Grand Paradiso Ski Tour
The Gran Paradiso national park is a short drive from Chamonix through the Mont Blanc tunnel. Its natural topography and protected wildlife really lend itself to being a top ski touring region. The view from the Gran Paradiso itself is one of the best panoramas in the alps. 90% of the climb to the top of Gran Paradiso is on skis and there is a short, easy rocky scramble to the very top.
Every day we have chosen peaks with top quality skiing down to some of our favorite mountain huts – afterall, the hardwork put in going up should be rewarded!
Clicking on the ‘Book Now’ button opposite, will open a new tab/window in your browser and direct you to our online tour booking system. Here you can check the course dates and availability
We usually start these tours at our base in Chamonix where we get acclimatised and go over the skills needed to ski tour to the summit of the Grand Paradiso. We then travel through the Mont Blanc tunnel into the Aosta Valley where we start the 2 day summit push.
What's not included
Who is this for?
This Gran Paradiso ski tour is ideal for those fit offpiste skiers who are keen to try their hand at multi day ski touring. Some previous experience of day tours is a good idea. The days are not too long, the packs are relatively light and the ski descents are excellent and there is a welcome hotel night in the middle! This tour will also appeal to the more seasoned ski tourer, as the terrain offers great skiing and great views, with the bonus of skiing the highest peak entirely in Italy.
Accommodation and huts
They are basic but comfortable. They can cater for vegetarians. Food is usually on a set menu basis (3 course in the evening, hot drink and bread/jam/cereal for breakfast). Often there is no running water and so you have to buy water to drink and wash with (no showers). You can usually buy tea, coffee, wine, beer, soft drinks, chocolate bars and snacks. Sleeping arrangements are normally dormitory style bunkbeds (eg 6 people on the bottom, 6 on the top) with blankets or duvets. Slippers are provided by huts to wear inside. You can expect a good atmosphere and a stunning view!
Saturday: Arrive in Chamonix and settle in to the chalet. We meet in the evening to discuss the plans for the week.
Sunday: Warm up day tour in Chamonix’s Aiguilles Rouges. Overnight in Chamonix.
Monday: Early start and drive to Rhemes in Italy (75mins). Ascend Punta Pallato (3050m) and descend to Benevalo hut.
Tuesday: Ascend the Gran Vaudale (3400m) and ski to Rhemes – a great descent! Overnight in a hotel in Rhemes – restaurant, shower…
Wednesday: A well earned easy day. Drive to Pont and ascend to the Vittoria Emmanuel hut (2.5 hrs uphill).
Thursday: Ascend the Gran Paradiso (4061m), the highest mountain completely in Italy and a classic ski mountaineering peak. Ski to the Vittoria Emmanuel hut.
Friday: Ascend la Tresenta (3600m) and ski to Pont. Return to Chamonix.
Good fitness will make it more fun and you’ll get more out of your week! Although we will tailor the course
to your ability, we definitely recommend getting as fit as possible before you start. The process of training for your goal will help you focus on your goal – and having a goal will help you focus on your training. Ski mountaineering is all about being able to exercise at a moderate intensity for many hours (typically 5 to 12 hours) and your training should reflect this. Probably the best training is going for a long hill walk or cycle as this simulates the real thing as closely as possible and prepares the mind (exercising for long periods in poor weather requires mental strength!).
However not everyone has the opportunity to do this and so alternatives such as jogging, cycling and gym workouts are just as good. The focus should be on training Cardiovascular Endurance for long days in the mountains. For cardio cycling, running and rowing machines are much better than weight training, which you should try and exercise for up to a couple of
hours at a time, 4 times a week. Also yoga, swimming and Pilates help with core stability and balance, with squats and cycling a good way to strengthen your legs. Remember to build up your workouts over time. If you are not used to exercising much, your muscles and joints need time to build up to avoid injury. Try and choose an activity that you enjoy and keep a note of what you do and your times – this really helps with keeping the motivation up and preparing for the ski tour. If you are not used to training then your local gym will be able to advise you on a plan and schedule to help you achieve your goals. Remember training does not work overnight and the fittest athletes train as part of their lifestyles and have been doing it for years. Consider training for a good couple of months before coming out to the Alps.
Unfortunately we can’t recommend a specific brand and model for each item on the kit list, as what is available is constantly changing and, of course, different people are different shapes and sizes with different budgets! However, in general, we use and endorse Sherpa for clothing and Black Diamond for kit because in our experience they are excellent… If you go to a good retailers such as Snow & Rock, explain to them you will be back country skiing and they will be able to advise you on what is best for you. Bring this list with you…
Lastly, if necessary it is possible to rent most hardware items in Chamonix. You can hire boots too, but this is a last resort (no one likes uncomfortable boots).
1. Skis for off piste skiing – we recommend skis that you will enjoy skiing on, but are not too heavy/stiff. They should be ‘fat’ but not too fat. Wider skis make it easier to ski off piste, but too wide can be hard to control and hamper your technique progression. We would recommend an underfoot width of 80-90mm.
2. Poles –
3. Skins and ski crampons
4. Boots – these must fit and be comfortable. We feel it is best not to rent boots. Rather buy some and have them fitted professionally – this will make your week much more comfortable, fun and blister free! ‘Fit’ is more important than whether a boot is ‘stiff enough’ or not.
5. Rucksack – 40-50l. with ski straps
6. Water bottle
7. Transceiver, probe, shovel, harness with 1 screw gate karabiner (can be rented in Chamonix)
8. sunglasses, goggles, sunhat, sunscreen, lip salve/block
9. 3 sets socks and light coloured thermal tops
10. Lightweight Gore-Tex top/bottoms, warm hat, thick gloves, thin gloves
11. Insulating layers. I use a thin ‘100’ weight fleece and a synthetic duvet jacket (thin).
12. Personal first aid – blister kit, ibuprofen.
13. Cash for additional hot drinks / snacks on the mountain
Remember kit should be lightweight but functional – you have to carry it! We can help with equipment rental in Chamonix.
To find out more about our course, availability, or to ask any questions, please get in touch through the website or by phone on +33 (0)845 527 58 12.
We take a 20% deposit to secure your place on one of our courses, and we ask for the balance to be paid 6 weeks before the course start date.
We strongly recommend getting specialist travel insurance that covers cancellation, medical and mountain rescue.
Make sure that it covers glaciated mountaineering and climbing/ skiing. We recommend the Dogtag (www.dogtag.co.uk) – they have comprehensive policies and a good reputation.
Getting to Chamonix
It is best to book flights and airport transfers well in advance of your departure.
Easyjet have many cheap flights to Geneva from all over the UK. Swiss Air have cheap and convenient flights from London to Geneva.
Booking a place on a minibus airport transfer service is by far the best way to get from Geneva airport to Chamonix (it takes about an hour or so, is cost effective and is a door to door service). We can book your airport transfers at a competitive rate – just email us with your flight details…
There are several cash points in Chamonix and Maestro/visa/mastercard are all readily accepted.