/ Best place for day touring in european alps?

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Roberttaylor - on 05 Jan 2018
Where would you go if you wanted to do 5-6 days of one day tours in the european alps. Ideally also with access to a decent ski resort for if you fancied a lazy day.

superturbo - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to Roberttaylor:

Check out Alagna
Dave Kerr - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to Roberttaylor:

Alagna is a good call. If you have a car all of the wee valleys out of Aosta have superb day tours. The Aosta tourist website even gives info on tours.
kenr - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to Roberttaylor:
Difficult to answer since it makes a big difference if have a car.

Also makes a big difference what steepness + length you're looking for.

Also what month.

badmarmot - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to Roberttaylor:


lots of great day routes at all levels, easy access lots of mountain col roads, so can drive to the snow line, no need for any up lifts, also have the Cerces and the Ecrins near by,

for resorts you have Var's, Abrias, plus a few smaller ones, if you want really big Serre Che isn't far away

I live about between the Ecrins and the Queyras, I moved here for the rock climbing but have been blown away by the touring, the Queyras is amazing, and like most of the alp we have lots of snow already this year, with more forecast.

if you would like any more info please drop me a email.

cheers Rob
Roberttaylor - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to Roberttaylor:

Time of year March, after the 5th.

Hmm, I could drive out, that is an option.
Dave - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to Roberttaylor:


I would say Alagna is not so good for touring, the Gressoney valley is better and gives better access to different options from the centre of the Monte Rosa lift system.
kevin stephens - on 05 Jan 2018
In reply to Roberttaylor:
Argentiere/Chamonix has some great day tours
Post edited at 22:45
kenr - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to Roberttaylor:
> Time of year March, after the 5th.
> I could drive out, that is an option.

March is a good time for typical-early-season avalanche danger to have settled down, and France school holiday crowds to get back safely into their cities.

For touring, having a car opens up lots more options. With a car with chains (better yet snow-tyres), almost anywhere in the Alps could be good.
Note that the Queyras is a farther drive from any reasonable airport, or from the Channel, than almost any place in the Alps.

consider instead:
Haute Maurienne
* next to major motorway connecting Geneva, Lyon, Grenoble, Turin airports.
* next to main train line (station Modane).
* many many ski tours accessible with mechanical lift assistance.
. . . and more from car-park trailheads.
* shuttle bus connecting to five different lift-served ski stations.
* short drive to access the giant Les Trois Vallees lift-served complex (with yet more touring options).

Likely I'll be around there some days during your visit.

Post edited at 15:58
badmarmot - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to kenr:

Queyras is 3 hours from turin, but does mean its quite and defiantly worth it ;-)
Doug on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to badmarmot:

Terrible place, not worth the effort, much better to go to Chamonix.
badmarmot - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to Doug:

Good point, your right Chamonix is the place to go, nothing to see here.
caver - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to Doug:

Yes...French call the Queyras the Eldorado of ski randonnee...what do they know. Stay away and go to Cham; sit in a bar and shout extreme extreme extreme; but don't actually get out of the bar.

Useful link
badmarmot - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to caver:

I think Doug's commit was tongue in cheek, hope so as my reply was.
caver - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to Roberttaylor:

That makes three of us Rob......
Doug on 06 Jan 2018
badmarmot - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to caver:

Sorry my bad, miss read/interpreted your post. is that Andy by the way?

nice pic Doug, all my skiing photos in this gallery are local so Cerces, Ecrins and mainly Queyras.
Roberttaylor - on 06 Jan 2018
In reply to badmarmot:

Nice shots!

Current plan is to drive out, so we'd have a car full of skiing and climbing kit. Stay in cheap hostels.
kenr - on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to caver:
> French call the Queyras the Eldorado of ski randonnee

"French" in this case means . . . city-inhabiting city-full-time-working occasional skiers from Paris and Marseille.
. . . (which might be a good signal for the preferences of many readers of this forum).

French living near the mountains tend to think of the Queyras as one of several nice places to tour, not better than others. Perhaps cheaper.

In reply to Roberttaylor:

I think the Dolomites are hard to beat for day touring. Open faces, trees, couloirs, easy access and you can nearly always get fresh tracks. Best snow I've seen this year as well...

I've written a ski touring guide and Francesco Tremolada has an excellent pair of freeride and ski mountaineering guides as well.
kenr - on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to James Rushforth:
Great to hear you've got an English-language guide for skiing in the Dolomites. Do you have a link to that?

Dolomites are amazing for skiing when it's good, so if have flexibility on dates or transportation, important to have on the list of options (and a good modern goodbook ready in your home library).

