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Silvretta Traverse, a Classic Hut-to-Hut Ski Touring Experience in the Austrian Alps

Marina ParraFebruary 25, 2019

The Alps are home to several classic ski tours. From the legendary Haute Route Chamonix-Zermatt to the Central Bernese Oberland Traverse, there’s plenty of terrain to explore on skis. The Silvretta Traverse in the Tyrolean Alps (Austria), also makes it to the list of Alpine favorites and it’s a great option for a first approach to hut-to-hut ski touring.

This February, a group of six skiers from the UK contacted UIAGM mountain guide Renato Bernard through Explore-Share and went on an incredible 4-day ski traverse in the Silvretta Alps.  

“We were a mixed ability group: some had years of experience (Haute Route) while others had never experienced ski touring before”, explains Jonny Hammond-Chambers, one of the happy clients on the group. “I had read that the scenery was stunning! We were looking for a combination of physical challenge alongside a chance to explore the Austrian Alps in a controlled and civilized way, staying on mountain huts (so ideal for a bunch of middle aged men!)”.  


Silvretta Ski Traverse
Photo: courtesy of Renato Bernard.

The Silvretta Alps are a collection of 3,000 peaks surrounded by glaciers, spanning along the Austrian/Swiss border. The most famous summit in the range is Piz Buin (3,312 m).

The itinerary of this trip began at the Ischgl Paznaun valley. There, the group took the lifts of the ski area and reached the Heidelberger hut where they spent the first night.

“All the huts are superb, they are comfortable, with good food and an Austrian atmosphere”, says Renato. As matter of fact, the mountain huts within the Silvretta are hailed as one of the best in the Alps.

The following day, they climbed up to Schnapfen Spitze (3,219 m). The last section is a little bit technical and then there’s a long descent to the Jamtal hut, where the group spent the second night.


Silvretta Ski Traverse
The Hamtal Hut. Photo: courtesy of Renato Bernard.

The third day they went up to Oschsenscharte and with two members of the group they climbed Dreiländerspitze (3,200 m): this is a very technical ascent which needs to be done on rope. They finished the day at the Wiesbadner hut.

The last day they returned to Galtür-Ischgl through the Bielerjoch and enjoyed a long downhill descent to the valley. For Renato,

“this is one of the best ski traverses of the Alps, the panorama is grandiose”.


Silvretta Ski Traverse
Photo: courtesy of Renato Bernard.
Silvretta Ski Traverse
Photo: courtesy of Renato Bernard.

The ski touring season in the Silvretta Alps starts in mid-February. During this trip, the weather was sunny, there was no wind, and the temperatures were not so cold. Besides, there was a lot of snow and they could even find some powder in the shadow areas.

As soon as the group returned home from the ski adventure, Jonny wrote to Explore-Share:

Our group of six have just returned from a magical four day tour of the Silvretta Traverse. The sun shone, the snow was superb and all the while Renato led us with a mixture humour, patient consideration and under-stated authority. He taught us the key skills of ski touring, including vital avalanche training and other mountaineering craft. Renato was excellent company throughout and I could not recommend him more highly. A true gent of the mountains”.

The Silvretta Ski Traverse is a great introduction for those who never went ski touring before. But, how hard is it? According to Renato, “you don’t need to have a very high skill level for this trip: the descents are not too steep, although it depends on the conditions. We recommend you to be a good skier on black slopes in the piste of the ski areas”.


Silvretta Ski Traverse
Photo: courtesy of Renato Bernard.

When asked about the 3 best things of this experience, Jonny says: the contrasting scenery, the decent accommodation and, most importantly, the guide, Renato. He added much to our experience”. Traveling with a local mountain guide is an excellent idea if you want to learn new skills or improve them. Besides, it allows you to reach incredible locations from the hand of someone who knows the terrain, and feel safe throughout the whole journey.

“I would recommend this trip wholeheartedly. For anyone who is looking to explore hut to hut ski touring for the first time this should undoubtedly be the go-to itinerary and guide”.

For Jonny and his group of friends this was an incredible travel experience. So much that he’s already thinking of his next trip: he would like to ski in the Ötztal, near Solden, also in Austria.


Silvretta Ski Traverse
Photo: courtesy of Renato Bernard.
Silvretta Ski Traverse
Photo: courtesy of Renato Bernard.

If you’d like to venture outside the piste for the first time, you should definitely consider skiing the Silvretta Traverse. Incredible views, ski-friendly summits, reliable snow conditions and some of the best mountain huts in the Alps are just some of the reasons why you should include it on your bucket list.

Check out all the options available at Explore-Share and book your next mountain adventure in the Silvretta Alps with a certified guide!



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