Alps Skiing Private Programs
February to May
by private arrangement

Guiding Fees


Booking info

On this page:
Skills required
Suggested itineraries

See also:
Alps ski programs
Alps skiing advice

Frequently we receive requests from a group of individuals who would like to put together their own trip. We have had such good experiences with private trips that in the last couple seasons we have set aside dates specifically for such use. If you would like to put together your own trip, with your own circle of good friends and "funhogs" please read on.

Customized itinerary - You get to create and adjust the itinerary that is right for you. There are many variations and options on this classic tour, some easier, some more difficult, some long and some short. Chose the one that is best suited to you.

Small group size - With a private trip you get just the group size you want.

Just you and your friends - Meeting new folks is all very well, but a small group of like-minded folk often find they work well together, make decisions that please everyone and have a guaranteed great time. Old friends are special, we'll all agree.

Fewer unknowns - With a private group you know who will be on your trip, how well they ski and all their particular quirks and personality idiosyncrasies.

Skills Required

With a private trip you are free to adjust itinerary, route and pace. With a very strong group of expert skiers we can travel faster and farther, taking in steeper and more serious terrain. The converse is also true. With more moderate skiers we can adjust to a slower pace and, to some extent easier terrain.

There are minimum skill levels required for off-piste skiing in the Alps. Basically these fall into two categories, skiing ability and overall fitness. To a limited extent you can adjust your itinerary to meet the skills of your group. These are, however, ski trips, off-piste, in wild and unforgiving snow. On almost every tour we have done we have encountered the full range of snow conditions, from very, very difficult deep and heavy, or terrible breakable crust, to perfect corn, perhaps the easiest snow in the world to ski. The variability of conditions is unavoidable. Team members need to be able to handle whatever Mother Nature throws at us.

Ski skills are far more important the mountaineering experience! A skilled skier can easily pick up basic cramponing and ice axe use, but skiing takes some time to learn.

Two very easy ways to improve skiing ability are;

  • Carry as light a pack as is possible. See our equipment lists for more specific equipment advice.
  • Use fat skis. Many skis specifically designed for touring are too narrow. Look for something at least 90mm wide underfoot. These skis help a great deal when the snow gets heavy, the bane of the intermediate skier. Also, skis with a short turning radius are generally easier to manoeuver. Find a ski with a turning radius well below 20 meters, preferably less than 16.

But these adjustments can only go so far. Ski skills need to be learned and practiced.

Nearly all the off piste ski tours in the Alps require Advanced to Expert ski ability. Below we outline sever possible tours and describe required ski ability. Use the table here to help you decide what your best itinerary might be.

Advanced ski skills

  • Ability to turn through the fall line in deep or heavy snow.
  • Ability to execute parallel or stem-christie turns on 35° firm snow.
  • Ability to ski the fall-line with short-radius, rhythmic parallel turns in good conditions.
  • Ability to side-slip on firm 35° slopes.
  • Ability to skate on level ground.
  • Ability to ski the fall line in moderate moguls in good (soft) conditions.
  • Ability to easily do kick-turns (facing both in and out) on 30° slopes.

Expert ski skills

  • Ability to turn comfortably through the fall line in difficult deep, heavy snow, or bad breakable crust.
  • Ability to execute hop parallel turns or pedal-hop turns on 40° firm snow.
  • Ability to ski the fall-line with short-radius, rhythmic parallel turns in deep light snow.
  • Ability to side-slip, both forward and backward, on firm 40° slopes.
  • Ability to skate on level ground.
  • Ability to ski the fall line in steep moguls in good conditions.
  • Ability to easily do kick-turns (facing both in and out) on 35° slopes.

Suggested Itineraries

All of our ski tours (and many others) can be organized as private trips. See the individual pages for a bit more information about these trips. Queyras Silvretta, Stubai, Ortler, Vanoise, Albula, the "Classic" and the "Alpine" Haute Routes, and the Berner Oberland. All of these trips can be lengthened or shortered to suit your group's inclination.

More information on choosing and comparing different tours on our Alps Ski Touring Programs page.


Kathy Cosley & Mark Houston
UIAGM Internationally Licensed Mountain Guides

AMGA Certified • SNGM members
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