Queyras Snowshoe Winter Paradise
Queyras Snowshoe Winter Paradise
Queyras Snowshoe Winter Paradise
Queyras Snowshoe Winter Paradise
Queyras Snowshoe Winter Paradise
Queyras Snowshoe Winter Paradise

Queyras Snowshoe Winter Paradise


Snowshoeing in the Queyras

A magnificent snowshoe adventure in one of France's best kept secrets: the Queyras Regional Natural Park. It's widely considered as one of the most beautiful mountain areas in France due to its wild, unspoilt mountain valleys, impressive rock faces and jagged ridgelines in abundance. This is the place to get away from it all and enjoy these magnificent mountains far from the crowds.

Highlights

  • Remote wild valleys
  • Spectacular mountain views
  • Away from the crowds
  • Gorgeous village base
  • Return airport transfer included
  • Excellent auberge accommodation
  • Sauna available 

The Queyras Park lies south of the ancient town of Briancon, a World Heritage Site, and is just west of the Italian frontier. We base ourselves in a very cosy and comfortable auberge in the characterful village of Aiguilles. There are eight mountain villages in the Queyras, and in terms of mountains the Park includes several summits over 3000m (9840ft) such as the Pic de la Font-Sancte, and the Pain de Sucre. The Queyras villages are integral to the character of the landscape, with their numerous sun-dials, wood crafts, and exceptional lace.


I would simply say that the week was fantastic, wonderful organisation, hotel, weather, transport arrangements, and a brilliant guide in Gary who could not have done more to look after us in every way. Definitely 10 for the rating and would always wish to book with you in the future.

Itinerary

  • house
  • airport
  • transfer
  • This evening we meet at our accommodation in Aiguilles when your guide will be available to discuss the itinerary and answer any questions about the week ahead. Please note that for those arriving into Turin airport a transfer is included, departing at approximately 1630 hrs to allow us to arrive in Aiguilles in time for the evening meal. 

  • We ease into the week by heading for an excellent view point which gives a good introduction to the area. We begin by wandering through the larch forests on a steady trail before gaining the ridge line and the summit at 2391m (7842ft). This is one of the best belvederes of Saint Veran, the highest village in Europe to be inhabited all year round sitting at a height of  2050m (6742ft). There is the possibility of doing a loop on our descent to vary the terrain and views, and we will also aim to do some training. This will involve some snowpack science, and a chat about mountain safety in winter. We will stop at St Veran for a well earned ‘refreshment’ before heading back to our hotel. It is a great opportunity to check out the ancient architecture and traditional style of the village buildings.

    Ascent: 762m (2499ft) Descent: 730m (2394ft) Distance: 7.5km (4.7 miles) 5.5hrs

     

     

  • Today we are aiming for the summit of a mountain that rises above the ancient village of Chateau Queyras. We wander through the pine forests, zig-zagging our way up the mountain side until we reach our destination at Sommet Bucher at 2254m (7393ft). The trail to the summit climbs very steadily, with gentle slopes, yet it offers an incredible panorama that includes the Ecrins mountain range, and in fact you can see all the way to Monte Viso in Italy. Monte Viso 3841m (1259ft) is well known for its pyramid-like shape and, because it is higher than all its neighbouring peaks by about 500m (1640ft) it can be seen from great distance. On a very clear day it is said it can be seen from the spires of Milan Cathedral. 

    Ascent: 846 m (2122ft) Descent: 846 m (2122ft) Distance: 10km (6.2 miles) 5hrs

  • More picturesque villages on offer this morning as we head for the Col de la Creche. We begin with a climb up a steep mountain road to the community of Les Meyries, from where we begin. A gorgeous ascent then follows through the snow covered pine forests, until we rise above the tree line. It is about now that the impressive ridge leading to the Pic de Agrenier comes into view on our right hand side.  We then swing round and aim for our goal at the Col de la Creche. At the Col we have excellent views over the region. We then make our way a little further through the sculpted mounds and ridges of snow to claim the summit ridge!

