Whacked Out – But a Great Day on the Snow Shoes

Oh, today was a sublime day! Hired snow shoes again, and set off from Megeve Altiport (airport, a small landing strip in the mountains but accessible by car) at about 1500m, walked out across the pistes, over the ridge at the edge of the ski area and out across the snow towards Col de Vrey. Looks about 8km in total (including the return) but today remembered to take the Etrex Vista GPS. Mind you, I think it was having a sulk about not being used for a while, it seemed to think by the time we’d got back to the car that we had covered 60km! At the half way point, whilst having a small snack, it had estimated 8km which actually seemed a little high, so I’ll split the difference and suggest it was 12km round trip. We were out for about 5 hours, with about an hours stoppage for lunch and photos and generally admiring the view.

Because we were off piste, although following a recognised walking route, we were walking through pristine snow fields, although with some tracking due to alpine and normal skiers. Even with the snow shoes, we were disappearing into the snow on occasions, and it’s a little disconcerting when you hear the snow groaning as a result of your footsteps. You can hear ripples expanding out away from your feet, and no doubt in steeper ground it’s exactly the thing that causes avalanches. Needless to say, although it was up and down, we were only on shallow gradients, so don’t think there was much risk to us in reality.

We got to 2000m in height, and were rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding ski areas and mountains. Spectacular! Given the snow quality for skiing, this is just the best way to enjoy the mountains as an alternative (and possibly as a replacement). You realise after a while that as an accomplished skier, you spend an awful lot of time on ski lifts, and avoiding numpties. Once you can walk off the beaten track, you have the place to yourself, which is just fantastic. Ok, I admit that you can do that as an off-piste skier, which we’ve yet to rise to, but actually that can involve a lot of walking to get to the special places. Hiking in the mountains has just become my new passion!

Now enjoying a couple of glasses of red, and wondering why my face is matching the colour of the wine. Oh yeah, forgot the suncream! Oh well, you can’t win them all! Pics and video to follow, having so much fun walking, not getting time to get to the cafe for better Internet access!

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