European Skiing on The Haute Route
Part trek, part ski tour, part cultural adventure, the Haute Route offers a brilliant combination of mountain scenery, excellent skiing, camaraderie, exercise, and nights spent in simple, elegant huts. Sprinkled a day of skiing apart, these simple huts are perched in impossible spots with comfortable bedding, excellent food, beer, and coffee. The huts allow us to travel with reasonably light backpacks and enjoy each day of alpine ski touring free of tents, stoves, sleeping bags, and the other usual burdens of overnight backcountry ski touring. Haute Route literally means “high road” and is pronounced “oat root.”
This high alpine traverse was first done as a walking trip in 1861. Over time this became a popular ski route and different versions of haute route evolved. The Verbier Haute Route is often called the skiers version because it skips a few of the more technical cruxes providing time for more skiing. This traverse runs from Chamonix to Zermatt and the Northwest Mountain School offers it as an seven-day program. We use this first day in Chamonix to orient the group while skiing the classic Mer de Glace in the Valle Blanche which descends from the Aguille du Midi all the way back to Chamonix or a small train station just above the valley (depending on seasonal snow depth). We then spend six days on the actual traverse, and have built in one extra day to use as a contingency if weather or avalanche conditions delay us. If we do not use our contingency day we will offer a one-day tour in the Zermatt area on day 8 before catching an afternoon ride back to Chamonix.
Our Haute Route Ski Tour is run by the Northwest Mountain School utilizing IFMGA Mountain Guides from Timberline Mountain Guides and the Northwest Mountain School. We have limited space on our guided Haute Route tours, so contact us now if you are considering joining this program. We are available to help you train for your Haute Route ski trip and are always happy to spend time discussing the program with you to see if this is a program that makes sense at your current ski ability.