Ski Touring Italian Style

What do you get when you cross WWI artifacts, four course meals, 12,000’ glaciated peaks, beautiful huts with Italian charm and ski touring? The Ortler-Cevedale range located in the Central Italian Alps. 

This spring I guided two week long hut trips for Pro Guide Service and got to experience some of the best Italy has to offer in terms of Ski touring and hut culture.  The Ortelr-Ceveldale range is home to several peaks which rise to nearly 3,800m (around 12,500ft).  Nearly a hundred years ago this range was littered with barbed wire, bunkers and trenches as the Italians battled the Austo-Hungarians during World War I.  While many signs of these battles are still visible (old bunkers and even cannons), soldiers have been replaced by eager skiers.  Most of these peaks are glaciated with complex terrain offering a wide range of skiing objectives.  Whether you prefer wide open glacier cruisers or steep exposed faces there is something for everyone.

Despite the amazing ski terrain, this represents only half of the experience on any hut trip.  It is really the history, culture and, well, the food that really rounds out the adventure.  In my opinion this is what really distinguishes a trip to the Ortlers from some of the other popular ski trips in the Alps.  During these trips we based out of two huts and did day tours rather than skiing from hut to hut.  This itinerary allows you seemingly unlimited skiing options during the days while also allowing you to relax and enjoy the huts during the evenings.    Everyone has a different vision of how to enjoy huts but here are some ideas: hot showers, nice local wine, 4 course meals, a sauna or perhaps just having a conversation or chess game with a fellow skier from a neighboring country?

If you’re looking to experience a unique and adventurous hut trip in Europe a trip in the Ortles should not be overlooked.  Combine this with a visit to Milan, a trip to the baths in Bormio and a night on Lake Como and you truly have a trip of a lifetime.

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