FAQS - SwisSkiSafari
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FAQS

What we do?

To begin with, we orchestrate every detail. From routes, guides, ski passes, helicopters and transfers to hotels and restaurants, we meet your idea for adventure. Whether it be for a special event, a marriage proposal, a James Bond experience or your active alpine holiday, for us, the sky is the limit. We use our mountain expertise, knowledge of terrain and weather conditions to design a package that suits you.

We start by getting to know you, finding out what your ski, hike or bike experience is and what your objectives are for the trip. We then come back to you with an individual itinerary. We put it all together, confirm and prepay all the arrangements, you can sit back until you arrive.

During your trip our guides will continue to mould your experience based on your desires and the constantly changing elements in the Alps to give you a thoroughly satisfying and safe personal challenge. Our guides have skied these mountains since they could walk, so they know exactly what’s going to push your buttons.

All you need to do is focus on your Alpine Adventure.

So you are neither a travel agency or a destination management company?

That is correct. We are trip planners specializing in high-end guided skiing, hiking and biking in the Alps. Our experienced team of local guides accompany you on each adventure. Our SwisSkiSafari team has spent decades in the Alps in our respective roles as mountain professionals, pilots and travel specialists. We have a unique network of strong contacts.

Where do you operate?

We call our trips safaris because they really are unique adventures in the Alps where Switzerland, France and Italy touch, encompassing the Eiger region and reaching down to Courchevel in France.

How much do these tours cost?

Every safari varies because we create something that is unique for you. A customized itinerary requires time and effort and comes at a price. Since the time of year, length of trip, ski level, type of trip and accommodation are all up to you, no two trips are the same. One group might request a 5 star spa hotel with a full week of heli-skiing. Another might prefer a simple mountain refuge and the satisfaction of reaching a peak with skins strapped to their skis. Others may build their trip around a special event. The final price depends on you. Whatever the price, all our trips involve a qualified mountain guide who is totally at your disposal. You are free to change your mind on that tricky mountain pass and the guides are flexible enough to work around the quickly changing weather patterns and any changes that they make during the trip will not incur extra charge. We provide everything (and more) that you have asked for and which has been budgeted, replacing one activity with another as Mother Nature dictates.

Why are your trips guided?

Each of our hiking, skiing and biking trips are guided by fully qualified mountain guides for several reasons. First, the places we take you are off the beaten track and we need to be in the company of an experienced guide to get to these places safely. Second, we often make changes on the trip, adapting to weather and snow conditions. Our guides are all members of the international union of mountain guides (UIAGM) with years of experience working with SwisSkiSafari. Off-piste skiing and Helicopter skiing also may involve certain hazards including avalanches, crevasses and sudden weather changes. Professional mountain guides are the ones to manage these hazards most effectively to tweak your trip in accordance with both your wishes and your safety.

What is SwissHikeSafari?

Our Alpine adventures do not end when the snow melts. Some might say the journey is only just beginning. Our summer trips are more relaxed than our winter ones but exploring the mountains in a T-shirt instead of a ski vest is no less exciting. Combining generations of mountain experience and refined European hospitality, we’ll take you from village to village on alpine trails, crossing into Italy and France on foot and exploring majestic glaciers in complete safety. All this happens while you’re learning about centuries of alpine culture, staying in the most luxurious hand-picked mountain lodges and dining on sumptuous local delicacies. Whether you’re pushing yourself up the Matterhorn, or strolling through Alpine pastures bustling with wild animals, hiking is the best way for all age groups to discover the Alps. Your trip will be designed according to whether you want to take on a challenge and summit Mont Blanc, or simply open your eyes to the extraordinary alpine air and the immense mountain views and picturesque villages around you.

What is SwissBikeSafari?

Imagine freewheeling down the side of an iconic mountain in complete comfort and safety. We are just as passionate about biking as we are about skiing. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced rider we want to share our cycling experiences. These trips are designed to introduce you to the thrills of biking in the alps, improve your road skills and techniques and experience an unforgettable journey in some of the world’s most breathtaking scenery.

How fit do I need to be?

While our trips do not demand exceptionally high levels of fitness, they do involve some long days in the mountains sometimes at high altitude, with varying weather conditions. We suggest a basic level of fitness preparation for the type of trip you want, including a few days of skiing, biking or hiking to recondition specific muscles, which will also allow maximum enjoyment during the trip.

Is SwisSkiSafari right for you?

Whether your ski level is intermediate or advanced, we specialise in making the high mountain environment accessible to everyone. That means you don’t need heli-ski experience nor do you have to be an expert skier to enjoy the drama of the European Alps. Our guides will introduce you to whatever off-piste, backcountry skiing or heli-skiing experience you might desire, all in a relaxed and safe environment.