    Ascent: 609m (1997ft) Descent: 609m (1997ft) Distance: 9km (5.6 miles) 6hrs

  • We start at the Montbardon trailhead, with the high alpages of Fontantie as our goal. This is a superb mountain pasture, and we should get a great view over the Ecrins National Park from the top which sits at 2500m (8200ft). The pastures are home to the cow herds during the summer months, but in winter they are a silent snowcovered landscape with all the cattle safely 'tucked up' in the barns in the valley. As with all the Queyras area, on a good day,  we are ewarded with views of snow covered mountains, and ridge lines as far as the eye can see. 

    Ascent: 791m (2594ft) Descent: 788m (2584ft) Distance: 9km (5.6 miles) 6 hrs 

  • This is one of the classic winter peaks of the area and will be our highest summit at 2656m (8711ft). We drive to the lovely old village of Abries, before taking a stunning side valley to the hamlet of Le Roux. Here, we begin our hike up a mountain that offers incredible views of the range. Definitely one of our favourite snowshoe days! A fine summit awaits, and if the weather is kind you will without doubt be impressed by the photo opportunities. This is a challenging day out, but one with its own rewards!

    Ascent: 910m (2984ft) Descent: 910m (2984ft) Distance: 8km (5 miles) 6hrs

  • The Col sits at 2701m (8859ft) and is an excellent goal for a great day out. We're spoilt for choice today with a couple route options available. We can either do a circuit from St Veran, over the Col and down to Fontgillarde, the last inhabited village before we reach the Italian frontiere, or a smaller loop from Fontgillarde and then back to the village. Both are worthwhile and will be a good end to the week. Facing north we can be (almost!) guaranteed some powder, or at least we can hope. The statistics given below are dependent on our route and the option taken. 

    Ascent 738m (2420ft) Descent: 2535ft) Distance: 8.5km (5.3 miles) 5.5 hrs

  • Departure day and our morning transfer to Turin airport, Italy. Please ensure that any departure flight is after 1300 hrs. The journey to Turin will take approx 2.45 hrs.

It is always our aim to complete the proposed itinerary outlined above, however, it may be necessary for our guides/instructors to adjust the daily itinerary based on the weather conditions, group safety and enjoyment.

Accommodation

On all our trips we aim to accommodate our guests in well-situated, clean, characterful, family run accommodation. We are painstaking in our research to give you the best option possible and one that is good value. Our suggested accommodation, listed below, is subject to availability at the time of booking. We have given details of our favoured venues and those we intend to use. If unavailable we will book alternative accommodation of a similar standard.

Our trip fees are based on two people sharing a room. If you are travelling on your own your booking will be based on a twin bedroom sharing with someone of the same gender. 

However, on many of our trips single rooms are available on request for a supplementary fee. We recommend booking as early as possible to secure a single room as these are always limited in number. Please contact us for details. 

Yak Avenir, Aiguilles

Auberge

The Yak Avenir is a characterful Auberge with a great atmosphere. This old building has bright and cheerful rooms done in 'montagnard' style with en suite facilities. The spacious living area has a vaulted roof with a wood burning stove and is ideal for 'chilling out' at the end of a day in the mountains. The meals are from local produce and reflect the cuisine of the area. Charlotte and Phillipe who run the Auberge tell us that this winter they will have installed a spa and sauna!


  • There are various options for getting to the Queyras and our base in the village of Aiguilles. You can take the TGV train from the UK to Paris and then head south to Mont Dauphin/Guillestre. Information on trains from www.raileurope.co.uk.

    From there you can take the bus to Aiguilles or alternatively hire a taxi for the 30km (18.7 miles) journey which takes approximately 40 minutes. The bus times are available from the Office du Tourisme. 

