Snowshoe guiding in sainte foy
Snowshoeing is a great way to explore the winter mountains. A chance to get away from the noise and speeding skiers on the piste and enter a more tranquil world of snow-shrouded forests, hidden villages, stealthy wildlife and dramatic scenery.
Walking with a snowshoe guide has big advantages - as well as benefitting from a wealth of local knowledge, snowshoe guides are allowed to use the higher chairlifts with their clients (non-guided snowshoers are limited to the first lift). This opens-up a much bigger range of trails and also allows a long walk without needing a huge level of fitness - from the top of the lifts, everything is downhill!
Both I and my wife, Iona, hold the International Mountain Leader qualification and have encyclopedic knowledge of the network of trails surrounding Sainte Foy. We both speak English and French. Click here for info on what to wear and what kit to bring.
Short of time or not sure if snowshoeing is for you? Why not try the snowshoe taster session. A short walk on gentle ground, giving you a chance to try the equipment without having to commit to a big day. You really don’t have to go far to escape the hustle and bustle of the ski areas and experience the peacefulness of the mountain.
Half or full-day scenic walk
A chance to burn off some of that fondue! A walk through a stunning winter wonderland of snow-cloaked forests, hidden chalets and breath-taking views of the mountains. With options to use the ski lifts to gain altitude, a large range of trails lead back down to resort, meaning you don’t need to have a very high level of fitness to enjoy the mountain. Escape the real world for a while and immerse yourself in the natural wonders of the forest.
Gourmet picnic option
Having worked up a healthy appetite on your snowshoe trip, why not treat yourself to a gourmet picnic? You can even add champagne for the luxury touch!
Half or full day powder descent
Discover a different, more adventurous side to snowshoeing! Using the chairlifts, you can reach the top of the mountain, allowing you to enjoy a long downhill descent through spectacular high mountain terrain far outside the ski area, normally only accessible to experienced off-piste skiers and snowboarders. If you would love to see stunning views of glaciers and high, snow-covered alpine peaks, this trip is for you.
Night-time torchlit adventure (with fondue option)
Looking for a fun activity for the family to do together? Or something a bit different to do in the evening after skiing? A night-time snowshoe outing is a great laugh and something you’ll remember for a long time! There is also the option of having a fondue at the Brevettes mountain restaurant, which is always a fun and memorable experience (even if you’re not one of the ones up on the tables dancing to Abba!)
Great for Kids!
Learn how to become an alpine Bear Grylls! Fun and practical skills including: finding north without a compass, shelter building, identifying animal tracks and most, important of all, how to toast the perfect marshmallow. Ideal for families: a 2.5 hour trip packed with activities, only a short 10 min walk from resort.
Avalanche safety training
Love skiing or snowboarding off-piste, but worried your safety skills are a bit rusty? Or completely new to it all? Come and learn the essential skills of avalanche safety; use of transceiver, shovel and probe, understanding forecasts and an introduction to snow science.
What to wear?
Sturdy boots are essential. They need to support your ankle and keep your feet dry and warm. Walking boots or snowboard boots are ideal. Snowboard boots can be rented at the same time as you rent your snowshoes.
Several layers are better than one very thick jacket so that you can adapt your clothing through the day - you will get warm when walking, but can get very cold as soon as you stop (e.g. for lunch).
Jeans and cotton t-shirts are not suitable clothing. They soak up moisture from the snow and will make you very cold and wet. They do not dry quickly. Synthetic materials are better.
Sturdy boots (waterproof hillwalking boots or snowboard boots)
Waterproof jacket (ideally with hood, Gore Tex or similar)
Warm, ideally waterproof trousers
Fleece or wool jumper
Synthetic or wool base layers
Waterproof and insulated gloves (ski gloves ideal)
Wool or fleece hat, covering the ears
Scarf or neck warmer
Thick socks, ideally wool (ski socks ideal)
Sunglasses (with very good UV protection)
What to bring?
You must wear a high sun protection factor sunscreen, even on overcast days. You can get very sunburnt in the mountains, even if it doesn’t feel hot. It’s important to apply sunscreen in all exposed areas, even under the chin, nose and on top of the ears. The sun reflects off the snow, so you can get burnt in places you wouldn’t normally!
Snowshoes and walking poles (these can be rented from local ski shops for around €10 per day)
Rucksack (for food, water, spare warm layers, personal items etc)
Sun screen and lip protection (high sun protection factor essential SPF 30 as a minimum)
Water bottle (bottles better than camelback – the hoses tend to freeze unless well insulated) Snacks (chocolate / cereal bars, dried fruit, sandwiches, nuts, etc.)
other recommended items
Zip-lock bag for wallet and other documents to keep them dry
Personal items (prescription medicine, extra contact lenses and maintenance equipment, extra pair of prescription glasses etc)
Goggles (if windy), camera and extra batteries
International mountain leader
The International Mountain Leader qualification allows holders to lead walkers anywhere in the world, including challenging treks at high altitude. Leading on from the UK Mountain Leader qualification, the IML includes extensive training on leading groups in a winter environment. It is equivalent to the French Accompagnateur en Moyenne Montagne (AMM) award. Both Iona and Steven are fully licensed and insured to work as IMLs in France.