Fundamental advantage of France over the Dolomites + eastern Alps for ski touring is


In wintertime that means when a warm spell comes that wipes out the snow at lower elevations, there's still a decent snowpack somewhere up high (and at least a base at mid-elevation waiting to support the next good snowfall).

In springtime what's essential for touring safety (and nice corn-snow skiing fun) is night-time re-freezes. Nowadays with warming that's not something to be taken for granted on lots of days in spring-season. The higher the altitude you can get access to (especially with the abundant mechanical lifts in France also reaching high), the more opportunities for safe touring and fun turns on stable snow.

So if you have to bet on your destination choice a month or two in advance, France offers better probabilities.

. . (similar argument applies to some extent to Haute Maurienne versus Queyras).


badmarmot - on 07 Jan 2018
In reply to Roberttaylor:
Hi Robert, just back in from a tour, glad you liked some of my photos.

Skiing and climbing sounds like a great plan, spring is my favourite time of year, ski tour one day then climbing tops of the next, did manage it all in one day once.

For the rock climbing, the durance valley has access to some great climbing ( I am sure Ken will be along to disagree soon) there are over 3300 sports route's, over 4 rock types, single and multi pitch. At that time of year the high and shady venues are probably out, but venues such as mont dauphine, Rocher Baron and le Ponteil are great to name a few.

The guidebook is Briançon climb's by JJ Rolland and you can get it in the UK.

The best ski guidebook is toponeige they have book just for the Queyras, there are a few others that cover routes in the whole Haute Alpes, don't think they are available in the UK?

also worth checking out
If you want to head for some higher skiing the Ecrins is not far away 40 mins.

for driving it should take a round 9-10 hours from Calais,

I do have to say I have heard good things about the Dolomites, I have climbed but never skied there, and would be keen to check out James book.

there are many great places to ski in Europe the Queyras is just one (unless your Kenr), if you would like further info or advice feel free to get in touch.

cheers Rob
Post edited at 13:06
kenr - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to badmarmot:
Glad to see that my posts can serve to goad others to share some positive content.
. . . (tho I'm a bit mystified as to what it is "badmarmot" and I are supposed to be in disagreement about).

What I learn from this is that partisans of skiing in the Queyras seem to be notably insecure about their preference. Even suggesting that skiers with more frequent and wider exposure to regions of the French Alps might not see the Queyras as the "eldorado" is enough to shake their confidence.

But for specifics about how the Queyras is supposed to be better than the Haute Maurienne (or the Vanoise, the Belledonne, the Tarentaise, the Aravis), seems like the main thing is that there is good rock-climbing nearby.

Oddly it happens that I am an enormous fan of Briancon area cragging (outside of Ailefroide), and spend many enjoyable days in _June_ there most years -- have posted to various forums many details with GPS coordinates about how to find favorite crags (also fun Via Ferrata routes which "badmarmot" seems not to find worthwhile).

Have done some great ski tours (and alpine climbs) even closer than the Queyras to all that Briancon rock climbing -- in the Pelvoux and Ecrins and Cerces / Galibier areas.

Still waiting to here why the _ski_ touring in the Queyras is worth the extra driving.

Post edited at 02:27
JuneBob on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Roberttaylor:

It depends a bit on what type of skiing you're looking for, and your level.

To ski fun powder filled slopes? or skiing the trees, or coulouirs, or getting to the top of high mountains, or ridge traverses?

I went to Gressoney a few years back and skied a bunch of 4000m peaks. Great fun.

badmarmot - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to kenr:

Hi ken

My referral to you in my last post was tongue in cheek, as you seam to like to disagree.

as for the rest I have to be honest I don't really understand you or where you are coming from.

The OP asked for recommendation for great places to day tour, there have been some great suggestions including yours, I suggested the Queyras as an option and others on here have agreed and if you do more digging on the internet and ask around it comes up a lot, I am not obsessed with it, but feel it is a fair shout. you obviously disagree and that is fine every one is entitled to their opinion.

As for saying that I am insecure and you have shaken my confidence, what a strange thing to say, you don't know me and have never meet me, and getting worried that someone disagrees with me on an internet forum is very very low on my daily worries, nor is my wellbeing tied up in whether or not someone likes to ski in a place near to where I live. to be honest I find it quite funny.

You also said that I don't seam to find via ferrata's worth while, again strange to say not knowing me, I love them and I am just in the last stages of finishing a free Via Ferrata App for this area, it includes topo's, photos gps points and interactive mapping for routes and other things to do in there area, I didn't mention via ferrata's to the OP as he asked about skiing and climbing.

