Any holiday taken during the Covid-19 pandemic may be subject to change and with little or no notice of that change. As the past months have proven no-one can predict the situation from one week to the next, however, we will do our very best to gauge the best response to any new developments. New restrictions or guidelines might affect where we eat out, which accommodation we can stay in, and potentially transport arrangements if the numbers in vehicles are restricted.
Itineraries may not be exactly as advertised due to new regulations or restrictions, for example, we may not be able to stop and have lunch at a mountain farm as stated in the itinerary, because the farm has had to react to new rules with regard to serving food and drinks. We imagine that there will be many scenarios which might lead to a change or adaptation in the itinerary.
When booking a trip during the pandemic we ask that you keep an open mind and be willing to adapt and be flexible.
For convenience we have included a transfer from Geneva airport, in Switzerland to the trip location. Whether your trip begins in Chamonix, in France or in Cogne, Italy will depend on the set of dates you have selected.
Our pick up time from Geneva airport is scheduled for 1500hrs on either the 23rd January or 27th January depending on whether you are joining the full or week or ski weekend. If your flight arrives earlier in the day you can use the time to explore Geneva.
The towns of Chamonix, and Cogne, are linked by a transfer which is also included in your trip fee and will be organised for you. The drive is approximately 2 hours 15 minutes between the two resorts.
On your departure day your private minibus transfer will collect you after breakfast from your hotel to take you to Geneva airport.
The return transfer will leave Chamonix on the 27th January 2020 at approximately 0900hrs in order to arrive at the airport 1030hrs. The drive time is approximately 1 hours 15 minutes. Your flights from Geneva airport should be booked to depart no earlier than 1200hrs.
The return transfer will leave Cogne at approximately 0900hrs in order to arrive at the airport 1200hrs. The drive time is approximately 2 hours 45 minutes. Your flights from Geneva airport should be booked to depart no earlier than 1400hrs. We have chosen a Sunday departure to avoid Geneva week-day rush hour and to minimise any chance of traffic delays.
It is important that you inform us of your flight times as soon as possible after booking.
Early arrivals - time in Geneva
Geneva airport is just 4 km's (2.5 miles) away from Geneva city centre. You can find details of the airport and public transport here. It is easily reached by train or bus using the united network of public transport Unireso. You can pick up a free ticket for public transport from the machine in the baggage collection area at the airport arrivals. It gives free transport for a period of 80 minutes. Only one single ticket is required to travel by train, tram, bus or boat in the area France-Vaud-Geneva. It only takes 6 minutes from/to Geneva city centre by train (every 12 minutes at rush hours). All trains stop at Geneva-Cornavin station (city centre). The buses stop every 8-15 minutes at rush hours at the airport (bus stops at the Check-in level, in front of or beside the train station). Full details can be found here.
Left luggage lockers in Geneva
There are two left luggage facilities, both in the Railway Station which is attached to the airport building. The office beside the CFF/SBB counter takes luggage of all dimensions for a fee of approximately CHF10 per day per item. It is open 7 days a week from 07h30 to 20h15. The automatic lockers are in front of the CFF/SBB counter and just behind the Chicorée Shop and come in 3 sizes (245mm x 420mm x 765mm / 350mm x 600mm x 770mm / 445mm x 610mm x 895mm); they are accessible from 05h00 to 23h50.The cost is from 6-9 CHF per day depending on the size. You can find details here.
When booking a trip we ask you to acquire insurance to cover you for the following:
Mountain Rescue Insurance
It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical expenses, injury, illness, death, mountain rescue, cost of repatriation and personal accident risks. Please ensure that your insurance covers you to the maximum altitude given on your trip itinerary. The maximum altitude for any trip can be checked on the 'At A Glance' box on each trip page. Most of our trips have a maximum altitude of 3,000 metres. If you are unsure or are joining a bespoke trip, then please ask us for specific details.
Trip Cancellation/Curtailment Insurance
You should also have insurance to cover trip cancellation and curtailment. Please note that your deposit and balance payments are non-refundable, unless it is Tracks and Trails who cancel the trip due to a failure to reach the required minimum numbers. In this case we will offer you a refund or the option of transferring to another trip if one is available. We also advise that you should have insurance which covers baggage loss/equipment damage as Tracks and Trails will not be held responsible for loss/damage to baggage/equipment.
