Liz Smart skiing powder
Powder skiing in Italy
Ski Touring Italy
Liz Smart skiing powder
Gran Paradiso Ski Summit
3 day trip | March - May
The Gran Paradiso is the tallest mountain entirely in Italy at 4060m. It is an ideal introduction to ski mountaineering and a perfect first ski summit. It is located in the Gran Paradiso National Park, which was the first national park created in Italy. It was created by Victor Emmanuel II to save the endangered Ibex which we will hopefully be able to see on our tour.
Day 1: Start in Pont, Valsavaranche, Italy
We will meet in Chamonix and drive to Italy. From the tiny village of Pont, we will skin up to either the Rifugio Chabod or Rifugio Vittorio Emanuele II depending on route conditions.
Day 2: Summit of the Gran Paradiso
We will tour from the refuge to the summit of the Gran Paradiso. Shortly below the summit, we will stash our skis and climb the rocky ridge with crampons and rope to the Madonna at the peak. We will climb back down to our skis and start the long descent back to the hut.
Day 3: Tour from the Rifugio back down to the Valley
The third day will be an additional ski tour from the hut back down to the valley floor.
In case of unfavorable weather conditions, we may spend the first day touring in Chamonix and then ski from the summit of the Gran Paradiso all the way to the valley on the third day.
This short trip is best booked as part of a longer ski touring or off-piste week. For example is great to do after a Haute Route Ski Tour or as the end to an off-piste and ski touring week based in Chamonix.
*This is a tentative itinerary, and plans may change along the way due to changes in weather, mountain conditions and any other unforeseen circumstances.
1-2 people: $1885 for the group (private groups only)
3-4 people: $2050 for the group (private groups only)
3 days of skiing with a UIAGM/IFMGA certified guide
Ground transportation during the program
Use of avalanche transceiver, climbing harness, shovel, and probe
Travel to and from Chamonix, France
possible purchase of lift tickets
We grade this as an advanced level ski tour. Participants should have previous ski touring experience, be able to execute a good up-hill kick turn and be familiar with using boot crampons and carrying an ice axe. Skiers need to have a good ski level where you can ski off-piste in all snow conditions including powder, crusty and heavy snow where you can link controlled parallel turns in the fall line at a regular speed and stop in control.
We will be touring through various snow conditions (possibly including everything from deep powder to ice). You should be comfortable touring on slopes up to 40 degrees, using ski crampons, and making kick turns. If you have not had much experience ski touring, we recommend going out with a guide in your local area for a day or two before the trip. Alternatively, if you are a good athlete and a quick learner, you can hire one of our guides for a day or two before the trip to help nail down some of these important touring skills.
The downhill skiing component of this trip is also very important. You should be comfortable skiing black diamond runs in the ski area in any condition (crud, powder, ice, etc). It is very helpful to practice skiing on your touring skis to get used to their performance as it may differ from your typical downhill skis. If you feel comfortable on them on black and double black runs as well as crud and powder, you should do well.
We run this tour on a maximum ratio of 1:4 or 2:8.
Spring weather in the Alps can vary from hot and sunny to cold and stormy very suddenly. The temperatures can fluctuate between highs in the 70’s and 80’s (Farenheit) during the day to lows below freezing at night. If we are touring on the glacier in the mid-day sun, it can feel extremely hot, but a strong wind or cloud cover can cause the temperature to drop drastically. We could also encounter stormy conditions that could be bad enough to make us abandon the route and search for skiing at lower elevations or in marked ski areas.
The mountain huts in the Alps are essentially basic high alpine hotels. The provide dormitory-style accommodation with basic washing facilities. Pillows, duvets (or 2 blankets) are provided, you just need to bring your own cotton or silk sleeping bag liner. They serve breakfast and dinner and plenty of other hot and cold food on request. Lunches, drinks, beer, wine etc can all be brought in the huts. These huts are typically big and will sleep up to 120 people each night, so they can seem busy and noisy (bring your earplugs for nighttime).
We do not put together groups of skiers who do not sign up together. We have found that trips are much more enjoyable when you do them with friends. All you need is a group of 2 or more and we will run a trip for you. We can also run this tour for individuals if required, so please contact us for more information.
We suggest you fly in to Geneva airport and book a seat on one of the shared minibus transfer services that operate. If you require assistance with this please let us know and we can book it on your behalf, you will need to provide your full flight details (including flight numbers) and payment in advance of travel.
If you require assistance with accommodation in Chamonix then please do ask, we have lots of contacts with local hotels. Alternatively, you can arrange your own accommodation to suit your needs and budget.
There are 2 different types of insurance: Travel or Trip Cancellation insurance and Rescue insurance. Typical travel insurance will cover the cost of the trip if you have to cancel before or during for any reason. There are many companies that offer this type of insurance such as Travelguard and Travelex. For rescue insurance, we recommend getting the Swiss heli rescue insurance (https://www.air-glaciers.ch/carte-de-sauvetage). If you have rescue insurance through an Alpine Club or your own provider, that should work also.
Gran Paradiso Summit
We can run this ski tour on dates from Mid-March to Mid-May
Contact us directly for custom trips or any questions:
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