The course starts with a briefing at 6.45pm at The Tour D'Ai hotel in Leysin. This is a chance for you to meet your team mates and Guide and go through the details of the course. There will also be time for you to sort out any equipment you need and for you to ask questions. Dinner will follow the briefing.
We drive to the Val di Rhemes in Val d’Aosta. From here we skin to the Benevalo hut (2280 - 3 hours). This is most a civilised hut and famous for the quality (and quantity) of the food and wine, and is an excellent base for us to warm up and acclimatise.
There are many exciting ski peaks to climb from the Benevalo hut. The Pointe de Galise is an excellent ski peak and it’s north facing glacier often provides excellent powder. We have amazing views of the Gran Paradiso chain across the valley. We ski the glacier back to the Benevalo hut. Other possibilities are the Pointe de Calabre (3445m), the Grande Traversiere (3496m) and the Pic de Golette (3291m).
We make an ascent of the Grand Vaudala (3272m - 4hrs), which offers great views of the Paradiso and descend the Val di Vaudala to St Pantaleon. This is a fantastic ski run with lots of character finishing in a narrow ravine, 1000m of descent. We spend the night in the comfortable hotel at Pont, Val Savrenche.
Today we start the classic traverse of the Gran Paradiso. We climb to the Refuge Fredrico Chabod (2750m - 3 ½ hrs). The first stage of the approach takes us through an alpine pine forest, until the mountain opens out to give superb views of the Gran Paradiso and its north face. This hut is very modern and comfortable. This valley is home to many Chamois and Ibex, sighting are usually frequent and at close distance.
The traverse of the Gran Paradiso (4060m - 5hrs). Our route takes us through a complicated glacier under the north face of Gran Paradiso, we then join the more normal route from the Vittorio Emmanuelle hut. For the last 100m to the summit we have to cache our skis and rope up as the summit ridge is rocky and exposed. We now have a well deserved 1300m descent to the Vittorio Emmanuelle Hut.
After climbing the col de Tresenta, we ski under the north face of the Ciarforon (3640m) heading towards the top of the Val Savrenche until we bypass a band of cliffs and ski to Pont (1960m - 6hrs) and 1700m of descent. Return to Leysin for dinner and the final night at the hotel.
The course departs after breakfast.
Maps: Valgrisnenche Val di Rhemes Hiking Map 3 and Valsavaranche Gran Paradiso Hiking Map 9 1:25 000 (there is no specific ski map for this area)