This is a fantastic guided ski touring safari through the stunning Walliser Alps in Graubünden, the largest and one of the most beautiful cantons of Switzerland. Graubünden is also one of Switzerland’s leading winter sports regions with an abundance of above average altitude resorts and hence a reputation for great snow throughout the season – meaning we can sometimes ski to the door of our next hotel!
Our journey covers a total of 160km on skis, and yet the mix of lifts, some short hikes carrying your skis and some ski touring means that you get to enjoy a staggering amount of downhill skiing. We try to ensure that most of the trip is spent away from the crowds enjoying the powder snow, long descents and beautiful Alpine scenery. Each day we move to a new area, experiencing constantly changing alpine scenery and a huge variety of great off-piste skiing terrain.
Starting in Klosters, a charming, romantic Swiss village we cross the region via Arosa, Flims, Laax and Dissentis to finish in Andermatt, renowned as one of the top off-piste destinations in the Alps.
Meet in Klosters in the evening for welcome meeting and briefing. Stay overnight in hotel.
We leave our hotel and use the luggage service offered by the Swiss railway system to send any extra baggage onto Andermatt where it can be collected on our arrival at the end of the tour. Our first skiing will be a warm-up morning in Klosters - using the resort ski lifts and exploring the extensive off and on-piste terrain. Typical runs: the short hike up the Gaudergrant to ski the NW face of the Weissflüh; the north slope of the Gruenhorn or ski the beautiful and quiet Totalp valley back to Davos. All perfect options for the first, long off-piste descents of the week.
After lunch we start at the Weissflühjoch and ski down into the Haupter Tälli. We pass the amazing mountain refuge Heimeli and ski all the way down to the road. This long descent takes us down big powdery slopes, through forests and past amazing frozen waterfalls. From the road we walk 15 minutes to catch the train in Langwies to Arosa, where we shall spend the night.
In Arosa we buy a ski pass for 3 ski areas and take the Hörnli lift up the mountain. After a nice warm-up run, we ski down the back of Hörnli into the Urdenbach Tal. There are several nice steep sections on this route and we finish with a beautiful ski through the pine and larch forest. With a brief stop for lunch we will then be spending the afternoon skiing in the Tschiertschen ski area.
Here we have several options; a 15-20 minute hike carrying our skis will take us to the north or the east face of the Gürgaletsch. Both offer fantastic descents in powder snow. We finish the day with an off-piste descent into Lenzerheide, where we stay the night.
Today’s skiing will be in Lenzerheide and depending on the weather we have several options - the south face of the Parpaner Rothorn or different options from Piz Scalottas or Piz Danis.
We'll have an early lunch and afterwards we'll hike for about 20 minutes to reach the north face of the Fulenberg from where we have a fantastic ski down into the village of Churwalden. In Churwalden we take the lift up and have another short hike to the mountain of the Fulbergegg. We have a variety of descents from this point and depending on the snow we can ski past Alp di Plaun all the way down to Domat/Ems, or we ski to the Brambrüesch ski area and follow the piste back to Chur. At the end of the day we take the bus to our overnight destination of Flims.
Flims and Laax today! After a couple of warm-up runs we take the lift up to Bündner Vorab. From this peak we walk about 15 minutes on the ridge, to where our descent starts. This is an amazing little descent, with huge views across to the high Alps of the Oberland. This is followed by another 20 minute skin to access the main ski descent which will give us 1,000m of wide open slopes all the way back to the Lavandinas ski lift. The run is south facing and usually provides great snow and is one of the highlights of the week.
After this we enjoy a well earn lunch on the sunny slopes before taking the lift towards the Piz Grisch. From here we ski the east face, into a small couloir and through the amazing natural amphitheater called Vonn. After this spectacular descent we have to walk 15 minutes over the Segnas Lake to get back to the piste. Depending on the snow conditions we can either ski all the way back down the valley or back into Laax, where we take the train to Disentis, which is where we stay for the night.
Disentis, a small area with a lot of opportunities! After a brief warm-up we take the lift to Piz Ault and ski down into the Val Acletta, this gives us a wonderful 1500m descent back into Disentis across wide slopes with magnificent views and endless powder turns. After that we have several smaller options in the ski area, or we can ski the same route again with a variation.
