Winter in the Alps generally means skiing or snowboarding but there are plenty of other activities to get stuck in to. Here’s a guide to alternative winter sports in the French Alps.
Snowshoeing offers a wonderful workout and is a great way to stay in shape and explore the mountains. It’s a low-impact exercise and you can enjoy leisurely walks or harder climbs. Another bonus is you can snowshoe many trails that you might not be able to ski due to trees or low-snow conditions. This doesn’t require any technical equipment and can generally be enjoyed by anyone regardless of fitness levels. It’s therefore possible for everyone to enjoy the magnificent panoramas and trails on offer in the Portes du Soleil.
Fly high above the valley as you zip over Plaine-Dranse village on two zip wires at 140 m. Speeds along the giant 1,200 m zip-wire can reach 100 km/h and the price is around €25/flight. You will pass from the top of the Chaux Fleurie chairlift to the opposite side of the mountain cocooned in a harness.The first cable is 1200m long and the second is 1325m. Access lifts from Pré-la-Joux.
Love the outdoors and animals? Then you need to try husky sledging in the French Alps! In the Portes du Soleil there are professional dog and sledge handlers who can show you a good time. Explore the beautiful landscapes, lined by forests as your huskies dash across the snow.
The snowmobile or skidoo offers the ultimate adventurous escape in the snow. Once the slopes are closed for the night, admire the changing scenery in Avoriaz and Morzine with your new found freedom as you traverse the snowy landscape on the closest thing to a motorbike in snow!
For anyone interested in a taster of ice climbing, you can book a session with a mountain guide and explore equipped with ice axes and crampons in complete safety. Rope, helmet, ice axe, crampons, harness are all supplied and it’s possible to start in Montriond.
The Portes du Soleil has 11 snowparks around the ski area. All parks feature boxes, tables, wall rides, big air jumps, raised bends, air bags and rails that riders of all levels will be more than happy to try out. Avoriaz is a popular place for freestyle fans who will love the five dedicated zones including the superpipe, border-cross, variety modules and the Jake Burton-inspired snowpark, also known as the Stash, which offers several routes through Les Lindarets forest and some wood sections.
Where to stay: Chalet la Fontaine is located in the alpine village Châtel, just 90 minutes drive from Geneva Airport. The chalet sleeps 8-10 people and has a fully equipped kitchen, ideal for families and groups of friends looking for exclusive use of a chalet in the French Alps.