What better way to explore the Swiss Alps than hut-to-hut ski touring? The Swiss Alpine Club and its sections operate 152 huts with some 9200 beds in the Swiss Alps. Huts range from the most basic of accommodations, to huts with delicious meals, plumbing, and fluffy down comforters. Touring the Alps is not only the best way to ski fresh powder but get a bit of Swiss culture.
If you don’t hire a guide, routes are generally well marked (this is Switzerland after all). Regardless, we recommend becoming a member of the Swiss Alpine Club to get discounts at huts.
How can I become a member? To become a member, contact the membership office at the section you want to join. The section will send you your membership card(s), receipt and information within 10-14 days.
How much is the membership fee? Membership fees vary depending on the section. The fee is between CHF 80.- and CHF 140.-/ year. For families, the fee is between 110 – 255 CHF.
How much does it cost to stay in a hut? Prices for each hut are different. Members pay a maximum of 26 CHF per night, non-members 28 – 40 CHF (half-board is double). Children and young people pay reduced rates.
WESTERN SWITZERLAND TOURS:
- Ascent of Dufour Peak and Monte Rosa Hut
- Photo: courtesy of Lepay
1. Monte Rosa Haute Route: The Monte Rosa range is above Zermatt in Switzerland and forms the end of the Western Alps. The list of high peaks – there are more 4,000m peaks here than anywhere else in the Alps – is impressive, but it is the seemingly endless vertical descent of each ski-run which makes this area popular with ski tourers. It also has some of the wildest… Approx. Days: 5 When: Mid March – June
2. Val d’Anniviers Imperial Crown Haute Route: derives its grand name from the range of 4,000m peaks that encircle the Val d’Anniviers, including the Weisshorn, Zinalrothorn and Dent Blanche. This is stunning ski touring terrain which is more remote than other better known Haute Routes but is every bit as spectacular. You can skin and ski big and remote glaciers, including the Bishorn (4,153m), one of the few 4,000+ peaks in the Alps easily accessible with skis. Approx. Days: 3, 4 or 7 (depending on how you break it up) When: Mid March – End April
- Starting the climb in the Binn Valley
Photo: courtesy of Cattell
3. Tour de Soleil is a classic hut-to-hut ski tour that follows an old smugglers trail in a remote but charming corner of the Swiss Alps. Until a tunnel was built in 1965, no road accessed into the Binntal (Binn Valley), a small valley near the remains of the Rhône Glacier. Approx. Days: 8 When: Mid February – April
4. Verbier High Level Route – This initial 4 day ski tour itinerary offers a wonderful shorter alternative to the Classic Chamonix-Zermatt haute route by starting in Verbier and following and exciting and enjoyable high level route, amongst familiar haute route territory. With the additional option of the two-day extension, this gives a wonderful ski touring opportunity to make it all the way to Saas Fee in 6 days. Approx. Days: 4 or 6 (depending if you continue to Saas Fee) When: Mid March – End of April
- Ascent of the Blanc de Moming
Photo: courtesy of J2Ski
5. Tour Du Ciel: Surrounded by the famous peaks of the Matterhorn, Dent Blanche and Dent d’Herens. It Starts in Zermatt and ends in St. Niklaus. A strenuous and challenging tour with ski descents in a spectacular set up away from the busy Haute Route. Small and not very busy huts. Approx. Days: 7
- The Mischabel Mountains: 4k mountains from left to right: Strahlhorn, Allalinhorn (in front), Signalkuppe, Zumsteinspitze, Rimpfischhorn (in front), Nordend & Dufourspitze, Lyskamm, Lenzspitze with northface, Nadelhorn (in front), Dom, Stecknadelhorn, Hohberghorn
Photo: courtesy of SummitPost
6. Mischabel Tour: Between Zermatt and Saas Fee the Mischabel is a group of mountains that has many peaks over 4000 meters. The Dom (4,545m) is the tallest mountain entirely in Switzerland. Most of the routes are for accomplished climbers/skiers. Approx. Days: 4 When: April – May
CENTRAL SWITZERLAND TOURS:
- Map of Traverse and Staircase up the glacier wall to the Hollandia Hut
- Photo: courtesy of Ryder Walker and MountainSchool
7. Bernese Oberland Traverse: Is a fantastic ski tour with breathtaking scenery of the triple mountain set: Jungrau, Eiger and Monch. It is one of Switzerland’s more popular tours with fantastic huts to stay in. The starting point is Interlaken or Grindelwald. Approx. Days: 4 When: Mid March-End April
For advanced ski tourers/mountaineers who want to tackle some of the more accessible 4,000 peaks (including the Jungfrau, Eiger and Monch). Approx. Days: 6 When: Early April–Mid May
8. Western Oberland Tour: Ski touring in this quieter corner of Western Switzerland often has excellent conditions when higher areas have bad weather and wind affected snow. This area is ideal for touring with gentler gradients and lower altitudes than the Bernese Oberland. The tour benefits from easy lift access at the start, but otherwise the week is spent in remote and wild terrain, staying in small, friendly mountain huts. Approx. Days: 5 When: Mid March-End April
9. Bernese Oberland North Tour: This ski tour takes place the heart of Europe’s largest glaciers. There are no technical difficulties on this tour and it gives you the opportunity to discover this amazing area and summit an easily accessible 4000m peak on skis. Approx. Days: 5 When: Mid March–Early May
- Photo: courtesy of Camp to Camp
10. Sustenhorn & Dammastock Ski Tour (or Urner Traverse): Cosy and wild are the best adjectives to describe this tour in a remote area of the Urner Alps with small and charming mountain huts. The intricate areas and a couple of famous mountains are the guarantee of this itinerary. Thanks to its central position, the summit of the Sustenhorn promises fabulous panoramas in the whole of Switzerland. Approx. Days: 6 When: Mid March-Mid April
EASTERN SWITZERLAND TOURS:
11. Silvretta Alps Tour: The Silvretta Alps consist of seventy 3,000m peaks along the Austrian/Swiss border (just south of the well-known ski resort of Saint Anton), it includes the highest peak in the region, the famous Piz Buin (3,312m). The area is surrounded by glaciers, giving the area its alternative name – the Blue Silvretta. This tour can be a good introduction to hut-to-hut ski touring and ski mountaineering with some of the best huts in the Alps. Approx. Days: 5 When: The huts open in mid-February making it a great early season ski tour.
12. Piz Bernina Ski Tour: After Mont Blanc, the Bernina Alps (overlooking the Engardine Valley) have the most independent elevation in the Alps (from valley to summit). Piz Bernina (4,049m) is one of the most popular 4000m peaks in the Alps, and depending on the exact route can be for the less or most experienced skiers/mountaineers. Despite proximity to St Moritz, the Bernina Alps are one of the more isolated and quieter areas of the Eastern Alps with breathtaking glaciations. Approx. Days: 4 or 6 (depending on if you summit Piz Bernina) When: April – Mid May
13. Albula Ski Tour A beautiful less frequented ski tour, traversering from Bivio in the Upper Engadine down to Zernez in the Lower Engadine. Additional potential for an excellent warm up day before the start of the actual tour with a day tour from Bivio. Approx. Days: 6 or 7 When: Mid March – Mid May
What tours have you done in the Swiss Alps?