Bivio Ski Touring

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

New for 2021! – Our Bivio Ski Touring week explores one of the best day touring venues in the whole of Switzerland. At an altitude of nearly 1800m, the tiny village of Bivio is surrounded by great ski tours in all directions.  During the week, we also plan to spend a night at the nearby Jenatsch Hut, to enjoy some high summits in a remote location.

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Trip overview

New for 2021! – Our Bivio Ski Touring week explores one of the best day touring venues in the whole of Switzerland. At an altitude of nearly 1800m, the tiny village of Bivio is surrounded by great ski tours in all directions.  During the week, we also plan to spend a night at the nearby Jenatsch Hut, to enjoy some high summits in a remote location.

This is a classic day touring region, with plenty of good north facing descents and a small ski station at the village, which provides handy uplift to start a number of tours. During the week we stay at a comfortable Hotel in Bivio, which offers a warm welcome and fantastic regional food. Due to the nature and variety of terrain, skiing is possible in the area in most weather and snow conditions.

Suitability

This is an intermediate level trip. To take part you should be at Fitness Level 2-3 and Tech Level 3 (see our Fitness/Experience guidelines below). You need previous ski touring experience in order to join this tour – if you are a strong/fit skier, then just a few previous days worth of touring will be sufficient. The week includes 5-6 hour days with generally steady climbs and typically 600-1000m of ascent a day – so you can expect to be skinning for 3-4 hours a day. Type of ascent: we use 80% skinning – approx 5000m of skinning up, 7000m of skiing down during the week, with day packs and at mid altitude.


Guiding ratio

One IFMGA guide skiing with 6 clients.


Included in price

  • 6 days of guiding
  • All guides expenses
  • 6 nights hotel accommodation including breakfast and evening meal
  • 1 nights hut accommodation including breakfast and evening meal

Excluded from price (see factsheet for extra cost estimates)

  • Lunches and drinks
  • Flights to Switzerland
  • Travel to resort
  • Insurance
  • Equipment hire

Accommodation

Our base for the week is the very comfortable Hotel Post in Bivio. The hotel is a lovely family run place and very well set up for ski touring, with comfortable rooms, excellent local food, a spa area with sauna and steam room to relax in each evening and quick access to the local skiing. Hotel rooms are provided on a twin sharing basis, but if you wish to book a single room please let us know and we will confirm availability.  Hotel details can be found on our Accommodation page.


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 Bivio on Saturday, to arrive in time for the evening meal and briefing. PM 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 and guidebooks 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.


ski touring holiday in bivio, switzerlandSunday to Friday

Day Touring in Bivio – possible areas and tours include:

  • Piz Scalotta (2992m)
  • Piz Surpare (3078m)
  • Piz Turba (3018m)
  • Piz Greyasalvas (2932m)
  • Roccabella (2730m)
  • Piz Neir (2909m)

Jenatsch Hut

The Jenatsch Hut is a lovely place to visit for a night during the week, in order to enjoy some higher summits and more remote touring.

Crossing the Col D’Agnel is the standard access route to the Jenatsch Hut. Starting at the road just below the Julier Pass, the climb takes around 2-3 hours with a nice descent on the far side down to the hut.

Various other routes and objectives are also possible to reach the Jenatsch Hut, all starting from the same location. Many of these have north facing descents, which often hold good snow.

After a night in the hut, we then ski a local classic such as the Tschima da Flix (3301m), before enjoying a good north facing descent and finally retracing out route back across the Col d’Agnel for another fun descent back down to the valley.


Saturday

Depart for home.

Location and Travel

Travel details to be confirmed.

Fitness and Experience

To enjoy this trip you should be comfortable operating at Fitness Level 2/3, and Ski Tech Level 3:

Fitness Level 2
You do 2-3 hours cv training/sport per week. At this level you should be happy doing either a 3-4 hr hillwalk, cycling 30-40 miles or mountain biking 2-3 hours without being exhausted. On foot: you should be able to walk from Ogwen Cottage in North Wales up Glyder Fach – Glyder Fawr – Y Garn – Ogwen in ~5hrs. Or in the Lake District Langdale – Bowfell – Esk Pike – Angle Tarn – Langdale in ~ 6hrs. On skis: you are capable of off piste skiing all day or doing a couple of hours skinning with out finishing up exhausted – ie you can do this for a number of days without taking a rest day.

