Your holiday is about to begin and you have a question buzzing round your head: which routes are best for off-piste skiing in Alagna? Here are our tips:
Alagna Valsesia is well-known in the world of freeride because due to the high altitudes reached by the ski lifts, the differences in height are demanding and tough and the guarantee of snow is almost certain. Many skiers visit us from every corner of the world to experience the feeling of skiing down the hills of the second highest mountain in the Alps.
However, chances are that when you find yourself on the snowy slopes of Monterosa you may feel confused and not know where to go. So, here is our mini guide to the best off-piste skiing in Alagna!
Before starting, remember that it is important to always inquire about possible dangerous conditions from local experts and to always use a safety kit. If you don’t have much experience, it would be a good idea to be accompanied by an Alpine Guide who will help you discover the secrets of the mountains.
- Off piste La Balma
Our first suggestion on the list is without a doubt La Balma: it is a breathtaking descent into the beautiful valley from where the river Sesia originates.
This piste is an absolute must if you want to be able to say that you have done freeriding in Alagna
It is not a particularly difficult route, but our advice is to always pay attention.
The route starts from Indren (Freeride area) with a traverse from where you reach the pass and the old ski-station of Punta Indren. You descend on the eastern side until you reach the Alpe Bors plain.
The return route continues down between Alpe di Bors (see picture) and Alpe Pile snaking through a grove, which is sometimes frozen, and must be approached carefully.
This is the point where you will find Refuge Pastore and where you simply must stop for one of its legendary cold cuts and cheese platters!
To reach Alagna, you have to follow the signs that lead to Acqua Bianca, go down the service road and, once you arrive at Wold, take the shuttle straight to Alagna!
- Off piste The Malfatta
If you visit Alagna often, you will probably have already heard this name. This is one of the most difficult downhill slopes in the area, and for which a lot of experience or the help of an Alpine Guide is needed.
This wild descent that connects the Bors / Indren glacier to the Piode glacier has a complex starting point, with the possibility of abseiling. In the past access used to be via the old Indren cable car, today however, if you want to use the new Funifour you must first reach the old station or alternatively go up the Indren glacier with skins leaving from Stolemberg.
Once you have reached the Indren glacier, continue left remaining at the same altitude in a south easterly direction. When you reach the basin from where the channel of the mines starts, you must find the hill called Malfatta and go up it. The entrance is narrow and steep and a descent using the permanent belay is often preferable. After passing through the entrance you will enter the wide valley that descends towards the valley floor, and if you follow the same stretch as in the Balma route, you will reach Refuge Pastore.
Do you need to be reminded of the cold cuts and cheese platter?
- Off piste Zube
This is possibly one of the most unique ski route experiences you can choose as the magic of skiing midst houses which were built hundreds of years ago cannot easily be replicated elsewhere.
The itinerary crosses beautiful slopes higher up towards Alpe Pianmisura, after which it passes through the Walser villages of Otro. Be very careful in case of poor visibility as there are some rocky jumps that interrupt the continuity of the pastures in the upper section of the path.
The Monterosaski ski lifts will take you to where the route starts in the pass Passo dei Salati which can be reached from both Alagna and Staffal in the Gressoney Valley.
There is a 45-minute ascent using skins or on foot. From Passo Salati, go down the Gabiet piste to the bottom of the plain to where the first nets begin. Exit the piste to the left to begin a long traverse under Corno Rosso which leads to the entrance of the valley that climbs up to the Passo di Zube. After deciding whether to put on skins or to attach your skis to your backpack, go up the valley to take in the magnificent view of Monte Rosa.
From Passo dei Salati you must first cross a small valley (the one that goes down to the Jschechette Channel). After crossing the ridge, you can ski up to Alpe Zube hut (2515 m asl). Beware of the various rocky outcrops and bars that often appear when you least expect it.
From Alpe Zube just head in a south easterly direction, passing under the upper rocky bands until you see Alpe Pianmisura, cross the stream and go up to the other huts (Pianmisura Piccola, 1830 m asl).
Following the mule track you will find the hamlets of Scarpia, Dorf and Follu, with its poetic little church. After crossing the last meadows, you have to enter the woods and ski across the clearings of the old “Camoscetta” piste marked by a colored sign and by following the woods you will reach Alagna.
- Off piste The Olen Refuges
This is a simpler off-piste route and suitable for many skiers (but not to be underestimated) and has a breathtaking view. The real attraction of this section is the possibility to ski at a distance from the overcrowded slopes without going off too far, but we repeat, it is not to be underestimated.
Once you reach the pass: Passo dei Salati using the Monterosa ski lifts, and you stand with your back to the station you cannot but notice the massive top of the horn of the Chamois. Now you need to continue skiing along the top towards the left; there is usually a track. Along the way you will pass the Mosso institute and finally reach Refuge Vigevano and the ruins of Refuge Guglielmina. Here, you should turn right to stay on the path and after a hundred meters, you will find yourself at the top of the Olen valley. At this point you will start your descent. After passing the first stonewalls, ski alongside the ski piste up to Piana Lunga where you can take the cableway ride to Alagna or the funifor to do another descent!
- The Boschetti or Little Woods of Alagna
In this case we are not talking about a true off-piste route, but about a way to get the most out of a snowfall!
Skiing down the return route for Alagna you will find many little woods along the sides which, with a little imagination, can be a source of a lot of fun! Obviously, to avoid ending up in an unpleasant situation, it is prudent to understand if the amount of snow on the ground is sufficient, because towards the valley it is possible that stones and meadows are not completely covered by snow.
Last but not least, it should be emphasized that the only limit to off-piste skiing, taking into account due respect for the mountain and its conditions, is your imagination! Some emotional experiences are obtained with difficulty, others in a surprising manner, but most of the time, constant and careful preparation is needed. Remember that before venturing into paths you don’t know, ask the Alpine guides of Alagna and if you have any doubts, ask to be accompanied!
Alagna off-piste slopes will give you memories of unforgettable descents.
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