    Turin, Italy is the nearest airport, and as mentioned above we have included a transfer from Turin to Aiguilles at a time to suit the majority of the group, but no later than 1630 hrs on the arrival day. The transfer time is approximately 2.45 hrs. Your flight back from Turin should ideally be from 1300 hrs onwards on departure day. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss flight and transfer times.

    Early arrivals can either wait at the airport, or if enough time allows make use of the 50 minute Turin Eco City Tour detailed on the Turin Airport website.

  • You must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity, including helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. We also advise you take out Trip Cancellation/Curtailment Insurance in the event of you being unable to join the trip. The insurance referred to should only be purchased AFTER we have confirmed your trip is guaranteed to run. 

    The insurance clause set out in our 'Terms and Conditions' is below:

    Insurance: It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical expenses, injury, illness, death, cost of repatriation, and personal accident risks. This must include cover for the activities to be undertaken during the trip. For tours taking place outside the United Kingdom you must ensure that your insurance covers rescue from the mountains, including helicopter rescue. It is the right of the leader to make a decision to call for helicopter rescue if such assistance is needed. Costs incurred by you, the client, due to an evacuation, rescue or other emergency shall be your responsibility. Any subsequent costs incurred for expenses, not limited to but including such costs as hotels, food, transport etc, shall be borne by you, the client. You are responsible for ensuring insurance cover is adequate for the particular needs of your chosen activity. You must be fully aware of the implications involved in arranging your own travel insurance and understand the limitations and exclusions of the policy. By agreeing to our Terms and Conditions you are authorising Tracks and Trails Ltd, or the person employed to lead the trip for Tracks and Trails Ltd, to instigate rescue and/or helicopter evacuation procedures without previously obtaining the permission of the company issuing your insurance policy. We reserve the right to cancel your booking at any time if we are not satisfied you have the necessary insurance policy covering your activity. Please ensure that your insurance covers you to the maximum altitude given on your trip itinerary. If you are unsure or are joining a bespoke trip then please contact us for specific details. Most of our trips have a maximum altitude of 3,000 metres (9840ft), except the Tour de Monte Rosa which reaches 3316m (10,877ft). You must bring all insurance documentation with you at the time of the activity. We also recommend your insurance covers you for trip cancellation and baggage loss/damage. Tracks and Trails Ltd are unable to accept responsibility for the loss or damage to any client equipment or luggage.

    For further details, please read the Insurance section on our website.

  • Winter mountain weather in the European Alps can vary considerably, and in this respect it is no different to any mountain environment where the terrain influences the weather and it can change from valley to valley. 

    In winter the weather can deliver everything from clear blue skies, and glorious sunshine, to heavy snowfall and strong winds. Essentially, as with all mountain journeys, you should be prepared for any eventuality.

    Temperatures vary depending on the month, generally December, January, and February are colder, but by March and April the temperatures are warming up and spring is on the way. 

    In December and January they can range from -10°Celsius (14°F) to 3°Celsius (37.4F), in February from -5°Celsius (23°F) to 7°Celsius (44.6°F), and in March from 0°Celsius (32°F) to 13°Celsius (55.4°F). 

    The above figures are a general indication only as the weather can vary considerably year on year for any given month.

     

  • For each of our trips there is a minimum number of guests required to book before we can 'guarantee' your trip will run. This is normally 4, and on some occasions 5. 

    In the 'Dates and Prices' section you can hover over the 'Status' button to see how many more bookings are required for your trip to be confirmed. 

    The maximum number of guests that we take on any given trip is indicated in the 'At a Glance' box on the right hand side of the trip page. 

    We will, on occasion, run trips that have not reached the minimum number because our guests have agreed to pay a supplement to allow the trip to go ahead, enabling them to book their travel. If the trip then reaches its minimum number we refund the difference. Do contact us if you wish to discuss this option. 

    We strongly advise you do not book travel until we have confirmed your trip is 'guaranteed' to run. If you book travel before we have confirmed it is 'guaranteed' we cannot be held responsible for any financial loss if the trip does not go ahead.