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, 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 300m/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

Day Touring/BC Ski Course 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
  • Spare fleece or lightweight insulated duvet jacket
  • 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

Personal Items

  • Water container – at least 1 litre
  • Personal medications and blister kit – regular meds, zinc oxide tape, compeed and painkillers etc
  • Ski goggles
  • Sun glasses – CE rated 3 or 4 with side protection
  • Sun and lip cream – factor 30+
  • Wallet, passport and insurance docs

Technical Equipment

  • Rucsac 25/35l – try and avoid ones covered in too many features, just ski and ice axe attachments required
  • Freeride boots or ski mountaineering boots – check detailed factsheet kit list for preferred boots
  • Skis with touring bindings – check detailed factsheet kit list for preferred skis and bindings
  • Velcro 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 – bring them if you have them
  • Ice Axe – bring if you have one

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 Ilkley offer an excellent ski 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.


Insurance

For this trip you must have specialist travel insurance providing medical, emergency search/rescue and repatriation cover for the following activities: off piste skiing and ski touring in glaciated areas requiring the use of ropes, up to 5000m altitude. 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.


Insurance for UK residents

British Mountaineering Council. The gold standard in insurance for UK residents. Very competitive single trip or annual cover for all climbing activities. Use this link to book your BMC insurance.

European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This gives you reciprocal health care in European countries. You can apply for an EHIC card online here or from most Post Offices. You need an EHIC in addition to your travel insurance.


European residents (non-UK)
Austrian Alpine Club. Available to all European residents. AAC insurance is cheap and works ok for minor accidents and rescues, but is not as comprehensive as many other insurance providers. The medical cover included would not be enough for complex treatment or a prolonged stay in hospital. It also doesn’t include cancellation cover. If you choose to use AAC we recommend you take out extra medical cover with another provider, to ‘top up’ the AAC medical limit, as well as a separate cancellation policy.


USA residents

Travelex. For US citizens – a range of policies with comprehensive cover.


For any nationality

Global Rescue. Cover offered to all nationalities via a combination of GR membership and their separate insurance policy.


If you choose an alternative provider, or if there is any doubt about the scope of your chosen policy we recommend that you send your insurer the link to the relevant Alpine Guides trip webpage, and ask them if cover extends to those activities and has the required components (search/rescue, medical, repatriation and cancellation). It’s worth mentioning that rescue and medical expenses in Switzerland can be significantly more expensive than in other countries, so a decent level of cover is required for Swiss tours.

We recommend that you send us your insurance details before the trip commences, and they must be brought to the course briefing at the start of your trip. However, we cannot check the detail of every individual policy, and it is your own responsibility to ensure you are adequately insured.

FAQ's

What happens to my deposit if I book a trip, but it isn’t confirmed to run due to insufficient bookings?

You may transfer your booking to different dates, a different course, or choose a full refund.

See our terms and conditions


What happens if the weather or snow conditions are poor, or the avalanche risk is high?

We will make every effort to stick to the itinerary, but sometimes its necessary to change plans and ski in a neighbouring area or even further afield. Many of our itineraries are designed with flexibility in mind, and it’s usually possible to ski in most conditions with some careful alternative planning.

Keeping the ball rolling - Val Claree


Does Alpine Guides ski with customers from overseas, including the USA and Canada?

Yes!

See our tips for overseas customers


Who goes on our trips?

We climb and ski with a broad range of ages and experience levels, and a large number of our customers come back year after year. We’ve guided 10 year old Ollie up the Old Man of Hoy in Scotland – now the youngest person to climb it. And 70 year old David has climbed the Matterhorn with us, as well as out-skiing people half his age!

The Matterhorn at 70 yrs young


How do I book a ski trip?

For scheduled ski trips it’s easy to book online, directly from your course page. For hire a guide/bespoke courses please get in touch for a quote.

More booking information


Is there an age limit on any of our ski trips?

Under 18’s must be accompanied by a parent/legal guardian. There is no upper age limit, but please get in touch to discuss suitability if you are concerned about your age, with regard to fitness and pace.

See our fitness and training article


How do I rent ski equipment?

You can rent certain items of specialist equipment from us, and the rest can usually be hired in resort.

Ski equipment rental info


What happens if I need to cancel my course?

If you wish to cancel you must notify us in writing, where upon the following charges will be applied from the date we receive your notice of cancellation:

  • More than 8 weeks (56 days) before start date – loss of deposit.
  • Between 4 and 8 weeks (28-56 days) before start date – 50% of course fee or loss of deposit, whichever amount is greater.
  • Less than 4 weeks (28 days) before start date – full course fee.

See our terms and conditions


Can I book a single room on my ski trip?

Yes – this can be done during the online booking process. Please add the single room option to your order, and we will confirm availability asap.

More hotel information


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