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  1. #51
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    Sep 2001
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    Dan is an American that moved to Andermatt over 20 years ago. His knowledge of the area is encyclopedic.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  2. #52
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
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    513
    The costs are a lot lower than I would’ve assumed given that it’s one of the most expensive countries in Western Europe.

  3. #53
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    Jan 2009
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    Squaw valley
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    2,519
    Quote Originally Posted by jorion View Post
    The costs are a lot lower than I would’ve assumed given that it’s one of the most expensive countries in Western Europe.
    Nothing is as expensive as in the us

    Sent from my Armor_3 using Tapatalk

  4. #54
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Gaperville, CO
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    3,525
    Quote Originally Posted by jerlane View Post
    Any reason to think that split-boarding would be an issue?
    Check with the guide. Some do not take splitboarders because of concerns about their ability to sidehill on icy skin tracks due to their widths. Splitboarding is still pretty uncommon in the Alps. We did see one doing the route with a different group who seemed to be doing fine.


    Also, is Dan indeed Swiss? He sounds great. I'd prefer someone local or at least European to get the full experience.
    Dan is as Swiss as he is American. He owns the largest guiding company in the area, speaks perfect Swiss german and knows things locally as well as anyone. He knew the hut keepers personally. Since you know, he has a hotel in the middle of the route. I didn't feel like I was missing the experience...although he did have lots of thoughts on more traditional Swiss guides who tend to be a bit more conservative/by the book and less "lets look at all options, the weather, skills of the group, and maximize the skiing experience".

  5. #55
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Bozeman
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    666

    TR: Urner Haute Route 2019

    Thanks for sharing! What an incredible trip.

    Anyone have an opinion on how this compares to the Haute Route or Bernese Oberland tour? I’d love to do one of the three - would probably choose the tour with the most dh skiing if all things were equal

  6. #56
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Boulder
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    954
    Quote Originally Posted by kathleenturneroverdrive View Post
    Thanks for sharing! What an incredible trip.

    Anyone have an opinion on how this compares to the Haute Route or Bernese Oberland tour? I’d love to do one of the three - would probably choose the tour with the most dh skiing if all things were equal
    Having done neither but researched this and the HR, my understanding is the Urner route has more dh skiing. It's often advertised as the HR for people who want to ski more than traverse.

  7. #57
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    The Urner is known as the Skier's haute route.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  8. #58
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    Jan 2014
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    Gaperville, CO
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    Quote Originally Posted by kathleenturneroverdrive View Post
    Thanks for sharing! What an incredible trip.

    Anyone have an opinion on how this compares to the Haute Route or Bernese Oberland tour? I’d love to do one of the three - would probably choose the tour with the most dh skiing if all things were equal
    One thing I'd take into consideration is the popularity of various routes. I haven't done the OG Haute Route but from my understanding you're gonna see a lot more traffic on it than the Urner. Even hitting the perfect weather window, leaving the day after a storm cleared, we still had to have a guide willing to use his local knowledge to ensure fresh tracks most days. Despite that we didn't usually have many other groups staying at the huts (1-2 groups a night besides us on average...maybe 30% of huts capacity.) On the Haute Route everything is gonna be much busier, but if you like the social aspect and the historic aspect that might be okay. The OG HR also is more traversing and less DH focused as North points out.

    The Berner I'm not super familiar with but it travels in very similar terrain to the Urner, just a few basins to the West. I would guess it is similarily not-so-busy area as Urner but that is just a guess. I think it or the Urner should be in the same sort of group. EDIT: Berner also looks to spend a good bit more time on glaciers. That can be cool or a pain depending on conditions. The Urner only spends about 50% of its time on glaciers.

    My next tour like this is probably a few years out, but I think I'd like to try to hit the Dolomites area which is legendary for its couloir skiing and great food and drink in the huts.

  9. #59
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    Dec 2008
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    Bozeman
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    666
    Thanks for the intel. Urner sounds ideal for what I’m looking for


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  10. #60
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Seattle
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    379
    Quote Originally Posted by doebedoe View Post
    My next tour like this is probably a few years out, but I think I'd like to try to hit the Dolomites area which is legendary for its couloir skiing and great food and drink in the huts.
    Awesome trip report.

    Years ago I figured that I wanted to do the classic Haute Route but the more I learned about it (the crowding, the skiing not being all that great) the more I was intrigued by some of the other less popular routes. I also think something in Italy would be great. The Cosley Houston website has a wealth of information and trip reports from a number of high traverses all over the alps. I've always found that to be a good resource for procrastination inspiration. Check out their info about the Ortler Ski touring for some ideas.

    https://cosleyhouston.com/recent-trips.htm
    https://cosleyhouston.com/alps-ski-ortler.htm

  11. #61
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Nashville TN
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    237
    wow, great report. I'm glad you had a good 2nd part of the trip too, and that your poles at least made it back to the right continent.

  12. #62
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    Jan 2012
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    Snowttingham
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    773
    Quote Originally Posted by Buster Highmen View Post
    This has been a good winter for Europe. I don't know enough to claim that's the Urner is good in very dry years though. FWIW, the zone is known as one of the most snow sure in the Alps.
    last season was a good un as well

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    i dont kare i carnt spell or youse punktuation properlee, im on a skiing forum

  13. #63
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    Sep 2001
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    Great write up and pics.

