Gressoney, Italy

Off-Piste and Ski Touring Skills Gressoney

This course combines both off-piste instruction and ski touring skills. It is aimed at intermediate level off-piste skiers who want to learn the essential ski touring skills for traveling safely and confidently in the backcountry whilst also having instruction to improve off-piste skills and technique. 

Gressoney offers a huge area of linked skiing with acres of off-piste and some lovely ski touring, with easy access from Turin or Milan airports this is a great location for this trip.

The price includes 6 full days instruction and 7 nights half-board accommodation in one of our preferred hotels (twin rooms).

The price does not include: Lift pass, lunches, beverages, personal insurance, equipment hire, travel to/from Gressoney.

Single-person supplement applies. More details on request.

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Ski Club Winter Arrangements limited (trading as Mountain Tracks)
Registered in England No. 2099115. VAT No. GB 461 5692 34

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This is an extensive list of the recommended clothing and equipment you will need if you are coming on one of our Splitboard Touring Skills courses. 

On these courses you'll be staying in a comfortable catered chalet or hotel and so when riding you only need to carry a small day pack, which contains your safety equipment and any personal items you may need.

If you are uncertain or need further information, don't hesitate to contact us.

  • When choosing clothing for backcountry skiing and ski touring you want to think light, warm and versatile. During the trip weather conditions will change and you’re likely to go from icy-cold mornings when you’re wearing everything to keep out the chill to warm afternoons where you’ll be carrying most of your gear in your rucksack. Getting hold of the best and lightest kit available is always worth it and most of the major brands have suitable clothing for backcountry skiing.
    • Roll neck rather than a scarf. We use and recommend the ‘Buff¹ ¬ a light, stretchable tube. Excellent despite the name! They do both a fleece/cotton version for warmth or just a cotton one (to keep the sun off).
    • Headwear to include warm hat and sun-cap or wide-brim hat for extra protection from the sun. Mountain Tracks fully supports the wearing of helmets for skiing, although not mandatory for any of our trips we do recommend them.
    • An outer shell jacket made of waterproof and breathable material like Gore-Tex or similar with a built-in hood. The lighter the better and so a shell is recommended rather than a insulated jacket.
    • 1-2 thin fleeces - rather than a thick layer between your skin and the outer shell - an approach which gives better heat retention and good flexibility. These tops are known as ‘mid layers’. The principle of ‘layering’ e.g. allowing you to easily add/remove layers depending on the temperature and the activity is recommended to ensure comfort on the mountain.
    • Insulation layer like a down or Primaloft jacket is a good item to have ready to wear in the event of cold weather, it can live in your rucksack as a spare layer and can come in very handy for sudden changes in the weather.
    • For the lower half it’s essential that you have a pair of thermal base layer pants (long johns).
    • These can then be combined with either:
    • (a) a good pair of ‘technical shell’ pants in a waterproof and breathable fabric like Gore-Tex
    • (b) a pair of mountain or alpine pants in a softshell material together with a pair of lightweight, breathable over trousers with long side zips.
    • Top and bottom underwear made of a synthetic, wicking material. Very popular at the moment are the wool based layers from companies such as Icebreaker and Smartwool. They are comfy, breathable and warm when needed and can be worn for days without your friends catching a whiff!
    • Good quality Gore-Tex gloves or mitts and a thin pair of softshell or fleece gloves for when it is hot and for ski touring in. Silk inner gloves can be useful if the weather is cold and you suffer with cold hands.
    • Technical Socks - Investing in good quality ski socks will improve fit, warmth and feel when skiing for long periods. Bring along a few pairs.
  • For these trips it is essential that 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.

    Skis
    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.

    Boots
    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. 

    Scarpa have lead the way in touring boots for many years but they have been joined by other manufactures like Dynafit, Salomon, Scott, Black Diamond, Dalbello and K2; all producing their own versions of a ski touring boot.
    • Scarpa’s Freedom boots are their Hybrid offerings, great ski performance, a walk mode and vibram sole. Their Maestrale (men’s) and Gea (women’s) boots are also highly recommended.
    • The Scott Celeste and Cosmo boots have stood the test of time and are good all round choices.
    • Salomon’s Quest Max series offer boots with a walk mode in various flex’s with good downhill performance.
    • Dynafit offer the Mercury or Vulcan boots plus a range of lightweight options like the TLT6.

