17 Jul Luxury ski safari on the Haute Route
The ultimate ski safari is a ski safari on the Haute Route. It is one of the most famous ski touring routes in the world, consisting of a week-long hut to hut tour on skis in the European Alps between Chamonix and Zermatt.
The Haute Route is not traditionally the most luxurious experience, but careful planning can make it more comfortable. Making the most of the variations within the route, you can design a trip that best suits your group’s needs and the changing mountain conditions.
The Haute Route: what’s the real story?
We often get asked what ski level you need for a ski safari on the Haute Route. Our answer? You do need to be an experienced skier, able to ski confidently in all snow conditions. Ski touring experience is also necessary. This is not a trip for beginner skiers or beginner ski tourers. Its important to realize that the Haute Route’s snow can be anything from ice to powder to spring snow, and you need to be comfortable skiing it all.
Training: why does this matter?
A ski safari on the Haute Route is challenging, with long physical days at altitude. To make the most out of this experience, we advise training during the winter leading up to the Haute Route season, which starts around the middle of March and finishes in May. You also need to be comfortable and confident with your equipment. Wear in your boots well and become accustomed to skiing with ski touring skis, which feel different to normal resort skis.
How many should be in my group?
Ideally the best way to enjoy a ski safari on the Haute Route is to be with a partner or good friends and a handpicked guide who is from the region. These trips are challenging and being surrounded by people you are comfortable with makes it that much more relaxing. A local and experienced guide are key to getting the best trip you can have. The weather conditions in this area of the Alps change quickly and having a direct source of reliable weather prediction at any time of day, a personal contact with the rescue services and local connections in the huts and villages make all the difference. On these trips plans should change depending on the conditions and what is going on in the mountain in real time. We all know that good networks produce magical experiences. At Swisskisafari we like to have one guide for 4 guests on the Haute Route, and we add another guide if you are a larger group. We also have contacts with the local rescue company and we insure you before you start with us.
That’s not all
For your ski safari on the Haute Route, plan early as the huts and well-positioned hotels get booked out. If you are really keen for the challenge, take a ski touring trip earlier in the season to prepare and give your equipment a good shake down before the actual Haute Route. At this time your guide will look at your kit and have suggestions for you. By the time your Haute Route trip comes around you will be prepared and ready to sit back and enjoy this stunning Alpine experience.
Heli + Haute Route?
Once you’ve achieved your goal of tackling the Haute Route on skis, why not re-live the stunning views and glorious descents with a little help from a helicopter? March to May are also ideal heli-skiing months, and there are many wonderful heli drops along the Haute Route. But remember, once you’ve gone to the effort of reaching these peaks through sheer determination, you will understand why those effortlessly emerging from a helicopter attract some dubious looks from other ski tourers, so we will choose landing spots to discover other areas of the alps, leaving those on the haute route in peace.
Switzerland offers many great heli-skiing spots as well as luxury accommodation to pamper even the most exhausted muscles, so get in touch to discuss an adrenalin-pumping add-on.
This article is part two of our Haute Route notes, for more details check out our blog next week: Luxury Backcountry Ski Touring. And if you are interested in the magic of Zermatt, we just came back from an incredible week.
If you’d like us to plan a personalized, luxury ski safari on the Haute Route in the Alps for you, get in touch.
Warm regards from the mountains.