrettas are between 3000m and 3300m, and it’s possible to ski off them.

This is a great introduction to hut-to-hut ski touring – there’s a wide choice of ski-friendly summits and the fully-serviced huts are very comfortable, with hot showers, great beer and a jovial atmosphere.

NEED TO KNOW Although suitable for people new to touring, those attempting it should, at minimum, be intermediate off-piste skiers. The length of each day varies between five and eight hours, with 600m to 1000m of ascent per day. The downhill sections are 30 degrees or under, but variable snow should be expected.

 

The Haute Route, France/Switzerland
Suitable for: Experts

HIGHLIGHTS Literally meaning “high route” in French, the Haute Route is a classic journey that every ski touring enthusiast should undertake at least once in their life. The tour takes five to six days depending on the route taken, and crosses huge glaciers and high, steep passes, so there are constantly changing views to enjoy.

The tour links two historic alpine centres, Chamonix in France and Zermatt in Switzerland, and traverses sections of the Mont Blanc massif, one of the highest Alpine ranges, and through parts of the Swiss Valais region. This tour offers skiing among the highest peaks in the Alps, including a descent directly beneath the Matterhorn’s north face.

NEED TO KNOW This tour is one for fit, advanced skiers – the length of each day varies from six to 10 hours, with 1000m to 1200m of ascent per day. The downhill skiing stretches are never steeper than 35 degrees, but the descents are long and in variable snow.

 

The Italian Dolomites Circuit, Italy
Suitable for: Beginners

HIGHLIGHTS Breathtakingly beautiful and steeped in history, a circuit in the Dolomites is a great way to try ski touring for the first time. The range is situated in the far north east of Italy, characterised by remote valleys and towering limestone cliffs and pinnacles. But in the Dolomites, ski touring is just part of the fun – a trip here would be incomplete without making the most of the exceptional local food, culture and hospitality.

The area’s fascinating modern history enhances the tour – troops were present during the First World War, engaged in a bitter struggle for survival. Many of the passes were strategically important, and some via ferratas (iron ladders built into the cliff face) and fortifications from this era are still visible.

NEED TO KNOW This tour is for intermediate off-piste skiers. The length of each day varies between five and eight hours, with 600m to 1000m of ascent per day. The downhill sections are 35 degrees or under, but variable snow should be expected. Good ski fitness and a determined approach are required.

 

Queyras National Park tour, France
Suitable for: Intermediates

HIGHLIGHTS The Queyras National Park is located south east of Briançon, between les Ecrins, la Meije and Monte Viso on the Italian side. This itinerary, starting in Saint-Véran, one of Europe’s highest villages, finishes in Abriès, giving you the chance to explore this lovely French national park. The villages are steeped in tradition, with castles and ornate wooden sculptures, and the park itself is known for its plants and wildlife – marmots, chamois and rarer species such as the Lanza salamander and golden eagle all call the park home.

With rugged peaks, larch forests and light powdery snow, the area is perfect for ski touring. Being so far south, there’s also a high likelihood of sunshine. It’s possible to make the tour more or less challenging according to the tastes of the group.

NEED TO KNOW This tour is for intermediate off-piste skiers with some previous day-touring experience. The length of each day varies between four and eight hours, with 500m to 1000m of ascent per day. Slopes are less than 35 degrees, and mountaineering skills and equipment aren’t necessary.

 

Central Bernese Oberland ski tour, Switzerland
Suitable for: Intermediates

HIGHLIGHTS The Bernese Oberland range, located in central Switzerland, has some of the best scenery you’ll find in the Alps, with classic views of the Jungfrau, Mönch, and Eiger mountains.

Typically attempted over a week, this tour crosses the Jungfrau massif from north to south. Most of the tour is on huge, tumbling glaciers, and there are opportunities to make ski descents of several summits including 4000m peaks. The trip is especially rewarding late in the season, as the whole journey stays high up in the mountains, with no need to descend to the less snowsure valley bottoms.

