At 6:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 29, 2018, a group of ten skiers set out from a secluded mountain hut more than 9,000 feet up in the Swiss Alps. Perched on the top of a rocky hill surrounded by towering peaks and mountainsides, the Dix hut is a quirky, three-story stone building with a beautiful, south-facing terrace. It’s a popular stopover for skiers traversing the Alps on multiday tours that combine backcountry skiing with a surprising level of overnight comfort.
The sky was just getting light as the group put on their skis and headed for the Cabane des Vignettes—another alpine refuge, about six hours away, across high-alpine terrain filled with glaciers, cols, peaks, and magnificent slopes of unbroken snow. It was the fourth day of a planned six-day tour between Chamonix, France, and Zermatt, Switzerland.