Gran Paradiso Ski Tour

Fitness level
Tech level
Number of guiding days
Guiding ratio

The Gran Paradiso Ski Tour traverses this famous National Park which is well known for its wild ambience and abundant wildlife, and makes an ascent of the only 4000m summit entirely within Italy.  We make a circular tour of the massif, climbing the Gran Paradiso (4061m) itself as a grand finale – including the superbly exposed rock ridge to the very summit. On this classic ski mountaineering circuit we will be staying at some of the friendliest huts in the alps – where a warm welcome and convivial atmosphere are the perfect place to relax after a good day on the hill. This trip runs at a low ratio of 1:4, to allow an efficient ascent of the Gran Paradiso on summit day.

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It was a very good tour and we were lucky with the weather. Excellent huts en route and some pretty challenging terrain… I was looking for a challenge and this trip did not disappoint… Neil was great, I expected a very competent mountaineer/skier and he was all of that and more – he went the extra mile for the group, sorting out gear failure, doing afternoon transceiver training… and was an all-round star. I have not done much guided stuff in the Alps and didn’t realise how much the guides input makes or breaks the tour for a client, so the fact that everyone finished with a grin from ear to ear says it all really. Chaumiere Lodge good with cheerful and helpful staff. Thanks for your help.

Keith Grant
The week was great thanks.  Weather was amazing (apart from the first Sunday which turned into a really useful and instructional avalanche safety day!) Gav was a really good guide offering lots of advice and providing a great experience – finding powder but always considering the avalanche risk – as you know, the first two days had to be changed, but this led to a very nice night in a hotel in Rhemes-Notre-Dame.
Matt Hall

I really enjoyed the trip. Good group – one of the best combinations of fitness, ski ability, company etc I’ve experienced. And it is such a great area – I really enjoyed the Italian huts – not so much the first small one but all the subsequent ones. Also thought Neil was a very good guide. Cheers for now.

Jim Edwards

Fab tour, fab guide, fab other folks! Specifically, I particularly appreciated the chance to stay in some less mass sized huts with a bit of character. Route was ace with just the right amount of challenge… You may see me on another tour in the future!

Hebe Carus

Really enjoyed the trip – I was just about fit enough, and Neil helped a lot with tips on skinning rhythm and kick-turn technique. Both the hotels were very good, The Corronne was a good hub – I met 2 other people not connected with the tour that I knew. Now saving to get pin bindings for next season.

Jeremy Frost

Had a belter of a week. The route was stunning and Neil provided fantastic guidance. My skills on the mountain on ski’s really came on a lot during the week as a result. On the final day when the weather clogged in Neil did a really good job of finding alternatives too. He was great to spend time with during the week. Huts were great, nicest I’ve been in. The route had a remote & wild feel to it; Exactly one of the reasons I signed up for this tour. The variation offered by skiing galciers, steep, exposed and the whole range of snow types have left me with a smile on my face all week since returning. Look forward to more of the same in the future.

Dominic Salmon

Many thanks for organising a great trip. We were lucky with the weather and the group and it fully met my expectations. I particularly wanted to commend Gav. He did a great job: very safety conscious; part of the team; explaining his thinking; skilled management of the group; lots of really interesting information about mountain skills and facts (he is a natural teacher); immensely positive; exuded confidence; and made it fun.

Paul Lomas

Yes, we dropped lucky with the weather and that combined with the itinerary/huts made it a top trip. All accommodation was great, especially the quirky huts for the first 2 nights and the hotel in Pont. The journey was great, real variety in a relatively compact area. Neil was a great company and helped create a great atmosphere for the trip. His knowledge of the area was clear and he was great at sharing his decision making/logistics etc. Even better he was a Stockport lad! All in all a top trip – already planning for next year. Have a great summer.

Clive Harvey

It would be hard to imagine a more successful trip. The group was one of those happy coincidences where everyone gets on, and we were extremely well overseen by Gav – always open to answering questions and very generous with his knowledge. In short, a first rate guide. The hotel, huts, routes and all logistics were excellent. Lastly to you and Al, thanks…

David Ibison

The trip was excellent on all counts. Hotel friendly, helpful and rooms more than adequate. Huts all welcoming especially Fond and Chivasso, which being small also have a great deal of added character. Food tasty and plentiful, not a surly patron in sight (there is a good reason to ski in Italy). Gav did everything I could have wanted in a guide. Excellent guiding with a running commentary to logic, always ready to discuss skiing and the mountains, great insight into the group dynamics and kept (albeit a relatively similar skill and fitness group) together. Skiing was great, all 3 main decents we did the snow was on our side and the scrappy bits through the woods to Pont both time were a lot of fun. So I’d keep everything very similar for next year! Looking forward to the ski program for 2017.

