This high level ski tour of the Western Oberland starts in Canton Vaud and crosses through Berne and the Valais. This area is a quiet corner of Western Switzerland and often has excellent conditions when higher areas have bad weather and wind-affected snow. The Western Oberland is ideal for touring with fewer glaciers and lower terrain than the Bernese Oberland. The tour benefits from easy lift access at the start, but otherwise the week is spent in remote and wild terrain, staying in mountain huts. There are many alternatives, and flexibility is the key to getting the most enjoyable ascents and best snow for the week.
We begin our tour from the small ski resort of Leysin. It has numerous hotels and a good choice of equipment shops and supermarkets ideal for stocking up on hill food.
Travel day. Arrive in Leysin by late afternoon and meet up with your guide for an initial briefing and review of the itinerary. Stay overnight in Leysin.
A day of off-piste skiing with a short tour around Leysin. The Tour de Famelon (2137m) or Pic Chaussy (2351m) are great little day tours to get us in the mood. We stay a second night in the hotel in Leysin.
From the Col du Pillon in canton Vaud we take the Glacier 3000 lift to the top and ski down to the Col du Sanetch (2252m). We then climb on skins and crampons to the Arpelistock (3035m) by the elegant crest of the Arete de L'Arpille. This is followed by a long run down north facing slopes to the very traditional Gelten hut (2003m) on the canton Berne side of the range.
From the hut we make our way back up to the Gelten glacier to cross onto the Canton Valais side via the Col du Brochet and traverse around to the Wildhorn (3247m). From here we make a spectacular long descent north-east via the Tungel glacier to the Wildhorn hut (2303m).
The following day we make a long ascent and traverse of the Schnidehorn (2937m). We descend into the remote snow plateau of the Alpage du Rawil (2370m). The last climb of the day deposits us at the Wildstrubel hut (2791m). This hut has been recently renovated and is very comfortable. The guardian is extremely welcoming the breakfast being a high point.
From the hut we cross the Glacier de la Plaine Morte (famous for its cross country ski tracks) and then ascend to the summit of the Wildstrubel (3243m). From here you get panoramic views of the higher mountains of the Valais to the east and the Eiger and Junfrau to the north. We descend the Wildstrubel glacier to the Lammeren hut (2504m). This is a large Swiss hut very popular with day ski tourers as its easily accessed from Leukerbad.
From the Lammeren hut, depending on conditions, there are a few options. We can make an ascent of one of the nearby summits (e.g. Steghorn (3146m), Daubenhorn (2941m). After our final descent we use the lifts to take us down to Leukerbad. The other option is to exit on the northerly side and ski down to Kandersteg. This itinerary takes us over the Rote Totx Lucke (2900m) and the decending to Talliseeh (2405m). We then access the Inner Uschene valley via some steep slopes and on down to Kandersteg world famous for its ice climbing. The weather and snow conditions need to be good for this option. We then get the train back to Leysin.
Depart after breakfast.
The price includes: 6 days guide fees & expenses, 3 nights B&B hotel accommodation (twin rooms) in Leysin, 4 nights half-board accommodation during the tour
The price does not include: lift passes and transfers, 3 evening meals, lunches, beverages, equipment hire, personal insurance, travel to/from Leysin
Single room occupancy may incur an additional charge.
We exclude the cost for lift tickets and transfers because our use of these may vary depending on weather and snow conditions. Based on the standard itinerary, the cost of transfers and lift tickets will be around 210CHF per person.
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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.
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.
3 nights will be spent in one of the many small, comfortable hotels in Leysin in twin rooms on a B&B basis.
The other 4 nights are spent in traditional alpine mountain huts. It is possible to leave some luggage in Leysin whilst you are in the mountains, as you will return there for the final night.
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.