Mt Etna is also the fifth highest peak in Italy and in wintertime the crusted lava on the mountainside is covered with thick snow making it a paradise for ski tourers and freeriders alike.
Skiing on Etna is an enchanting experience; the edge of the craters at the summit are easily reached by ski tourers. The snow mixes with the dark volcanic ash, lava and sulphur also emitted from the volcano. On the ski down, you can take in the marvellous panorama stretching from the Aeolian islands to the Calabrian coast.
There are in fact, 2 ski resorts based on Etna allowing skiers to make the most of the snowy winter slopes but all sides of the volcano also offer several off piste itineraries. The Valle del Bove is found on east side and is essentially a huge valley 8km long by 4km wide full of couloirs of a gradient of around 35degrees.
The north side offers dependably great snow conditions and easy descents from the north east crater [summit of the volcano] down the ‘quarantore’ couloirs until Piano Provenzana at 1800m.
The west side of the volcano is the most challenging offering a descent from the central crater at Punta Lucia of 1700m vertical descent down natural halfpipes, old craters and a final slalom through the birch trees of Etna.
Here are some examples of typical ski touring days on Etna:
1st day: Valle del Bove
Transfer to Etna southside, uplift with the gondola and then the Valle del Bove descent. Then an ascent by touring ski back up to the departure of the gondola. Lunch on site before a transfer to Aci Trezza for a visit by fishing boat to the marine reserve of Lachea island. Fish supper followed by a transfer to B&B for the night.
2nd day: Traverse of Etna
Transfer to Etna southside with uplift to 2500m. Ski tour up to the summit craters with a subsequent long descent of the north side of the volcano with great views of Calabria and the Aeolian islands. At Pizzi Deneri, there is a long descent of the Quarantore couloir finishing at Piano Provenzana. Afternoon visit to Taormina and it’s greek amphitheatre from where there is a great view of Etna.
3rd day: Punta Lucia
Transfer to Etna northside. Uplift to 2400m and then a ski tour up to Punta Lucia [2932m]; 1000m descent on the untouched west side of the volcano. Ski tour up to Pizzi deneri [2800m] and a descent along Tagara del Leone finishing on the north east side of the volcano. Vertical ascent: 1600m Vertical descent 2000m.
Who is this trip for?
… More people then you think. Ascending Mount Etna isn’t too steep or technical meaning that it is attainable for ski tourers without a lot of experience. You have to be able to ski tour for 3 to 4hrs per day and happy to ski off piste terrain of a medium difficulty. If you have any doubts drop us an email and we can help you decide.
* B&B at the foot of Mount Etna with breakfast “della mamma”
* Mountain guide and Professional ski instructor
* 5 days trip of which 4 days of ski touring and 1 day boat trip
* Transfer to and from Catania airport
What’s not included:
* Lift Pass
* Each day our local guide will take us to some great Sicilian eateries
* Travel insurance
* Lunch and dinner
Price for twin room £890 per person. Single room £990. Twin for single use £1,190.
Full balance to be paid at the time of booking plus your transfer if required.
FLIGHT & TRANSFER:
We will organise a transfer from Catania airport, EasyJet and BA flys to Catania from most UK airports. We will be waiting at the airport from 16.00 on Sunday 01st March – and one of our team members will be waiting for you at Arrivals in our bright orange AlpineItaly jacket. The return transfer will aim to be at Catania airport on Saturday 07th March morning by 10.30 – make sure that you book a flight that leaves enough time for you to check-in, we would recommend allowing at least 2hrs. Please let us know once you have booked your flight.