Intermediate Ski Tours

Build your skills and enjoy a great holiday

Skiing the powder

February 2017

Gaudissard4- 11 Feb 2017: Queyras (gite/hotel based in Molines-en-Queyras), Price: 1400€, Grade: D2:A2:F2, Meet: Grenoble/Nice/Marseille, Email: Sian. The Queyras, in the Southern French Alps, has the highest village in Europe inhabited year round, St Véran at 2040m. We will not be based here, but a similarly perched village at 1800m, Molines en Queyras, provides a wonderfully comfortable base for a week of ski touring. Each day we can adapt itineraries to the weather and conditions, some days skiing out the front door and some days transferring in the van slightly further afield.

Gavarnie18 – 25 Feb 2017: Pyrenean Ski Safari (hotel based in Luz), Price: 1300€, Grade: D2:A2:F1, Meet: Lourdes, Email: Sian. Based in Luz St Sauveur you will ski off piste from five different resorts in the French Hautes-Pyrenees using the lift systems to gain height.  Luz Ardiden, Gavarnie and Barèges all provide excellent day tour options and the two day tour from Barèges via La Mongie to St Lary Soulan (and back) is the week’s big challenge. Aimed at good off-piste skiers looking for something different. Requires some skinning experience. TOUR CONFIRMED

25 Feb – 4 Mar 2017: Pic Carlit (Catalan Pyrenees), Price: 1325€, Grade: D2:A2:F2,
Meet: Toulouse/Carcassonne, Email: Sian.
In the eastern Pyrenees, not far from Andorra, lies the Carlit Massif and the Catalan Pyrenees Regional Park. It is a granite massif, filled with plenty of small lakes, making for very pretty scenery. The refuges are not all guarded and are often situated on the edge of the forest. This is an area of the Pyrenees worthy of discovery. TOUR CONFIRMED

March 2017

Carlit_ski-tour11 – 18 Mar 2017: Spanish Haute Route (Pyrenees’ two highest summits, Aneto and Possets), Price: 1425€, Grade: D2:A3:F2, Meet: Lourdes, Email: Sian. This classic ski traverse takes you to the two highest peaks in the Pyrenees – the Possets (3368m) and the Aneto (3400m). Both mountains are at the heart of the Maladeta-Posets Natural Reserve and are linked together in a six day traverse of the Aragonese mountains on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. This ski tour will particularly appeal to people who have already skied along the French Pyrenees National Park trail but could be done by most people who have completed one or two ski tours – relatively good fitness required.

Cerces Ski Tour11 – 18 Mar 2017: Cerces Southern Alps Ski Tour, Price: 1425€, Grade: D1:A2:F2, Meet: Marseilles, Email: Sian. This trip consists of a circuit around Mont Thabor and en route we both climb this famous peak and visit some of the most beautiful skiing country of the Southern Alps including Nevache and the Valley of La Clarée (both are very well preserved). The refuges are comfortable and, all in all, this trip is an ideal experience for those new to ski touring. (Height gain/loss is about 1,000m to 1,200m a day). TOUR CONFIRMED

18 – 25 Mar 2017: Pyrenees National Park, Price: 1300€, Grade: D2:A2:F2, Meet: Lourdes, Email: Sian. A classic Breche de Tuquerouye north face Mont Perdutrip along the Haute Route Pyrenenne (HRP) and justifiably one of our most popular ski tours. Stunning mountains, no tracks, good huts and great skiing with lots of opportunity to peak bag along the way. You ski for six days through remote valleys and climb to the highest peak in the French Pyrenees, the Vignemale (3289m), as well as the mythical Mont Perdu (3352m) – hidden behind the dramatic Gavarnie Cirque and accessed through the natural rock doorway on the Spanish border known as the Breche de Roland.

18 – 25 Mar 2017: Albula High Route, Price: 1525€, Grade: D2:A2:F2, Meet: Zurich, Email: Sian. Grand CasseNEW. The Albula range is situated in the Grisons canton (Graubunden) to the north of St Moritz. The Bernina mountains to the south leaves them slightly in the shadows with their 4000m, but this Albula traverse offers some magnificant panoramas and some wonderful descents. As a bonus there is the quality of the Swiss refuges and the sub-culture in this Romanche speaking area of Switzerland. TOUR CANCELLED due to Swiss Army exercises in the area… We are instead going to Northern Stubai.

18 – 25 Mar 2017: Northern Stubai, Price: 1425€, Grade: D2:A2:F2, Meet: Zurich, stubai-nord-photoEmail: Sian. NEW. TOUR CONFIRMED. The Stubai range is found in the Central Eastern European Alps, on the western end of Austria between Italy, Germany and Switzerland, and is one of the most attractive ski touring destinations in the Alps. The southern part of the range is in Northern Italy, but most of the Stubai is in Austria. It is the steepest of the three massifs of the Austrian Tyrol (Silvretta, Oetztal, Stubai). The area offers some beautiful routes on the glaciers and many summits are accessible on skis at various levels of difficulty. The North part is less known, and we are offering a circuit route with many summit ascents possible.

