Grossvenediger Ski Tour

Fitness level
Tech level
Number of guiding days
Guiding ratio

The Grossvenediger Ski Tour traverses through the Hohe Tauern National Park, enjoying excellent huts, quality skiing and making an ascent of Grossvenediger (3660m) – the highest peak in the area and 4th highest in Austria. This is a part linear, part star hut to hut tour, with a number of great ski summits and high quality glacier descents. The huts in the area are very friendly and welcoming, with hot showers, bar and restaurant service being the norm.

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I would like to second Ollie’s sentiments: a great and challenging week, huge fun… Dave also really had to think: how do I get this lot over to the other side?! He certainly earned his keep – many thanks Dave… Have not yet fully readjusted to life back on earth – still eating as if I am about to skin up 1300 metres before lunch. Slept quite a lot over the weekend!

Andrew Gardner

Firstly a big thank you to Dave for looking after us so diligently. Another wonderful and rather surreal experience … My conversation with Andrew suggests he was not a candidate for the London marathon yesterday after that one. But fantastically organised and executed… and despite the ignominy of arriving at the check in desk at Munich airport wearing a pair of bedroom slippers, looking forward to next year!

Ollie Blount

Trip overview

The Grossvenediger Ski Tour traverses through the Hohe Tauern National Park, enjoying excellent huts, quality skiing and making an ascent of Grossvenediger (3660m) – the highest peak in the area and 4th highest in Austria. This is a part linear, part star hut to hut tour, with a number of great ski summits and high quality glacier descents. The huts in the area are very friendly and welcoming, with hot showers, bar and restaurant service being the norm.

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Tour Info

The tour is planned with flexibility in mind and ski touring is possible in the area in most conditions – however, like all multiday hut tours in the European Alps, stable snow and weather conditions are needed to complete the full itinerary. Two nights are spent at a couple of the huts, allowing lighter packs on some days.


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 below). You need previous multi day hut 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 900-1200m of climb a day, with options to make things more relaxed or more challenging along the way, so you can expect to be skinning for 3-4 hours a day. Type of ascent: we use 100% skinning on this tour – approx 6200m of skinning up, 6200m of skiing down.

Guiding ratio

One IFMGA guide skiing with 6 clients, or occasionally 2:7, with one Aspirant guide joining the team too.

Included in price

  •  6 days of guiding
  • All guides expenses
  • 2 nights accommodation in Innsbruck, including breakfast.
  • 5 nights accommodation in mountain huts, including breakfast and 3 course evening meal.
  • Return transfers between Innsbruck and the tour starting point

Excluded from price (see course factsheet for cost estimates)

  • Evening meals in Innsbruck
  • Lunches and drinks
  • Flights and transfers
  • Insurance
  • Equipment hire


We start and finish the trip at the excellent 4* Alphotel in Innsbruck – its a convenient meeting point and also a great way to end the trip, seeing the sights and having a nice meal out in the town. Rooms are provided on a twin (or occasionally triple) sharing basis, but if you wish to book a single room please let us know and we will confirm availability. Any extra luggage not required on the tour can be left until the end of the week. Hotel details can be found on our Accommodation page.


For overnights in the high mountains we will use mountain huts. The Austrian hut network is the finest in Europe – many have hot showers, a very well stocked bar, and the food is usually excellent. 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


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 Innsbruck.

NB We meet in Innsbruck because it’s easy to get to and if you turn up early there’s good warm up skiing using the city centre funicular just 400m from our hotel. Onward travel to the Hohe Tauern is also much easier and quicker, as we are able to hire a private transfer minibus, rather than relying on public transport.


AM Travel to Pragraten. PM skin up to the Essener Rostocker Hut. 800m of ascent to the hut ~3hr.


Day Tour – Essener Rostocker Hut. A day to enjoy ski touring with a lighter pack on! There are numerous good day tours on the peaks and passes surrounding the Essener Rostocker Hut, many of which enjoy long and varied glacier descents.

One such is a great circular tour around the Malhamspitz. From the hut the route traverses south, before climbing up the Malhamkees Glacier and then descending the Umbalkees Glacier.

Finally, re-crossing the Reggentorl Col leads to an excellent long final descent back to the hut, that often holds powder.

~800-900m of ascent and descent. ~5hrs


Grosser Geiger The Grosser Geiger (3360m) is one of the best ski peaks in the range and an excellent viewpoint.

A long, but steady skin up the valley from the Essener Rostocker Hut eventually leads onto the west ridge and a ski depot. From here the summit is normally reached on foot, with some teams carrying skis to the summit to make a steep descent and others returning to the ski depot on foot, depending on conditions.

Either way leads back the col to gain access to the long, north facing Obersulzbach Glacier which gives a great descent, frequently skiing powder. Finally, a short skin takes us up to the Kursinger Hut.

1250m of ascent, 950m descent ~5-6hrs


Grossvenediger – the Grossvenediger (3674m) is the 4th highest summit in Austria and the principle summit in the region. The ascent from the Kursinger Hut is a varied and interesting glacier expedition, leading up to the summit ridge.

Once on the ridge it’s usual to do the final 50m to the summit on foot, from where the views are outstanding in all directions.

The descent is equally good – first crossing an open glacier plateau, before plunging 1500m down open slopes to the excellent Johannis Hut – this is very friendly spot and one of the oldest huts in the Eastern Alps, having been opened in 1857.

1100m ascent, 1500m descent ~6hrs


Day Tour from the Johaniss Hut

The Johannis Hut is one of the oldest mountain huts in the Eastern Alps and a lovely spot to spend a couple of nights, enjoying another day tour with lighter packs on.

Numerous different ski tours are possible from the Hut – our final choice will make best use of the current snow and weather conditions.

~800-900m of ascent and descent. ~5hrs


Final Day – on the final day we a long, but well graded ascent to the summit of the Hohe Zaun, which lies a couple of kilometers away from Grossvenediger.

The ascent is well worth it however, as it allows us to make the huge 1800m descent down to Innergschloss and the Matreier Tauernhaus – this is renowned as one of the best ski descents in Austria and the perfect way to finish the tour.

1300m ascent, 1950m descent ~8hrs

PM return to Innsbruck, and final night in the hotel.


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

Location and Travel

Your trip starts and finishes in Innsbruck, the most convenient access point for touring in this part of Austria, on the doorstep of the Stubai, Hohe Tauern, Otztal and Silvretta ranges. The most convenient way to reach Innsbruck in winter is fly directly to the city airport, then take a short shuttle bus journey to our hotel. Alternatively fly into Salzburg or Zurich and catch the train to Innsbruck.

After a comfortable stay in Innsbruck, a private taxi transfer gives quick access to the mountains to start the tour.

Flights and transfers

  • Fly to Innsbruck: check Sky Scanner website for best options.
  • Shuttle bus into town:
  • Or, fly to Salzburg or Zurich.
  • Train from there to Innsbruck: (excellent Austrian integrated train/bus timetable)
  • Alternatively hire a car at any airport: /

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.


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).


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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