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Pro Guiding Service
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Ortler Ski Traverse


A fantastic week of ski touring in the high Italian Alps awaits you. We keep returning to the Stelvio National Park in 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.


For a quick impression, check out this video from one of our latest trips.


$2,495 Per Person
6 Days
4:1, 8:2

Trip Information

Price based on 4 skiers; adjustments will be made for smaller groups. Please contact us directly for private trips. 425-888-6397 x2 |

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 is located inside the Stelvio National Park and was the site of a territorial struggle in the First World War. 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.

Duration: 6
Ratio: 4:1, 8:2
Difficulty Level:
Click here to learn more about difficulty ratings.

Overall Difficulty Level: Difficult

Skills Required: Advanced skiing ability and prior ski touring experience is required

Fitness Level: Strenuous

Private Trips Available

Don't see a date that works for you? Pro Guiding Service offers any trip or courses on a private basis. We are flexible! Call or email to inquire.
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This map shows the area south of the Rifugio Forni, which is where we meet. We will tour there and stay in the Rifugio Branca for 3 to 4 days before we switch over to the Pizzini hut.
Day 1: We leave the Rifugio Forni (2178m) and stroll up to the Rifugio Branca (2487m). In the afternoon, we will go on a 3 hour tour up towards Monte Pasquale. This is a leisurely day, but in light of potential jet lag, usually quite welcome.
Day 2: From the Rifugio Branca we climb up the Forni glacier to the Punta San Matteo (3678m). From here we have ample possibilities for more touring (Punta Tresero, Punta Cadini) or we can ski back to the Rifugio Branca from San Matteo.
Day 3: We will summit the Palon de la Mare at 3685 meters and return to the Rifugio Branca for one more night.
The map below shows the area north east of the Rifugio Forni. We will tour there for 3 days and stay in the Rifugio Pizzini.  
Day 4:  From the Rifugio Branca we tour up the Rosole glacier to Monte Pasquale (3553m). If conditions are favorable, we should be able to summit Monte Cevedale (3769 m) as well, before descending down to the Rifugio Pizzini (2700 m). 
Day 5: From the Rifugio Pizzini we tour up to the Koenigsjoch. From here we climb on foot up the 35 to 40 degree east slope to the Gran Zebru (3851m ). Upon return to the Koenigsjoch we will ski down to the already familiar Rifugio Pizzini (2700m ). This day trends more towards ski mountaineering and conditions may not allow for an ascent. No worries though, there are a lot of options. 
Day 6: This is a great day that can offer fantastic corn snow skiing for about 4000 feet of vertical. From the Rifugio Pizzini we summit the Monte Confinale (3370m ) via the passo del Zebru or we can also do a shorter tour to the top of one of the Cime del Forno. From Monte Confinale we ski down the mentioned south facing slope back to the Rifugio Forni (2178m ) and have lunch before we part ways.

Private Trips

Pro Guiding Service proudly offers the most diverse ski touring and ski mountaineering programs of any guiding service in the Northwest. Smaller, more intimate custom itineraries or instructional tours are available for any of our destinations. Tell us what you want to do, and we can create a customized plan for you.
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per person
Price based on 4 skiers; adjustments will be made for smaller groups. Please contact us directly for private trips. 425-888-6397 x2 |
View Dates & Availability
What's Included In the Trip Price
  • Guide fees
  • Hut fees (five nights)
  • Accommodations for the night before the start of the trip
  • Taxes and processing fees
  • Breakfasts
  • Dinners
What's Not Included
  • Airfare
  • Transportation to and from meeting point and ending point
  • Snacks, lunches, water
    • We recommend bringing cash for use in the huts to purchase snacks, lunches, and drinks at dinner. 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.
  • Accommodation for the evening after the trip
  • Rescue insurance
  • Trip cancellation insurance
Payment Policy
If booking a domestic trip that is over 60 days away or an international trip that is over 90 days away, you can book your trip by paying a 20% deposit.  View Full Policy
Cancellation Policy
If you cancel for any reason 60 or more days before domestic trips or 90 or more days before international and Alaska trips, we will refund everything you have paid minus half of your deposit. No refunds will be provided if you cancel your trip for ANY REASON (this includes but is not limited to illness including CoVid-19, injury, or work-related issues) within 60 days of the start of domestic trips or 90 days of international and Alaska based trips.  View Full Policy

