3 - 4
FATMAP difficulty grade
The Commonwealth loop is a fun day tour which takes you into some stunning and dramatic terrain.
You will want good stability for this one as you enter and exit through large avalanche runout zones.
You park for this ski tour on the road about 3km past the turnoff for Engadine Lodge.
You will get on the same skin track and route you would take to get to Smuts pass but instead of continuing straight you will veer left toward Commonwealth Peak.
You will ascend through beautiful big trees until you pop out into a very large open valley.
At this point you will be exposed to several avalanche runout zones; this is not the place to linger.
The ascent route works its way up the slope on the right side of the bowl - this is to avoid the runouts off Commonwealth ridge as well as to get to the Col.
The snow towards the Col is often very, very firm but low angle.
Once at the Col you descend a large open bowl below Commonwealth Peak to the valley below.
The descent has significant overhead hazard and shouldn't be taken lightly.
Once you reach the valley you will ski out back across a frozen marsh area and through trees to your car.
While this tour doesn't have a tonne of sustained descending it is certainly beautiful and worthwhile if only to see the very impressive views in this area.
If stability allows and you want to add some vertical to your tour, once you've descended from the Col you could continue up Super Slope (which is the left of the Fist) and descend one of the Tent Ridge chutes.
This is a fun link up in this area.
The skiing on the loop isn't steep with mostly wide open slopes so it's good for intermediate skiers.