Val Maira Cottian Alps Italy
Backcountry Ski Trips in Valle Maira, Italy
This remote alpine valley on the border with France is a spectacular destination for remote, "earn your turns" touring. Long a well kept secret amongst local Italian ski mountaineers, Valle Maira is a mecca for those seeking pristine terrain unspoiled by the commercialism of established ski areas. There are no lifts, no helicopters (except medical / rescue services) - just iconic alpine villages that support the hikers and skiers who come here to explore.
Valle Maira offers unlimited excellent routes and descents for backcountry skiing. The valley typically receives a tremendous amount of snow due to its proximity to the Mediterranean and high elevation of terrain. Our guides, lodge owners, and dining hosts are natives passionate and knowledgable about the region and the backcountry skiing terrain it has to offer.
February 18-23, 2018 and additional dates available on request
Day 1 We greet your flight at Milan's Malpensa airport and transport you to Chiappera, Italy (5,300') high in the Cottian Alps. Our lodging at La Scuola di Chiappera is far more than a generic mountain "rifugio." Part mountain hut, part boutique hotel (if you will). Stefano Busso and Pierpaolo Maero have done a remarkable job renovating a collection of ancient stone buildings. They and their staff are fantastic hosts, and great cooks. They take pride in the locally sourced ingredients (from preserves, honeys and cheeses to salumi and homemade pasta from local wheat) and their rendition of the local cuisine – "cucina tipica Piemontese." The rooms are bath ensuite and sleep from two to four in real beds with fresh linen and down comforters. This year the sauna is finished and will certainly be welcome after exploring and skiing the fantastic terrain right out the door.
Day 2, 3 Our daily routes will be determined by the best snow conditions prevailing each day. The terrain provides several peaks and ridges above nine thousand feet for plenty of vertical each day.
Days 4, 5, 6 We will make our midweek lodging change by skiing from the main Maira valley to the south through spectacular and remote terrain to reach our following three night's lodging in the small mountain "borgata" of Viviere and Fabrizio Fea's wonderful Rifugio Viviere. Housed in a collection of ancient farm buildings, this mountain "hotel" is warm and inviting with wood fired sauna and hot tub on the terrace overlooking the Unerzio valley. The cooking and selection of Langhe wines (Barolo, Barbaresco, Dolcetto, Barbera and Nebbiolo, Nacsetta, Arneis) is rich and flavorful. The craft brew revolution is well established in the Piedmont and beer lovers will rejoice in the region's offerings. Our daily touring will take us deep into the upper side valleys exploring the peaks and descents of the area.
Day 7 We transport you back to Milan for your return flight or to a suitable location for you to continue your European journey.
All days are fully guided with UIAGM / IFMGA certified guides. Snow condition, backcountry ski skills and avalanche awareness are all emphasized and taught as we ski through the week. Our van will move from valley to valley so your luggage will be close by. The huts provide all of our accommodation and dining needs – a light pack with the essentials is all you need (35 liters or less) for the week's touring.
Guidebook and map for the area are Bruno Rosano's excellent Charamaio mai en Valle Mairo and Esquiar en Val Maira. Which are included in your tour and also available separately by mail from us.
Ground transportation, lodging, all meals, guides, backcountry safety equipment – avalanche beacon, shovel and probe – $3,200. Randonee ski touring equipment – skis, skins, poles, boots – $200. Trip insurance (cancellation, trip interruption, medical coverage, etc.) is available through Travelex and is encouraged. Also included in your tour is a one year membership in the Italian Alpine Club providing an insurance policy for evacuation in case of accident, discounts throughout the year at rifugi and participating sport shops and a year's subscription to their monthly club magazine Montagne360. Bruno Rosano's guidebook and map with delineated ski routes of the region will be posted to you with your trip confirmation so you can begin to familiarize yourself with our routes and itinerary