DAY 1. 17/04/20
Arrive in Aosta and meet Andrea, your guide for an evening brief at the hotel. Review the plan for the trip, check gear and there will be time for last minute shopping and supplies. 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.
Stay: Hotel Aosta
DAY 2. 18/04/20
Catch the morning bus to Cervinia and ski on the resort (maximum altitude 3500m). This is a chance to get on your skis, shake down any equipment or gear questions you might have and acclimatise in preparation for the coming tour.
Later in the day take the lifts to 3500m and skin up to the summit of the Breithorn (4164m), the first 4000m peak of the trip (or save this for tomorrow). From here you will take in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains before skiing down to the Rifugio Guide del Cervino (3480m) your home for the first night high in the mountains.
Stay: Rifugio Guide del Cervino
DAY 3. 19/04/20
From the Rifugio Guide del Cervino there are options to summit the Breithorn or Castor (4226m) then ski down to the Rifugio Quintino Sella (3585m) this day will take approximately 8 hours. There is also the option of including the Castor Traverse requiring sections of mountaineering which requires the use of ropes, crampons and ice axe.
Stay: Rifugio Quintino Sella
DAY 4. 20/04/20
From the Rifugio Quintino Sella we pass under the steep south face of the Lyskamm and cross the Lyskamm Nose (4150m), a high altitude pass, and down to the Mantova Rifugio (3498m). Approximately 5-6 hours.
Stay: Rifugio Mantova
DAY 5. 21/04/20
Cross another high pass or bag another 4000m peak with options to summit Punta Parrot or Punta Capanna Margherita on the way (additional 200-300m climb, 2 hours). Then a long descent to the dazzling aluminum facade Monte Rosa Hut (2883m). This modern refugio is almost entirely self sufficient, supplying most of it’s own energy and recycling wastewater. This day will take approximately 5-7 hours.
Stay: Monte Rosa Hutte
DAY 6. 22/04/20
It is important to recharge your batteries and this is a chance to have a late start, read a book, sun bathe and eat and drink exotic cheese and wine. For the energetic it is a chance to explore the high glacier and ski some great snow, but also a good time to rest for the next days activities.
Stay: Monte Rosa Hutte
DAY 7. 23/04/20
Traverse the glacier to the summit of Stockhorn and from there down to the mountain resort of Zermatt situated at 1608m. This will take approximately 5-6 hours. After lunch in town, catch an afternoon lift to the Little Matterhorn and ski to back to the Rifugio Guide del Cervino, completing the full circuit of your journey.
Stay: Rifugio Guide del Cervino
DAY 8. 24/04/20
After a leisurely breakfast descend back down to Cervinia. From here we catch the bus back to Aosta and stay this night at Aosta. Celebrate the end of the journey with great food and wine.
Stay: Aosta Hotel
DAY 9. 25/04/20
Additional weather contingency day - If the weather necessitates, waiting one extra day in the hut or skiing down to one of the villages to wait out a storm is an option as is it possible to exit from the trip each day.
SAAS FEE EXTENSION -
Follow days 1-6 of the classic and then....
From the Monte Rosa Hut do a long Traverse on Findler glacier to the Adlerpass (3789m). There is the option to summit the Strahlhorn (4190m) (400m extra). From the Pass or the summit ski to the Britannia Hut (3030m - the height of Mt Aspiring) (7-8h).
Head to the Alphubel Jock pass or summit the Alphubel itself (4206m, extra 400m)) and ski down to Tasch Hut and onwards down to Tasch village and then Zermatt (5h...8h with summit).
From the Tasch Hut to the Rifugio Guide del Cervino. It is possible to summit Breithorn if not done already (extra 300m) (5h).
FROM HERE FOLLOW DAY 7 of the Classic version.
Monte Rosa, 4634m is the second highest mountain in the Alps and western Europe and is located on the border of Switzerland and Italy.
Europe is famous for it's tradition of hut-to-hut ski touring. There are hundreds of well equipped and comfortable mountain refuges serving delicious food and drink, which has given this spectacular trips name “The Spaghetti Tour”. Skiers have the opportunity to summit a number of 4000m+ summits enjoying the best views of the Alps. The trips utilises lifts to access the mountains and involves daily ascents of up to 1000m.
This extension give the opportunity to visit another great area for mountaineering in Alps. Saas Fee, with Zermatt, are the two most famous historical alpine villages in Switzerland. Saas Fee is surrounded by several 4000m peaks. There is the option to potentially climb and ski the Strahlhorn and Alphubel.
Technical Skiing/ Boarding Ability
For any group ski / snowboard backcountry tour or course you need to be an intermediate or advanced level skier or boarder. You are expected to have had experience skiing / riding off-trail ("off-piste") and away from groomed runs at resorts. You don't have to be an expert skier or rider but you do need to competently control your skis or board on a wide variation of terrain from gentle slopes to steep coloirs and exposed ridgelines and in snow conditions that can vary widely from hard icy conditions to deep heavy powder.
Unless you are travelling hut to hut, generally we avoid skiing or riding with a full pack and instead base each day's skiing from one hut / or central location. So while pack weights are light on most days of your tour, your pack maybe up to 15kg on your first and last day and you need to still be able to tour uphill and control your skiing / riding downhill while wearing a full pack.
Experience with touring equipment not essential but recommended
While it is not expected that you have experience utilising the specialised equipment for backcountry touring (ski touring bindings, skins, splitboards etc), some prior experience is an advantage. If you wish to book on a multi-day trip we generally recommend that you take at least one day prior to become familiar with the use your gear (whether you hire or own). Booking a 1 day - Treble Cone Backcountry Day with us is often a great idea!
If you are a private group or booking a 1:1 privately guided trip - your guide can handle any variety of ski level or experience - even if you would rate yourself as a beginner skier!
Fitness for Ski / Snowboard Backcountry Touring
There are no ski lifts in the backcountry! Touring is 80% uphill with the incentive of an untracked exhilarating ride to the bottom for the remaining 20%.
Endurance Fitness is crucial - both mental and physical. You need to be able to keep moving at a steady pace for 6 - 10 hours while carrying and skiing with a load. And you must be able to sustain this effort over multiple days - very few of our backcountry ski / snowboarding trips require only one day of effort!
One of the best ways to get "endurance" is sustained hiking under load. Short intense workouts at the gym are only slightly helpful. Big hikes ie., > 10 hrs on rough terrain with a pack is best. Long days cross country skiing and hiking trips of 4+ days are ideal training. But we understand that this type of training is pretty hard to get as a city dweller. Stair hiking with a 15+ kg and 20+ floors works remarkably well. But nothing beats getting out of the city to national park areas and mountain trails whenever you can.
If you have any questions at all, please contact us - we can send you information about a full training program for ski / snowboard touring in NZ.