Equipment List

Base Layer
  • 1-2 Lightweight or midweight tops (avoid cotton)
  • Lightweight or midweight long underwear bottoms
  • 2 pairs warm ski socks
  • 2 pairs liner socks
  • non cotton underwear
Mid Layer
  • Fleece or wool or similar warmth layer
  • Wind shirt or soft shell jacket - wind & water resistant, breathable
  • Waterproof/breathable jacket with hood
  • Soft shell ski pants
  • Waterproof/breathable pants
  • Down or synthetic puffy-type jacket
  • Warm hat - should cover ears
  • Sun hat - baseball type or visor
  • Lightweight gloves
  • Ski gloves or mittens
Personal Gear
  • Day pack – large enough to fit everything inside (around 30-40 liters) - dedicated shovel pocket preferred
  • Water bottles - enough for a full day - wide mouth best to prevent freezing shut
  • Sunglasses - adequate for snow travel
  • Goggles
  • Sunscreen - SPF 25+, waterproof
  • Lip Balm - SPF 15+
  • Headlamp - lightweight LED recommended
  • Face mask/covering - for when close contact is unavoidable
  • Hand sanitizer (there is no running water in the huts)
  • Earplugs - essential for sleeping
  • Personal toiletries - keep it simple: toothbrush, tiny toothpaste, bath wipes
  • Small personal first aid kit - just the basics: blister care, ibuprofin, prescription meds, etc.; your guides will have a substantial group first aid kit
Technical Gear

Snow Travel Gear

  • Snow travel equipment - alpine touring or telemark skis or splitboard
  • Boots - touring ski boots or snowboard boots
  • Poles - adjustable poles are ideal so you can adjust the length when going uphill/downhill
  • Climbing skins
  • Ski brakes or removable ski leashes
  • Ski or splitboard crampons - ensure they are compatible with your bindings and ski/board width

Safety Gear

  • Avalanche Beacon
  • Shovel - compact, lightweight, metal blade preferred
  • Probe - dedicated probe only (240cm or longer strongly recommended)

Technical Gear

  • Ice Axe - lightweight, 45-55 cm is ideal
  • Boot Crampons – ensure they fit your boots (steel required for Bernese Oberland and Monte Rosa, all other trips aluminum okay)
  • Anti-ball plates for crampons
  • Climbing Harness - lightweight, (no padding; ex: Petzl Altitude, Black Diamond Couloir)
  • Glacier Travel Kit:
    • 2 Locking Carabiners - at least 1 large HMS style and 1 regular locker
    • 2 Non-locking Carabiners - any style, we recommend wire gates
    • 1 Single Length Dyneema/Dynex Runner/Sling (60cm/24in diameter loop)
    • 1 Double Length Dyneema/Dynex Runner/Sling (120cm/48in diameter loop)
    • 1 Cordelette - 6 mm cord, 6 meter length


Optional Items
  • Notebook and writing utensil
  • Compass - adjustable declination a must
  • Altimeter watch
  • Helmet - recommended (not required)
  • Maps - contact guiding office for appropriate quadrangles
  • Map case - large Ziploc bags work well
  • Camera
  • Skin wax
  • Sleep sack - lightweight silk or cotton
  • warm socks - to sleep in
  • Thermos - vacuum type is best
Equipment Sales & Rental

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I do not speak Italian. Will it be difficult to communicate?

Several of our guides speak fluent Italian, German and/or French - as do the hut keepers.

Which airport should I use?

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 THIS website. 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 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.

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.  Check out the website HERE.

"Albergo Ghiacciaio dei Forni"
Località 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:  Pizzini and  Branca.


Is it really true that they have real espresso in these huts?


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?

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.

Why Book With Us? 

Certified Professional Guides & All Access
All of our guides have the highest quality training and certification in the industry, and you can be sure that we have the permits, licenses and insurance in every location we operate.
Safe, Well-Planned Tour Design
Every tour has a carefully thought-out guide-to-customer ratio. You always get a safe, high-quality trip or learning environment with us.
Pioneers In The Industry
You will travel and learn from experts. We've pioneered several alpine climbing routes, ski descents, and traverses and we've written books on skills and routes in the industry. 
Read Our story

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