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Balades a Raquettes In my search for off piste adventure, I headed into the forest to give snow shoeing a try. Snow-shoeing is diverse, brilliant fun and not as hard as you may think. You need a good pair of boots (which you can hire from Club Med) and a guide who will supply you with snow-shoes and poles. My first guide was Antoine who offers a whole host of snow-shoeing and hiking activities (www.baladesducolporteur.com), . You can snow-shoe for as little as an hour or for a whole week. There’s a wonderful day long snow-shoe hike which involves a fondue lunch at an Alpine chalet. There’s also night snow-shoeing and an overnight option to sleep in a log cabin in the mountains. Antoine’s style is pretty relaxed. He clearly knows these mountains and their heritage well, and he’ll soon have you snow-jumping, and bouncing down steep descents which you never thought you’d be capable of. Although perhaps his most impressive feat is producing a large and delicious cake from his backpack along with hot tea at 2,000m! With Mont Blanc in the distance, you can walk in the Mont Blanc forest, in the Beaufortain mountains opposite Les Arcs and up the Petit St Bernard pass along the French Italian border. Antoine caters for varying levels of fitness and stops often – to point out a bird, a particular tree or a mountain. And nothing beats the fact that you’re high up and off the beaten track, in amongst the pines, listening to the silence of the snowy mountains. My second guide, Marie was much more spiritual (Facebook: Marie.Randos). A botanist, Marie’s style of snow shoeing resembled Nordic walking as she taught us to use our poles and ensure we got a full body work out. Marie explained the energy of the forest, the detail of the botany and we stopped to practice Qigong, yoga and meditation along the way. It was just as enjoyable as snow-shoeing with Antoine but
La Passerelle With its peak at over 3226m, the Aiguille Rouge is the highest peak in the Paradiski valley, and they’ve just installed a breathtaking viewing platform, La Passerelle. To get there, you just take the Varet cable car from Arc 2000 – although check the weather first because it’s not always open. At the top, you feel like you’re stepping into air as you enjoy 360-degree views across the top of the mountains. But beware, it’s cold at the top – even if it’s warm and sunny below! Getting back to high octane If you’re not sure you want to spend a whole week in the peaceful serenity of the mountains on foot, don’t despair: Dog sledding From December to April, you can go dog sledding with a team of Alaskan Huskies, including a discovery trip and night rides. en.paradisled.com/ Tobogganing galore And how does 3 km of toboggan track with banked turns, alternating fast and sliding sections sound? Impossibly hard for the beginner (I seemed to do most of it backwards), you do need a valid lift pass but it makes an interesting change to skiing! www.lesarcs-peiseyvallandry.ski France-montagnes.com; UKFrancefr
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