Post by Mary on January 25, 2018
In the 15 years that we’ve lived and worked in the French Alps Jamie and I have noticed a definite change in weather patterns, particularly during the winter months. For at least the past 7 years we’ve had milder and wetter winters with more extreme weather events and huge temperature fluctuations. Sometimes the temperature can vary by 20 degrees from minus 10 to plus 10 degrees within a 24 hour period. Whether these changes represent a short to medium term anomaly or a longer term more permanent shift in climate due to global warming, providers of winter holidays will have to adapt.
This year we’ve already had several closures of the ski domain due to high winds and landslide or avalanche risks. We think that increasingly resorts will have to diversify and expand the range of winter sport activities they have on offer. If conditions don’t permit or aren’t ideal for downhill skiing/snowboarding holiday makers should be able to choose to go fat biking, snowshoeing, igloo building, dog sledding, ski joering, ice skating, or cross country skiing. Fat bikes are perfect in mixed snow and dirt terrain. Snowshoeing, dog sledding and ski joering are still fun in poor or lean snow conditions. If it’s too windy for the chairlifts to open then folk can stay lower down in the resort and choose from any of these activities. Multi sport winter holidays are not only more adaptable to changing weather and snow conditions, they’re more varied and fun!
This is already happening to a certain extent, particularly in the smaller ski resorts at lower altitudes that suffer most from milder winters. Jamie and I were recently very impressed with the range of activities on offer at Praz-de-Lys/Sommand, a small ski resort a half hour drive from where we live. Praz-de-Lys and Sommand have their own plateau and are linked by the Tour de France featured Col de la Ramaz, which is pisted in winter and can be traversed with snowshoes, cross country skis or fat bikes. There is a great multisport vibe in Praz-de-Lys/Sommand with everyone practising their own sport in a shared environment. As we pedaled up the Ramaz we were cheered on by snowshoers and cross country skiers and all around alpine skiers and snowboarders were coming down the pistes above us. We liked the area so much we’ve launched a fat biking long weekend trip based in Sommand. For more information see here.
It might be a good idea for resorts to offer winter multi sport passes, adapting the idea of the summer multipass offered in Les Portes du Soleil . The pass could include 3 days of alpine skiing/boarding then 3 days of a choice of other winter sports activities. It would also help to open up people’s eyes to the fact that the Alps aren’t just for skiing in the winter. They have so much more to offer!
If you’re interested in a multi sport winter holiday this winter we are renting out our beautifully renovated Alpine farmhouse at Eastertime from 25th March – 1st April. It’s a lovely time to come to the Alps with cool crisp mornings and glorious sunny afternoons. Conditions are normally great for a morning fat bike and an afternoon ski. If you fancy a week of snow adventures, please get in touch. All of the activities listed above are available for booking. Jamie personally offers guided fat biking, snow shoeing and igloo building. The price for the whole house (8 people max – perfect for 2 families) is 3500 euro. This includes 7 nights bed & breakfast, 4 x 3-course evening meals with wine and afternoon tea every day. There’s also the option of a night out in a mountain refuge that you can snowshoe or fat bike to. We will also rent the property on a bed and breakfast basis and you can have use of the kitchen to make your evening meals. The price for this would be 2250 euro.
Contact Mary at [email protected] for information about any of our fat biking or multi sport winter holidays.