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Skiing a series of "circuses" across the Alps

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I was playing with some fantasy trips and not being all that familiar with the Alps, here's my question:

Can one piece together a ski trip by skiing resort to resort?
One might have to take a bus here and there but the goal would be to ski.

I'm inspired by the Sella Ronde and wonder if the concept could be extended.

This trip is not ski mountaineering -- it's all lift-served and within the gates.
One would carry a day pack and gear would be sparse -- something like Crocs for the hotel and walking.
Toothbrush etc.
Most hotels have everything one needs.
Minimal change of clothes....wash as needed in the hotel.

Could one ski from one end of the Alps to another?
From the Slovenian Alps to, say, Chamonix?
(Excuse my ignorance of Euro geo -- of course that's why we ask.)
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Sort of, a bit, but not really.
Mountains go down as well as up so there tend to be huge valleys to block one's progress which are sparse of snow, and often contain stuff like motorways, railways, towns or even airports (it's tricky skiing across an airport.) Further to that, there are vast areas of mountain that are virtually unskiable by any normalperson due to ridges, glaciers, cliffs etc. and further still, huge areas of perfectly skiable mountain that are designated 'protected' from the sort of infrastructure that makes skiing pleasurable (or survivable)

Here's an example:
The Dolomiti Superski area you mention, that contains the Sela Ronda circuit, is in the Dolomites, as is the Dolomiti Skirama that contains Madonna di Campiglio. Despite being 'in the same mountains' they are entirely unconnected and separated by a huge valley with, you guessed it, a motorway, railway, various towns, Cities and occasional airports.

The Superski pass has about 1300km of piste on it although only about 3-400km is lift connected around the Sela Ronda. The rest is among all sorts of other domains of varying sizes and would require local buses or the occasional taxi to get to from the Sela Ronda. Many of these connections though are really short eg. 15-30mins on a ski bus.
Now, to the North West of the Superski domain you have Val Gardena and just over the hill to the West, Siusi - and that's as far as you can ski in that direction.
So, how to get to Skirama which is West from there? Confused You need to travel by road down to Bolazano then road or train down towards Trento (Mezzocorona actually) where local transport will get you up to the Skirama lifts. In a car, direct its about 3hrs.
Once there though, they don't really take you anywhere. So having skied around a bit, you'd need to jump back on the road up to Paso Tonale, skiing that will take you a few kilometres further down that same road towards Bormio, Livigno and then Switzerland (Via Road tunnel) but still we're talking more about a road trip where U stop off at ski domains along the way rather than skiing from one place to the other.

I do like the idea of connecting between places and have tried to do that to some degree with some of the consecutive bashes, however, I've had to moderate my ambitions somewhat and accept that actually skiing from place to place is indeed usually more about ski-mountaineering and that a 3 or 4hr road trip between venues is actually relatively connected.

That said, while getting from one end to the other is really a road trip, there are some good ski routes and connections in places along the way.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
They used to do "Les 12 Vallees", starting the week in Val Thorens and finishing some days later in Val d'Isere, with the help of a guide for the off-piste sections.
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@dmseattle,
Quote:

Could one ski from one end of the Alps to another?

From the Slovenian Alps to, say, Chamonix?

That's about 800kms shortest direct route by road, so not, as @admin says, without long connecting road trips. If the Alps is split into 4 or 5 virtual sectors (east to west) then covering one sector in the way you describe more likely.
Using the example above from @stephen buck, I think Val Thorens to Val D'Isere could be done with just 2 shortish bus/taxi connections, in good snow conditions.
Also Switzerland and Austria, with their renowned public transport systems, should offer possibilities.
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 Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
How long a trip are you planning? For 2-3 weeks I'd have a look at the Salzburg Superski Card, or even maybe only the Ski Amade area in Austria (the latter is included in the former).
https://www.superskicard.com/en

If a longer trip, you should be planning on staying more than one night in one place.
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Friend of mine ran a trip from Stubai Glacier to St Anton using lifts last season (couple of busses here and there), and is again this season.


http://youtube.com/v/voWfzzFOAXs

From St Anton you could ski predominantly with lifts, but again with short busses and/or short hikes (one mandatory hike, maybe 1.5 hours), into Sonnenkopf, then Silvretta-Montafon, then via Gargellen over the border into Klosters in Switzerland and on to Davos.

A lot of the this would be offpiste though.
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Anything would be possible, if you could ignore financial / planning constraints. But if it was all going to be by lifts and pistes, you'd need to have some exceptionally long lifts (including many going downhill) to span the sections where the terrain is too steep, rocky or low to construct a piste.