Jonathan Dilley

Trip overview

The Gran Paradiso Ski Tour traverses this famous National Park which is well known for its wild ambience and abundant wildlife, and makes an ascent of the only 4000m summit entirely within Italy.  We make a circular tour of the massif, climbing the Gran Paradiso (4061m) itself as a grand finale – including the superbly exposed rock ridge to the very summit. On this classic ski mountaineering circuit we will be staying at some of the friendliest huts in the alps – where a warm welcome and convivial atmosphere are the perfect place to relax after a good day on the hill. This trip runs at a low ratio of 1:4, to allow an efficient ascent of the Gran Paradiso on summit day.

Please visit our Covid-19 Ski Information page for Covid FAQs, details of our new participation requirements, travel advice and what to expect on your trip.

Download factsheet (PDF)

Tour Info

This is a popular classic ski tour covering an excellent variety of terrain, including the ascent of a famous 4000m peak. It is also a very ‘ski focussed’ week – linking up summits and passes to ski the best descents in the range. Expect some roped climbing and plenty of glacier skiing, both on the Gran Paradiso itself and at other stages during the tour. Stable snow conditions are required to complete the whole itinerary, but ski touring is possible in the area in most weather conditions.

Trip Reports >> Report 1, Report 2


This is an intermediate to advanced level trip. To take part you should be at Fitness Level 3-4 and Tech Level 3-4 (see our Fitness/Experience guidelines below). Solid ski touring experience is required on this tour, plus some roped climbing or cramponing experience. Type of ascent: 20% uplift and 80% skinning on this tour – approx 5500m skinning up, 7300m skiing down (including Chamonix day tour on day 1.)

Guiding ratio

One IFMGA guide skiing with 4 clients. An Aspirant guide may also join the team, skiing at 2:5 ratio. This is ideal for summiting the Paradiso, with one efficient trip on the summit scramble. 

Included in price

  • 6 days of guiding
  • All guides expenses
  • 3 nights accommodation in the Chamonix valley, including breakfast
  • 4 nights accommodation in mountain huts, including breakfast and evening meal
  • Return travel from Chamonix to the tour start point in Italy

Excluded from price (see factsheet for extra cost estimates)

  • Evening meals in the Chamonix valley
  • Cable cars and taxis
  • Lunches and drinks
  • Travel to resort
  • Insurance
  • Equipment hire


NB – our regular base, the Hotel de La Couronne is being renovated this season. We plan to stay at the nearby Hotel Dahu – TBC – in the alpine village of Argentiere, 15 mins from Chamonix Rooms are provided on a twin (or occasionally triple or quad) sharing basis, but if you wish to book a single room please let us know and we will confirm availability. The hotel has ski and general storage facilities, so any extra luggage can be left until your return to resort at the end of the week. Evening meals can be taken in Argentiere in the hotels partner restaurant. Hotel details can be found on our Accommodation page.


For overnights in the high mountains we will use mountain huts. This tour stays in friendly Italian huts with great food, coffee and a super relaxed atmosphere. 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 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


You should arrange outward travel on Saturday, arriving by 6-7pm latest in time for the briefing at your accommodation. 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. Overnight in the valley.


Warm up and acclimatization day – ski touring in the Mont Blanc Massif.

Before setting off on the Paradiso Tour, we do a warm up day ski touring in the Mont Blanc Massif to help you find our ski legs again and acclimatize for the week ahead.

The Chamonix Valley is famous for it’s good off piste descents and shorter day tours – ie perfect for a first day. Numerous options are possible depending on the party, weather and snow conditions.

~4-800m ascent, 2-3000m descent ~5-6hrs

Overnight in Chamonix.


Refuge du Fond.

AM Drive through the Mont Blanc Tunnel to Italy, then on to Rhemes de Notre Dame.

The ascent to the Refuge du Fond from Rhemes Notre Dame follows a scenic trail up the valley, taking around 3 hours. After lunch, there’s time to do a half day tour up the Pointe de Lavassey overlooking the hut.

Nowadays we prefer to stay at the Refuge du Fond rather than the Benevolo Hut, as it’s a more comfortable hut with better rooms and en suite facilities, including hot showers.

