Snowshoeing in the French Alps

“Our only week long snowshoeing vacation in the Ecrins National Park, staying in remote mountain auberge. Led by UIAGM high mountain guide.”


Ecrins National Park | Remote auberge in Champoleon Valley | Remote, untouched Alps | Additional options for zip wire, ice climbing, husky dog sledging or cross country skiing.

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07 Mar 2020
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Our top tip:
You are staying in a remote mountain hamlet, so bring snacks with you to fill your hollow legs when out and about.
Trip type:
Small group. Min. age 16.
Activity level:
Beginners welcome, but good level of fitness required.
Mountain auberge or B&B depending on trip.
Accommodation, all meals, UIAGM high mountain guide, snowshoes and poles, snow security pack, local transport.
Solo travelers welcome. Surcharge for own room.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your vacation will help support conservation and local people.

Snowshoeing is a very environmentally friendly way of exploring the mountains. No mechanised equipment is used or needed and with simple snowshoes strapped to your feet, you can gain access to otherwise inaccessible winter wildernesses.

On the walks our guides will explain the habitat of this harsh and fragile environment and show you the tracks and signs of the wildlife that survive here. You will get to know the difference between a wild boar print and a chamois and suss out if they were running, being chased or just chilling out in the snow!

Some of our snowshoe walks go into the Ecrins National Park which is a protected area for wildlife and there have been several projects to reintroduce animals such as the ibex and safeguard other species from the erosion of development elsewhere. Snowshoeing in these special habitats will give you a good appreciation and respect for the work and it’s importance globally.

We have a range of accommodation on offer and all the hotels, bed and breakfasts and self catering chalets and apartments that we use are vetted by us. We favour family run local establishments over large commercial chains and are always on the look out for ecologically friendly buildings and environmentally conscious proprietors! We have a number of eco-gites on our books and a lot of our suppliers use solar power for hot water due to the climate here.

Our office policy is to be as paperless as possible, to use recycled paper where necessary and re-use envelopes and jiffy bags where possible.

We try and promote train travel wherever possible when discussing ‘getting here’ options with clients as in general it is a far more pleasant and practical experience as well as being better for the environment.

The Impacts of this Trip

The local economy of the Alps in winter is predominantly supported by the ski industry, which other than providing an income for local people is not the most responsible vacation activity for the environment! However it is often the only way local people can earn a living.

The mountains in winter are truly at their most magnificent and there are so many other ways to explore and discover them without having to strap a pair of skis to your feet. Snowshoeing is a great activity that you can do outside of the big resorts, giving you access to some of the most beautiful scenery in the Alps. Our snowshoeing vacations provide an alternative means of making a living for the local people so they aren’t only reliant on the ski resorts.

For example, we have one ski instructor and high mountain guide who has reduced his contract with the ski school in order to have more time to lead ice climbing and snowshoeing trips for us which we are very pleased about! We always use local guides and instructors and rather than bringing over foreign guides.

Because our snowshoe walks often pass through remote villages, we will try to plan a lunch stop or drink in order to support the local community there.


3 Reviews of Snowshoeing in the French Alps

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 06 Mar 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

The husky dog sledding, the ice climb, the snowshoeing itself, being out in such a beautiful environment! And our companions too - the other four people in the party were lovely, and we all got on very well together - enough in common to bond yet different enough for good conversation!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Make sure you've a reasonable level of fitness - don't worry, no need to be superfit, but if you are capable of a good day hillwalking, then you'll be fine!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

We stayed in a small auberge, owned by the local community, and run by the local community, with most food being sourced locally. While there, we very much felt part of the local scene!

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Reviewed on 27 Feb 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?

In terms of exciting, it has to be the ice climbing ... not part of our original plans but I'm so glad it was suggested.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Slow down and enjoy your stay in what really is an "undiscovered" part of the Alps. Traditional villages, small quiet ski centers, snow shoe walks up isolated valleys and friendly welcoming local people. What more could you ask? And remember to take suntan cream and sunglasses.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Reviewed on 15 Apr 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?

Start of March was ideal time with great sunny weather, no troubles with snow on the roads but still good amount for all the activities. Check the conditions if intend to go later as the snow was rapidly disappearing.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?

The guides were local and were interested in the landscape and wild-life. Accommodation used local food/products and were all small businesses that were recommended. So overall benefited locals and minimized impact.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?

Well organized, interesting, hassle free and great fun- the ideal introduction to the activities (snow-shoeing, x-country skiing, ice-climbing) and the region. You obviously pay a premium for the organization but the saved time, hassle justify the cost unless you are on a tight budget or know the region well.

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