If you are a really good skier looking for a new challenge, why not try ski-touring? These exhilarating alpine adventure combine off piste skiing and world-class ski touring. Ski touring in the European Alps allows you to discover stunning untouched peaks and deserted descents, while using different disciplines. These trips teach you the basics needed to ski uncharted territory and the ability to progress to the next level. Each of these skills requires a little experience, some athletic ability, and a touch of technical knowledge to maintain safety. They cannot be attempted alone, which is where our fully qualified guides come in.

How good a skier/boarder do I need to be?

Although the European Alps are among the most dramatic in the world, you do not have to be an expert to ski among them. Long glaciers offer ideal terrain for intermediate skiers, while expert skiers and boarders can choose steeper and more challenging runs. If you are a strong and experienced skier or snow border, able to keep control on all types of terrain and snow conditions (not necessarily powder), then you are ready for heli-skiing. For this generally, you should have been skiing actively for several consecutive years.

What type of snow can I expect on a SwisSkiSafari trip: powder, hard packed? Will we be making fresh tracks everyday

Our trips include remote mountain skiing on untracked snow at least 70 percent of the time, but this can vary due to the amount of vertical descent offered. The terrain may vary from wide-open alpine bowls and glaciers with moderate pitches to steeper and more challenging runs. Snow conditions can range from boot-top powder to wind-pressed crust, heavy crud and anything in between. Our guides do their best to find good snow and to provide help and instruction for all conditions. If you are a first time heli-skier, we will introduce you to the fundamentals of helicopter skiing in a safe and comfortable manner.

What about weather and snow conditions?

Unfortunately, there are no guarantees when it comes to the weather.

In addition, the alpine topography creates its own microclimate. If we can’t fly in a specific area, we simply cross into neighboring valleys or another country! In addition, SwisSkiSafari trips are more than just heli-ski trips. We combine an element of backcountry skiing, which in the case of bad weather, allows the best descents with lifts and short walks. We can ski even if we cannot fly.

What equipment do I need?

Conditions and temperatures in the Alps can be extremely variable. Suitable equipment for this activity such as gloves, sunglasses and a windproof jacket are really all you need to bring with you although we recommend you bring your own boots. Skis can be hired once you arrrive. At the start of the trip, we can provide a selection of skis with new generation fittings to better help you access remote terrain.

What is included in your packages?

We manage everything from the big picture, (hotel, guides, routes and helicopter, if required) down to the smaller details a surprise lunch in a mountain refuge, a night in a treehouses, a visit to a mountain monastery or even a torchlit mountain descent). You arrange your flights and we typically arrange all transfers, whether by air, land, snowmobile, mule or sled, from the moment you arrive at your destination until you leave. Our operating style and personalized touch allow us to turn imagination into reality with the help of our local contacts.

Can I not simply plan the trip myself?

In most environments and with enough mountain knowledge and experience many people do plan their own trips in the Alps. However planning the type of trips that we do depends on a network of irreplaceable local contacts to access remote exclusive places in the Alps. These trips require experience in the alpine environment, awareness and the ability to adapt to changing micro weather patterns. Our team are equipped with the ability and knowledge of the region to be able to make instant decisions and improvise a second, third or even fourth plan when conditions change at a moment’s notice.

May I book my own hotels or chalets?

Unfortunately not for our packages. In order for us to make comprehensive itineraries and design seamless trips, we’ve learned from experience that we need to be in control of all the key ingredients including hotels and chalets.

Do you run scheduled departures?

Again, we do not. Since all our trips are private, we have found that mixing groups who do not necessarily have the same athletic level, whether it be skiing, biking or hiking is not workable. Nor is trying to accommodate different priorities or budgets.

Is it possible to just buy one day of heli-skiing?

Unfortunately no, one day heli-sking is not possible. At SwisSkiSafari we understand the moods of the mountain, and know they must be respected. Heli-skiing can be one of the most exhilarating experiences you’ll ever have, but only if the weather’s good enough to be able to fly. Spectacular days on untouched descents depend on a healthy dose of insider knowledge combined with the right weather and snow conditions. Therefore, we recommend booking at least three days for a combination of heli-skiing and backcountry skiing as weather dictates. We don’t think one day is enough to guarantee you the best ski experience possible, which is why we don’t run one-day trips.

How long should a trip be?

Although trip length can be as long as you want, we ask that you give us at least three to four days to design a memorable experience according to your wishes. Planning your itinerary may take a little time but we have discovered that with a little patience, the mountains generally present us with magical possibilities.

Can I bring my partner who does not ski?

Certainly. Because we operate in and around famous European ski resorts, there are always a variety of activities for those who would like to come along but who do not necessarily ski, whether they be a spouse, friend or parent. We would take them into consideration when planning the trip for you. They might enjoy ski lessons with a private instructor or taking sightseeing flights or excursions to nearby areas. There are also many possibilities for snowshoeing, cross country skiing or observing local cultural activities.

Are there any specials or extras I should know about?

For those arriving by private jet, we have facilities for lodging the plane as well as private customs clearance and a luxury vehicle transfer to the start of the safari. This is ideal for groups or individuals who prefer travel with a flexible timetable.