Chapter 2 – Different ways to experience Snowshoeing
A dedicated week for it or just a few days…
Our blog post on snowshoeing continues… We understand a lot of you while enjoying the outdoors around home, can’t travel to the Alps this winter. In the meantime we hope you will find these tips and advices useful. It is also an opportunity to share some of our numerous photos of previous trips!
if you have missed our previous article check it out @ Snowshoeing Chapter 1.
From a week dedicated to snowshoeing to just a day to try for the first time, many other options are possible.
If you dedicate your winter holiday week to snowshoeing then the two options possible are centre based or point to point. Generally speaking these options are for regular hikers, who walk the hills and mountains available around home, and travel to the Alps, the Pyrenees or different places in Europe regularly.
A center base option is basically to stay in the same place all week long in a rental accommodation or a hotel. The big advantage of this of course is the level of comfort you can get. Not having to move and pack your luggage every day is a big bonus and you have time to get to know the place, the nice shops around cafes and restaurants. Also you will have time to organize yourself to dry your clothes, which can sometimes be an issue when you move everyday. If you rent the equipment and have any issue with it you can get it replaced very easily.
Point to Point…
A point to point trek is the most serious way to enjoy snowshoeing. By serious I mean engaged as once you have your itinerary lay out it is difficult to change it as you will have your different accommodations booked along your itinerary. So even in case of bad weather, you may have no choice but to reach the other point regardless of the conditions. Different levels of comfort are possible, either to stay in Hotels or Gites (France) / Albergo (Italy) where you will get your own room and most of the time en suite, but you may have to spend some nights in mountain huts if you want to experience the magic of it or just as you may have no other options along your itinerary. In mountain hut you need to be prepared to share a dormitory and shower / bathroom too. Having said that the comfort is much better than it used to be but varies greatly from places to places. The most touristic places have the best huts (Dolomites, Tyrol), while some part of the south French Alps or the French have more basic huts. Some huts I like particularly are Refuge Buffere, Rifugio di Viviere, there are so many, it would deserve a full article on it !
Just a few days
If you are planning a ski holiday then a good way to start is to take a day off to try snowshoeing. Multi-activity holiday is on the increase in the last 10 years as many want to experience a mix of mountain sports like dog-sledding, snowshoeing, ski touring, winter walking, ice climbing, sledding and many other things! Many ski resorts offer snowshoeing routes you can take safely. In France Serre Chevalier, south French Alps is a good resort for this, as well as Valmorel (Savoie). To try snowshoeing like this, there is no need for much planning, you can basically organize everything on site, get the information from the local tourist office and hire the equipment locally. You can also take part of a group and go with a guide, probably the best option to try for a day.
So there are many different ways to experience snowshoeing in winter, to me the ultimate way to do is on a point to point mountain hut trip, but this is also the most demanding way, and unless you are experienced in navigation and snow / avalanche risk, you will have to hire a guide for it.