Our Val Stura Ski Touring week explores one of the quietest corners of the southern Italian Alps. There is a wealth of great ski touring to enjoy and one small ski station that’s home to some of the best off piste terrain in the Alps – and it’s pretty much deserted. If you like powder skiing and great Italian food, then Val Stura is the place to go – it’s a lovely touring area with a great record for mid winter powder, that is unaffected by the school holidays.
This is a quiet day touring region, with plenty of good north facing descents and an excellent off piste skiing venue. The week starts at Turin Airport with a pickup and transfer to resort with your guide, and then we will drop you off in time for flights the following Saturday. During the week we stay at a comfortable Hotel in Val Stura, which offers a warm welcome, fantastic regional food and a sauna and jacuzzi to relax in after each days skiing. Due to the nature and variety of terrain, skiing is possible in the area in pretty much all 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 4000m of skinning up, 7000m of skiing down during the week, with day packs and at lower altitude.
One IFMGA guide skiing with 6 clients.
Included in price
- 6 days of guiding
- All guides expenses
- 7 nights hotel accommodation including breakfast and evening meal.
- Transport during the course
- Airport transfer
Excluded from price (see factsheet for extra cost estimates)
- Lunches and drinks
- Flights to Turin
- Equipment hire
Our base for the week is the very comfortable Hotel Regina della Alpi in Pietraporzio, in the middle of Val Stura. The hotel is a lovely family run place and well set up for touring, with large comfortable rooms, excellent local food, a sauna and jacuzzi 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.
You should arrange outward travel to Turin Airport on Saturday, to arrive in time for the pickup. 2 hour drive to our accommodation in Val Stura. 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 Friday
Day Touring in Val Stura. Possible areas and tours include:
This small ski station at the head of the valley has just two lifts – which serve an incredible amount of excellent off piste terrain, as well as being a jump off point for lift assisted day tours in the area.
Best of all, the place is pretty much deserted mid week, with just a handful of skiers on the mountain each day.
The tree runs are particularly good, which makes the station a great place to ski when the weather is poor, or at times of increased avalanche risk.
Above the tree line, a number of good ski summits overlook the resort, which give excellent long runs down into the larch forests below.
Colle della Maddalena
At over 2000m, the Colle della Maddelena is a reliable ski touring venue thoughout the winter season. Numerous tours start from both the top of the pass and from the village of Larche on the French side of the border.
Many involve climbing up through open Larch forests to the tree line, before skinning up to a col or ski summit above. The majority of the descents are north facing and frequently hold powder at this time of year.
Typically the day finishes with a visit to the Rifugio della Pace on the summit of the col – either for a coffee and cake, or a late lunch served by the friendly guardian and his team, most of whom work at the refuge so they can go skiing each day!
The village of Petraporzio where we stay is the starting point for a number of good ski tours in the Vallone del Piz just to the south.
All of the tours in this valley offer big days to quiet cols and summits, with long and challenging descents.
Depending on the routes chosen, the skiing is either in steep open forest terrain, or high mountain valleys above the tree line.
All the descents are north facing, so good for powder, but all of them require stable avalanche conditions to complete safely.
Bagni di Vinadio
Bagni di Vinadio is hidden up a side valley at the lower end of Val Stura, about half an hour from where we stay.
As the name suggests, it’s a spa centre – as well as being home to the local cross country ski trails.
Over a dozen ski tours start from the village, radiating around the valley head to different cols and summits, so there is always something good to go at.
Local classics include the Passo Bravaria and Monte Saletta – both of which have great north facing descents, starting in open terrain and ending in forest runs back to the valley.
St Anne La Condamine
This small ski resort in the Haute Ubaye in France is accessible in under an hour from Val Stura and it’s a great place to visit.
The lifts give access to a large amount of good off piste terrain, as well as excellent lift assisted day tours in the north facing valleys surrounding the resort.
Even in the local school holidays the place is quiet and most of the time it’s practically deserted!
If there’s fresh powder around, you never have to go too far in order to find some – even a week or so after the last dump…
AM, early start to drive back to Turin Airport and flights home.
Your course base for the week is Val Stura, in the southern Italian Alps near the town of Cuneo. The most convenient way to reach Val Stura is fly into Turin, from where we are offering an airport transfer with the guide. You should arrange outward travel on Saturday, arriving at Turin airport by late afternoon. Return travel should be arranged on Saturday morning, after your final nights accommodation.
*** NB All Travel Times are Subject to Confirmation – whilst we await 2021 Timetable Updates ***
- Fly to Turin. The best UK flights (as of May 2019) are Manchester > Turin with Jet2, arriving at 16.15, and Gatwick > Turin with EasyJet, arriving 16.50. Jet2 also fly from Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Stansted and Edinburgh to Turin on Saturday mornings and Easyjet fly from Getwick and Luton on Saturday mornings. Further suitable flights may be released from other carriers so please check Google Flights or Skyscanner for a full overview.
- Airport transfer from Turin to Val Stura: pickup will be 5.30pm on Sat 6th Feb 2021 and drop off at 8 – 9am on Sat 13th Feb 2021. If you would like to make use of this, then please let us know as soon as possible and send us your flight details. Please do not book flights arriving later than this pickup time, as it will mean a delay for everyone else, and the team won’t make it to the hotel in time for the evening meal.
- Alternatively fly to Milan and connect to Turin/Val Stura by train or hire car.
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.
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.