600m ascent to hut ~3hrs (+450m ascent and descent, 2-3hrs for summit above the hut)


Punta Di Galisia (3364m)

The ascent of Punta Galisia  is a long, steady climb of about 1000m. In the upper half, the Glacier du Fond and Glacier de Basagne must be crossed in order to reach the summit.

The descent follows north facing slopes to just below the Col de Basey, which must then be crossed in order to reach the Chivasso Hut. Stable snow conditions are required in order to make the final descent to the hut, as there are some steeper slopes which cannot be avoided.

(If conditions not stable enough to ski this section, then it’s usually possible to head back to valley, drive around and pick up the trail, in order to continue to the Gran Paradiso).

1200m ascent, 900m descent ~5-6hrs.

NB Conditions need to be assessed carefully before planning a descent to the Chivasso Hut, as there are some steep pitches along the route.


Chivasso Hut to Vittorio Emanuele Hut

Leaving the Chivasso Hut, we head northwards following a remote high level traverse running parallel to the French border.

The route takes us across two cols and three glaciers to eventually arrive at the Vittorio Emanuele Hut.

This is another day that requires stable weather and conditions to complete safely, as the line is complex and crosses steep terrain in places – however, there is some excellent skiing as a consequence.

800m ascent, 700m descent ~6hrs


Gran Paradiso (4061m)

The Gran Paradiso  is one of the most classic ski mountaineering ascents in the Alps.

It’s a long climb, with over 1300m of skinning in order to reach the final summit rocks. These are quite exposed, so need to be climbed on foot – we’ll be roped up from the ski depot 200m from the top.

Once back at the skis, it’s then time to enjoy one of the best ski mountaineering descents in the Alps. The slopes are at a perfect angle to provide good, challenging skiing and the views are brilliant in all directions.

1350m ascent/descent ~6hrs


Colle del Grand Etret

The Colle del Grade Etret lies 5km south of the Vittorio Emanuel Hut, right at the head of Val Savarenche.

It’s a great place to visit for the view alone, but more importantly it provides a very long north facing descent down to Pont, where we finish the tour.

700m ascent, 1450m descent ~4-5hrs

PM Taxi back to Rhemes de Notre Dame to retrieve car, return to Chamonix. Final night in the hotel.


Return travel should be arranged on Saturday morning, after your final nights accommodation.

Location and Travel

Your course starts and finishes in the Chamonix valley, at our base in Argentiere – the Hotel De La Couronne. The most common way to reach Chamonix is fly to Geneva, then take a shared minibus taxi transfer to the Chamonix valley (must be booked in advance).

Flights and transfers

  • Fly to Geneva with numerous budget airlines, for an overview of the best options check out the excellent Sky Scanner website.
  • Airport transfer from Geneva to Chamonix: Mountain Drop-offs offer the best all round service, with regular reliable transfers through the season. They offer a shared minibus taxi service which meets you in the airport and drops you off at the door of your hotel. Book your transfer here and use promo code ALPGUID to receive a discount on your journey.
  • Alternatively hire a car at Geneva airport (1.2 hrs drive to Cham).

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 3/4, and Ski Tech Level 3/4:

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)

Fitness Level 4
You do 4+ hours CV training/sport per week. A 70+ mile cycle ride, or 20+ mile hillwalk on a weekend would hold no fears. If so inclined, you might be the kind of person who has done longer road sportives/challenge rides, a ~3.30hr marathon or other similar endurance events. Keen hillwalkers who happily knock off 3-4+ munros in a day also have this kind of fitness and endurance. On skis: you can skin at 400m+/hr or could handle 4-6hrs skinning a day. (ie 1000-1400m+ 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.

Tech Level 4
Advanced Off Piste Skier. You can put turns in through heavier snow and on icy 40dg slopes, but difficult breakable crusts and skiing a fresh track off piste in zero visibility are still somewhat challenging! *Equivalent to Ski Club of GB Off Piste Level: Gold – Expert*
Likely to say: I’ve been skiing ten/twenty years – I’d like to do your ‘……’ tour.
Our Advice: You will enjoy our advanced level trips, but don’t overlook the touring skills and physical fitness needed as well. Mileage is the best way to improve your ability level.

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.


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 (more info here)

  • 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 (more info here)

  • 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
  • Helmet – a lightweight ski touring or climbing model – you may need this on certain parts of the route depending on conditions

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.


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.

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