Silvretta Hut to Hut Ski Tour Explored
By Ian Sherrington, Head of Training, British Mountain Guide and Snowsports Instructor
A number of years ago we asked an Austrian guide what their favourite place to ski tour in the whole of the Alps was and they said the Silvretta Alps. When we asked why they replied because it is so beautiful and is geared up for all your ski touring needs.
It was on the back of this that we ran our first Silvretta Ski tour and have been going there ever since. If you are reading this article contemplating this trip personally, then we want to pass that recommendation on to you.
This is one of the most supported and most achievable tours you can do. We’ve compiled some information here to help answer questions you might have.
Why is the Silvretta Ski tour achievable?
Because you are touring between 2,000m and 3,000m you don’t have to deal with some of the higher altitudes that you may have to with some tours in the Western Alps, although the scenery is no less spectacular.
The infrastructure and support is amazing with a network of warm and welcoming huts. At the end of your day touring in the mountains, being able to regroup and re energise in a comfortable mountain hut where you can pretty much guarantee recovering well with great food, hot showers and a good nights sleep, setting you up well for the next day. Most of the huts we use have boot rooms with heated boot dryers, allowing you to dry your kit overnight. Of course, most of the huts will have table service and beer and wine on tap for those who fancy a glass of local wine alongside their evening meal.
The layout of the Silvretta mountains means there are lots of touring options, which is different from some tours which require conditions to be appropriate for specific routes. So whilst we give a sample itinerary there are lots of options open to us as a group to choose what is right for the condition and the group on the day.
It is an area where the ability to shorten or extend the tour is relatively easy to organise, providing flexibility to allow for changes in the weather.
What does a typical day look like?
A typical day might start at 8am and we’d normally finish and be at the hut between 2-4pm, for a late cooked lunch, or a snack. We’ll snack on the go during the tour itself. If we have energy for more after a late hut lunch, then there is always the option to head out for a bonus hour, or alternatively relax and soak up the atmosphere of the mountain hut. The choice is yours.
Ice axe and crampons?
What if my skiing and fitness is good enough but I’ve never used ice axe and crampons whilst touring before?
You need to have experience of using boot crampons in winter conditions. This could be using crampons with mountaineering boots, or ski mountaineering boots, but some experience out walking in crampons is needed. This is because we may need to stash the skis and head to a col or summit on foot and you’ll need to know how to walk in them.
How much prior experience do I need?
There are a few aspects to this question which is applicable for any ski tour. Mountain experience, fitness and ski experience are your 3 cornerstones here.
We give a breakdown on our website in more detail for each of these areas.
If you are fit and have some mountaineering experience and it is your skiing that is the weakest area, consider booking an off-piste ski course which will help you gain the ski knowledge you’ll need. If you are a strong skier but not sure about traveling through mountain terrain, book on a ski touring course.
How should I prepare before a hut to hut ski tour?
Whilst fitness is important and can to a degree help compensate for ski technique, the best thing someone can do is make sure they are reasonably fit and their skiing is current. For those that are very competent skiers, its less of a problem, but if you have any doubts about your skiing ability my recommendation is that you book some extra nights and get some skiing in beforehand.
The thought of a week spent touring can be daunting, but if you consider our journeys skinning up hill will be done at a manageable walking pace, this should help. Cycling, running, gym sessions and hill days if you are lucky enough to have access to hills, will all be really beneficial to you.
What are the huts like?
Take a look at some of these links for the types of huts we might use:
What equipment will I need for the Silvretta Ski Tour?
We have a full list on our website Silvretta Ski Tour – Glenmore Lodge and this should help. Cuddly toy optional!
Book your trip
If you wish to join us on a Silvretta Ski Tour, check out our trips departing in March.