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.
Pro Guiding Service has been guiding the Ortler ski tour (which is actually more like a circuit) since 1994 for a total of well over 30 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 8,000 and 12,000 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 and out of the Santa Catarina region, because it makes the travel logistics a lot easier and predictable from the Milan airport. All of 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.
Overall Difficulty Level: Difficult
Skills Required: Advanced skiing ability and prior ski touring experience is required
Fitness Level: Strenuous
Snow Travel Gear
Several of our guides speak fluent Italian, German and/or French - as do the hut keepers.
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.
If you are using public transportation, go to Milano Centrale first (the main train station in downtown Milan). Please refer to THIS website. The indicated bus connections are very easy to use and run on a regular basis.
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 regularly 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.
Yes, you can do this by contacting the hut owners directly. Check out the website HERE.
"Albergo Ghiacciaio dei Forni"
23030 Santa Caterina Valfurva
Tel. and fax: (country code 0039)0342/93.53.65
(home number: 0342/90.19.16)
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.
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 a flat amount that you are comfortable with.