How would you describe the snow-pack, weather conditions and over-all skiing of the Ortler Traverse?
“The good time to be skiing there is in the spring, mid march to late April. March can bring more storms and powder skiing, while April is time to ski from the summits. Stability varies, but tends to be like an inter-mountain snow-pack as opposed to a weaker continental snowpack. So as spring rolls around, more stable conditions tend to prevail. The skiing is mostly in the alpine, above treeline, and we are up in the mountains, ranging from about 9-12,500’. We travel on glaciers that are well filled in, allowing for everything from wide open runs to steep and narrow couloirs.”
What is the Ski skill-set to do the Ortler Traverse?
“If you can ski the mountain at your home resort, then you’re good to go. While we can keep the terrain fairly mellow, there are times that we are boot packing up couloirs, climbing along exposed ridge lines, using ice axe and crampons, ski crampons, scrambling over rock, skinning up steep slopes with kick turns, skiing steeps. So you want to be comfortable on all terrain. That said, we can be roped up for any and all of this if needed. We start out mellow, and build into the more exposed terrain, and we can always go back to mellow. But a great gauge is skiing all the terrain at the ski area. At Telluride Ski Resort, for instance, that would include hiking Gold Hill and Palmyra Peak. Skiing down doesn’t mean skiing fast and straight lining. In ski mountaineering, a lot of terrain is taken one turn at a time, and control is the name of the game.”
What was one of the most memorable days on the Ortler Traverse?
“Most memorable day was skiing the Grand Zebru (pictured below) above the Pizzini Hut. It’s the highest peak we can ski, and it has it all: a steep couloir, 40 degree open face, knife edge summit ridge, and we’re back to the hut in time for lunch and then an afternoon tour if we’re up for it.”
We invite you to join us for this 2015 expedition that is guaranteed to be the highlight of your season! As always, don’t hesitate to contact us to schedule your next trip, course, or expedition with The Local Experts!