We usually have an early lunch ready to take the lift back up again for a 20 minute skin underneath Piz Ault to a small col, where its necessary to use some ladders to climb up to access the rest of the route. On the other side we ski a short distance and skin 10 minutes to the Fuorcla da Strem. From there we can enjoy a very long descent through the Strem Valley all the way to Sedrun.
We take the train from Sedrun to the Oberalppass where we get off at Natschen. From here we enjoy a delightful, gentle off-piste ski down into Andermatt.
On arriving in Andermatt we check into the hotel and collect our luggage from the nearby train station.
In Andermatt we start by taking the lift to the Gemstock, the mountain which accesses most of Andermatt’s famous off-piste terrain. From the summit we can enjoy some great views over the Swiss Alps in all directions, and many choices for our descents.
A 10-minute hike will access the Guspi Valley which is a wonderful north-facing valley holding great snow and it is a beautiful and long descent all the way to Hospental. From there we take the train back to Andermatt.
The second descent from the Gemstock will be on the other side, in the Unteralp Valley where several different couloirs - for example the ‘Giraffe’ - allow us to ski all the way down into the Unteralp Valley which leads us back to Andermatt.
Departure after breakfast.
Prices include 6 guided days with all guide fees and expenses, 7 nights accommodation 2 nights B&B and 5 nights half board.
Prices do not include: travel to/from Klosters, uplift and local transfers, personal insurance, equipment hire, lunches, beverages and 2 evening meals.
On this safari we will buy daily lift passes as we pass through the various resorts. We also have some bus and train travel as the ski areas cannot be linked entirely on skis. This does add to the cost and we estimate the costs for travel and uplift to be about 350 CHF per person (which is not included in the price of the trip).
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This page is an extensive list of the equipment you will need for one of our multi-day ski safaris,.
During the trip you will be staying in a mix of catered high mountain huts and valley hotels.
On some of the safaris we do provide luggage transfers (e.g. Courchevel-Chamonix) but on most you will need to carry all the equipment and clothing you require for the duration of the tour. The huts are comfortable but basic with limited facilities – running cold water, European-style toilets, dormitory-style accommodation. All the huts provide ‘hut slippers’ – these days they are usually crocs - and so you will not need to carry additional footwear.
Any clothing or other items not required on the tour can be left in a travel bag at your first hotel ready for your return on the final night.
We recommend keeping the weight of your pack as light as possible. If you are new to alpine multi-day ski touring, try taking your pack out on the slopes before the tour to see how it feels. You quickly realise the benefit of ‘skiing light’.
If you are uncertain or need further information, don't hesitate to contact us.
Please remember that it is very important to travel light on the hut ski-tour and weight should be kept down to approx. 8-10kg. It will be possible to leave some baggage at the valley hotel.
On our ski safaris we do use the lift systems in resorts to gain height before heading off into the back country on a tour. You will need to have:
Ski Skins – these are skins, now made of artificial fabric, that stick to the bottom of your skis and allow you to walk up hill. They must be cut to fit your skis exactly, so if you are bringing your own skis you must provide your own skins.
Ski Crampons (aka couteaux in French) - most ski touring bindings have ski crampons specifically designed for the binding. We always carry these just in case. Again if you are bringing your skis and touring bindings you must provide your own ski crampons.
Ice Axe - general lightweight mountaineering / alpine pick. Ideally this needs to be short enough to fit in your pack.
Boot Crampons - ideally lightweight aluminium ones although steel crampons are required for more demanding tours
Climbing Harness - a simple lightweight harness. The key feature is that it should have fully adjustable leg loops for putting on over ski boots, crampons, etc.
On some safaris in non-glaciated terrain an ice-axe, boot crampons and climbing harness may not always be required. However as conditions and itineraries can change we do generally recommend that you bring these items with you. If you do not own these items they can be rented to you by our guides or via one of the local sports shops.
The “Safety Trilogy” - required on all our ski tours and off-piste courses.
For all touring trips it is essential you ski with an all-mountain/freeride type skis, ski touring boots and ski touring bindings. If you have your own skis but they do not have ski touring bindings then you will need to rent skis. The same applies if you have downhill ski boots, you will need to rent ski touring boots.
For alpine ski touring we recommend an all-mountain/freeride touring ski that isn’t too heavy, a really lightweight ski comes at a cost to performance on the descents so are only recommended for really good off-piste skiers with a strong interest in ski touring.
