This a quintessentially Italian experience, with warm hospitality and great food. The Ortler is a connoisseur's choice, perfect for ski tourers who have completed the classic tours of the Western Alps and are looking for new horizons.
The Ortler Alps are located in the South Tyrol region close to the borders of Switzerland and Austria. The area occupies the space between the Bernina group of St Moritz to the West and the Dolomites to the East. The region is a designated National Park and is one of the largest in Europe. This is a lesser known corner of the Alps, so the mountains feel pristine and quiet. The peaks are slightly lower than the highest of the Western Alps; the tallest peaks are just below 4000m, however the area is heavily glaciated and very alpine.
The Ortler area lends itself to both circular and linear tours. Our tour starts from Bormio in Italy, one of the largest and most central ski resort in the area. Our route follows a semi circle, and links the most spectacular glacial basins. There are a number of peaks which we can make ski ascents and descents with summits close to 3800 meters.
Most mountain guides agree, ski touring in Italy is hard to beat. It’s quieter than France, cheaper than Switzerland and the food and hospitality are second to none. The Ortler tour is a lesser known gem and is one of the finest tours in the Italian Alps. What’s more; this area is the home to Reinhold Messner, the greatest mountaineer of modern times.
THIS AMAZING TRIP IS ALREADY 100% CONFIRMED TO RUN!
We meet in Bormio, Italy. Overnight in hotel. Meet your guides and trip briefing. We return to the hotel at the end of the week so any gear you don't require on the tour can be left in the hotel and collected on your return.
After breakfast, we drive 30 minutes up to the end of the road at Rifugio Forni. From there it’s a one-hour skin to the rifigio Pizzini. Once at the hut, we can review ski mountaineering skills such as avalanche rescue techniques, or crevasse rescue, as well as combining that with a short ski tour.
From the Pizzini, we can find good ski touring just out of the hut. Sometimes we tour over to the Cima dei Forni – the north side is a great place to find hidden, north facing powder days after a storm. The slopes below the iconic Grand Zebru are south facing, and offer fun spring snow all the way back to the hut.
Today we can attempt Mont Cevedale, at 3769m it’s the third highest peak in the range, and Is often skiable from the summit – depending on conditions. Our goal is to pick the best side to ski from, sometimes involving a traverse from the Cevedale summit to the Zufallspitze, just a couple hundred meters away. A long ski descent brings us to the Martellerhutte, on the german speaking side of the Südtirol where we can drink beer or have a plate of Kaiserschmarrn (South Tyrolean Pancakes).
We will climb back up the aptly named Langenferner (long glacier), past the Tre Cannoni (three canons) left over from the great war, and stop for a quick coffee and pastry at the Cassatti hut at nearly 3500m. If the weather is good we can climb a few hundred meters towards the Cevedale before descending some steep and exciting glacier to the base of Cerro Pasquale. From here, a one hour climb leads to the Col Pasquale where we usually descend steep spring snow towards the Rifugio Branca.
We have a full day planned at the Branca hut, so we can take lightweight ski touring packs and attempt on of the many glaciated peaks surrounding the Forni Glacier. Popular options include the Palon de la Mare, the Trasero, San Matteo, or Cadini. Some of the most technical and fun ski lines are found here, and with so much to choose from we’ll likely have a fantastic day of skiing on high glaciers and steep peaks.
If there’s anything that caught our eye on yesterday’s ski tour we’ll get another chance today. Depending on the objective, we might be able to ski a steep couloir from the Pizzo Tresero all the way back to the car park. Or alternatively we can take lighter ski packs back up towards the San Matteo or Palon de la Mare, and stop for a quick snack at the Branca before descending an easy trail back to the car, and a 30 minute drive to Bormio. Motivated indiviudals can then plan an evening at the Bagni Vechi – the ancient Roman Baths.
2019 departure is confirmed to run
The price includes all the guide fees & expenses and all accommodation - 2 nights in hotels on B&B basis (twin-share) in Bormio and 5 hut nights in huts.
The price does not include travel to/from Bormio, evening meals in Bormio, uplift costs, equipment hire, local transfers and personal insurance.
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£2.50 per person of the cost of any air package is paid to the Civil Aviation Authority to provide ATOL Protection to you. This means the money paid for these arrangements is fully protected. Our ATOL number is ATOL 2911. For more information see our booking terms and conditions.
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Ski Club Winter Arrangements limited (trading as Mountain Tracks)
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This is an extensive list of the recommended clothing and equipment you will need if you are coming to one of our Ski Tours.
During the tour you will be staying most nights in catered high mountain huts and 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
2 nights B&B in a hotel in Bormio and 5 nights in mountain huts with breakfast and evening meal included.
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.