Adamello Ski Tour

Fitness level
Tech level
Number of guiding days
6
Guiding ratio
1:6

Our Adamello Ski Tour is a magnificent journey into the very heart of the Adamello mountain range, traversing the largest glacier system in Italy. The tour is also a great technical skills development week for skiers looking to gain some ski mountaineering experience, in preparation for more technical tours such as the Haute Route. Based in Ponte di Legno, one of Italy’s hidden gems, this is a fantastic area for high altitude skiing.

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Trip overview

Our Adamello Ski Tour is a magnificent journey into the very heart of the Adamello mountain range, traversing the largest glacier system in Italy. The tour is also a great technical skills development week for skiers looking to gain some ski mountaineering experience, in preparation for more technical tours such as the Haute Route. Based in Ponte di Legno, one of Italy’s hidden gems, this is a fantastic area for high altitude skiing.

Download factsheet (PDF)

Tour Info

The week starts with a couple of valley based days, warm up skiing and day touring at Passo del Tonale, before setting off on a 4 day hut to hut tour around the Adamello Massif.   The area boasts excellent high altitude glacier skiing, with technical ski mountaineering sections, great huts, warm hospitality and wonderful Italian food.

Your guide for the week is Cain Olsen – originally from the Uk, Cain moved to Italy at the age of 10 and has lived and worked in the Adamello region for over 20 years.  He knows the area intimately and loves to guide in his home mountains.  Due to the uplift available at the start of the week, there is considerably more skiing down than skinning up on this tour – including a massive 2000m descent on the final day!

NB To make travel a little easier for this tour, we include a transfer pickup and dropoff at Bergamo Airport at the start and end of the trip.


Suitability

This is an intermediate level trip. To take part you should be at Fitness Level 3 and Tech Level 3 (see our Fitness/Experience guidelines). You need previous ski touring experience in order to join this tour. As this is a multi day tour, if you haven’t skied with us before, then we may ask for a reference to confirm your experience/ski ability for the trip. Typically there will be 400-900m of climb a day, with options to take in extra summits along the way, so you can expect to be skinning for 3-4 hours a day. Type of ascent: we use 45% uplift and 55% skinning – approx 3650m skinning up, and 6700m skiing down, plus off piste skiing on day 1.


Guiding ratio

One IFMGA guide skiing with 6 clients.


Included in price

  • 6 days of guiding
  • All guides expenses
  • 4 nights accommodation in Ponte di Legno, including breakfast and evening meals
  • 3 nights accommodation in mountain huts, including breakfast and evening meals
  • Return transfers from Bergamo airport to Ponte di Legno

Excluded from price (see course factsheet for cost estimates)

  • Uplift
  • Lunches and drinks
  • Flights
  • Insurance
  • Equipment hire

Valley Accommodation

We spend valley nights in the first half of the week, and also the final night at the excellent Chalet Olsen in Ponte di Legno, run by your guide Cain and his wife Alice – its a lovely spot, perfectly set up for skiers, with great food and hospitality. Rooms are provided on a twin and triple sharing basis, with breakfast and evening meals included. Any extra luggage not required on the tour can be left until the end of the week. Accommodation details can be found on our Accommodation page.


Huts

For overnights in the high mountains we will use mountain huts. For more info please read the Using Alpine Huts article which provides an overview of typical hut facilities, average costs to help you budget for lunches/drinks and general info on hut etiquette. Also, our Ski Touring FAQs page answers some of the most common questions we are asked about multi day ski touring and logistics etc.


ABTOT Protected

This trip is protected by ABTOT – Alpine Guides Ltd, Membership Number 5394.  For further information, please visit our Financial Protection page.

Detailed Itinerary

Saturday

You should arrange outward travel to Bergamo Airport on Saturday, to arrive in time for a 19.00 pickup (see travel section below for recommended flights to Bergamo).  Meet at the arrivals hall, transfer to Ponte di Legno (2 hr drive).  Check in at Chalet Olsen in Ponte di Legno.

Evening Briefing – your guide will run through kit checks and safety routines, as well as hand out any rental equipment, before going on to discuss the current weather and mountain conditions and how these affect our plans. We’ll have maps of the area to show you, so if you’ve any further questions or last minute requests, then this is the ideal time to bring them up.

Overnight at Chalet Olsen.


