The area boasts several high, modern cable car and Gondola systems up to a spectacular altitude of 3500m. This is one of the highest top stations in the whole of the Alps! Using the lift system and touring equipment unlocks the incredible potential of this area. The proximity of Saas Fee's famous neighbour Zermatt has meant the area has been overlooked by some, but the Saas region has just as much to offer, is much quieter and also boasts excellent, modern resort facilities.
Saas-Fee is surrounded by a crown of 4000m summits. These are called Mischabel peaks and offer outstanding potential for the experienced ski-tourer, in fact the area boasts the highest concentration of 4000m peaks in the Alps! Descents are long and varied, always beginning at significant altitudes and descending through high glaciated terrain and eventually through mature forests. Many of the ski tours provide vertical descents of over 2,000m, and there are four 4,000m peaks attainable by skis.
This is a superb area for the big mountain skier looking for long powder descents from the high summits all the way to the valley floor. This area offers ample scope for all levels of ability to enjoy. Every day of this touring week offers a new challenge and a different location. However, the highlights are the ascent of the Alphubel and Strahlhorn. These are amongst the very best 'ski peaks' in the Alps and are coveted objectives.
We stay in a comfortable hotel near the centre of Saas Fee for the duration of the trip with one additional night spent in the Britannia hut.
Travel day. You should aim to arrive in Saas-Fee during the afternoon. There will be a welcome meeting kit check and briefing with the guides in the evening. Stay overnight in Saas Fee.
You have a warm up day in the Saas-Fee area where no guiding is provided. Fantastic opportunities to ski powder immediately from the lift system within the resort area, or alternatively, get to know the pisted area and focus on warming the legs up.
The village of Saas Grund, well known to summer alpinists is located a few kilometres down valley to Saas-Fee. Here we have an efficient 2 stage Gondola taking us to 3100m immediately below the impressive North face of the Weissmies. From here we begin a beautiful and remote tour which makes its way through the complex West face of the Trifthorn.
Firstly we descend the Triftgletscher before making a relatively short climb over the rocks of the Triftgrat which then gives us access to the long west facing slopes of the Trifthorn, which are continuous all the way to the valley base. This is a picturesque and quiet trip, beginning in high glacial terrain and finishing in snow covered meadows.
Today we'll enjoy a classic tour above Saas Almagell which makes for a wonderful and remote round-trip. We begin by traversing from the ski domain to the Britannia Hut. After a coffee break, we journey up the huge glacial expanse of the Allalingletcher before making a spectacular north facing descent into the main Saastal valley. Return tp the hotel by taxi.
The ascent of the Alphubel is a significant ski mountaineering journey and a prized objective. Beginning from 3000m just above Langflue, we ascend and descend the huge glaciated East face. If the ascent of the peak is not possible then instead we travel to the Alphubel pass at 3800m.
Today we climb the Allalinhorn 4027 m. This is a great opportunity to climb a famous 4000m peak on skis. We start by using the high Felskinn lift to 3600m from where the ascent to the summit takes approximately 2.5 hours. The ascent leads over a large crevasse zone en route to Feejoch (‘joch’ means pass or col) and from there over a steep shoulder to the summit. Crampons are used for a short ridge to attain the true summit. The postcard views of Mont Blanc, Matterhorn and Piz Bernina are truly a delight to behold. Overnight in the Britannia hut.
The Strahlhorn is a perfect ski tour mountain, and certainly preferable on skis than on foot! The tour starts from the front door of the Britannia hut with a short ski down to the Hohlaub-glacier. This is followed by a long but beautiful ascent over the Allalin-glacier to the Adler pass at 3789m. After the Adler pass we follow a steep passage over the northwest flank of the Strahlhorn. If the conditions are good and the firn not icy it is possible to ski the whole way. However crampons are necessary in icy conditions. We ski down the Allalingletcher back past the Britannia hut and back to Saas.
The group departs after breakfast.
|Sat 09 Mar||Sat 16 Mar||Sat 09 Mar
- Sat 16 Mar
The price includes 5 days guiding and expenses, 6 nights B&B accommodation in Saas-Fee, 1 night HB in the Britannia hut.
The price does not include lift pass, lunches, evening meals in Saas-Fee, equipment hire, travel to/from Saas Fee.
Single-room occupancy is subject to availability and will incur an additional charge. Contact us for details.
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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.
The Saas Valley is an alpine valley in the Canton of Valais, Switzerland. It is separated from the Mattertal valley by the Dom and is surrounded by a number of other significant 4000m peaks including Allalinhorn, Weissmies, Nadelhorn, Strahlhorn, Rimpfischhorn and Alphubel
The main town in the valley is Saas Fee is known as the 'Pearl of the Alps'. We regularily use the lower village of Saas Grund as our base for our winter ski trips and summer climbing trips. We have a great relationship with the Hotel Roby, a traditional climbers hotel.
The area is renowned for alpine adventure in both summer and winter.
Our top reasons for visiting the Saas Valley
Resort Height: 1,800m (Saas Fee)
Highest Lift: 3,500m
Nearest Airport: Geneva or Zurich
Transfer Options: We recommend you take the train from Geneva or Zurich airport to Saas Fee. Connections are regular and the its takes 3 hrs 30 mins for the journey; usually with 1 change from Geneva and just over 3hrs from Zurich with 1 or 2 changes; the last part of the journey is done by bus from Visp. To look up train timetables use this link Swiss Railway Timetables
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.
