Views, Peace, Wilderness
Snowshoeing is simply walking / trekking in the snow. The people of snowy countries the world over have been using snowshoes for centuries to ease their progress on foot, and the ones we use are modern descendents of those original pieces of equipment. Wearing snowshoes makes the walking easier by stopping us sinking in soft snow, and giving us grip if the snow is hard or icy. The snowshoes adjust to almost any boot size, and are very easy to walk in. After a quick fitting, most people are comfortable on their snowshoes and ready to enjoy their day in around 10 minutes.
How Hard Is It?
Like summer hiking, we can make things as easy or challenging as you wish. Small group sizes and a flexible approach ensure we accommodate everyone’s needs and abilities. I like to find out what these are when you make contact so that, with consideration of weather and snow conditions, I can choose the perfect itinerary for you.
One of the beauties of snowshoeing is that it is non-technical; that is to say that unlike skiing for example, almost anyone can do it without technical instruction, natural aptitude or time spent practising, and yet it gives us access to landscapes that go way beyond the limits of the piste skier.
What Sort Of People Go Snowshoeing?
People of all ages and abilities enjoy snowshoeing, and with our small groups we can adjust distance, pace and terrain according to your interests and aspirations. Wandering the spectacular mountain environment surrounding us, usually well away from the bustle of the main ski areas, enthralls those with a love of open spaces, fresh air and the natural world. Snowshoeing is ideal for summer hill-walkers, non-skiers, or those seeking variety, adventure, or peace and tranquility during their ski holiday.
The Chamonix Valley is a great snowshoeing venue, offering everything from mellow forest trails between picture postcard villages to awesome high mountain wilderness. Our approach is to understand your experience level, interests and aspirations, and use our knowledge of areas, weather and snow conditions to tailor the right itinerary for you.
When To Go?
The season for snowshoeing roughly mirrors the skiing season. Generally we expect good conditions from start December to end April. Mid-winter normally has the most reliable snow conditions, but of course is cold.
Why Hire A Leader Or Join A Group?
It is possible for a beginner to snowshoe independently in the Chamonix Valley. There are some pisted, waymarked trails which can easily be followed, and equipment can be hired at local sports shops.
However, there are some other considerations when walking in the Alps in winter which most visitors will be unaware of:
The most serious of these is avalanche risk. Tens of people die in avalanches in the Alps every winter, and it is a vital part of a leader’s job to assess the risk before and during the walk, in order to make good decisions that ensure the group’s safety. Our leaders have been trained and assessed in this ability.
Weather and terrain in the Alps in winter are unfamiliar too to most visitors, and can pose problems of route-planning and navigation to the unwary, which can quickly lead to difficulties.
As experienced mountain enthusiasts with a wealth of local knowledge, our leaders enhance the snowshoeing experience for customers with knowledge about the local environment, and specialist skills such as bushcraft or animal tracking in the snow.
Finally, there is the logistics / hassle factor. On all our tours equipment hire and training in its use, route choices and navigation, and driving customers to and from the walks are taken care of, leaving you free to enjoy the walking and surroundings. Independent snowshoers are likely to find themselves spending considerable time and effort on these chores.