Sunday

Warm up day – Passo del Tonale

Off piste skiing and skills coaching at Passo del Tonale ski resort.  This is an opportunity for some quality acclimatization and warm up runs, plus some essential skills training and refreshment before setting off on the weeks’ touring.

PM Return to Chalet Olsen.


Monday

Day Tour – Passo del Tonale

On Day 2 we’ll enjoy a quality day tour, using some uplift through the resort to start the day. There are a number of different possibilities – Pisganino, Calotta etc – so we’ll choose the best option for the group and current snow conditions.

↑3-500 m ↓2000 m – 4-5 hrs.

PM Return to Chalet Olsen.


Tuesday

Passo del Tonale – Rifugio Mandrone (2500m) 

From Passo Tonale (1800m), we reach Passo Presena (2997m) with the gondola, before skiing down to Rifugio Mandrone (2500m). After a break to leave our overnight gear (and an espresso, of course) we then skin 400m up to Passo Pisgana and enjoy a great ski back down to the hut before dinner. This hut has some of the best food in the Alps!

↑600 m ↓1100 m – 4-5 hrs.


Wednesday

Rifugio Mandrone – Rifugio Lobbia (3000m)

Today we skin up to Cresta Croce (3300m) and visit the nearby First Word War cannon, called 149G or Hippopotamus – if the snow is firm, we may need crampons for the final section.  From the ridge, we enjoy an exceptional panorama of the Adamello Glacier before skiing back down to the main glacier, where a short climb leads to the Rifugio Lobbia (3040m) where we spend the night.

↑900 m ↓400 m – 5-6 hrs.


Thursday

Day Tour – Monte Adamello

Fom Passo della Lobbia Alta we climb the highest peak on the glacier, Monte Adamello (3554m), by crossing the entire Pian di Neve (the ice is 250 metres deep here). As we get closer to the summit, we pass the tiny Ugolini bivouac hut and follow the south west ridge to the top. The descent follows the same route back to Refugio Lobbia, where we spend a second night.

 ↑1100 m ↓1100 m – 5-6 hrs.


Friday

Final Day – Passo Valletta

From the hut, we head out across the glacier and climb up to the Passo Valletta.
We now have 13km and 2000m  of north facing skiing all the way down to the bar!

↑500 m ↓2100 m – 5-6 hrs.

PM Return to Chalet Olsen for final night.


Saturday

AM Mid day transfer to Bergamo Airport for afternoon flights home (14.00 drop off at the airport).

Location and Travel

Your course meeting point is at 17.00-19.00 in arrivals at Bergamo Airport (BGY), before onward travel to Ponte di Legno.

Fly to BergamoRyanair offer direct flights from Manchester (dep 13.20 – arr 16.30)  and Stansted (dep 15.15 – arr 18.10).  If you plan to arrive via another route, then please make sure you arrive in plenty of time for the pickup.

We will arrange a private taxi transfer from the airport at 17.00-19.00 (TBC – depending on team arrival times) on Saturday 6th Apr 2024 – please do not book flights arriving later than 18.30, to avoid the rest of the team having to wait!  The transfer to Ponte di Legno takes approx. 2 hours.

We will arrange a return transfer the following Saturday 13th Apr, departing Ponte di Legno at 12.00 and  arriving Bergamo airport 14.00 in time for flights departing from 16.00.

Ryanair have return flights to Manchester (dep 16.55 – arr 18.05)  and Stansted (dep 17.20 – arr 18.25).

If you are not able to meet the pick-up, or want to coordinate alternative transport (eg car hire with other team members), then please let us know and we will put you in touch.

There are also 3 buses a day running between Bergamo Airport and Ponte di Legno – see details on the airport website: https://bergamo.arriva.it/milanoorio-al-serio-ponte-di-legno/

For flights and other travel options, including train, coach and driving, visit our Travel Planning page.


Fitness and Experience

To enjoy this trip you should be comfortable operating at Fitness Level 3, and Ski Tech Level 3:

Fitness Level 3
You do 3-4 hours cv training/sport per week. At this level you are happy doing a 5-6 hr hillwalk, 40-50ml cycle or 3-4hr mountain bike ride without being totally exhausted. If you are into challenges – then the thought of doing a road sportive, or training to do a 1/2 (or maybe even a full) marathon, wouldn’t seem too ridiculous. On foot: you should be able to do the full Langdale Horseshoe: Langdale – Pike of Stickle – Angle Tarn – Bow Fell – Crinkle Crags – Pike of Blisco – Langdale in a day without finishing up exhausted. On skis: you can skin uphill at 300-400m/hr for 3-4 hrs a day (ie 8-1200m of ascent each day).


