Guidebook

The Grand St Bernard : An Ideal First Multi-Day Ski Tour

4 days of superb, mellow ski touring around the legendary Grand St Bernard Hospice.

Charlie Boscoe

Description

With a ploughed track leading to it and a warm welcome awaiting you when you arrive, the Grand St Bernard Monastery/Hospice is a wonderful base for a few days of cruisy ski touring. Even in bad weather it's possible to skin up there so you can use storm days to position yourself for when the sun reappears, provided of course that the track isn't too threatened by avalanches from above.

Once positioned you're in for a treat - the Hospice is an extraordinary place which is steeped in history. It is first mentioned in historical documents dating back to the 12th century and in the years since it's seen its fair share of important moments - exploring it and learning its history over the course of a few evenings is a wonderful post-skiing activity. And before you ask, yes, it is where the St Bernard breed of dog originated. In fact, the dogs were still being used for rescues there until 1950's and even now there are a few up there in the summer months serving as a rather hairy (and, it must be admitted, smelly) tourist attraction. In addition to providing history lessons, the Hospice also offers excellent food and accommodation so it's a comfortable and enjoyable place to stay in every respect.

Described here are 4 ski tours - one to get you from the parking at the (now defunct) Super St Bernard ski area to the Hospice, and then 3 from the Hospice itself. One of the tours listed here (the Pain de Sucre north face) is much harder than the others but if you want to keep things mellow then you can just climb the peak and descend the same route, thereby skipping out the north face and the toughest section of the skiing. The other lines are super mellow, smile-inducing affairs.

So if you've always wanted to get into multi day ski touring, here is your start point!

Mont Fourchon
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Mont Fourchon

3 - 4 hrs
7.3 km
681 m
681 m
40 °
A low stress tour which can, conditions allowing, be possible anytime between November and June.
Moderate
Private
Col du Grand Saint Bernard via Col Ouest de Barasson.
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Col du Grand Saint Bernard via Col Ouest de Barasson.

4 - 5 hrs
8.3 km
885 m
343 m
32 °
An ideal beginner ski tour that makes a day of going to the Grand Saint Bernard Hospice.
Easy
Private
Col du Bastillon
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Col du Bastillon

4 - 5 hrs
9.6 km
845 m
845 m
33 °
A great tour on mellow terrain and which has a long season.
Moderate
Private
Pain de Sucre North Face
The best Routes on FATMAP, hand-picked by FATMAP’s Editorial team.

Pain de Sucre North Face

3 - 4 hrs
6.8 km
681 m
681 m
39 °
A steep and exciting descent which can easily be bailed from if conditions are poor.
Severe
Private