25 Mar – 1st Apr 2017: Simplon-Gothard (Ossola High Route), Price: 1525€, Grade: D2:A2:F2, Meet: Geneva, Email: SianThis tour crosses two of the most famous passes in Switzerland. In the middle of the Alpine arc the Leopontine Alps rise in the South West of the Simplon Pass TourValais region at the Simplon Pass and end not far from the Saint Gothard Pass. These mountains grow on the Swiss side up from the high Rhone valley and on the Italian side from the valley of Ossola. The higher reaches of the Ossola Valley are known as the ‘Val Formazza’ and this route is known in Italy as the ‘Haute Route d’Ossola’. Surprisingly little known, this is a big route linking two great alpine cols, but it is of only average difficulty. However you’ll find an interesting mix of terrains and so tourers need to be experienced.

April 2017

Cham-Zermat1 – 8 Apr 2017: Haute-Route Chamonix-Zermatt, Price: 1525€, Grade: D2:A2:F3, Meet: Geneva, Email: Sian. The Haute Route is one of the most famous ski tours in the world. The classic route crosses more than 23 glaciers on a 90 mile ski traverse between Chamonix in France and Zermatt in Switzerland. On the way you climb and descend about 10,000 metres, ski in three countries, pass Mont Blanc, the Aiguilles Rouges, the Col du Chardonnet, the Fenêtre du Saleina and the Matterhorn. The Haute Route was first completed on foot by members of the Alpine Club in 1861 and later developed into a ski route by Joseph Ravenal and his party of ski-mountaineers in 1903. The days are long, the climbs are tough and the skiing is fantastic. Most ski tourers aspire to completing the Haute Route. We don’t recommend this route as a first ski tour as it is quite tough, but it is definitely a great 2nd or 3rd ski tour.

gran-paradiso8 – 15 Apr 2017: Gran Paradiso Ski Tour, Price: 1375€pp, Grade: D2:A2:F2, Meet: Geneva, Email: Sian. Reaching a 4000m summit remains an excellent milestone in the life of a skier, and one that is our target this week. The Gran Paradiso (4061m) is situated in the heard of the National Park of the same name, and is the only 4000m summit entirely in Italy. The national park was initially created to protect the Alpine ibex, which remained only in this area having been hunted from everywhere else. We will begin our week acclimatising, and then start the traverse, staying within our traditional ‘tour’ spirit. This gives us all the best chance of achieving the summit along with a very nice ski journey.

gjendesheim8 – 15 April 2017: Jotunheimen National Park (Norway’s highest mountains), Price: 1,845€ (4P group), 1,600€pp (6P group), Grade: D2:A3:F2, Meet: Oslo, Email: Sian. NEW. The Jotunheimen range, the home of the giants, lies in the centre of Norway, only two hours north of Oslo by train. The range contains the highest mountains in Norway: at the top of the Galdhøpiggen (2469m) you are at the highest point north of the Tatras and west of the Ural. Glaciers have carved out valleys that lie 800-1400m above sea level and the peaks above are generally 2000-2500m. The northerly latitude (60°N, Chamonix is 45°N) makes up for the lesser height of the mountains in terms of snow and this tour gives us a great introduction to skiing in Norway.


Grade Coding

D = Descent.

D1 – simple skiing on wide slopes with little danger of exposure due to cliff faces, seracs or glaciers. Expect slopes similar to a red piste in gradient terms.
D2 – expect some slopes with object dangers like cliff faces, narrow passages between crevasses or ice falls and the occasional gully or couloir. Slopes may be slightly steeper than in our D1 grade but generally do not exceed 30 degrees.
D3 – expect steeper slopes, narrower gulleys, and skiing in more confined spaces. You must be able to ski completely in control in all snow conditions on slopes up to 35 degrees.

A = Ascent (vertical climb)

A1 – climbs on these ski tours average between 800 and 1000 metres a day at a moderate pace on gentle terrain. Expect to spend fours hours climbing. A1 tours do not generally require the use of an ice axe but you may need boot crampons on one or two passes.
A2 – longer climbs up to 1200 metres a day but with optional peak ascents requiring some mountaineering skills. You will use crampons and may need an ice axe (see individual tour requirements). Expect to cover the 1200 metres in 3.5 hours – so these tours do move at a faster pace than our A1 groups.
A3 – these tours are tougher and require climbs of 1400 metres and occasional longer days up to 1800 metres a day. You need to be completely competent with uphill kick turns (able to perform them in steep tricky situations) and you need an ice axe and crampons. A3 tours are only suitable for people who have completed at least three ski tours before.

F = Fitness

F1 – these tours require basic hill and ski fitness as they are only at moderate altitude and you are climbing and skiing at a moderate rate. We expect you to be able to climb and ski at a steady pace with two or three breaks during the climb.
F2 – as these groups move at a faster pace, and many of these tours are at a higher altitude, you need to be fitter. You should be a regular hill walker or cycle a fair amount and you should be ski fit too – so ideally you will have been skiing on piste (or on an off -piste week) before joining these groups.
F3 – these groups cover ground at a fast pace without stopping very often. You need to be able to climb with a good rhythm at this pace for up to five hours. These tours are only suitable for people who have many years ski touring experience and are well prepared physically.

A note: please bear in mind that although we have given each tour a D.A.F grade the actual grade of a route may well feel different if the conditions are hard – i.e if there is a lot of breakable crust, or stormy weather for example.