Ortler Group Ski Tour
Equipment List for Skiing in the Alps

Skiing out the back door of the Pizzini Hut

In the heart of the Ortler Range in Northern Italy awaits the quaint village of Sulden/Solda.  As with all interesting places it is a bit difficult to easily find on a map.   The region is identifiable as a large green area as it is within the Stelvio/Stilfsejoch National Park in between Innsebruck Austria to the North and Verona, Italy to the South.  The South Tyrol region is of German and Italian influence and thus most communications are bi-lingual.  The Ortler Ceveldale range was the front lines between the Austrian – Hungarian empire and Italy during the “White War” of WWI.  These high points were much sought after for strategic reason and many artifacts are still found scattered about and collected at the huts.  The park is home to over 13 peaks just under the magic number of the Alps 4000 meters.  This combined with being a bit more out of the way makes this region less traveled. We will begin and end our circuitous ski mountaineering adventure from the lovely village of Sulden.  We will utilize the lifts of the Sulden Ski Resort for our first day off off-piste skiing with a short tour to serve as skill development and gear assessment day in order to make last minute changes as needed.  From the lifts the next day we will embark on a traverse from hut to hut over some of the most beautiful ski terrain in the Alps.  Our tour objective will focus on making turns on beautiful lines in a gorgeous setting. 

This is truly a skier's paradise for terrain combined with very comfortable huts equipped with hot showers, 4 course meals, fine Italian cappuccino and yes, even gelato. These are by far my favorite huts in the Alps! So why not come kick your feet up in the Sauna of the Pizzinni Hut while recalling the best turns of the day awaiting the fine Italian cuisine to come? I would recommend the following itinerary to enjoy the Ortler circuit as the ski mountaineers paradise that it is.

Dropping North's of P.so di Zebru Nord

Day 0 - Meet at Hotel in Solden/Solda at 17:00 for dinner, briefing and gear check

Day 1 - We will take a shuttle to the Ski Resort Solden and utilize the lifts to access some off-piste ski touring into a beautiful glacial cirque. This day will allow us to do some skill assessment and development. The afternoon will provide time to sort out any equipment issues we may encounter during the day.

Day 2 – We will ride the lifts of the Ski Resort Sulden to begin our tour over the first of many cols, P'so del Madriccio 3123m, the first of many an espresso at the Zfallhutte Hutte 2265m on way to the Marteller Hutte at 2610m.

Day 3 – We will ski towards Monte Ceveldale 3769m and possible climb it's icy headwall to the summit before making a lovely descent down the Vedretta di Cedec till the flats were we'll transition for another climb over the M. Pasquale/Cevedale col 3424m. From this col it's all down hill to the Rif. C. Branca at 2487m.

Day 4 – The Rif. C. Branca is situated in a skiers paradise with many high glaciated peaks to ski. Some objectives would include Pizzo Tresero 3549m, Pt. S Matteo 3678m, Cima Di Peio 3576m, M. Viox 3645m, all of which are around 1000 meters of skinning and skiing to be enjoyed in big glaciated terrain.

Day 5 – We will ski from the Branca to the Rif. L. E. Pizzini 2700m. Weather will dictate if we ski the valley approach or up an over another col to get a ski descent into the Pizzini hut.

Day 6 - We will ski out of the Pizzini with many great options based on conditions with the Gem being a descent of the East face of the Grand Zebru 3851m. We will finish our tour in the Pizzini hut.

Day 7 – We will ski up and over the Cima Di Solda 3376m via the Casati Hut 3254m and drop back down to the Sulden ski resort where we began our tour for a celebratory dinner that evening.

As on any mountain tour projected this far in an advance it's important to realize the sentiment of Dolores LaChapelle's words,

"When you dance with the mountain the mountain always leads".

Ski skills and fitness level needed for an enjoyable outing:
Participants need to be solid intermediate to advanced skiers who are comfortable in variable snow conditions in a variety of terrain including glaciated avalanche terrain. There are some steep sections on this tour that we often boot up and side step or get lowered down on a rope. With that said there isn't much real steep skiing as most of it consists of moderate angled glacier skiing. It is important to have the skills to manage speed and have control in variable surface conditions (powder, hard pack, breakable crust, corn and pack powder) while in glaciated terrain to avoid crevasse hazards. There are a number of hard days interspersed with easier days on this tour. At a minimum standard of fitness, skiers need to be able to ski on a tour up to 6 -8 hours with a 25lb pack covering up to 1500 m (5000') skinning/boot and up to 1500 m of skiing. Having these following skills will make our tour more enjoyable as well as less stressful:

Backcountry ski/snowboard touring experience including skinning on an AT or Tele set up in avalanche terrain while using a transceiver, shovel and probe and have basic understanding of this equipment.

Ability to make kick turns in hard pack and soft snow conditions in steep terrain. We will work on these skills day one on a tour but working experience prior will help not only proficiency but also safety.

Side stepping in 45-degree hard pack or soft snow conditions

Falling leaf (side slipping to and fro) in 45-degree terrain on hard pack or soft snow conditions

Link turns for speed control in exposed 40-degree hard pack conditions

Link turns in soft snow conditions while skiing fall line.

Out the back door of Pizzinni

What it's all about

Earning your turns

Trip Cost and Dates:
$2400.00 group of 4 or more
Mid March to Mid April - whatever 7 dates work for your group beginning with the evening briefing (day 0) on a Saturday. Dates are reserved on a deposit basis in a first come first served manner.

Trip Cost Includes:
IFMGA/UIAGM guide for 7 days at a 4 to 1 ratio
Lifts, trains and bus transfers
Three nights in Sulden hotel (double bed occ.)
Five nights at mountain huts complete with breakfast/dinner
Office support

Trip Cost Does NOT include:
Air transportation to or fro
Train transfers
Bus Transfers
Lunch food or town food (20€ for lunch at huts)
Drinks and treats at huts (expect 5€ for water)
Rescue insurance see AAC www.americanalpineclub.org
Travel insurance (optional but highly recommended)
Delays due to unpredictable circumstances such as bad weather, avalanche hazards, transportation problems including trams and trains, sickness, lost baggage etc…

Terms and Agreement:
$500.00 Deposit per person is due at time of booking
Total payment due 60 days prior to departure date
Cancellations of 60 or more days prior to departure, A.G.I will charge $100.00 fee and refund the remaining amount.
No refund for cancellation made within 60 days of departure date! If you or I are able to resell your trip space we will refund all but $100.00 of the total amount.
If A.G.I. cancels the trip you can expect a full refund
Transportation to and from:
I suggest flying into Innsbruck or Milan and renting a car (2.5 hrs) or trains from Innsbruck to Spondinig/Spondigna (5 hrs.)via Merano where you'll get your last ticket to Spodinig. From here you will need to hire a taxi for the 30 minute drive to Sulden. Hotel in Sulden TBA.
I can give more support with the travel logistics as needed.

Other Ski Tours:
Chamonix Valley
Haute Route
Ortler Group Ski Tour
Berner Oberland Ski Tour
St. Elias Ski Mountaineering
Idaho Ski Touring


Alpine Guides International
Mark Puleio
[email protected]
101 Commonwealth Ave
Hyde Park, VT 05655