    The best of the rest are:
    Fischer - Transalp
    Black Diamond – Quadrant and Factor
    K2 – Pinnacle boot
    Dalbello – Lupo or Sherpa
    Langue – XT series offer a ski boot with a walk mode in various flex options

    Boot Liners
    These days many manufacturers offer ‘thermo-fit¹ liners as standard equipment. You may also want to consider a custom liner as these are heated and molded to your foot and boot for a perfect fit. They can make all the difference especially if you have trouble finding really comfortable ‘off-the-shelf’ boots. Zipfit liners are a great option for anyone seeking total customisation in fit and comfort. They will replace the original liner.

    Custom Footbeds
    Essential kit – to provide additional comfort and ski control. If you want to get footbeds made or a pair of new boots fitted then we suggest you visit somewhere like Profeet for a professional fitting. Don’t forget if you have footbeds in your downhill boots but need to rent touring boots then you can bring the footbeds with you and put them in the hire boots.

    Bindings
    For all ski touring trips ski touring bindings are essential. Fritschi and Marker both make excellent ski touring bindings and you have a few different options to choose from. Many more people are seeing the advantage of the “pin” binding system now offered by a number of manufacturers as these are light and offer ever improving security despite their minimalist looks!

    Ski Poles
    We recommend telescopic poles. They must have wide powder baskets (4-5 inches/100-120mm diameter) otherwise you’ll be up to your armpits on the ascents. Go for an alloy rather than carbon poles which are lighter but have a nasty habit of snapping near the basket due to ski edge nicks.

    Rucksack
    A small day pack can be used on this course as you're not travelling hut-to-hut and don't need to carry a lot of gear. However the pack should have the key features of a good ski touring pack:
    • a method of attaching your skis in either a A-frame (one either side) or both together on a diagonal ski carriage
    • easy access into the main compartment without having to empty the sack to get something at the bottom
    • separate pocket for avalanche shovel, handle and probe
    • small top pocket for items like wallet, sunglassed/goggles etc; an ice axe loop
    • a built-in rain cover an a secure method of attaching/stowing a ski helmet 
    • good hip/waist belt and adjustable shoulder straps

    Avalanche airbag rucksacks are generally not recommended for ski touring due to the additional weight however they can be used on our ski touring skills courses

     

    • Ski Skins – these are skins which, now made of artificial fabric, 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) - 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 aluminum 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.
  • The “Safety Trilogy” - required on all our ski tours and off-piste courses.

    • Avalanche Transceiver/Beacon
    • Snow shovel
    • Avalanche probe
    Remember it is not enough just to carry this equipment; you have to know how to use it.
    How about joining one of our specialist avalanche courses – check out www.mountaintracks.co.uk/activity/avalanche-training
    • Good pair of ski goggles with a lens for low light is essential in the event of snow and poor visibility
    • Good quality sunglasses with 100% UV protection
    • 30-35 liter rucksack
    • 1 – 1.5 Liter water bottle – we don’t recommend hydration systems (e.g. camelbak) in winter as they can freeze.
    • Food – bring some of your favorite hill nibbles (chocolate, energy bars)*
    • Suncream and lip salve
    • Camera with a large capacity memory card!
  • Most resorts have ski shops that hire ski equipment and we try to provide relevant contact details for all our courses and tours.

    Prices do change by resort/country, but here’s an approximate guide to hire costs for 6-days hire:

    Touring Skis plus skins and ski crampons €150-180
    Touring boots €80-90 
    Boot Crampons €45-50
    Ice Axe €30-40
    Harness €20-30
    Helmet €20-30
    Transceiver/shovel/probe €75-80

    Our guides also generally have additional sets of safety equipment (transceiver/shovel/probe) which they hire out to clients for €65 for 6 days hire. Must be booked in advance.
Monterosa View Gressoney

Gressoney

View map

The Italian resort of Gressoney is part of the Monte Rosa ski region and is an emerging resort with a reputation for some superb off-piste skiing.  Huge, deserted off-piste snowfields and scenic, wooded descents are all set in impressive scenery. The area has some great heli-skiing opportunities too.

