The ski season is now on! Let me write a very short note about resources that can be used for the ski-tour planning in Swiss Alps.
Disclaimer: these are for people who know about skiing, mountains, avalanches, dangers in the wilderness, and so on. If you are not sure that the description matches you (or if you have never done the thing that is suggested in the next sentence) – get a guide! And go to avalanche courses! And then repeat this!
Great resource on climbing in France and nearby (actually, for all: rock, ice, alpine, ski) camptocamp.org. It is mostly in French, but you can use the automatic translation.
Probably even more important, than the description of the routes, are the posts from people about recent outings. You can see which routes were recently done, learn the current conditions. Not the least of things-you get to know, that the trail is already there!
I quite often first check, what routes people were doing recently, and often repeat one that I like. Or, if I have a definite route in mind, I always look at other outings that were done recently in the region. You can ask the site to show you the news only about some region or regions you like.
And, finally, if you used camptocamp and had a wonderful day in the mountains – take your time and add the story to the site – this will help others!
Of course, you can get rather expensive topos, for example ski topos from the Suiss Alpine Club, but somehow I always found them much less useful, than climbing topos. The specialized maps are, however, extremely good!
Going on skis into wilderness is impossible without a map. In Switzerland there are excellent Snowshoe and Ski Tour Maps. These are based on usual SwissTopo 500m maps, but they have all slopes steeper than 30° shaded red (be careful and check avalanche situation if you go there!), and all the ski routes mentioned in the swiss alpine club guidebooks are shown. The difficulty and estimated time is given for each route on the back of the map. Basically, This is all the information you need (plus good judgement, meteo, and notes on camptocamp)!
There is also a free way to get printouts of normal SwissTopo maps http://map.geo.admin.ch. But no ski routes on this site!
Current conditions and forecasts
slf.ch is a very detailed avalanche bulletin for Switzerland. Not going out of my home in winter without checking it in the evening! (Ok, probably I would risk to go downtown Geneva at my own risk… No, let me better check it one more time!) At the same time, it has some very interesting information, like snow maps for new snow, snow depth. You can get not only the vital information about the safety of the trip, but also find a place where you can expect great skiing!
Meteoblue has a very decent forecast for Switzerland, especially about the snow and rain. Note the small rainSPOT pictures—they give a good feeling, whether the forecast has a glitch with rain just in the place you are looking for, or this is a real rain everywhere around!
Meteofrance has a very nice “Montaigne” section, which includes mountain weather and avalanche bulletins.
And again, all is already done before – a very good list of links for preparation is here Prepare your course non camptocamp.
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