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What equipment is needed ?
         Snowshoes and sticks
         Snowshoes are provided free of charge. We’ve got enough pairs of TSL 225 and 325, which are easy to use for beginners and very manageable on different types of ground. We also offer other models more suitable for large or small people. We use sticks (provided too) to help to correct those little unbalances and help to make walking easier. If you have your own equipment, of course you can use it.
         Snowshoes adjust to your foot size and adapt to all shoes, boots or après ski boots. Hiking boots are best. Good lace up après ski boots are also very suitable. Out of springtime we rarely get wet feet (at altitude snow is dry!). In the shops you can find special snowshoe shoes, but you don’t need to buy them. They can be rented in the resort’s sports shops (here). Gaiters are also very useful in fresh snow. And don’t forget to wear good quality thick comfortable socks.
         Beginners tend to wear too many clothes ! Wear layered clothing so that the layers can be taken off and put on during the outing. It gets hot on the way up and we need to wrap up warmly on the way down.
         This is why it is useful to have a knapsack in which you can also carry a small bottle of water and a snack. Whatever the weather you should always have gloves, a hat and sunglasses. Don’t forget the sun cream (+ baseball cap or hat for March-April).
On chausse les raquettes à La Flachère Again you don’t need to spend lots of money, your normal mountain clothes are suitable. But if you have the choice or you need to re-equip yourself, choose the «breathing » materials which are now very comfortable. Multi layers are very efficient : under clothes let you perspire (avoid cotton which stays wet and thus cools the body down when we stop). Multi layers also exist for the bottom : long johns or a thermal plus a light Gore-Tex pair of trousers. The aim is to stay dry and warm. And all of this can be used for other outdoor activities.

How is the programme made up ?
The lakes circuit          We never prepare the programme more than a week in advance so we can adapt it to the natural constraints.

         The programme goes from Saturday to Friday and always starts with the easier walks for beginners or as a warm up for regulars. Then the programme is spread out over the week with a selection of outings to discover all the different aspects of the mountain environment : bottom of a glacier, wooded ground, descent alongside a river, walking on an iced over lake, discovery of an isolated hamlet, wildlife observation, nature outing. At the end of the week there are two outings per day, one easy and one more energetic, with a picnic lunch or lunch in a local restaurant.

         see this week’s programme
         The choice of the walks on the programme depends on the sun, snow and safety conditions.
         At the beginning and end of the season the snow conditions are often better at altitude. In this case the snowshoe outings take place mainly around Val Thorens. This is also the period when we offer one or two outings on foot without snowshoes which are of a lot of interest to Alpine fauna and flora lovers. Valley of Le Nant Brun

Crocus in April
         Of course during the majority of the season (from December to April) the whole of the Vallée des Belleville is covered in snow which allows the outings to be interchanged with the « Calme&Nature » walks.

         Certain great classics are on the programme every week, while others only appear occasionally. One slope is possible at the height of winter whereas another will only be sunny enough from February onwards ; a fresh snowfall can make the chamois come down to an easily observable spot etc…

         This diversity also lets us always enjoy ourself and we never get bored. A guide is always happy to go on a walk that he hasn’t done for a while. We can safely say that as the conditions change so much in the mountain, that the walks are never the same. Certain of our long standing regulars will agree with us.

         see this week’s programme

Roe dears seen during the nature walk

Variable hare on the way to the Lou lake
         On rare occasions the programme is changed at the last moment due to heavy snow falls with the avalanche risk that follows, a quick melt which makes the snow-rain line limit rise, a mountain storm etc … The decision is taken when we meet up (the weather changes quickly in the mountains and one must obey nature). The choice is left up to you whether or not you participate in the new outing on offer.

What happens when the weather is bad ?
Le Châtelard          In the mountains, bad weather is snow and for the mountain dwellers snow … is good weather. A fairy tale ambiance, muffled footsteps - under the snow the forest walks are incontestably the most beautiful.

         It’s rare that outings are cancelled. There is always an itinerary adapted to the conditions, make the outing a little shorter if necessary or having a longer rest in a chalet. Snowshoes really let you go out in all weather. One is never cold when walking. Nothing like the cold felt when skiing, when the effort is cut by long immobile times.
         Only a violent wind can be real nuisance. However, the lower the altitude the less violent the wind. Obvious for the föhn (wind from the south) : very strong on the mountain crests, it is almost nothing down in the valley. We have sometimes left the resort in a storm to find ourself in good weather at 1500 metres where we start the walk. Sometimes it’s snowing large snowflakes which fall very slowly. Really magnificent.

Smiles under snow near La Moutière (before limiting to 10)
We’re never disappointed at going out. Those who prefer to stay shut inside are missing the best …
         We are often asked when is the best period to come to Val Thorens or Les Menuires. There is no reply to this questions. Whatever the period we can always have a week full of great weather … or bad.
         In actual fact each period has its plus points. In December, January and beginning of February the days are shorter, but it is when there is the best snow and the most beautiful light on the snowy countryside which leaves that extra memory from the walk. The end of February and March the sun starts to get warm. The walks become more pleasant, the T-shirts come out but the snow quality is sometimes less good. In April and the beginning of May the days are longer (Summer time leaves us several sunny hours on a terrace after an active day), we can « hang around » in the mountain and start to do a few outings in the greenery to spot a marmotte waking up from its hibernation... when it’s good weather.

         Anyway, after many years spent in the mountains, we can affirm that in all our souvenirs of winter, it’s the blue sky that dominates. And at altitude, when the sky is blue … it’s really blue.
  Other questions / answers :
What outing at what price ?
How to book ?
Where is the meeting point ?
What is the standard of the walks ?
How many kilometres do we do ?
What’s the ambiance like ?
retour / back
Brigitte Ruff
Delphine Longo
Gilles Roux-Mollard
Olivier Mainaz

accompagnateurs en montagne
diplômés d'état
    contact :
06 09 56 75 00
Le Gébroulaz n°37  73440  VAL THORENS
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