Although the Sella Ronda is considered a big circuit, the distance the area covers from end to end is actually quite small (a couple of dozen km maybe?). So connecting from one end of the Alps to another would have to be 100x as long, and that's assuming that the network could go in a straight line...
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Look out for the Alpine Legends Pass Taking in the 3V, Paradiski & Espace Killy.. Around 1300km tour. Only buses & lifts Check out: www.altibus.com


I did sella ronda last year and completed it one day clockwise then following day counterclockwise.. How cool is Marmolada Glacier...

A pity that no mountaineering, As the Zermatt > Chamonix is a gem of a trip. 'Haute route if I remember!!

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I second @sugardaddy's, suggestion of Ski Amade. Could go from Haus over to Reiteralm, short bus to Fageralm ski there, short bus to Radstadt/Altenmarkt ski there, short bus to Zauchensee ski there (Flachauwinkl-Kleinarl), short bus to Wagrain ski there/Flachau, next day ski Wagrain to Alpendorf... From there you can either head to the Gasteins or the Hoch König, Zell am See, Saalbach, Fieberbrunn, St Johann, Kitzbuhel, Ski Welt and just keep going if you wanted.

Should keep most people busy for a month or so! Longest bus trip would probably not be much more than half an hour.
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@hammerite, Kaprun to Hinterglemm, via Zell am See, Leogang, Saalbach and Fieberbrunn would be quite an excursion in itself, and could be done virtually without taking skis off, apart from the short, 10 minute bus rides between Kaprun and Zell, and between Viehhofen and the Schoenleitenbahn. However do you know if it's possible for a ski mountaineer to get over to Kitzbuehel from the end of the Glemm valley beyond Hinterglemm?


Last edited by Ski the Net with snowHeads on Thu 28-09-17 19:03; edited 1 time in total
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There is another circuit in the Dolomites called the Great War Tour, linked by 2 or 3 buses and a horse tow, depending on whether you opted for the clockwise or anti-clockwise variant. It intersects with the Sella Ronda circuit's SE quadrant. About 80km total, of which 18km are on lifts & 31km on skis.

http://www.valgardenaskimap.com/en/grande-guerra
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And love to help out and answer questions and of course, read each other's snow reports.
The extremes of the Sella Ronda linked circuit that can be traversed entirely with lifts & skis (and a small amount of walking) would be Pedraces(Badia) to Pozza di Fassa and Siusi(Seis) to Malga Ciapela. viamichelin gives road distances of 50.1km & 62.1km respectively. They could both probably be skied in a day.
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So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Thanks so much for the comments!

...let me get back after I digest...the thought is only a somewhat idle pipe dream...I'd want to do it (for safety and sociability) with 5-6 people and sure if it took 2-3 weeks, that's fine....and yes I'd expect some longish shuttles....(shows you how little Americans understand about the Alps!)....money is always an issue but it would presumably not be a budget trip....it would take some real organization (hotel reservations & buses etc) and knowledge (best route? which ski areas are the most fun? weather? etc etc)...

But I did find my jaunt around the Sella to be an eye-opener -- so that is what got me started.

----

If I were in Euro ski biz I would emphasize the possibilities of "circuses" & "carousels" to North Americans...I did a day trip in Utah (from as I recall Deer Valley to Snowbird) going through 5-6 areas and it was fun....we are not used to it and has a special appeal having breakfast in Village X and then lunch in Y etc etc
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Tatman's Tours wrote:
@hammeriteHowever do you know if it's possible for a ski mountaineer to get over to Kitzbuehel from the end of the Glemm valley beyond Hinterglemm?


I have no idea. It doesn't look far, but it could be incredibly gnarly.

Seek out Hans Adelsberger on here to find out... https://www.saalbach.com/de/service/kontakt/team-tourismusverband he's a walking guide, ski guide and instructor.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
A BTW...

I love maps. So I started wondering if anyone has ever mapped out all major European ski resorts...Alps primarily, I guess...the whole thing...

Nothing dramatic....just a map which highlighted the top 200-300 ski villages....someone who really knew the Alps could probably do it as a Google annotation ("mash-up" if that's what they are called)...though a paper version might be be fun...

It would be especially neat to see an overall picture of the different "circuses" as I gather there are quite a few....that one in Austria seems pretty incredible!

(Then linked up to the bus lines and AltiBus system.)


Last edited by Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name: on Fri 29-09-17 0:20; edited 2 times in total
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Hammerite, I'll send Mrs TT to suss it out Very Happy
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Crocs have all of those holes. So your dignity can just seep out
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
As to Crocs, they make a “Bistro” version with a terrific nonskid sole and no holes on the sides.
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dmseattle wrote:
A BTW...

