In order for you to enjoy this trip (or any ski-touring trip), you need to be reasonably fit. However, it certainly isn't necessary to be a superhuman. As always, we'll adjust the pace and itinerary to suit the group. We will be moving for several hours every day and a large portion of this time will be spent skinning uphill. The type of fitness you need is more about being able to move at a modest pace for long periods of time, rather than being particularly fast.
A typical day involves 700-1100 meters of vertical gain.
You should be confident skiing any piste at a ski resort in control and without excessive fatigue. Furthermore, you need some experience skiing offpiste in deep powder, as well as in more challenging snow conditions such as crust. Previous ski touring experience is an advantage.
What's included in the price?
5 days of skitouring in a forgotten corner of the alps, guiding and instruction, fantastic views, your guides expenses for huts, food and lifts as well as the necessary group safety equipment such as rope, carabiners, emergency gear etc.
What's not included in the price?
Travel to our meeting point in the alps and return, accommodation and mountain huts (expect to pay around 50 euro per night in the huts, which includes dinner and breakfast), lift tickets, personal equipment such as skis, boots, avalanche transceiver, shovel, probe etc.
Skitouring is quite demanding on the equipment. Clothes need to protect from the wind and insulate but also be adaptable to different levels of activity.
Bindings and boots need a walk mode, we need avalanche safety equipment, glacier equipment, backpacks etc. Read more about the equipment here!
Booking and payment:
Weather and conditions:
Ski touring, like other types of alpinism, requires an open mind and acceptance of changes. We need to adapt the program according to the weather and the conditions in the mountains. This means that our choice of route often changes during the week as required to optimize safety and enjoyment. Keep this in mind when you read the day-by-day description below.
We’ll meet in St. Veran the evening before our first day of touring to discuss the week and check the equipment. We spend the night in St. Veran.
We’ll do a daytrip from St. Veran to find our ski-legs again and hopefully get some nice turns. In addition, we’ll also get the chance to practice some skills, such as transceiver searches and kickturns if they are a bit rusty.
Today, we’ll take the lift as high as we can, before leaving the resort behind and skiing to Pic de Chateau Renard. From here, there is a nice long descent with a good chance of powder snow leading down into the valley on the other side of the mountain. We then put on skins again and ascend to the Refuge Agnel. The skinning involves a bit of distance but isn’t very steep. We spend the night in the refuge.
There are several options to choose from for today’s objective. One option is to cross a pass, Col de Chamoussier, then skin to Pointe Sagnes Longues. This will give access to another beautiful descent, hopefully in powder, back down to the valley. We then follow the last part of yesterday’s route, retracing the mellow skinning back to the hut. We spend another night in the Refuge Agnel.
Our goal for today is to reach the village of Arbries. From the Agnel, we skin up to Col de l’Eychassier. From the col, we have a short but very nice descent into a remote valley. A short skin and a steep bootpack gives us access to another fantastic descent. If our energy levels are high, we have the option of making a sidetrip up Pic Segure, which makes for an even longer descent down to the village of Ristollas. From there we have a short 10 minutes bus-ride to Arbries where we spend the night.
We start the day by riding lifts as high as we can and then skinning up to a ridge crest which gives us access to a very nice descent. We then skin up la Mait d’Amunt for a final sustained descent back down to the valley. A short ride on the bus takes us back to Arbries and then on to our starting point in St. Veran.