    I keep coming back to the texture here:
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  14. #64
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Jackson
    Posts
    724
    I too have been distracted lately, some thanks to this thread, looking at ski tours and huts. There are so many huts out there it is just silly, relative to what we are used to in the US. I looked at one route in the Otztal alps yesterday that scared and intrigued me.
    I am not sure how possible it would be to do, but I am tempted to make my own adventure there, just skis and a backpack exploring, no guide, small group,make trips out of a hut, return if I want, or move on to the next one.
    Part of my motivation is this book I have from my great grandfather ‘Salute the Skier’ from 1963 by Walter Pause. It was his ski porn I guess you could say. It even has a map of The Jungfrau region above Interlaken, you can see tape on the corners where he once hung it on the wall. I seem to remember notes in the margins of the the first time I looked at it , but have not relocated them. He never made the trip, but I would like to go with the skiers of my generation.


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  15. #65
    Join Date
    Sep 2016
    Location
    NH
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    697
    Quote Originally Posted by doebedoe View Post
    One thing I'd take into consideration is the popularity of various routes. I haven't done the OG Haute Route but from my understanding you're gonna see a lot more traffic on it than the Urner. Even hitting the perfect weather window, leaving the day after a storm cleared, we still had to have a guide willing to use his local knowledge to ensure fresh tracks most days. Despite that we didn't usually have many other groups staying at the huts (1-2 groups a night besides us on average...maybe 30% of huts capacity.) On the Haute Route everything is gonna be much busier, but if you like the social aspect and the historic aspect that might be okay. The OG HR also is more traversing and less DH focused as North points out.

    The Berner I'm not super familiar with but it travels in very similar terrain to the Urner, just a few basins to the West. I would guess it is similarily not-so-busy area as Urner but that is just a guess. I think it or the Urner should be in the same sort of group. EDIT: Berner also looks to spend a good bit more time on glaciers. That can be cool or a pain depending on conditions. The Urner only spends about 50% of its time on glaciers.

    My next tour like this is probably a few years out, but I think I'd like to try to hit the Dolomites area which is legendary for its couloir skiing and great food and drink in the huts.
    The cool thing about a lot of these areas is, depending on fitness and willingness to push, you can customize them to cover more linear ground in a day, less linear ground but more vertical, or just stick to the mellow plan and have a great experience. Some of the traverses I've been eyeing in IT have huts close enough that you could ski an extra hour-plus every day (temps permitting) and knock a day off of the trip. Efficiency won't be the goal for many, but it's noteworthy that you may not be constrained by the guidebooks or the guides' standard routes.

  16. #66
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Posts
    544
    Great TR. I'm with a group that was considering the OG route, and the Urner came up as a likely alternative. There's also a Solomon TV episode on the Urner (at least part of it).

  17. #67
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    943
    Wow, great trip. That tour's always been high on my list, now I really want to go. Looks like just going to the hotel for 3-4 days would be sweet as well.

  18. #68
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
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    Vermont
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    272
    I’ve skied the Haute Route 3x as well as the Berner Oberland and the Oetztal and a lot of others, Silvretta, Ortler, etc. probably 30+ trips over the years. I loved this trip report and the accompanying info. Fantastic luck with the weather and snow. The Haute Route is a mob scene and your best bet for good downhill skiing is on trips like the Urner Route and other kinds of trips to places you’ve never heard of. The Oberland is heavily trafficked as well. The point to point trips are cool because you are on a mission to get somewhere. But most of them don’t give you good downhill skiing options. I find that basing yourself in one spot with access to multiple summits and exposures increases your chances of getting good snow. You also eliminate the problem of being hut bound for a day or two (or more). It’s no fun to pay money to not ski. You also end up carrying a lighter pack. Basing yourself in a hut that’s warm with nice amenities or a well located hotel is a very good option.
    I also agree on the gear choice outlined here. Keep it simple. 95 mm waist with rocker & lightweight. Simple pin binding and a light boot work the best in Europe. It took me a lot of years to learn this. So many great gear choices these days.
    Put together a good group, find a good guide and let him know what you want. Have him put together the trip and enjoy.

  19. #69
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    Sep 2001
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    Quote Originally Posted by Choucas View Post
    ...your best bet for good downhill skiing is on trips like the Urner Route and other kinds of trips to places you’ve never heard of...
    I find that basing yourself in one spot with access to multiple summits and exposures increases your chances of getting good snow... Basing yourself in a … well located hotel is a very good option.

    Put together a good group, find a good guide and let him know what you want. Have him put together the trip and enjoy.
    Hear, hear.
    Merde De Glace On the Freak When Ski
    >>>200 cm Black Bamboo Sidewalled DPS Lotus 120 : Best Skis Ever <<<

  20. #70
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Location
    Vermont
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    Case in point: I spent a week in a non-famous valley in Italy in mid-March this year, and had some of the best touring imaginable every day. Not crowded at all. Fresh tracks every run down. Stayed in a nice 3* hotel at a reasonable price, great food. We had a rental van that worked out to about 100Euros per person for the week which we took to a different trail head each day. Skied back to within a few meters of the van every day but one (ended up in a different valley that time). You don't get the very high mountain experience by doing this but you do get nice long runs. For getting big summits, you need to stay in huts. Also, I said to let him (the guide) put together the trip. I should include having her put the trip together. Many great female guides in the alps.

  21. #71
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Posts
    2
    Chapeau, great trip report and beta dbd, high on the to do list.

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