A fantastic week of ski touring in the high Italian Alps. We keep returning to the Valfurva Region because of the great combination of ski touring terrain, comfortable huts and Italian hospitality. The Branca and Pizzini huts are famous and the ski touring in this area just south of the Austrian Border is some of the best we have ever experienced.
April 15, 2019 - April 20, 2019
The guides of Pro Guiding Service (including Mike Hattrup and Martin Volken) have been guiding the Ortler ski tour (which is actually more like a cirquit) since 1994 for a total of well over 20 guided weeks. We keep returning to this corner of the Italian Alps because of the great combination of ski touring terrain, comfortable huts and Italian hospitality. The Italian huts are famous and the ski touring in this area just south of the Austrian Border is some of the best we have ever experienced. Even though the peaks are on average 1,000 feet lower in elevation than in the Swiss or French Alps, the character of the tour is equally high alpine, since the area is heavily glaciated. Most of the touring happens between 10,000 and 13,000 feet. The descents are long and carrying your skis is virtually non-existent. Our destination, called the Cevedale Ortles Group, was the site of a territorial struggle in the First World War, and the signs of the conflict remain in the high alpine areas to this day. We go in an out of the Santa Catarina region, because it makes the travel logistics a lot easier from the Milan Airport. All these factors add interesting twists to your main reason for visiting the Ortler Range: to experience some of the best ski touring in the Alps.
➢We recommend bringing cash for use in the huts to purchase snacks, lunches, and drinks. Water must be purchased and costs approximately $7 per liter. Most Pro Guiding Service customers have found bringing $200 to $250 in the local currency allows for a good hot meal in the afternoon and plenty of drinks (including beer) for a six-day hut trip.
HAVE YOU GUIDED IN THIS REGION BEFORE?Yes, between Rinaldo, Martin, Mike, Ben and Marge we have spent over 25 guiding weeks in the Ortler area and we are happy to return every time.
I DO NOT SPEAK ITALIAN. WILL IT BE DIFFICULT TO COMMUNICATE? Several of our guides speak fluent Italian, Ferman and/or French - as do the hut keepers.
WHAT IS THE BEST AIRPORT TO FLY INTO?You can fly into the big Airport of Milano Malpensa or Milano Linate. The connections from the US to Malpensa might be more direct, but Linate is located on the eastern edge of Milano. This makes the transfer towards the Ortler region a bit less complicated, especially if you are renting a car.
I AM TAKING PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, DO I HAVE TO GO TO DOWNTOWN MILAN FIRST?If you are using public transportation, go to Milano Centrale first (the main train station in downtown Milan). Please refer to the website listed below. The indicated bus connections are very easy to use and run on a regular basis.
AND THEN? Then you take the train to LECCO – TIRANO. Travel time is about 2.5 hours from Milano Centrale. No reservations are necessary. From Tirano you can take the bus that leaves regulary towards Bormio and on to Santa Catarina from right across the square of the train station. You might have to change buses again in Bormio. The bus driver will let you know. Travel time is about 2 hours from Tirano. From Santa Catarina you can take a Taxi to the Forni hut. You can call a taxi in one of the many restaurants in the little center of Santa catarina.
We are thinking of getting there a couple of days early. Can we make reservations at the hut? Yes, you can do this by contacting the hut owners directly.
"Albergo Ghiacciaio dei Forni"
23030 Santa Caterina Valfurva
Tel. and fax: (country code 0039)0342/93.53.65
(home number: 0342/90.19.16)
WHAT DO THE OTHER HUTS LOOK LIKE?Here you go.
IS IT REALLY TRUE THAT THEY HAVE REAL ESPRESSO IN THESE HUTS?Yup.
HOW DOES THIS TRIP DIFFER FROM LET'S SAY THE HAUTE ROUTE?Well, the huts are very luxurious and you are not moving point to point so to speak. you will spend three days in the Branca Hut and ski tour with a superlight pack, then you transfer to the Pizzini Hut and stay there for a couple of days. So if you did not feel that great, you could actually sit out for a day.In contrast to the Haute Route you summit a peak just about every day. Most of the peaks are “skinnable”. We climb an average of about 4000 feet of vertical a day.
SHOULD I TIP MY GUIDE? AND HOW MUCH SHOULD I TIP THEM? Although tipping is not a requirement it is considered standard practice in the guiding industry and is appreciated by our guides. We generally recommend roughly 10%-15% of your course or trip cost or flat price tip that you are comfortable with.