New for 2021! – Our Bivio Ski Touring week explores one of the best touring venues in the whole of Switzerland. Staying at an altitude over 2200m, our accomodation is surrounded by great ski tours in all directions. For the second half of the week, we spend 2 nights at the nearby Jenatsch Hut, to enjoy 3 days skiing high summits in a wild location.
This is a hybrid ‘hut and hotel’ touring week in a classic region, with plenty of good north facing descents and a small ski station nearby, which provides handy uplift to start a number of tours. During the week we stay at over 2200m, high up on the Julier Pass at the Ospizio la Veduta. Set up as a hut-cum-hotel, La Veduta is a mecca for ski tourers and offers high mountain accommodation, with a warm welcome and fantastic regional food each night. Due to the nature and variety of terrain, skiing is possible in the area in most weather and snow conditions.
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.
One IFMGA guide skiing with 6 clients.
Included in price
- 6 days of guiding
- All guides expenses
- 5 nights hotel accommodation including breakfast and evening meal
- 2 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
- Equipment hire
Our base for the week is the friendly and comfortable Ospizio la Veduta, at an altitude of over 2200m high on the Julier Pass. The nearest village, Bivio is 6km down the road. In winter, the ospizio is set up as a hut-cum-hotel mountain base for ski tourers. It’s very friendly and totally set up for ski touring, with comfortable rooms, excellent local food, a sauna and ski touring right from the door. Twin rooms are provided (with possibly one triple or quad), 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.
For our 2 nights in the high mountains we will stay at the Jenatsch Hut. For more info please read the Using Alpine Huts article which provides an overview of typical facilities, average costs to help you budget for lunches/drinks, and general info on hut etiquette. Also, our Multiday Ski Touring FAQs page answers some of the most common questions we are asked about hut based ski touring and logistics etc.
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.
Sunday to Tuesday
Day Touring around Bivio – possible areas and tours include:
- Piz Scalotta (2992m)
- Piz Surpare (3078m)
- Piz Turba (3018m)
- Piz Greyasalvas (2932m)
- Roccabella (2730m)
- Piz Neir (2909m)
Wednesday to Friday
The Jenatsch Hut is a lovely place to visit for the second half 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 directly from our accomodation at the Ospizio la Veduta, 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.
From the hut, we then spend 2 days skiing local classics such as the Tschima da Flix (3301m) etc, before finally retracing our route back across the Col d’Agnel on Friday, for a long descent back to the valley. Friday PM Final night at Ospizio la Veduta.
Depart for home.
Your trip meets at Ospizio La Veduta, near the top of the Julier Pass and 6km beyond Bivio, in Graubunden in Eastern Switzerland. The most common way to reach the Ospizio is fly into Zurich, then take a train to either Chur or St Moritz and a postbus over the Julierpass – the bus stops right outside the hotel (4-5 hr journey time from Zurich).
Flights and transfers
- Fly to Zurich with numerous budget airlines, for an overview of the best options check out the excellent Sky Scanner website.
- Train/Bus from Zurich Airport to Julierpass, Veduta: https://www.sbb.ch/en/home.html (integrated Swiss travel website, displays all connecting bus and train services)
- Alternatively hire a car in Zurich (approx 2.5 hours driving time): www.arguscarhire.com / www.holidayautos.co.uk
- If you plan to arrive by train and you also plan to travel around Switzerland before/after the trip, then purchasing a Swiss Travel Pass (details on website above) could save you some money, as you get half fare on the cable cars in many resorts, as well as on the trains and buses. If you purchase a Swiss card the journey from the airport to the Julierpass and back will be included. It isn’t worth buying one for this trip alone however.
- Alternatively fly to Milan and hire a car (2.5 hrs – public transport is tricky).
For flights and other travel options, including train, coach and driving, visit our Travel Planning page.
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.
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!
- 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
- 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
- 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!
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.
Please visit our Equipment Hire page for recommended hire shops in your resort, and Alpine Guides hire equipment price list.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
What happens about accommodation, if the weather is very poor and we end up spending extra nights in the valley instead of in huts?
We will make any necessary last minute bookings for the team. On trips taking place outside the Chamonix valley, any extra valley hotel nights will be on a BnB basis rather than half board.
Does Alpine Guides ski with customers from overseas, including the USA and Canada?
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.