NEED TO KNOW This is for very fit, intermediate off-piste skiers and above. Previous ski touring experience is essential, and skiers should be able to handle skinning for four to five hours each day. Most of the descents are not particularly steep, but high mountain dangers are present.

<p>&amp;amp;amp;lt;p&amp;amp;amp;gt;To find a Guide for your chosen adventure please fill in the enquiry form, at the bottom of each page. Please include your contact details and some specifics information about what you are after. Once the form is submitted all Guides will receive the enquiry. Guides who are available will respond directly to yourselves with an email&amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;</p>
<p>&amp;amp;amp;lt;p&amp;amp;amp;gt;As we all work independantly each Guide has their own pricing structure. This will vary depending on the seriousness of the climb and mountain, The length of the day and the numbers of clients involved.&amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;gt;</p>
<p>Ski experience is, of course, necessary if you would like to engage in any of these trips or courses. Since the levels of the trips vary so does the experience and skill required. At entry level, a good basic ski ability of parallel on red runs and some experience playing about in the off-piste is all you need. If this is backed up with a certain level of physical fitness, robustness and a good sense of humour. Then you are ready to start dipping your toes into the world of off-piste skiing and ski touring. at this level, it is best to be with a group of this level or to hire a guide privately for one to one tuition. As we progress up through the levels, we expect skiers to be able to ski all black runs in good balance and with a solid stance ( even if the style is not beautiful). This would be the level for Intro to off-piste and ski touring courses and beyond. At improvers level, you should have already had some off-piste skiing experience. Then as we get into off-piste ski trips. You would be expected to be able to ski parallel in powder and have some combat ski techniques and a level of fitness for dealing with difficult snow conditions. After that, depending on the level of difficulty of the trip there may be some other fitness, skill and experience considerations. This would include having proper up to date avalanche and rescue education.</p><p>Beginner – Parallel on red runs and some playing about at the side of the piste<br> Intro to off-piste and ski touring – Ski black runs in good balance with a solid stance. some experience of “side country” skiing<br> Off-piste trips – Parallel in powder. Combat ski techniques for difficult snow conditions<br> Ski tour trips – ability to climb minimum 500m per day ( 1000m for multi-day trips) and an appropriate ski level for the trip<br> Ski tour and off-piste trips avalanche education is a prerequisite. (See our avalanche courses)</p>
<p>&amp;lt;p&amp;gt;Fitness can make up for some lack of technique. But good technique combined with fitness is the way to go. Technique conserves energy. Off-piste&amp;nbsp;skiing with poor technique really burns energy. Even with good technique, a day of off-piste or touring can require quite a few calories. Ski touring, in particular,&amp;nbsp;requires the participants to be able to walk uphill on their skis while carrying a pack. A good benchmark&amp;nbsp;for entry-level fitness would be the ability to climb 500m of cumulative ascent in a day. For most of the multi-day&amp;nbsp;touring trips, you should adjust this upwards to 1000m per day ( if you don’t&amp;nbsp;want to find it too challenging). Hillwalking&amp;nbsp;cycling or running can be good training substitutes if you don’t happen to live in a mountain area.&amp;lt;/p&amp;gt;&amp;lt;ul&amp;gt;&amp;lt;li&amp;gt;Intro level – Fitness always helps. the combination of good technique and fitness is ideal. Good sense of humour&amp;lt;/li&amp;gt;&amp;lt;li&amp;gt;Improvers – Ski Black runs some off piste and ability to climb 500m per day&amp;lt;/li&amp;gt;&amp;lt;li&amp;gt;Multi-day&amp;nbsp;and off-piste&amp;nbsp;trips. Ability&amp;nbsp;to ski to ski all snow types in balanced stance and good climbing ability&amp;lt;/li&amp;gt;&amp;lt;/ul&amp;gt;</p>

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