The Piz Conturines is one of the 3000m peaks in the Dolomites, in Alta Badia. In the big wide West face surrounding the village of San Cassiano, there’s a steep ski line down an amazing and long couloir, first skied by Andy Kostner from Corvara back in the 80s. The long approach from Capanna Alpina, 1100 vertical gain covered in 3.30h/4h, together with a very exposed drop-in along a steep traverse and a 60m abseil in the middle of the run, all of these things have kept the West Couloir amongst the extreme and not so much repeated steep lines of the Dolomites, giving it a sort of “mysterious” and “extreme” tag.
Thanks to the amazing snow conditions of this pre-winter season, I finally had the chance to ski this amazing line )’ve stared at and dreamed of for many years. Let me give you my impression about our journey.
The approach is technically easy, very few switchbacks with the skins but pretty long in terms of mileage and vertical drop, expecially when you want to have your legs ready and not too tired for a demanding descent. It’s mandatory to take it easy on the way up then, don’t rush! We took a bit more than 3 and half hours. The drop-in is quite impressive, but I didn’t find it “extreme”. One sure thing, you don’t want that stretch to be load up with windblown snow!
After the long traverse, the skiing is great, I didn’t find the couloir to be too steep ( I find the Holzer on Sass Pordoi more steeper and narrower overall). The 60m abseil anchor is set on 2 old and rusty pitons, better check them out! There should be a bolt nearby, but it was buried under the snow.
In the last part you it widens up, you can find some snow debris and blocks from old avalanches. The final fields that takes you down the road to Armentarola are nice and easy, you want to have some snow not to have an unpleasant walk out. We had perfect spring snow down there.
Personally I rank the Conturines West Couloir as one of the most amazing ski lines in the Dolomites, a must do for those keen couloir collectors around. Here you have a selection of images. Enjoy!