Multi day, big mountain ski touring with not much more than a day pack, what could be better? Europe is famous for it's tradition of hut-to-hut ski touring. There are hundreds of alpine huts and routes. This trip is designed to give strong skiers the best possible introduction to this ski touring paradise. If you have always wanted to experience European hut to hut ski touring, you can not do better than this. Based out of Italy's Aosta Valley the trip is designed to give you the broadest possible view of this amazing area. This trip recognises that you may have not been on skis for a while and eases you into the bigger days and higher altitudes. With spectacular views of famous peaks like Mt Blanc and the Matterhorn this trip is the ultimate in European hut-to-hut skiing.book now Skills required
Prior to the trip - Arrive in Aosta and meet for evening brief at our hotel.
The hotel is located for easy walking to the historic Roman ruins and narrow, carless city streets bursting with energy. This is not a tourist town and you will love the laid back atmosphere. Great food, wine and scenery.
Day One - Acclimatisation day. Lift serviced skiing at Pila or at La Thuile.
You will love the local ambience of walking to the tram that leaves from the centre of town for the huge lift (2250m!) to Pila or La Thuile Ski Area. This is a chance to get on your skis and shake down any equipment or gear questions you might have. Beautiful views of the mountains from Mont Blanc to the Matterhorn. A day at elevation will be a big help in getting used to the coming tour.
Day two - Aosta to Refugio Bezzi
Taxi to start of trail then uphill to hut. This historic hut is located at the end of a long narrow valley, A great way to get warmed up before tackling the high pass to Rifugio Benevolo the next day. Famous for friendliness and food, this is a great introduction to hut life.
10.5km 750m gain
Day three - Rifugio Bezzi – Rifugio Benevolo
This hut was named after a pioneering climber killed on Mont Blanc in 1927. It was nearly destroyed by the Nazis during World War 2 but was rebuilt as a shelter for skiers and climbers. From the hut we ascend the Becca della Traversière (Bassac Déré) 10km 1100 gain 1100 descent
Day four - Rifugio Benevelo – Refugio Chivaso
The route over Punta Galisia offers great views. You can brush up on your alpine geography with France and Mont Blanc behind you, Italy and the Gran Paradiso in front of you and off to the left are the highest peaks of Switzerland including the Matterhorn.
8km 1035 gain 837 descent
Day five - Rifugio Chivaso – Pont
After a long steady climb to the head of the valley it is a massive descent though glaciers and forrest to the isolated Hotel Albergo Gran Paradiso. With all the trappings of civilization you can pamper yourself with a hot bath and internet connection.
12km 712 gain 1335 descent
Day six - Pont – Rifugio Chabot
From the hotel there is a trail that zig zags up through the trees until breaking out into the alpine glacier at the foot of the Gran Paradiso. The trail was built by the Italian King who made this his private park and it is not hard to see why he loved it here.
3.6 km 902m gain
Day seven - Day tour to Col du Gran Neyron or rest day.
It is important to recharge your batteries and this is a chance to have a late start, read a book, sun bath and eat and drink exotic cheese and wine. For the energetic a ski up to Col du Gran Neyron is a chance to explore the high glacier and ski some great snow, but you will need to rest up for the next day and your ascent of the Gran Paradiso.
Day Eight - Rifugio Chabot – Gran Paradiso - Vittorio Emanuele Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II.
It takes about 3-4 hours of steep skinning to reach the ridge below the summit of Gran Paradiso, Italy's highest summit. Winding in and out of crevasses this is the most glaciated part of the trip. When you get to the ridge you have the choice of descending the next hut or carrying on another 2 hours to the summit. Usually it comes down to the weather on the day but a pilgrimage to touch the summit virgin is a European ritual that should not be missed. And who can't resist to bag one of Europe's 4000m peaks when you are this close! Either way it will be a ski run to remember down to Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II Hut.
Check out these numbers - 8.8km 1300m gain 1330 descent
Day nine - Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II - Rifugio Pontese
This is a big day but it does not seem that way since after climbing 2 hours to a col, there is a 7km downhill! This is, ski touring at its best, remote and surrounded by mountains the route cork screws it's way through improbable terrain until reaching the incomparable Pontese Hut. Pontese is famous for two things, its food and its location. Both are pretty wild. Big news! The chef/hut warden Mara is the reason Pontese is so popular and will take care of you well. She knows Aspiring Guides well and has spent a couple of summers in NZ with her partner Gianni.
14.9 km 1150m gain 1786m descent
Day ten - Rifugio Pontese - Lillaz
As is only fitting, the last day is a big one. One big hill and one even bigger downhill. This is, huge country and with towering peaks surrounding you, it is a real reward to reach the Colle dei Becchi. The ski down from the high glaciers, though the forest and into the village of Lillaz is the perfect end to the ski tour of a lifetime.
16.2 km 1415 gain 1851 descent
Sample Itinerary Only. Every endeavour will be made to keep to this itinerary, but with all high mountain activities, inclement weather or unsuitable mountain conditions may require a change of route or itinerary. All such changes will be made in consultation with participants, but no refunds will be given due to necessary itinerary changes.
This trip is the real deal with a day to get on your skis at a local ski area, and a rest day built into the middle of the trip. Most high huts are closed in the winter, but once spring arrives the mountains explode with activity. Beginning in the village of Aosta, this trip is classic European high altitude touring. Starting with a day of lift assisted touring, the days begin easily. Skirting along the boarder between Italy and France, the peaks get higher culminating with an ascent of The Gran Paradiso, the highest peak fully in Italy. Magnificent mountains, huts, hotels and food make this the tour of a lifetime.