The resort itself is very small and spilit between the main village of Gressoney St Jean and Gressoney La Trinite, which is where the main lifts are found. Nightlife in the area centres around a handful of restaurants and the hotel bars.

The resort is situated at 1,625m and the highest lift takes you to 3,550m.

Gressoney, together with Champoluc and Alagna make up the Monterosa ski area, one of the largest linked ski areas in Italy.

Our top reasons for visiting Gressoney

  • Charming Italian ambience
  • Minimal touristic development area means the slopes are often deserted especially during the week
  • Easy access from Turin airport make it a viable weekend or short break destination
  • Extensive off-piste terrain and a reputation for great freeriding
  • One of the best heli-skiing resorts in the Alps

Resort height: 1,625m

Highest Lift: 3,275m

Nearest Airport: Turin or Milan Malpensar 

Accommodation in Gressoney 

We work with the Hotel Dufour in Gressoney La Trinite which is run by Carlo and Emanuela, this is a comfortable 3* hotel located a short walk from the village centre and next to the Bedemie-Seehorn chairlift so access to the main ski area is fast.  You can also ski back to the hotel via the red piste.  More information on the hotel can be found here Hotel Dufour

We also work with the Hotel Nordend in Staffal Hotel Nordend another comfortable 3* hotel in a good location next to the main ski lifts and pistes in Staffal.  

Recommended Travel Options 

The nearest airport is Turin with a 90 minute transfer time by road to the resort. Easyjet from Luton, Ryanair from Stansted and BA from Gatwick are the most convenient flights. Indirect flights are available from other UK airports.
Milan Malpensa is slightly further away but can also be used.  Public transport to the resort is possible by bus or a combination of train and bus.  Some travel information is available here Travel from Turin Airport

Bus timetables for the Aosta Valley can be found here Aosta Valley Bus timetables

Pont St. Martin is the town at the bottom of the Gressoney valley, from here you can get the bus to the resort a copy of the timetable is available here Pont St Martin - Gressoney - Pont St Martin Timetable

To get to Pont St. Martin from Turin Airport or City Centre you can use this link to find bus and train links and timetables Turin - Pont St. Martin - Turin Travel

Car hire from the airport is also an options, journey time is 1hr 30mins.  There is parking available close to both hotels. 

  • Insurance

    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 UK residents Ski Club Travel Insurance may be a suitable option.

    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.
     

  • Travel to Gressoney

    You want to arrange to arrive in Gressoney by late afternoon on the first day. 

    At the end of the week the course finishes after breakfast on the last day and we recommend that you arrange your return/onward flight for mid morning onwards to give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport without having to rush!

    The most convenient airport is Turin a 1.5hrs by road or you have a choice of Milan Malpensa (2hrs by road) or Milan Linate airports. There are train connections from all the airports to the town of Pont Saint Martin, which is in the main Aosta valley at the point where the road towards Gressoney turns off the motorway.  Journey time to Pont Saint Martin from Turin is approximately 1hr 20mins by train. For train connections visit www.trenitalia.it 

    At Point Saint Martin you can catch the bus to Gressoney. There are several services during the day and the line is run by VITA www.vitagroup.it/datapage.asp?id=3&l=1. A copy of the timetable can be found from this page.

    Savda also operate buses from Turin and Milan airports www.savda.it/ 

    Private road transfers can be booked with “Tour Shuttle” who offer one way and return transfers to Gressoney from 210€ for 1 – 4 persons.   www.tourshuttle.com/EN/italy/transfer_turin-airport_gressoney.html 

    Or with “Airport Transfers” who do private transfers to Gressoney from 220€ for a group of 4 or more, details are on their website: www.airporttransfers.it/index_eng.php 

     

  • Accommodation

    You will be staying in twin-room accommodation in one of the hotels in Gressoney La Trinite or Staffal. Our preferred hotels are the Hotel Dufour and the Hotel Nordend, both of which offer very comfortable accommodation.

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