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LOCATION

Corvara, ITALY

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DATES

March 19 -23, 2018

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PRICE

$ 1,75o p.p.

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If your idea of fun is skiing down perfectly-hewn couloirs then the Dolomites is the place for you. Their unique geology creates the perfect habitat for some of the planet’s best and most aesthetic couloirs, called canales in Italian. The lodging and food are northern-Italian-unforgettable, the scenery is some of the most spectacular in the world, and the quality of skiing tops it all.

From Corvara, a classic mountain village deep in the heart of the Dolomites, we utilize a combination of lift accessed off-piste skiing, traditional back country skiing with skins, and good old fashioned ski mountaineering with crampons and ice axes. We begin by exploring the super classic Sella Ronda before getting warmed up on the jaw dropping lines of Canale Joelle and Canale Holzer, the latter famed as one of the most classic couloir ski lines in the world. Weather-depending, we spend at least one night at the Rifugio Pordoi close to the higher-elevation Passo Pordoi. We finish the week in Alta Badia, with its endless off-piste ski tours and unmatched concentration of world class couloir skiing!

Here is a sampling of just a few of the more difficult ski descents on offer.

An even greater number of easier descents are also possible.

The following list are suggestions. Actual routes and ski lines will be discussed and chosen according to the group’s interest and skiing ability.

 

Piz Boè, Canale Col Altonn

Vertical drop: 1,000 meters / 3,280 feet
Aspect: South
Technical difficulty: 40°-steep couloir. In some places only a few feet wide. Ideal for teaching steep ski technique.

Piz Boè, Canale del Ghiacciaio (Glacier Couloir)

Vertical drop: 1,500 meters / 4,920 feet
Aspect: Northwest and north
Technical difficulty: Hard. The biggest problem is avalanche danger. Normally the snow is very good for skiing. Great alternative to the classic entry into the Val Mezdi.

Piz Boè Vallon+Val Litres

Vertical drop: 1,500 meters / 4,920 feet
Aspect: From east to northwest
Technical difficulty: Not so hard but very difficult to find the right passages between the various rock walls.

Sass Pordoi, Canale Heini Holzer (Heini Holzer Couloir)

Vertical drop: 1,200 meters / 3,950 feet
Aspect: North
Technical difficulty: Hard. It is considered the gateway of extreme skiing in the Dolomites. A rope is needed.

Sella, Val Setus
Vertical drop: 1,400 meters / 4,595 feet

Aspect: North
Technical difficulty: Hard. It is challenging to know the right way into the couloir. Up to 40°. The snow conditions are very important.

Antersass del Sella 2 Canali

Vertical drop: 1,300 meters / 4,265 feet
Aspect: Northeast
Technical difficulty: Up to 45° steep couloir. Quite difficult.

Col Toronn Couloir


Vertical drop: 1,000 meters / 3,280 feet
Aspect: south – east
Technical difficulty: Hard. Up to 45° couloir.

Sass Ciampai Couloir

Vertical drop: 1,000 meters / 3,280 feet
Aspect: Southeast
Technical difficulty: Hard. up to 45° couloir.

Sella, Val Culea Integrale

Vertical drop: 1,400 meters / 4,595 feet
Aspect: North
Technical difficulty: Complicated but wonderful combination for real ski mountaineers. A steep couloir up to 45°.

Val Scura del Sassongher (Sassongher’s Dark Valley)

Vertical drop: 1,200 meters / 3,950 feet
Aspect: East
Technical difficulty: Hard. Very complicated uphill route. A real jewel!

SKI ALPINISM GEAR LIST
This list may be adjusted by your guide based on the venue and time of season.

Download and Print Gear List

SKIING EQUIPMENT:
• Alpine Touring, Telemark, or Snowboard (split-board or with short approach skis): one pair should be a minimum of 85mm underfoot and a maximum of 105. If you like, you can also bring a fatter pair for big, powder days.
• Boots (Alpine Touring or telemark): must fit well.
• Adjustable poles
• Climbing skins: must fit your skis well.
• Ski brakes recommended or retention leashes, depending on binding type.
• Ski crampons (much more useful than people think!)
• Ski straps multi purpose

