4.15.2016

A Typical Day on A European Hut Tour

Grand Combin as seen from Rhêmes Notre Dame
Note: This entry is copied from the journal I kept during the trip.

After the skiing, the best moment of ski tour is now. A few minutes ago, I stepped out of the shower and am now lounging in a clean hotel room in the village of Rhêmes-Notre Dame, Italy near the Chanavey ski area. While it is always great to be in the mountains, it is also great to enjoy the comforts of town while reflecting on your experiences.

The moment usually comes at the end of a ski tour but for this one it was today, day four. The trip itinerary has brought us here for the night. This time spent lounging in town is made sweeter by the fact that our group will continuing on to another mountain hut tomorrow morning where we have two more days of skiing.

Today was a stellar one made more memorable as it was the first time we had seen the sun all trip. I sit here clean and feeling strong, and I can't stop smiling while I think about today's tour. I meet up with my group in a few hours for dinner and am looking forward to our continued camaraderie. Ski touring in the Italian Alps is La Dolce Vita at its finest!

Today's Trip Report
We left Rifugio Benevolo at around 8 am. A straightforward skin from the hut brought us to a rocky, slightly exposed ridge which we boot-packed across before scrambling down a short hill.  There we put our skis back on and had another straightforward skin to just below the the summit of Punta Galisia (3,346 meters/10,971 feet). A short scramble brought us to the top.

Our ski down was stellar with great snow most of the way and some good steep pitches. A few moments of dust-on-crust were in good shape and the snow at the bottom was softening but still really skiable. It was a short and easy traverse back to the hut with minimal side-stepping so almost all of our effort on the 3,476 foot ascent was returned to us in turns on the way down. A real gem of a ski.

Punta Galisia, Italy
We lounged in the sun and drank cappuccino on the deck for about an hour before starting our descent to town. Lots of traversing and endless skating on a road to get out but it was great scenery along a big rocky creek and it was over before we knew it.

Today was a really reactive day in the mountains. Throughout our approach we heard and even saw a few avalanches, mostly wet slides on steep, rocky terrain. On the descent from the hut to town, we saw tons of activity on the other side of the creek, which was cool to watch. The steep, rocky and unskiable mountainside leading down to the creek was awash in loud wet-sides. If we had not heard the avalanches and known to look for them, we would have thought we were looking at a waterfall. Where we were was far enough off that it was hard to make out we were seeing was snow, not a water, cascading down the mountainside. These wet slides ran for a long time. Kinda wild!

Today was a first-rate day in the mountains. The A-List gives it a five-star rating and highly recommends this area for the avid ski tourer.

As seen on our way to town