Just returning from a fantastic week skiing in the Monterosa area in the Val D Aosta, Italy.

The plan was a three day training camp developing off piste skiing skills followed by a day Heli skiing, then a further guided off piste development. The weather didn’t allow for the Heli skiing unfortunately but we sill found some great terrain to ski.

Gressoney is a Mecca for adventure skiing with a wide variation of terrain. This is my 8th visit to the area and the more I come here the more I love it’s rugged and wild feel. The upper valley has a unique culture due to its former ( and current ) Walser community ( German speaking people who originally migrated from the Swiss region of Wallis / Vallais just on the other side of the Monterosa.

 

There are many itineraries to explore from entry level side of the piste to exposed serious tours involving mountaineering skills. Our group consisted of skiers with off piste skiing experience which allowed us to get in to some of the more challenging routes. I would describe us a ” Slack country skiers ” which is a term for off piste using the lift system for acces with maybe some short walks or traversing ).

I would describe our week as guided coaching where there is a focus on developing performance at the same time as being safely guided through the terrain. This is a little different from the purely guided groups we came across with mountain guides. These groups are being taken to the terrain but without instruction. For routes that require the use of ropes and crampons ( crossing glaciers ) this is the norm as a mountain guide is required.

We would start the day with a little piste skiing developing specific skills then take these in to the off piste terrain. Our daily development itinerary was the Valle d Olen. This route had a variety of pitches and some good north facing slopes.

 

The Punta Indren lift gives access to many wilder routes with some steep gullies. This area is only for serious skiers with warnings and checks at the entry and exit of the lift. Transceiver and avalanche rescue equipment is obligatory.


The group skied the Eagle gully and the grand gully on this face with a few variations. Skiing on the Balma route was not recommended due to it not being in condition.

 

On days in poor light we headed in to the trees to find better definition. There are some fantastic routes lower down when the high peaks are shrouded in fog and white light.

A great week and a place I am sure we will visit many times again in the future. Maybe next time we will get to use the helicopter service to get higher on the Monterosa!

 

Thanks to the group for the shared adventure and thanks to Guy Nason ISIA ski teacher and my back marker during some of the more “challenging” descents.

 

A great week and a place I am sure we will visit many times again in the future. Maybe next time we will get to use the helicopter service to get higher on the Monterosa!

Pete Silver Gillespie

 

 



Comment