Tech Level 3
Confirmed Off Piste Skier. You can put down a reasonable set of tracks in powder, but difficult snow types – eg heavy wet snow, crusts, poor visibility or 40dg slopes – can all cause problems (though you can cope with them safely, if not elegantly!) *Equivalent to Ski Club of GB Off Piste Level: Purple – Advanced*
Likely to say: ‘I’d like to handle difficult snow/steep slopes more confidently in better style’
Our Advice: Off piste coaching still useful. Intermediate off piste weeks are at your level too. If you want to get into ski touring, try a touring course or intro level ski tour. If you’re an established ski mountaineer, then intermediate level tours are generally suitable.

To view all of our Ski Fitness Levels and Off Piste Technical Levels, please visit our Ski Ability page.

If you need to top up your fitness for this trip, please see our Ski Touring Training Advice page.

Equipment

Hut to Hut Touring Equipment List

Just remember, every extra kilo on your back knocks 10% off your enjoyment on the descents – so try and keep the weight down!

Technical Clothing

  • Waterproof Jacket – preferably lightweight and breathable
  • Overtrousers/ski pants – preferably with side zips
  • Fleece mid layer – or equivalent
  • Socks – specialist ski socks or a warm loop lined pair of mountain socks
  • Wicking thermal top – not cotton please…
  • Thermal leggings or ski pants
  • Thin inner gloves
  • Warm ski gloves or mittens, if you suffer from cold hands
  • Warm hat
  • Spare fleece/lightweight duvet jacket

Personal Items

  • Water container – at least 1 litre
  • Personal medications and blister kit – regular meds, zinc oxide tape, compeed and painkillers etc
  • Lightweight head torch
  • Ski goggles
  • Sun glasses – CE rated 3 or 4 with side protection
  • Sun and lip cream – factor 30+
  • Wallet, passport, Alpine Club/BMC card (hut discount) and insurance docs

Hut Overnight Items

  • Small wash kit
  • Spare lightweight t-shirt/socks/pants
  • Silk sheet liner
  • Ear plugs
  • (Hut slippers for indoor use, blankets/duvets and pillows are provided by the huts)

Technical Equipment

  • Rucsac 35/45l – try and avoid ones covered in too many features, just ski and ice axe attachments required
  • Ski mountaineering boots
  • Skis with touring bindings – some ‘freeride’ bindings are also suitable
  • Ski strap – to keep skis together on your rucksack if we need to carry them
  • Ski poles – with good size 5cm+ baskets (telescopic poles are not needed)
  • Climbing skins – they come with the skis if you hire your kit
  • Harscheisen (ski crampons) – they come with the skis if you hire your kit
  • Metal snow shovel – must be a full metal shovel (plastic blades don’t work in real avalanche debris!)
  • Avalanche probe
  • Avalanche transceiver – must be a modern digital model (older analogue models are now obsolete)
  • Harness, with 120cm sling and locking karabiner
  • Crampons – lightweight model
  • Ice Axe – lightweight model
  • Ski helmet – a lightweight helmet is recommended for off piste skiing

Your guide will have all other safety kit, first aid and survival equipment.


Recommendations and Advice
Visit the Knowledge Base section of our website, where we publish an annual review of the years best new skis, boots and touring equipment, plus a range of other interesting tips and recommendations. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, please get in touch!

Purchasing Equipment
Backcountry UK in Otley offer an excellent ski touring boot fitting service, one of the best ranges of ski mountaineering equipment in the UK and top notch advice.

Hiring Equipment
Please visit our Equipment Hire page for recommended hire shops in your resort, and Alpine Guides hire equipment price list (safety equipment is provided free of charge on certain courses – please consult price inclusions).


Insurance

For this trip you must have specialist travel insurance providing medical, emergency search/rescue and repatriation cover for off piste skiing and ski touring, as outlined in the trip itinerary. We also strongly recommend that you purchase cancellation cover, in case you’re unable to attend your trip due to personal circumstances or injury. Please arrange your insurance as soon as your trip is confirmed to run.

Further details can be found on our insurance info page.

Book Now

£1650