The Silvretta Ski Tour traverses Austria’s popular Silvretta range on perfect ski touring terrain – with steady climbs, good descents and a fine selection of peaks accessible by ski. The region also has one of the finest hut networks in the Alps – with hot showers and restaurant service being the norm. This is an ideal first hut to hut trip! **This trip includes free hire of safety equipment, and an early booking price of £1195**
The terrain offers flexibility in terms of objectives and snow conditions, as various routes are possible through the range. The planned itinerary takes in most of the Silvretta chain, following a rough East-West traverse along the Austrian/Swiss border and has the added bonus of returning to the same valley that we start from. With comfortable huts and a convenient course meeting in Innsbruck, this is an excellent way to see one of Austria’s famous ski touring regions.
NB We meet in Innsbruck because it’s easy to get to and if you turn up early there’s good warm up skiing accessible directly from town. Onward travel to the Silvretta is also much easier and quicker, as we are able to hire a private transfer minibus, rather than relying on public transport.
This is an introductory level trip. To take part you should be at Fitness Level 2-3 and Tech Level 2-3 (see our Fitness/Experience guidelines). You need some previous ski touring experience in order to join this tour – eg a weeks’ day touring is usually enough. The week includes 5-7 hour days with 700-1000m of climb a day, so you can expect to be skinning for 3-4 hours a day. Type of ascent: we use 20% uplift and 80% skinning – approx 4000m skinning up, and 5300m skiing down on the tour.
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/instruction
- All guides expenses
- 2 nights accommodation in Innsbruck, including breakfast
- 5 nights accommodation in mountain huts, including breakfast and evening meal
- Return transfers between Innsbruck and the tour starting point
- Equipment hire: avalanche transceiver, shovel, probe, ice axe, crampons, harness
Excluded from price (see course factsheet for cost estimates)
- Evening meals in Innsbruck
- Lunches and drinks
- Flights and transfers
Our base in Innsbruck is the excellent Alphotel Innsbruck, conveniently located on a bus route direct from the airport, which stops right outside the hotel. The staff are super friendly and helpful, and everyone really enjoys their stay in Innsbruck: it’s 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.
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. Overnight in Innsbruck.
AM Travel to the Silvretta.
Warm Up and approach to Heidelberg Hut
The tour starts at Ischgl where we utilise the lift system to gain height and do some skills refreshment/training, before making a scenic traverse through two cols and skiing down into the upper reaches of the valley. Along the way, we may make a short climb up Piz Val Gronda (2611m) as well, if conditions are good.
Although the Heidelberg Hut is just up the valley from Ischgl, it actually lies across the border in Switzerland. If the weather is poor, we can still ski in the resort before skinning safely up to the hut following the valley route instead.
300m ascent, 760m descent ~3-5hrs
Kronenjoch to Jamtal Hut
From the Heidelberg Hut, we make a steady angled skin up to the valley, before bearing rightwards up into a side valley and heading to the Kronenjoch. This col gives access to the upper reaches of the Breites Wasser valley, which we need to ski down in order to reach the Jamtal Hut. If conditions are good we may also take in the summit of Breite Krone (3097m) en route, before doubling back to climb up to the Col.
We are on the border again here, passing back into Austria with a steep descent at first, which soon eases off to give a fine north facing run down to the hut.
Another alternative to reach the Jamtal Hut is via the Zahnjoch, which is shorter and more direct than the Kronenjoch, so a steadier option in poor visibility.
800 ascent, 900m descent ~5-6hrs
Day Tour – Jamtal Hut
A chance to enjoy a days skiing with a lighter pack on!
There are numerous good day tours from the Jamtal Hut, giving plenty of different options depending on the current snow and conditions.
The Hintere Jamspitze is one of our favourites. This lies at the head of the Jamtal Glacier, which is climbed via a long sweeping curve up to the Jamjoch Col. From the col, it’s then a short skin to the ski depot, where a final scramble up the summit rocks leads to the cross and a magnificent view.
The descent is equally good, offering a long, excellent north facing run all the way back to the hut.
~1000m ascent and descent ~5hrs.
Ochsenscharte to Wiesbadener Hut
A day mostly spent on glacial terrain. From the Jamtal Hut, we skin up the Jamtal Glacier to a final short steep climb which leads up on to the Ochsenscharte Col (2913m).
This is a great spot, set amid some lovely scenery. On the far side of the col, the Vermunt Glacier then gives a great north west facing descent down to the Wiesbadener Hut.
There are one or two crevasses on the glacier here, so we need to keep an eye out and pick our line carefully.
800m ascent, 750m descent ~4-5hrs
Day Tour – Wiesbadener Hut
There are lots of good day touring options above the WiesbadenerHut, so we’ll choose a good objective for the current snow and weather conditions.
The Buinlucke and Fuorcla Cunfin are both good outings amid excellent glacial scenery.
These 2 cols allow us to dip a toe into Switzerland before enjoying a great, north facing glacier run back down to the hut.
~800m ascent and descent ~4-5hrs.
Final Day to Galtur
A great way to finish a ski tour, as it’s mostly downhill!
From the hut, a relatively short climb (~300m ascent) up to the Rauhkopfscharte, brings us to the top of a long, north facing valley – the Bieltal.
This is our line of descent and gives and excellent ski right down to the main valley floor, just below the Silvrettasee dam.
From here, a pisted track leads back to Galtur via schussing and poling.
300m ascent, 1100m descent ~3-4hrs.
PM Travel Back to Innsbruck, overnight in the hotel.
Return travel should be arranged on Saturday morning, after your final nights accommodation.
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. Shuttle bus F runs every 15 minutes from the airport and stops right outside our hotel. After a comfortable stay in Innsbruck, a private taxi transfer gives quick access to the mountains to start the tour.
The most convenient way to reach Innsbruck in winter is fly directly to the city airport, then take a short shuttle bus journey into the city. Alternatively fly into Salzburg or Zurich and catch the train to Innsbruck.
Flights and transfers
- Fly to Innsbruck: check Sky Scanner website for best options.
- Shuttle bus F from the airport (every 15 mins) stops outside our hotel: www.innsbruck-airport.com/en/train-bus
- Or, fly to Salzburg or Zurich.
- Train from there to Innsbruck: www.oebb.at/en/ (excellent Austrian integrated train/bus timetable)
- Alternatively hire a car at any airport: www.arguscarhire.com / www.holidayautos.co.uk
Other travel options
- Driving from UK, take the ferry or Eurotunnel to Calais/Dunkerque, then 12-14 hours driving.
- Eurostar train from the UK to Paris, then TGV to Zurich, and onward train to Innsbruck: www.eurostar.com/uk-en
Further information and travel links can be found on our Travel Planning page.
To enjoy this trip you should be comfortable operating at Fitness Level 2/3, and Ski Tech Level 2/3:
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 2
Improving Off Piste Skier. You enjoy black runs and the kind of tracked out off piste terrain found around many big resorts, but you haven’t skied too much in properly deep snow without a base to it yet. *Equivalent to Ski Club of GB Off Piste Level: Silver – Intermediate*
Likely to say: ‘I’d like to ski well in powder/link lots of short radius turns/go ski touring’
Our Advice: An Off Piste Skiing Course is highly recommended. If you’d like to try ski touring, then do either an intro ski touring course or an intro level ski tour.
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!
- 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
- 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)
- 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
- 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 – lightweight model
- Ice Axe – lightweight model
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 (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 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.