What is Snowshoeing?
Snowshoeing involves strapping plastic 'raquettes' onto your walking boots which spread your weight out over the snow and provide traction using small metal spikes on the bottom of the raquette. This allows you to enter the beautiful, silent and majestic snow covered terrain of the mountains in winter.
Is snowshoeing very strenous and tiring?
When you come on a snowshoeing walk with us we want you to enjoy it. We never ask people to walk further than they want or to go on a walk which is too strenuous for them. We have every kind of walk available from a 2 hour snowshoe stroll on an almost flat plateau to wild and exciting 6 hour days spent exploring mountain tops and valley bottoms. Walking in snowshoes is only slightly more strenuous than walking in walking boots and this is countered by the fact that one tends to walk more slowly and cautiously (and that you are enjoying the views and stopping to take photos). We regularly take people in their 60s and 70s and our oldest client yet was 82 (to be fair she was fitter than most 40 year olds...)
What is a snowshoe?
Snowshoes are almond shaped plastic and metal 'shoes' which you strap your foot into. They have a hinged toe allowing the majority of the snowshoe to drag along the ground thereby reducing the amount of weight you have to lift with each step. They have spikes on the bottoms to stop you slipping, claws on the front to dig into steep banks of snow and ice and an adjustable heel which allows you to raise your heel up to make walking uphill easier.
What terrain do we walk through?
Gently rolling slopes, snow covered mountain trails, forest trails, near frozen lakes. The terrain is always gentler than a ski slope and often prettier and very unspoilt as we do not have to stick to prepared slopes or remain near uplifts as skiiers do.
Our walks are graded according to fitness and technical difficulty. See the Our Walks page for details.
Where do we walk?
We take you to the best that the Portes du Soleil ski region of the French Alps has to offer. We stay in Morzine which is the largest town in the region and then access the beginning of walks either via cable car and ski lift or via the excellent free shuttle buses.
Do we have to take the ski lifts?
It isn't essential to take any cable cars or ski lifts if you do not enjoy the experience as many excellent walks can be accessed without needing to use the ski lifts. However some of the best walks do require the use of the cable cars and ski lifts and so most mixed groups will probably want to do so. However if you have a group of 6 or more you can have your own exclusive holiday tailored to your requirements.
How big are groups?
We generally walk with 6 or less though can take up to 12 if a large group wanted to go together. We rarely encounter anyone else during the day.
How fit do you have to be?
Due to the wide variety of different levels of walks in the Portes du Soleil region we are able to tailor holidays to the requirements of the group. If you enjoy going for a walk you will enjoy snowshoeing! We are there to enjoy the scenery and get a bit of exercise- we are not there to challenge ourselves or to train for a military expedition! We have taken individuals over 70 years old snowshoeing before and others who have do very little exercise for years- they all loved it. We won't push you to do anything you don't want to do.
How old / young do I have to be?
We recommend snowshoeing for everyone! Young kids will obviously limit the kind of walk you can do but we have had great days out with 3 year olds even. We do not have a cut-off at the upper end either- if you think you're up for it then you probably are. In fact we especially recommend snowshoeing as an excellent form of cardio-vascular exercise for individuals over 60.
What can you see on the walks?
Apart from the scenery, views, forests, cliffs and valleys there are many animal tracks to try to identify as well as many wild animals which you may be lucky enough to see live. These include (in order of commonality) chamois, mouflon, hares, foxes and marmottes.
Where is Morzine exactly?