I love maps. So I started wondering if anyone has ever mapped out all major European ski resorts...Alps primarily, I guess...the whole thing...

Nothing dramatic....just a map which highlighted the top 200-300 ski villages....someone who really knew the Alps could probably do it as a Google annotation ("mash-up" if that's what they are called)...though a paper version might be be fun...

It would be especially neat to see an overall picture of the different "circuses" as I gather there are quite a few....that one in Austria seems pretty incredible!

(Then linked up to the bus lines and AltiBus system.)


See https://marmotamaps.com/en/alps-map-ski-resorts/. Not got it, but looks nice
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Anyway, snowHeads is much more fun if you do.
Google already has a lot of ski lifts marked, so you can see the distances between different resorts.
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Tatman's Tours wrote:
@hammerite, Kaprun to Hinterglemm, via Zell am See, Leogang, Saalbach and Fieberbrunn would be quite an excursion in itself, and could be done virtually without taking skis off, apart from the short, 10 minute bus rides between Kaprun and Zell, and between Viehhofen and the Schoenleitenbahn. However do you know if it's possible for a ski mountaineer to get over to Kitzbuehel from the end of the Glemm valley beyond Hinterglemm?


And then from Kitzbuhel to the Skiwelt with a 5 min bus ride.
All this is covered on one lift pass:
https://www.superskicard.com/en

There is a map at the bottom of the page.
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Themasterpiece wrote:
dmseattle wrote:
A BTW...

I love maps. So I started wondering if anyone has ever mapped out all major European ski resorts...Alps primarily, I guess...the whole thing...

Nothing dramatic....just a map which highlighted the top 200-300 ski villages....someone who really knew the Alps could probably do it as a Google annotation ("mash-up" if that's what they are called)...though a paper version might be be fun...

It would be especially neat to see an overall picture of the different "circuses" as I gather there are quite a few....that one in Austria seems pretty incredible!

(Then linked up to the bus lines and AltiBus system.)


See https://marmotamaps.com/en/alps-map-ski-resorts/. Not got it, but looks nice


I like that map a lot.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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Themasterpiece wrote:
dmseattle wrote:
A BTW...

I love maps. So I started wondering if anyone has ever mapped out all major European ski resorts...Alps primarily, I guess...the whole thing...

Nothing dramatic....just a map which highlighted the top 200-300 ski villages....someone who really knew the Alps could probably do it as a Google annotation ("mash-up" if that's what they are called)...though a paper version might be be fun...

It would be especially neat to see an overall picture of the different "circuses" as I gather there are quite a few....that one in Austria seems pretty incredible!

(Then linked up to the bus lines and AltiBus system.)


See https://marmotamaps.com/en/alps-map-ski-resorts/. Not got it, but looks nice


http://www.2thealps.com/maps.htm
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dmseattle wrote:


If I were in Euro ski biz I would emphasize the possibilities of "circuses" & "carousels" to North Americans...I did a day trip in Utah (from as I recall Deer Valley to Snowbird) going through 5-6 areas and it was fun....we are not used to it and has a special appeal having breakfast in Village X and then lunch in Y etc etc


Yeah but ski-commuting an area the size of the Wasatch is just an ordinary day in the Alps and going 2 villages over for lunch is kinda the norm. It works for skiers who like to have an "objective" for the day. While I understand the interest you have in a sort of mega tour it would be more for bragging rights than any superior ski experience I think. Very few people will have done it because of the mundane matters of logistics and the slog of entry and exit from key points. You'd get far more quality skiing in 3 successive weeks in big ski areas across the Alps using a hire car to hop between neighbouring resorts for instance week around the Tarentaise, week around Mt Blanc-Aosta-Cervinia, week around Arlberg- Fiss-Ischgl
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@dmseattle, I think what you are looking for is essentially ski touring on perhaps a slightly broader scale.

I've always quite fancied the idea of doing a sort of road trip skiing small ski areas that I don't think worthy of a weeks holiday. Maybe done over a couple of weeks with the odd rest day.
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Themasterpiece wrote:
dmseattle wrote:
A BTW...

I love maps. So I started wondering if anyone has ever mapped out all major European ski resorts...Alps primarily, I guess...the whole thing...

Nothing dramatic....just a map which highlighted the top 200-300 ski villages....someone who really knew the Alps could probably do it as a Google annotation ("mash-up" if that's what they are called)...though a paper version might be be fun...

It would be especially neat to see an overall picture of the different "circuses" as I gather there are quite a few....that one in Austria seems pretty incredible!

(Then linked up to the bus lines and AltiBus system.)