SNOW SAFETY EQUIPMENT:
• Avalanche transceiver (457 kHz single frequency) with new and spare batteries
• Avalanche probe
2-3 meters
• Shovel (flat-backed metal blade recommended)
• Pack (25-40 liter depending on tour type)
• Small, personal First Aid Kit including blister care
• Avalung, avalung pack, or ABS pack should be considered situationally

GLACIER/TECHNIAL EQUIPMENT
(only for glaciated or technical tours)
• Small ascender like Rope Man or tibloc (optional)
• 1 ice screw 19-22
• Belay/rappel device (optional)
• 2 lightweight locking carabiners
• 1 60 cm nylon or dyneema sling
• 2 lightweight non-locking carabiners (to attach above items to)
• Climbing or ski helmet (may be situationally appropriate)
• Skiing helmet (optional)
• Ice axe
• Boot crampons

CLOTHING:
• All necessary under, mid, and outer layers appropriate to the area and season. The following is a good example for normal winter conditions:
• Good, storm proof soft-shell jacket with a hood
• Soft-shell (or ventable hard-shell) pants that go over boot cuff and have integrated gaiter
• Mid-weight fleece shirt or jacket.
• Long underwear top with zip-tee/neck coverage (wool is great)
• Long underwear bottom (bring at least two pair, one light one medium or heavy weight)
• Good, packable insulated parka (aka “Puffy”)
• Winter gloves, two pair: light and medium weight
•Mittens
• Warm hat
• Sun hat
• Balaclava or neck gaiter
• Ski socks: multiple changes

OTHER ACCESSORIES:
• Headlamp with spare batteries
• Sunglasses
• Goggles (light lenses)
• Sun screen SPF 30 or greater
• Lip balm SPF 30 or greater
• Butane lighter
• Ear plugs (optional for overnight tours in huts or tents)
• Toilet articles
• Toilet paper
• One-liter water container
• Vacuum bottle (optional)
• Camera

SKI CAMPING/ BIVY EQUIPMENT
(for overnight tours spent camping NOT in huts)
• Sleeping bag
• Sleeping pad
• Cup and spoon

FOOD:
• Snacks or energy food (i.e. bars, gels, sandwiches, etc.)
• Drink mix and/or tea bags for water bottle and thermos

 

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Fly into Venice, Italy or Munich, Germany.

We meet in Corvara, IT.

Since this course is oriented around steep skiing, it will behoove you to train the explosive power needed to perform successive hop-turns. This turn, something we’ll review and practice on day one of the trip, is the cornerstone of couloir skiing. And to execute it you need the strength to repeatedly spring your body into the air, wearing a backpack and all your ski gear, initiating a turn.

To train this ability, incorporate box jumps into your routine starting approximately six weeks before the trip. 12 inches (30 cm) is how high you jump in a typical jump-turn; we’ll train a slightly higher jump. It’s best to do this wearing a weight vest to simulate the weight of your pack. If you don’t have one of these, you can hold weights (the plates from the squat rack work great because they’re flat) to your chest. Ankle-weights can be used to simulate the weight of your boots and skis.

Dolomites Couloirs Ski drill:
Warm up by running on the treadmill, or skipping rope, for a minimum of ten minutes.
• Box Height: 16 inches, 40cm. (Box height should be slightly higher than you need to jump in a jump-turn)
• Jump 15-50 times.
• Rest 2-5 minutes.
• Repeat three to five times.

Ease into these exercises. The first week take the full five minutes of rest between jumps, and complete only three sets. Increase to five sets by the third week. On the fourth week you can start reducing the rest-time between exercises. If you’re too restless to wait, add 15 strict sit-ups or hanging-leg-lifts or another core-specific exercise into the ‘rest’ period.

Interested in a more structured approach to training?
• Read our book: Training for the New Alpinism
• Check out our training and coaching options

Technical
Endurance
Mental

Participant prerequisites

Participants must be advanced intermediate skiers with prior backcountry touring experience, be familiar with how to use all necessary ski touring equipment (including avalanche safety equipment) and be able to safely descend steep snow in varying conditions. They should also be fit enough to carry a 20 pound pack uphill for 4-6 hours a day at a steady pace for multiple consecutive days.

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Booking & Information

Do you have questions? Please don’t hesitate to give us a call. If we are not immediately available, we are outside climbing, skiing or exploring the wilderness. Leave us a message and we will call you back.

Call us

970.325.3305