  • After we have processed your booking we will send you a comprehensive clothing and equipment list that is appropriate to your trip and activity. There will be some items on this list that we strongly recommend and others which are suggested. Our list is based on our experience of what is needed for any particular trip, but it is not the definitive article! If you have items you like to use then do bring them, but be aware of over-loading your 'day' rucksack with items that are heavy and therefore making the trip more challenging.

    Please contact us if in any doubt about what to bring.

  • When booking a holiday as a solo traveller a twin bedded room comprising of two single beds, is booked as standard. This will be with someone of the same gender unless you request to pay extra for your own room. Single rooms are often limited in supply so if you would like to pay a supplement for a single room we urge you to get in touch as soon as possible. This trip has a single supplement of £140. 

  • On many of our trips there will be an element of 'group kit' which will be shared amongst our guests. As mountain people you will be used to team work and working together to the mutual benefit of the group.

    The 'group kit' will be minimal and simply a case of sharing out a few lightweight 'survival shelters'. On a week-long trip you may carry a small shelter for just one day before passing it on to the next person. 

    On many of our cross country ski trips to remote areas there will also be a few additional items to share such as the grip waxes/klisters, spare pole, and snow shovel. These items are shared in such a way that no one is over burdened. 

    Other group items necessary for safety and comfort will be carried by your guide/instructor.

  • We go to great lengths to work with first class guides and instructors who are passionate about their work. They are all fully qualified, and insured, and hold the correct documentation.

    Please note your guide/instructor has complete discretion to make a daily decision on whether or not to take the advertised route based on the weather and the ability of the members of the group. They have our authority to make any route changes they believe are necessary in the interests of safety and enjoyment. 

    For our walking, family, and snowshoeing trips your guide will be a fully qualified and experienced International Mountain Leader. For our running trips your guide will be an International Mountain Leader, and an experienced mountain 'trail runner'.

    If you have booked on a cross country ski trip you will be with a fully qualified professional BASI Nordic Ski Instructor or equivalent. BASI is the British Association of Snowsport Instructors. 

  • This is a general statement with regard to luggage and is not specific to your trip. Please read on.

    Point to Point

    The majority of our point-to-point trips have luggage support which means your bags are transferred each day to the next accommodation and you only need to wear a small/medium sized 'rucksack' for items you might need during the course of the day. 

    On some trips which feature a night in a refuge/rifugio/hut your main luggage may not be available that evening due to lack of vehicle access. Your rucksack should be of sufficient capacity to carry a few extra items required for this overnight. Your trip itinerary will indicate on which nights you do not have access to your main luggage. If in any doubt please contact us

    Centre Based

    For our centre based trips, in other words where you are staying in the same accommodation all week, you are welcome to bring whatever luggage you require. However, do refer to the note below with regard to 'size' and the lack of elevators in some hotels. 

    Size of Luggage

    Please note that many hotels do not have elevators. This means you may need to carry your luggage to your bedroom. 

    On our point-to-point trips where your luggage is moved along the route by taxi we ask that you keep the weight to a maximum of 15kgs (33lbs), and ONE bag per person. Many of the taxi companies who move your bags impose a 15kg (33lbs) limit and restrict the number because they have to unload and reload the vehicle each day. If you take more than one bag you may be asked to pay a supplement. 

    Luggage on wheels is a good idea, and as stated you need to be able to carry your luggage to your bedroom which may involve climbing several flights of stairs.  

  • We do not include lunches in your trip fee for various reasons. We have found our guests have particular tastes and requirements for 'trail' or 'hill' food and it is better you choose and buy what you require. Buying supplies and trying local specialities is a great way to inter-act with the local people and to practise your language skills. 

    Lunches on our trips are 'picnic' style lunches, in other words you take a packed lunch with sufficient snacks, food and fluid to sustain you throughout your day of activity. If there is the possibility of lunch being taken at a restaurant/farm/cafe beside the trail, your guide/instructor will advise you of this. 

