The climate of Mount Etna generally provides good compact snow conditions and often spring snow. It's after a fresh snowfall that the powder can be fantastic! Slopes vary in steepness, but on the whole they are wide open slopes ideal for intermediate off-piste skiers. There are ski lifts (a gondola, chairlift and two drag lifts) plus a few pistes on Mount Etna's northern slopes close to the town of Linguaglossa.
The best conditions tend to be in February and March. We plan to use a mixture of lift-accessed ski touring to reach the summit of Etna. From the top of the lift at 2,500m it takes around 3 hours to reach the main crater. Additional days skiing will be spent exploring each side of the Etna National Park using our own vehicle to access the best skiing conditions at the time.
The Mediterranean atmosphere and mild climate, combined with the warm and cheerful hospitality of the locals, certainly makes for an authentic Sicilian adventure!
Our trip covers 4 ski days with 5 nights of accommodation.
We plan to meet at the airport at Catania and travel by road the short distance to the Hotel Sapienza. The hotel is located at 1920m on Mt. Etna and right next to the Etna cable car. It has spacious rooms a large dining room serving excellent food. You can see more information on the hotel HERE.
Our first ski day we will ski the southern slopes of Mt. Etna and can include routes such as Canalone degli Svizzeri and Montagnola. From the hotel, we will take the lifts of the ski area and then ski tour for a short distance and have a choice between the 2 ski route. We stay back in the Hotel for the night.
From the hotel, we will ski tour to the craters of Mt. Etna at around 3323m, a long but enjoyable climb. This will give us a big descent on the north aspect of Pizzo Deneri (2847m) down to the Rifugio Citelli at 1741m. We overnight in the Rifugio Citelli http://www.rifugiocitelli.net/
East - North Traverse
We re-ascend on our skins towards the Pizzo Deneri at 2874m and descend to the Refuge Piano Provenzana at 1800m. From there we reach our hotel by a short bus or taxi ride.
West - Southeast Traverse
We have a short transfer by taxi or bus to the Piano Provenza. We will use the lifts to get to Anfiteatro at 2340m and from here we ski tour to the Nort-East crater. We can enjoy a long and amazing ski down to the Torre del Filosofo and the Valle del Bove until we reach the Rifugio Manza. From here we traverse to Col Lapide Malerba and ski down to Piano dei Pompieri. We return to the Hotel Sapienza for our final night.
Departure after breakfast. Our guide will drop you back at the airport in Catania in the morning for your onward travel. If you wish to stay on in Sicily for a few days you are free to make you own onward travel plans when you wish.
The terrain is mostly good intermediate level skiing and touring, occasionally there will be some more technical parts due to conditions where the snow can be icy or windblown. Its important to have some previous ski touring experience for this trip plus a good level of off-piste skiing ability.
The price includes: all guiding fees & expenses for 4 guided days, 5 nights B&B accommodation on a twin share basis and local transfers to ski.
The price does not include: uplift costs, evening meals, lunches, beverages, equipment hire, travel to/from Sicily.
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This is an extensive list of the equipment you will need if you are coming on one of our Day Ski Touring trips
During the trip you will be staying most nights in comfortable chalet or hotel accommodation on a half board or B&B basis. You will just need to carry a day pack with your avalanche safety equipment and a few personal items.
On some of our trips you will stay 1 night out in a mountain hut. Huts in the Alps are comfortable but very basic with limited facilities – running cold water, European-style toilets and 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. You will need to have a sleeping bag liner for any hut nights; huts provide a duvet or blankets plus a pillow for sleeping so its not necessary to carry a sleeping bag.
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.
The “Safety Trilogy” - required on all our ski tours and off-piste courses.
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.
For this trip you should have a ski touring set up, boots, skis with touring bindings, skins and couteaux. You will also need a harness, ice axe and boot crampons and a ski helmet.
We recommend you bring all your own skis and boots (for touring), we believe it is possible to hire from a new shop located in Nicolosi (close to Ragalna) but we do not know what makes/models of skis/boots they have and the quality.
You can however hire boot crampons, ice axe and harness from our guide if you book this well in advance, please speak to our office about it.
Italy in Western Europe had a long Mediterranean cost. Bordering France, Switzerland, Austria and Slovenia.
It's capital city is Rome, home to the Vatican and many other famous landmarks and ancient ruins. The country has influenced Western culture and cuisine greatly in its history.
With a population of around 59 million people (2103). Its famous cities of Rome, Florence and Venice plus landmarks like the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Italian Lakes attracted many millions of tourists each year.
Sharing Mont Blanc with France as its highest peak on the Italian/French boarder. The Gran Paradiso is the highest peak solely in Italy at 4,060m.
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.
We plan to meet in Catania airport on Saturday 24th February 2018 around 2pm. There are flights with Easyjet from London Gatwick leaving at 0845 arriving Catania Sicily at 1255. On the departure day Thursday 1st March if you wish to be dropped back at the airport we will do so that morning. There is a return flight to London Gatwick departing at 1210 landing 1425. If you wish to extend your stay either side of our dates this is possible and we can meet at the airport or our first nights accommodation.
We would plan for our guide to have the use of a minibus for the duration of the trip to make transportation around the area easier.
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. The maximum ratio for this tour is 6 skiers with 1 guide. The minimum group size is 4. The maximum is 12 with 2 guides. This trip is typically lead by Guido or Massimo Candolini 2 of our Italian IFMGA Mountain Guides, who have lead trips to Etna before.
We stay in a comfortable B&B accommodation in the towns on the edge of the Etna National Park, this accommodation is provided on a twin share basis, if you wish to have a single room then please ask but they are subject to availability and usually there is a supplement. We spend 1 night in a mountain Rifugio where typically the accommodation is dormitory style.
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.