True Touring: Hut-To-Hut
Hut-to-hut is ski touring in its truest form. But it's not just for experts, as long as you have some touring experience under your belt, multi-day routes are more than achievable!
Travelling through mountain landscape in winter on skis under your own steam rather than gaining elevation with ski lifts, yields access to wild, isolated mountain terrain. Touring allows you to explore remote, pristine landscapes that are rarely experienced by resort-based skiers. Although your legs will be burning from seemingly endless ascents, there’s a certain satisfaction from earning every one of your turns.
In Europe we are blessed with fantastic arenas for ski touring with very varied terrain and a network of manned huts. These huts situated across the Alps, Dolomites, Pyrenees and Apennine Alps provide food, heat and shelter, eliminating the need to carry large heavy packs.
As long as you have some experience of touring then you are able to enjoy a hut-to-hut tour. As we approach the main touring season (March-May), we chat to our expert Nick over at Mountain Tracks to get the lowdown on what to look for when choosing your hut-to-hut adventure, and which tours you need to tick off your list.
So, you’ve been on a couple of day-long tours. You’ve skinned up to a couple of peaks just beyond resort limits and are looking for something more.
To ease you in to longer touring trips you will generally want to ascend around 800m a day. Tours like the Silvretta Alps Traverse and Dolomites Circuit will still allow you to access some remote terrain and really give you a real taste of what hut-to-hut is all about. These two guided tours both provide some warm up riding in resort to find your legs and utilize in resort lifts to gain some initial elevation. The huts used are some of the most comfortable huts we visit each winter, a cold beer and hot shower does wonders for aching legs!
This isn’t your first rodeo. If you’re looking to push yourself on your second or maybe third hut-to-hut experience then something like the Vanoise Haute Route or the Wild Western Oberland Tour is going to suit you well. You will need to be a confident off piste skier in all snow types and have a good level of general fitness. Skinning around 1000m vertical a day will allow you to access terrain further afield but isn’t so much to stop you enjoying the view!
If you back yourself and have confidence in your abilities, then there is no reason to stay away from longer more iconic touring routes. High altitude, steep terrain and long ascents make these demanding tours some of the most rewarding routes in existence good ski mountaineering skills are essential. If you’re of a high general fitness level and happy with some level of ski mountaineering
Perhaps the most iconic tour of all, the Chamonix to Zermatt Haute Route is perfect for the advanced level touring enthusiast. Linking two historic Alpine centres is a legendary high Alpine 120km traverse with 6,000m of ascent and descent, one for any committed tourer to tick off their list! Also above Zermatt is the famous Monte Rosa range, touring this area promises spectacular views and the opportunity to summit multiple 4000m peaks in one tour.
Conquer the 'King' of the Eastern Alps, the Grossglockner (3798m) on The Austrian Haute Route. The area is steeped in history and has a fascinating blend of Austrian and Italian cultures.
If you don’t have some stories upon your return from a hut-to-hut trip you’ve done something wrong. What else is more impressive than having the summit of a major peak included in your trip? The week long Mont Blanc Ski Tour requires some ski mountaineering to summit of The Alps’ tallest mountain, it goes without saying that you’ll need to be fit for this one!
If you are after something a little more exotic, then how about Europe’s “other” tallest mountain: Elbrus? The ten day Elbrus Ski Tour takes in this mammoth 5642m peak in remote Russia. If it is isolation you are searching for then you cant beat the Ski Antarctica Tour. OK this one isn’t strictly hut-to-hut, more boat-to-boat but we couldn’t help but sneak it in, few adventures come bigger than this!
Mountain Tracks is the newest addition to the Ski Club family. Head to their website todiscover the great range of both winter and summer holidays on offer! Alternatively, give one of their friendly team a call on 020 8123 2978.
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