There are plenty of great skis to choose from and we highly recommend skis from the following manufactures:
Dynastar Skis: www.dynastar.com
Movement Skis: www.movementskis.com
Black Crows Skis: www.blackcrows-skis.com
Trab Skis: www.skitrab.com/en-us
Scott Skis: http://www.scott-sports.com
Volkl Skis: http://www.voelkl.com
If you are planning on buying skis for ski touring and general skiing and have any questions do not hesitate to call us to discuss the options available to you.
It is essential that you have ski touring boots for all touring trips as walking up hill is much more comfortable in these types of boots with a walk mode and great flex. A dedicated touring boot or a hybrid freeride boot is best.
Avalanche airbag rucksacks can be used for touring but they are heavy, adding somewhere between 5-8kg just for an empty pack plus canister. So unless you are sure you can carry it and fit all you need in, we do not recommend you use one.
Over a long multiday tour every gram of weight is important as you have to carry and move it yourself. Carrying a heavy pack will hinder and tire all but the most experienced and fit ski tourer.
Food and Water
We suggest you bring with you or buy in resort snack food that you can take out on the hill with you each day. Things like cereal bars, dried fruit and nuts, chocolate, sugary sweets or your favorite hill snacks. When you’re staying overnight in huts its best to take supplies for the days you are away. Huts do sell food but it’s expensive and sometimes stocks run low.
If you have any food allergies or dietary requirements especially if you are a Coeliac (Gluten free) or have a dairy allergy we strongly recommend you bring some food with you that you can supplement your dinners with. The huts are fairly good at providing for vegetarians but less so for other dietary needs.
You have to buy bottled water in the huts as usually any running water is non-potable. Bottled water is expensive in French and Swiss huts; you can be paying upto 12-16CHF per 1.5L bottle of water. So please ensure you budget for this cost.
Switzerland is a mountainous Central European country consisting of 26 Cantons, with Bern as its main federal city.
It is boarded by Italy to the south, France to the west, Germany to the north and Austria and Liechtenstein to the east. Its a landlocked country with the mountainous regions occupying a greater part of its territory.
Home to around 8 million people (2013) the country has many pretty villages, lakes and mountains. The highest mountain in Switzerland is the Monterosa (specifically the Dufourspitze) at 4,634m. The country has the highest concentration of 4000m peaks at 48.
Its 2 largest cities of Zurich and Geneva are global economic centres and gateways to the Alps from countries across the world.
Its main languages are French, German, Italian and Romansh.
It is a condition of booking that you are insured for your chosen activity and the cover must include medical expenses, personal accident, personal liability, third party risks and rescue (including helicopter rescue). You are strongly advised also to take out cover against cancellation and curtailment.
For more details and to purchase a policy online visit http://www.skiclubinsurance.co.uk/
If you need assistance arranging your personal insurance please let us know.
All our ski tours are led by our team of IFMGA Mountain Guides. The team is led by Olly Allen, Matt Dickinson and Nick Parks.
Having your own maps is optional as your guides will carry all the maps needed for this tour.
The BLT (Bundesamt für Landestopographie) maps come in 1:25000 and 1:50000 scales. Because of the distance covered on this trip (150km), 5-6 maps of 1:50000 scale are required.
BLT 247 Sardona - Flims - Laax - Chur (1:50.000)
BLT 248 Prättigau - Klosters - Davos - Chur (1:50.000)
BLT 255 Sustenpass - Meiringen - Andermatt (1:50.000)
BLT 256 Disentis - Oberalppass - Breil (1:50.000)
BLT 257 Safiental - Ilanz - Thusis (1:50.000)
BLT 258 Bergün - Lenzerheide - Savognin - Zuoz (1:50.000)
Alpine Ski Mountaineering, Volume 2, Central and Eastern Alps, by Bill O'Connor. Published by Cicerone Press. ISBN 185284373X
IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV
The IFMGA / UIAGM / IVBV symbol is the logo of the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association.
Nick, Olly and Matt are all fully-qualified UIAGM Mountain Guides and members of the British Mountain Guides Association.
The International Ski Instructors Association is the world body for professional ski instructors.
The ISIA was formed in 1971 and there are currently 39 member nations representing the very best in ski instruction around the world.