Fun on Snow
How would you like to try new ways to have fun on snow?
There is more than one way to explore the mountains in winter, to experience the grandeur of nature’s peace and quiet. Of course, we still love skiing and snowboarding, and all the surprises both seem to always have in store for us. However, so many other incredible ideas open the realm of possibility and offer new opportunities to have fun in the snow!
A wintry night beneath the stars
Here is an outrageous adventure that you might never have imagined experiencing one day. Alpes Bivouac has made your dreams a reality by offering you the chance to spend the night (or several nights) in the mountains in the middle of winter. Just 20 minutes from Annecy, in an eco-designed, environmentally-friendly tent village located in an isolated corner of the forest on Mt. Semnoz, Alpes Bivouac will treat you to a moment suspended in time beneath the stars.
Choose between spending the night in a 7m² igloo that accommodates 2 to 4 people (equipped with composting toilets) or in an alti-dome, an innovative tent concept with a moon roof. This unique tent is eco-designed, developed, and made in locally. Each has a wood stove so that you stay warm and enjoy a comfy, cozy evening as you marvel at the stars above.
Alpes Bivouac pushes eco-tourism to the limit by organizing an all-inclusive day, weekend, or weeklong stays that offer a cornucopia of winter adventures, like torchlight walks in the evening, sliding downhill on snow on a “paret” ski-sled, snowshoeing, alpine ski touring, and other daytime and nighttime activities to enjoy as a couple, a family, or with friends. Immerse yourself in their ethical and environmentally conscious approach for a change of pace and unique experience that demonstrates how to have fun in an eco-responsible manner.
© Alpes Bivouac
Locally grown products cover the dinner table and fill every picnic basket. The Alpes Bivouac team leads by example when it comes to energy savings, waste management, food waste, and taking a break from the internet and our electronic devices for a day or two. Ironically, in today’s modern world, simplicity is a luxury that is worth paying for! This magical experience pulls you away from routine and may even serve to trigger awareness about the nature of certain everyday habits that we have developed that are, in fact quite nonsensical. During this nature getaway, the most valuable connections you make will be those with the environment and the people around you.
More than one way to play in the snow
In the mountains surrounding Lake Annecy, Mt. Semnoz, Talloires-Montmin, and Glières Plateau offer the chance to enjoy winter in many ways. In the Aravis Mountains, take your curiosity even one step further. Alpine skiing and snowboarding for some, cross-country skiing, sledding, and snowshoeing for others; so many snow sports to experience and choose from, and more on the list…
Do you Paret?
If you have ever ridden a sled, bobsled, a snow shovel, or any other variations of the genre, then you will simply love the paret. The original design and modern take on this sit-ski offer a snow-sliding experience like no other. In the beginning, all you needed was a wood sled with a single metal runner, a plank to sit on, and a handle for turning, and no snow-covered slope could stand in your way.
Then along came the Fabwé. Also made with wood like its ancestor, the newer design creates a more comfortable and ergonomic snow-sliding device that can be dismantled.
© OT Manigod
The Yooner, easy gliding
Truly modern in every way, the Yooner, made by TSL Outdoor, focuses its design on technical improvements: a mini-ski, an angled seat turned up along the edges to keep you from sliding off, a curved handle for greater maneuverability, and a suspension system. This snow-sliding marvel makes sit-skiing fun and accessible whatever the snow conditions; you can genuinely carve turns, control your speed, and choose your line without having to be an expert. Try it out on the alpine skiing trails of the La Clusaz and Le Grand-Bornand ski areas. Both allow access to Yooners.
The Snooc, a fun ski touring and paret hybrid
Last but not least, the Snooc offers two different takes on the traditional paret design. One model can be completely dismantled, while the other converts into a ski touring kit for adventures into the backcountry and off the beaten path. A great way to combine exercise on the up and the thrill of sliding on snow on the down, the Snooc is more accessible than ski touring, which requires more technical gear and a lot more experience.
Just pick and choose among the many different ways to slide on snow to enjoy thrilling descents down groomed ski runs or through local forests. Either way, take full advantage of all that Mother Nature has to offer in winter.
© Bastien Taugis
Snowkite any way the wind blows
Mt. Semnoz, one of the earliest hotbeds for the sport, is exposed to wind blowing from every direction, so it figures among the well-reputed spots to snowkite. The winter form of kite surfing, snowkiting, whether on skis or a snowboard, consists of being pulled by a kite while gliding over snow. Offering total freedom by design, Mt. Semnoz maintains two free designated areas to learn to snowkite, and that also include amazing views of the Northern French Alps from the Bauges Mountains to the Ecrins Range.
Not too steep, the terrain has just enough relief to snowkite. For those interested in trying out this wind-powered sport, snowkiting offers the opportunity to travel dozens of kilometers without the need for mechanized transport (i.e., no chairlifts) and to reach top speeds of up to 70 km/hr.
Dog sledding’s storied saga
Glières Plateau is an ideal location for cross-country skiing, with its vast, wide-open, snow-covered alpine meadows that include 29km of groomed, maintained trails between Plaine de Dran, near Glières Monument, and the learning area reserved for beginners. For a truly unique experience, try cross-country skiing on Thursday nights. The starry nighttime ski and extraordinary evening atmosphere are well worth the effort.
Since our goal is to venture off the beaten path, the Glières Plateau Nordic Ski area also offers, in addition to snowshoeing and groomed pedestrian trails, an alternative way to explore the great outdoors. Seated comfortably in a dog sled, a professional musher will take you on an enchanted journey through forest and meadows in this unique location with breathtaking views in every direction.
© Wheeled World
On your marks, get set, telemark!
This style of skiing definitely has its own unique aura. When telemarking, the ancestral way to ski, the free heel requires a specific technique that produces an elegant, charming allure so delightfully old-fashioned.
Making a strong return to the slopes over the past few years, ski schools at most ski areas provide telemark skiing lessons, offering an original alternative to return to the roots of skiing, even though it is much easier to learn for more experienced, advanced downhill skiers.
Experiencing winter under freeze
If you belong to the category of people always looking to push their limits, the Bureau des Guides in Annecy knows how to find just the right extreme sport for you!
Try freeride ski touring
Are you in search of the freedom of the hills while wanting to still play it safe in the competent hands of a high-mountain guide? Then embark on a Freerando Day near La Clusaz, just outside the boundary of one of the most popular ski areas for freeride skiers. What a fantastic great way to discover the magic of an adventure that alternates between ski touring and off-piste skiing, all in a majestic mountain setting with breathtaking views as far as the eye can see. To truly enjoy the experience, you need to be an advanced skier and comfortable skiing off-trail in untracked powder.
© Jérémy Janody
Waterfall ice climbing
Experienced climber or not, would you like to try a winter form of climbing that involves kicking your feet into vertical ice? The Aravis Mountains are filled with ribbons of waterfall ice that offer the chance to explore hidden landscapes and experience new adventures. Armed with ice axes in hand, crampons on your feet, and a helmet on your head, enjoy the unique mix of peace, quiet, and the rush of adrenaline.
It is now up to you to choose your own adventure in the mountains and take advantage of the snow-covered landscapes, while making as little an impact on the natural environment as possible.
© Bureau des Guides d'Annecy
- © Yannros
Journalist: Gaëlle Tagliabue
Translation: Darin Reisman