SUMMER 2020 RESORT OPENING DATES [MTB from June 27 to August 30] [SUMMER SKI from June 27]

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A snowshoe session with Les 2 Alpes’ mountain guides office

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We tried out a half-day snowshoe session with Les 2 Alpes mountain guides office to discover the neighbouring mountain ranges and their history. News feature.

We met at the mountain guides office in Les 2 Alpes this morning at 9am. The sun was shining and as it’s snowed a lot over the past few days, the conditions were perfect for our snowshoe session. Pierrot and Laurent, our guides, told us to climb into the minivans as we would be spending the morning in Clavans, in the Ferrand valley. «Ferrand» in local patois means «wild»…

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After a short briefing on the morning’s activity, we were given snowshoes and poles, before heading off. There was no doubt about it - we definitely needed snowshoes this morning as we were walking in about 40 cms of fresh snow. Pierrot went first, and we literally followed in his footsteps, although from time to time we decided to ‘go it alone’, feeling our snowshoes delve into the deepest of snows! The sound of the snow beneath our feet was music to our ears!

All of a sudden Pierrot stopped; he’d seen some chamois mountain goats across the valley on the mountainside. We positioned ourselves on a little promontory, taking turns to play «I spy a chamois!». They’re actually quite difficult to spot as their fur blends perfectly into the brown colour of the rock. Meanwhile, a little higher up another chamois was basking in the sun on a mountain ridge.

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Do you know why there was no forest here before? Pierrot enlightened us: «because the ground was cleared to let the cattle graze ». Pastoralism still has a very important role to play in this valley, even today.

We continued our walk through a sparse forest, where the snow was still just as deep. We worked our way up as far as a hamlet known as Les Prés; the chalets here are empty during the winter due to the risk of avalanches, but in summer, they’re used as secondary residences.

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Pierrot explained that the people who used to live here grew potatoes and grain to make bread. «They only made bread once or twice a year» he told us. It was a very thick, hard bread. If you get the opportunity while you’re here, try the Tourte de Besse-en-Oisans, a local speciality, and give the Farcis a go too if you can. A little higher up the mountain, the farmers made hay to feed the cattle during the winter, and even higher still, they would take the cattle to graze in the alpine pastures in summer.

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Sadly we didn’t quite make it to le Perron, which was our original plan, as we ran out of time. Instead we hurtled back down towards Clavans with with Pierrot. Sideslips, leaps and strides, sliding on your behind…..each to their own technique! Pushing down in the deep snow with all your force is a great feeling.

On the way down, the chamois were still in the same place, but there were even more of them this time!

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We set off back towards Les 2 Alpes with the feeling we’d experienced something truly rewarding and uplifting, at the heart of nature.


Les 2 Alpes mountain guides office

4 Place des 2 Alpes

The mountain guides office is open every day from 3.30pm to 6.30pm and on Sunday mornings from 10.30am to 12.30pm.

+33 (0)4 76 11 36 29

Click here for more info

Photo Credit : Sébastien PERRIER