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Ski Tour Fitness & Grading

The following scales are used to provide our clients with a clear idea of the fitness, skiing ability and experience required for each of the different ski tours.

To assist you in your choice of ski tours, each ski tour is classified in three ways and given an appropriate grade for Fitness, Skiing Ability and Mountaineering Experience.

Level of Fitness and Effort required:

Fitness Level 1
Easy Ski-Tour or Off-Piste

Off piste skiing and Daily ski touring with up to 900 meters ascent with light backpack (6-8 kg). Multi days ski touring up to 800 meters (250-300 meters/hour), with light backpack (6-8 kg).

5/6 hours effort/day

Fitness Level 2
Medium to difficult daily ski tour and Easy Hut to Hut Tour

Daily ski touring with over 900m ascent with light backpack (6-8 kg)
Hut to hut ski touring with 800m to 1000m daily ascent (300 meters/hour) with 10 kg backpack (including technical climbing equipment: harness, crampons and ice axe)

5/6 hours effort/day

Fitness Level 3
Medium hut to hut Tour

Hut to hut ski touring with 1000m to 1300 m ascent (300meters or more/hour) with 10 kg backpack (including technical climbing equipment: harness, crampons and ice axe)

7/8 hours effort/day

Fitness Level 4
Arduous hut to hut tour

Hut to hut ski touring with more than 1300 m ascent (400 meters/hour) with a heavy backpack (including technical climbing equipment and bivouac equipment: extra food, stove, etc....)

8/10 hours effort day

Level of Skiing Ability and Technique required:

Skiing Level 1
Beginner off-piste Skier

Confident piste skier (black runs), but only just beginning to venture off-piste on slopes up to 30°

Touring Experience

No previous experience in the use of skins, ski touring equipment and kick turns, with the help of your guide you will learn and develop these skills during the tour.

Skiing Level 2
Intermediate off-piste Skier

Used to skiing off-piste with a backpack and able to cope with difficult conditions by a combination of side-slipping, traverses and turning with snow-plough technique following a previous ski-track). Able to cope with short sections up to 35°.

Touring Experience

Competent with the use of ski touring equipment, skins and previous experience in performing kick turns.

Skiing Level 3
Experienced off-piste Skier

Able to link turns continuously in powder snow and to control speed and follow a precise line in crevasses or confined spaces. Able to link turns on longer slopes up to 35° in good snow.

Touring Experience

Proficient in the use of ski touring equipment and able to do solid reliable kick turns on steepening terrain.

Skiing Level 4
Advanced off-piste Skier

Able to ski the fall-line in most conditions (powder snow, crust snow) and rarely falls. Confident on steep slopes up to 40° using jump turns or short swings in couloirs.

Touring Experience

Experienced ski tourer with solid ability in all ski touring techniques in steep terrain.

Level of Mountaineering ability and experience required:

Mountaineering Level 1
No Mountaineering Experience Required

No use of ice-axe, crampons or ropes.

Mountaineering Level 2
Limited Mountaineering Experience Required

Previous experience of ice-axe and crampons is useful but not necessary.. With the help of your guide you may overcome ascents and descents of short snow slopes (up to 40°) where skis need to be carried; or mixed snow and rock ridges where hands may be needed.

Mountaineering Level 3
Intermediate Mountaineer

Proficient with ice-axe and crampons and able to take in coils on the rope. Tour may include exposed pitches where the rope is needed, and where a fall would have serious consequences. Crevassed areas may be unavoidable, so knowledge of crevasse rescue techniques is desirable.

Mountaineering Level 4
Experienced Mountaineer

Tour may include pitched climbing or abseils. Confident moving un-roped on steep snow (up to 50° the normal limit for a single axe), ice or rock but able to deploy the rope quickly and efficiently when it is needed. Tour may have serious crevasse hazard, familiarity with crevasse rescue techniques is essential.

Some of our favourite Ski Tours

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