See https://marmotamaps.com/en/alps-map-ski-resorts/. Not got it, but looks nice


I have that map. I loooooooove that map. Seriously, it's awesome, and fascinating. Makes me want to ski eeeeeeeverywhere though, which I have neither the money nor the holiday allowance to do Sad
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Dave of the Marmottes wrote:
... While I understand the interest you have in a sort of mega tour it would be more for bragging rights than any superior ski experience I think. ... mundane

I think that's right.

Sure, if it snows, I could "ski" from one end of London to the other, but I don't really think that's where the best snow is likely to be found, and my "achievement" would be arbitrary. I guess it's a mindset I don't have.
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 So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
So if you're just off somewhere snowy come back and post a snow report of your own and we'll all love you very much
Tatman's Tours wrote:
Hammerite, I'll send Mrs TT to suss it out Very Happy


To check out the route, or check out Hans. If the latter be careful, he had the nickname of Dr Love from the other ski instructors!
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Quote:

But I did find my jaunt around the Sella to be an eye-opener -- so that is what got me started.

Well, the 3 valleys has that. PdS too. Just a couple examples.
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Did the PDS all villages back in the early 80s in a year with good snow down low. There were two of us and we had no difficulty in finding somewhere to stay as it as low season. A very enjoyable week.
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stephen buck wrote:
They used to do "Les 12 Vallees", starting the week in Val Thorens and finishing some days later in Val d'Isere, with the help of a guide for the off-piste sections.


These days, you could start in Orelle (Maurienne Valley), making it 13 valleys in total.
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I think you might also struggle getting single night hotel accommodation.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
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PeteMan wrote:
I think you might also struggle getting single night hotel accommodation.


I would rent a camping car (RV). Most ski stations have areas with hookups etc., if not right at the slopes then very nearby. I can't imagine it would be more expensive than trying to find a hotel room every few nights, will also likely be impossible as anything beyond a hovel requires weeklong stays in high season.

I've done long "laps" at PDS/Espace Diamant/Serre Che -- I love having a destination or goal. The only problem is when you find a great run and realize you can't do it again because you need to time the lifts back to your base...
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@dmseattle, you say "Minimal change of clothes....wash as needed in the hotel." Laundry services aren't common in the alps (that I have seen) and unlike hotels in NA they don't have laundry rooms for guests use.
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@holidayloverxx, most European hotel rooms I stayed in have a clothesline in the bathroom.
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@abc, yes, but touring? hand wash and hope it dries overnight before setting off again?
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I've done the overnight washing and hang-it-on-the-line thing, when I forgot to pack enough changes. It dried reasonably well.

I'm assuming OP is using clothing of mostly synthetic materials rather than woollies...
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@abc, I guess I was thinking t-shirts & socks
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fixx wrote:
Themasterpiece wrote:
dmseattle wrote:
A BTW...

I love maps. So I started wondering if anyone has ever mapped out all major European ski resorts...Alps primarily, I guess...the whole thing...

Nothing dramatic....just a map which highlighted the top 200-300 ski villages....someone who really knew the Alps could probably do it as a Google annotation ("mash-up" if that's what they are called)...though a paper version might be be fun...

It would be especially neat to see an overall picture of the different "circuses" as I gather there are quite a few....that one in Austria seems pretty incredible!

(Then linked up to the bus lines and AltiBus system.)


See https://marmotamaps.com/en/alps-map-ski-resorts/. Not got it, but looks nice


I have that map. I loooooooove that map. Seriously, it's awesome, and fascinating. Makes me want to ski eeeeeeeverywhere though, which I have neither the money nor the holiday allowance to do Sad


I've got another skimap for you: All European ski areas in one map, completed with calculated numbers of lifts and pistes lengths, and analysed altitude data.

http://www.plandespistes.nl



It is all based on online resources as OpenStreetmap and NASA elevation data.
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Themasterpiece wrote:
dmseattle wrote:
A BTW...

I love maps. So I started wondering if anyone has ever mapped out all major European ski resorts...Alps primarily, I guess...the whole thing...

Nothing dramatic....just a map which highlighted the top 200-300 ski villages....someone who really knew the Alps could probably do it as a Google annotation ("mash-up" if that's what they are called)...though a paper version might be be fun...

It would be especially neat to see an overall picture of the different "circuses" as I gather there are quite a few....that one in Austria seems pretty incredible!

(Then linked up to the bus lines and AltiBus system.)


See https://marmotamaps.com/en/alps-map-ski-resorts/. Not got it, but looks nice


It's very nice. I was very lucky to receive a framed copy for my birthday this year. It hangs above my dining table. It's quite fascinating to study and find all these random little places I've never heard of (and some pretty big ones I've never heard of!) snowHead
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