    Each evening you can choose to order a picnic or a sandwich from the hotel, or your guide/instructor will advise you of other options such as a local shop or market and whether you need to purchase items in the evening or if the shop/market is open early enough the next morning not to delay your start. In all cases we would always ask you to settle any 'bill' for lunch or drinks in the evening and not in the morning when there may be a queue. 

    Norway and Sweden

    Norway and Sweden are the exception to this rule and these trips include a packed lunch in your trip fee. You can also bring a thermos flask and have it filled with a hot drink. The reason for this is the remoteness of the accommodation and the scarcity of shops. It is the tradition is to create your packed lunch from the breakfast buffet and the choice is usually substantial with something for all tastes. Please note that in every other country making your lunch from the breakfast is NOT considered acceptable.

  • On your itinerary you will find an indication of the amount of ascent and descent you can expect each day. This offers a guideline to how much effort might be expended each day and allows you to decide, based on previous experience, if your fitness and stamina are correct for the trip. 

    We make every attempt to ensure these statistics are as accurate as possible, but ask you to note that the most modern of technology used to record these details can show considerable variations in terms of ascent, descent, and in particular distance. In other words no two people using GPS devices on the same route will have exactly the same details recorded at the end of the day. 

    The statistics given should be used as a 'general' indication of the effort required. 

  • It is useful to arrive at your destination with some cash in the local currency, however, on most occasions it is relatively easy to visit a 'cash machine' after arrival and withdraw money on a credit or debit card. Some of our locations are an exception to this in particular Norway, where the accommodation will often have no facilities for withdrawing cash, but they will take a credit card. 

    On many of our trips we will visit remote cafes/farms where it is wonderful to enjoy a drink and a cake, at places such as these they will only accept payment in the local currency in cash. 

    On our walking and running trips which take in the route of the 'Tour du Mont Blanc' you will find that Euros will also be accepted in Switzerland as we are never far from the frontier, but the exchange rate will be poor.

    Below is a list of the currency and the currency symbol for each of the countries where we run trips:

    Italy = Euro/€

    Germany = Euro/€

    Sweden = Krona/SEK

    Norway = Kroner/NOK

    Bulgaria = Lev/BGN

    Switzerland = Swiss Franc/CHF

    Finland, including Lapland = Euro/€

    Spain, including Mallorca = Euro/€

    France, including Corsica = Euro/€ 

    Poland = Zloty/PLN = Euros will be accepted, but some local currency is advisable

    Czech Republic = Koruna/CZK - Euros will be accepted, but some local currency is advisable

  • Food

    On all our trips we prefer if you can experience local tastes and dishes that reflect the culture of the country we are visiting and for this reason many of our accommodation options will be family run with a reputation for the traditional food of the region. 

    If you have a 'special' diet because of an allergy or intolerance to a certain food type which will make you ill the accommodation will cater for this as best they can, eg gluten free, nut free, lactose free. 

    If you are vegetarian then this is not a problem as the hotels/refuges are used to being asked for vegetarian meals. This trip is not suitable for those who follow a vegan diet or those with other more specific dietary requirements. Gluten-free diets will be possible with regard to the evening meals, but you would need to bring along some gluten-free snacks for your breakfasts and lunches.

    If you have a 'special' diet which is NOT because of an allergy or intolerance, and is not 'veggie' then we cannot cater for this. The accommodation on the popular routes will be catering for many people each evening, in some cases up to 70/80 meals per night, 7 days a week, and realistically they cannot produce many different meal options unless the food will result in illness. 

    Water

    The countries we visit all have tap water that is drinkable. If for any reason a particular hotel is having a problem with a remote mountain water supply they will normally post a sign over the tap indicating that you must not drink the water. At all times you are welcome to ask your guide/instructor if the water can be drunk. We would ask, for environmental reasons, that you avoid using single-use plastic bottles, and bring a water bottle that can be used repeatedly. 

  • A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required for visits to countries outside the EU, such as Norway. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice.  

