Gran Paradiso

Click here for the Slideshow of the Gran Paradiso Experience, Que Bella!



This is one of my favourite places to ski on my days off.  The beauty of the terrain, good food, and Italian hospitality make this trip a quiet classic.

There are numerous itineraries for ski touring through the Gran Paradiso Park.  This April (16-23, 2017)  we’ll be basing out of the Chabod hut.    There are a few more spaces on this year’s trip and we’d love to have experience La Dolce Vita with us in the Italian Alps.  For more information email jeffbanksguide@mac.com



Here’s this year’s trip itinerary:


Day 1 arrive in Chamonix for team meeting and gear check


Day 2 Depart for Val d’Aoste and the Gran Paradiso park by driving under Mont Blanc and into Italy.  We’ll keep this day flexible and go where the snow is best....this could be a lift accessed long glacier run or a quiet tour through the Larch forests.  Then we’ll spend the night at a high mountain hotel in the Park @ 1900m


Day 3 Skin up through the “Enchanted Forest” or widely spaced larches, keeping an eye open for ibex, condors, and eagles.  We skin up the King’s hunting trail and arrive to a warm welcome from the guardian Titi at the Rifugio Chabod 2700m.  We can ski laps in the trees (if snowing) or out the door of the hut under the imposing North face of the eponymous peak.


Days 4, 5, 6   We’ll keep it flexible and sample the best corn snow or powder  available on the glaciers, large bowls, the 4000m summit of the Gran Paradiso and widely spaced forest.


Day 7 Big descent to the valley floor with up to 2100m of vertical.  Then we’ll stop off at the hotsprings in Pre St. Didier for a great post trip celebration.  We return to Chamonix this evening to our lodgings.


Day 8  Depart for home or if you like, you can add on more skiing with Jeff throughout Italy, France, or Switzerland. 





 

Alternate itineraries:


The Gran Paradiso National Park is located just over the french border in the Aosta valley.  It is home to varied ski terrain (mellow to difficult glacier tours) as well comfy huts with delicious local cuisine.  There are no ski lifts but Heli skiing is allowed in an isolated section of the park (a nice way to start your hut trip!).  There are 3 different trips we do through the Park, ranging from easy to quite demanding. 


5 DAY GRAN PARADISO TOUR 


This is one of our favorite tours, a trip that has it all;  superb ski touring, great huts, and even a 4,000m peak.  Formerly the king's private hunting reserve, the Gran Paradiso Park is well known for great ski terrain, reliable snow, abundant wildlife (ibex & chamois) and the eponymous 4,000m peak.  The huts are of high quality with excellent hospitality, showers & typical hearty Aosta valley cuisine.  This is a perfect acclimatization trip to prepare for a Mont Blanc summit & ski descent.  


Day 1

Depart Chamonix and drive ~1hr to Rhemes Notre Dame and ski into the Rifugio Benevolo (2285m).  If we're well organized and keen we can get some turns in above the hut before sitting down to a hearty dinner.  Last time dinner was vegetable soup, salad, homemade lasagne, and tiramisu. 

www.benevolo.info/index.html


Day 2

Heading East we cross the Col de Nivoletta (3130m) and begin a complex descent down to the Chivasso Rifugio (2604m).  The hut keeper Alessandro is a real character and his quiet hut has an extensive multi-lingual mountain library.  He makes everything from scratch with locally farmed ingredients, a real treat!  There's also a snow/weather study plot as part of the Aosta avalanche forecasting center and an avalanche beacon park to practice on while we sip beers before dinner. 

www.caichivasso.it/rifchivasso.asp


Day 3

After a little downhill from the hut, we continue eastward towards the Punta Foura (3,411m).  Then it's down some steep slopes to the glacier and a high traverse to the Vittorio Emanuele hut.  

www.rifugiovittorioemanuele.com


Day 4

Departing the Vittorio Emanuele hut (2735m) around 07:00 hrs, we time our climb up to the summit of the Gran Paradiso (4061m) to get the best "corn" snow just as it warms and be out of sync with the early risers.  This slope faces West, so to get the best snow we want to be descending around 13:00.  This ascent is long (1300m) and strenuous with many kick turns, but the spectacular summit makes it worth the price of admission.  The tiny summit is just big enough for you to share with the lightning scarred Madonna (which you'll be hugging tightly).  Then we descend 1300m to the newly renovated and cozy Chabod hut (2750m) for celebratory "Bombardino's".

www.rifugiochabod.com


Day 5

Sleep in and depart leisurely from the hut with a 900m descent to the town of Pont and return to Chamonix.  If you're feeling really keen we can do a little skin up the Montandayne glacier before descending to Pont.

After 5 days of touring and a 4000m peak under your belt you'll be in great shape for skiing Mont Blanc.   You may do the Gran Paradiso as a "stand alone" trip or as acclimitization for Mont Blanc.

If people are staying on for the Mont Blanc, then you can have a relaxing lie-in at your hotel of choice in Chamonix and make a casual start on Day 6 at 9:00 to ski into the Mulets hut.   


Gran Paradiso


Includes:

5 Days skiing 

4 Nights at huts with 1/2 pension (breakfast & dinner)

IFMGA guide & their hut expenses

Group gear: Ropes, first aid kit, group shelter, rescue sled 


Does not include:

Drinks & lunches

Insurance

Travel to & from Gran Paradiso Park

Hotel in Chamonix if you're staying for the Mont Blanc



Moderate Option

Depending on the ability level of the group it’s possible to choose a mellow itinerary (blue square intermediate pitched runs).  This is a great 1st hut trip and we can tailor the experience to your abilities with just the right amount of skinning and skiing challenge.  Contact us and we’ll design a custom program for you.



Challenging Option

If your an experienced ski tourer (reasonably fit & advanced skiing skills) challenge yourself with a trip through the park culminating with an ascent of the Gran Paradiso (4,000m).  Along the way you’ll ski couloirs and glaciers up to 40 degrees and encounter breathtaking vistas.  The trip takes 5-7 days and we recommend a heli drop for the 1st day to get us into the Rifugio Bezzi.  Contact us and we’ll design a custom program for you.