Our Introductory level is suitable for people who can ski red and black pistes in resorts without problems and you can deal with moguls and some ice. You will be new to off-piste skiing or maybe have dabbled a little on the sides of the piste or even attended a previous off-piste specific course. You would like to ski powder snow with confidence and learn to link turns off-piste in a variety of terrain as well as being able to control your speed and adjust your turn radius.
Introductory level ski touring trips are appropriate for people looking for their first touring experience. The pace is relaxed and typically we skin for 2-4hrs per day so ascents are about 500 - 800m vertical. You need to be a reasonable off-piste skier (at our Off-Piste Development level), able to link controlled parallel turns in powder snow and ski through trees in control. You need to be prepared to hike short sections on foot carrying your skis on your rucksack (though you won’t need any specific mountaineering knowledge, so crampons and an ice axe are usually not required).
Off-Piste Coaching and Adventure
For our Intermediate graded off-piste ski courses and trips you will have at least a couple of weeks off-piste skiing experience and /or received some previous instructions on an off-piste specific course. You can link 10-12 turns together in reasonable control, speed and style, following the fall line in most conditions. If you’re looking to improve your technique in deeper snow and steeper slopes then our Off-Piste Coaching Development trips are for you. These are instructor-led courses.
If you want to get some miles under your skis then look at our Off-Piste Adventure Intermediate trips which are led by our team of Mountain Guides. On the Adventure courses you can expect to hike or ski tour short distances to get to better snow and terrain, although no previous ski touring experience is required.
These tours will involve around 3-5hrs of skinning per day, achieving around 800 – 1000m of vertical ascent. We would expect you to be able skin to a pace of 300m of vertical ascent per hour. You need to be able to execute good uphill kick turns on steeper slopes and have some familiarity with use of crampons and ice axe. You need to be a reasonably strong off-piste skier able to deal with a variety of snow conditions (powder, crust, slush) and able to ski on steeper and narrower slopes with the requisite ability and confidence for exposed sections.
For our Advanced Off-Piste Coaching courses you should be an excellent piste skier and have many years experience of skiing off-piste. You should be able to ski off-piste in most conditions linking controlled parallel turns, ski bumpy terrain, trees, narrow gullies and enjoy pushing yourself to achieve new things. Your skiing should be reasonably fluid and autonomous i.e. you can already adapt your turn radius and speed to the terrain and snow conditions off-piste. This course will focus on the technical and tactical skills to ski steep terrain, jump turns and line choice as well as refreshing your avalanche skills and mountain safety. The mission is for your skiing to become more dynamic and reactive!
You are an experienced and confident off-piste skier able to handle most snow types and conditions, you can ski steep slopes (30 degrees+) and make short turns in gullies and ski through trees. These skills have been learned over a number of years of skiing off-piste with mountain guides or experienced groups of friends. You are happy to ski tour to access descents and better snow, so you will have previously used ski touring equipment and can do effective and safe uphill kick turns. You aspire to ski the best snow available and are happy to push yourself to reach the best snow and terrain.
Advanced-level tours are for experienced ski tourers who’ve previously completed another hut-to-hut trip or multiple day tours. A large proportion of the terrain may be steep and exposed; thus confidence in your uphill kick turns on 35+ degree slopes is a must, as is your ability to ski slopes of 40 degrees. You will be a strong, fluid off-piste skier able to handle all conditions. You will be confident of using crampons and an ice axe and happy scrambling/climbing on snow and rock on short climbs to summits, and in gullies to gain a col.
You can ski fluidly and autonomously on all terrain. You often ski couloirs and gullies and seek out steep slopes and you can jump turn in narrow couloirs and have experience of abseiling and sideslipping on steep terrain. You can ski fast with fluid ‘freeride’ style turns and can jump off small rocks and ski trees with no fear or problems. You are happy to ski tour and hike to reach the best snow and terrain and you should have some basic knowledge of using crampons and ice axe. Your aims are to push your skills and challenge yourself further.
Expert level ski tours are pure ski mountaineering journeys in the high mountains. You must be confident skiing steep exposed terrain and ski touring for at least 5 hours per day with long ascents. You will be expected to climb on your feet carrying your skis on your pack to summit mountains above 4000m in altitude. You must be completely confident with your crampon placement and use of an ice axe and you will have some basic rope skills and be happy walking along exposed ridges on mixed terrain to gain the summits of peaks.
You are fit enough to ski all day with only short stops for food and drink. You can ski off-piste all day without being too tired at the end of the day; you can ski in this way for multiple days on your holiday. You can also hike or ski tour for around 2 hours per day. You’re used to doing cardiovascular exercise 3 to 4 times a week (bike, run, gym) to maintain your fitness, and you’re able to push yourself if needed for short periods of time at a higher rate than usual.
You can ski all day comfortably off-piste with only short stops for food and drink, you can do this for multiple days on your holiday. If necessary you can ski tour for around 1-2 hrs up hill plus your happy to do a few short hikes to access good snow with your skis on your shoulder or rucksack. Your stamina and endurance fitness is good and you work hard to maintain a good level of fitness. You will be exercising 3-4 times a week and also at the weekend; thus running a half marathon, doing a 50 mile cycle ride, 3-4 hours on a mountain bike or a full day’s hill walk would all prove possible with this stamina level.
You can ski all day comfortably and will be expected to ascend on skis at around 400m/hr and be able to skin for at least 5hrs with up to 1000m to 1300m of ascent per day. Your stamina and endurance fitness is good and you work hard to maintain a good level of fitness. You will be exercising 3-4 times a week and also at the weekend; thus running a half marathon, doing a 50 mile cycle ride, 3-4 hours on a mountain bike or a full day’s hill walk would all prove possible with this stamina level.
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.