  • We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

    http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

    Note that if your trip involves staying in a mountain refuge/rifugio/hut that electric sockets may be in short supply and for that night you may not be able to charge any items. Although the accommodation will have electricity this will often be supplied by solar panels or a generator and limited to use by the staff. For this reason we advise that carrying a small slimline and lightweight 'battery pack' can be very useful for recharging phones which many of you will also use as your camera. 

  • Before booking consider whether you expect to be in the appropriate physical condition on the date of your  departure to allow you to fully participate in and enjoy your holiday. If you have any doubts because of an illness or injury it would be advisable to check with your doctor.

    UK residents should obtain and bring with them the free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment in certain European countries, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance. We advise that you always carry your insurance documents with details of the Emergency Medical telephone number for your insurance provider, and your policy number. 

  • We feel strongly about protecting the environment and do not encourage the use of single-use plastic items. We would ask that you arrive with a ‘water bottle’ or ‘hydration system’ that can be used repeatedly. We would point out that we operate a ‘zero tolerance’ for rubbish, and would ask you to remove all your rubbish items from the mountain even those you consider to be bio-degradable. In particular we ask that you remove any toilet tissue.

    You can read our full policy here.

  • Working across international boundaries, and with various currencies means that the price of our trips can change overnight. We have, however, undertaken to guarantee that once you have paid your deposit the price of your trip is fixed. In this respect we urge you to book early to ensure that you receive the price advertised on our website. The website price may increase due to currency fluctuations, but we guarantee that the price advertised on the date of your booking will be maintained in your individual case. 

  • Due to the specialised nature of our holidays, we co-sell a number of trips with 'partner' companies. Our partners are carefully selected to ensure they reflect our ethos and standards in terms of the service we offer our guests. By encouraging our partners to sell our trips it means that your chosen holiday may reach its 'minimum' number earlier, allowing us to guarantee the trip and to give you the go-ahead to book your travel arrangements.

    There may be occasions when our partners have helped book your accommodation and organise the logistics for your trip. On these occasions your hotel may have recorded your room reservation in the name of one of our partners. 

    We guarantee that any partners with whom we work will offer the same package as Tracks and Trails Ltd. The price will be the same, though occasionally our partners may be operating in a different currency. Your itinerary and the items that are included, or not included in your trip fee, will also be the same. 

    We believe in team work, and enjoy working with other small high quality companies. If you have any questions about this policy please contact us and we will be happy to discuss it with you. 


Prices may vary depending on date.

2019

Sat 12 Jan - Sat 19 Jan
Code: QUY1 19
Price: £1295 Spaces available Book
Sat 26 Jan - Sat 02 Feb
Code: QUY2 19
Price: £1295 Spaces available Book
Sat 16 Feb - Sat 23 Feb
Code: QUY3 19
Price: £1295 Spaces available Book
Sat 02 Mar - Sat 09 Mar
Code: QUY4 19
Price: £1295 Spaces available Book

What's Included

  • Dinner, bed and breakfast in a 2** hotel or similar, based on two people sharing
  • Professional guiding services of a qualified International Mountain Leader
  • Snowshoe equipment; poles, snow shovel, avalanche probe, transceiver
  • Transfer to/from Turin airport at a time to suit the majority of the group

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Insurance
  • Picnic lunches
  • Transport to our base in Aiguilles, apart from the above mentioned Turin airport transfer

I would simply say that the week was fantastic, wonderful organisation, hotel, weather, transport arrangements, and a brilliant guide in Gary who could not have done more to look after us in every way. Definitely 10 for the rating and would always wish to book with you in the future.

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Grade: Demanding

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At a Glance

From Price £1295
Holiday Type Snowshoeing
Duration 8 Days
Group Size 8
Minimum Age 18
Maximum Altitude 2656m (8711ft)
Countries Visited France
Meet In Turin Airport, Italy
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Queyras Natural Regional Park

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