I moved to this area because of the amazing climbing, skiing and kayaking, I do like to help promote it, and happy to offer help people who are think of coming or would like information about the area, I don't see a problem with that.

you asked me to justify why I like skiing in the Queyras,
over the last few years it has had good snow and good conditions.
it has settled weather more than most of the northern alps.
it has easy access to the different sections to ski at.
it had a good range of skiing types, e.g. trees, faces etc.
its quite.
it doesn't rely on needing expensive up lifts.
it is close the the Cerce and the Ecrins to mix it up if you fancy a change (both great areas for me).
its not really commercial.

In you last post you mentioned The Cerces and Écrins as places you enjoy skiing, as I mentioned them in my first post and you enjoy the climbing here at least we can say we agree on something, although the best rock venues in early winter and early spring are at the southern end of the durance valley so nearer Guillestre

who know maybe when you are out climbing in June we may bump in to each other.

Toerag - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Roberttaylor:

Have you looked at the Bavarian Alps? I've just been snowshoeing there and there were plenty of skitourers on the hills. I was doing stuff in the Ammergebirge around 14-1800m around the treeline - absolutely magical scenery with virtually no avalanche danger. OK, so you need good snow conditions due to the low altitude, but if you get them it's probably great.
inboard - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to Toerag:
Yep, loads of great tours in Bavaria and Tirol. Check out bergfex website/ app for routes and maps.
kenr - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to badmarmot:
> why I like skiing in the Queyras . .

Most of those reasons sound like the touring in lots of other places in France -- not explain why I would do the extra driving.

> it has settled weather more than most of the northern alps.

. . . (Why I often prefer Briancon to the Dolomites in summer+fall).

But for skiing during the month of March (as opposed to May) "unsettled weather" often correlates with fresh powder snow. Not so clear that "settled weather more often" is an advantage.

> it doesn't rely on needing expensive up lifts

This sounds like a misunderstanding about how lifts and ski stations and touring interact in most areas of the northern French Alps.
key point:
There is no _need_ for mechanical up lifts most places outside the Queyras.

Most stations (tho I can think of at least one exception) permit skiing up on or alongside the pistes to reach nice touring terrain (which could perhaps also be reached with less work by purchasing a lift ticket). Some stations (especially those near the hordes of eager tourers around Grenoble) have restrictions on the hours or the exact route that uphill skiers are permitted to use.

So a few skiers save labor (and start later) by purchasing a ticket, while many others save money and get more exercise by skinning up from the parking. My favorite partner Sharon can never be fast uphill, so she prefers to use the _option_ of purchasing a lift ticket. Perhaps even strong fast tourers might prefer to have that _option_ for their third day of touring in a row.

. . (anyway in less famous ski stations like in the Haute Maurienne, the single-ride ticket is often not very expensive -- and I can think of one lift in the H M whose top station accesses an astonishing range of touring at different aspects and steepnesses).

The hidden benefit of choosing a tour which starts up the pistes of a ski station is on the _descent_ -- because often nowadays with warming the lower snow slopes are nasty crud or crust, so finishing the descent on a groomed piste is much more fun.

so an alternate interpretation of the characteristics of the Queyras might be:
* less chance of skiing fresh powder snow in winter.
* fewer options for mechanical lift assistance for parties which might include a member who might want that for starting a tour on some days.
* fewer tours with a pleasant-skiing low-altitude finish (after a couple of warm days - as happens all so often now).


P.S. If purchase the new (ffme) Savoie tome 1 guidebook, might discover there's lots of great lower-altitude cragging in close driving range of five other mountain groups full of great single-day ski tours. Five mountain groups also closer to the most fun groomed-track cross-country ski de fond networks in the world. Also closer to wonderful cycling at lower altitude in the Isere river valley on quiet narrow lanes past horses and cows and vineyards.
- - > Why I base my single-day touring at the "le carrefour alpin de l'Europe" -- the intersection of the A43 and A41 motorways, just a bit more than an hours drive south from GVA.
Post edited at 17:12
badmarmot - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to kenr:
Hi Kenr

Nice to see you have stopped making assumptions about me,

I do get form you last post you don't think its worth the drive.
you like the uplift option for your mixed ability group.
you like to finish on a piste
you like lower altitude cycling past horses and cows and vineyards.
which is all fine and I am glad you have found the perfect area to enjoy it.

Europe is full of some amazing ski touring venues, Maybe the Queyras is not THE best? but I like it, many others like it, many of the major guiding companies offer it as one of their packages and think it is a worth while venue, but maybe we have all got it wrong?

I cant be bothered to keep discussing with you, as it will just go back and forth and thats not a great use of time, so you win where every you suggest is best, off to pack my kit for a ski tomorrow, have a good season and stay safe.

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