As well as medical cover, we recommend that you have appropriate travel insurance so that if you fall ill and test positive for COVID-19 prior to (or during) your trip, you will be financially covered for cancelling your trip. You should also consider booking a policy that covers you if you have to cancel or curtail your holiday because you have to self-isolate. If you choose to cancel, cancellation charges will be payable, but if the reason for your cancellation is covered under the terms of your insurance policy, you may be able to reclaim these charges. Please read the clauses below detailing trip cancellation and curtailment.
Travel Insurance covering COVID-19 is now available from a number of suppliers, Campbell Irvine, Trailfinders and Staysure. Please check their websites for the latest information on what is and isn't covered. It is likely that more companies will offer COVID related cover in the future.
All of the above insurances are detailed in our Terms and Conditions.
If you are joining a trip in the UK helicopter/mountain rescue insurance is not required as this is a free service.
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.
Cogne, in Italy has an excellent reputation for good snow cover. There are over 55km (35 miles) of ski trails, and IF for any reason the weather has not delivered sufficient snow Cogne has excellent snow-making facilities. The Italians have become experts at the production of so-called 'artificial snow' and the quality of skiing on this snow is superb. Cogne also boasts a fabulous 'stadium' providing the perfect flat open training ground for beginners.
In Chamonix, in France the snow usually begins in December, runs through until April, and sometimes into May. As we are snowshoeing and not therefore tied to specific tracks, as with the cross country skiing, we will aim to provide the best options for a good day out.
The cross country skiing equipment we will use features lightweight track fishscale classic skis (not skate skis or waxables), NNN (or similar) boots, bindings and poles. The total ski hire for the weekend is approximately 40 Euros per person. We ask that you pay this sum directly to the ski shop. Ski equipment hire is arranged in advance.
Please make note of your equipment hire on our Booking Form. We will need to know your height, weight, normal shoe size (you must give us your everyday shoe size and not your personal adjustment for wearing boots) and the measurement of your height up to your armpits (for ski pole hire).
Ski passes can be purchased once you arrive and are expected to cost approximately 20 Euros in total for the 3 days. Normally, we ask your hotel to organise your ski pass. The hotel will require payment for the ski pass in cash Euros.
Your safety while skiing is our top priority. All skiers are requested to adhere to the Code of Conduct published by the International Ski Federation, or FIS. The aim is to make you, the skier, aware of how to avoid risks, take responsibility and act thoughtfully while on the cross-country ski tracks.
When packing for a trip in the mountains it is important to have appropriate equipment and clothing. This kit list features items we believe are necessary for the weather you will encounter and accommodation you will be staying in.
Cross Country Skiing
For cross country skiing clothing should be similar to that required for a winter walking day, but it should allow you mobility, and your trousers should ideally have some degree of 'stretch' to them. You need freedom of movement without any restrictions. If you are a runner then winter running gear is suitable.
We use 'classic' style cross country track skis for this trip either ‘fishscales’ or ‘skintec’. You can choose to bring your own 'classic' track skis, however, do check with us first to ensure they are suitable.
Skis, boots, and poles - can be hired at the start of the trip. The cost of hire is indicated in 'Trip Information'. If you are intending to hire you must inform us as soon as possible as equipment must be booked in advance. The type of ski supplied by the hire shop is provided in the 'Ski Rental' section of the Trip Information page. If in doubt about the suitability of your own skis please contact us.
For snowshoeing we suggest that clothing for a day of winter walking is perfect. We do not advise 'downhill' ski clothes as these are generally too restrictive for these activities and too warm.
We will provide snowshoes, walking poles, avalanche transceiver, snow shovel, and snow probe free of charge. These items are compulsory and demonstrate best practice in a winter environment.
Personal First Aid
**Supplementary snacks if you follow a gluten free or coeliac diet**
Leaders are all first aid trained and carry their own first aid kit
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 and safety of the group.
The 'group kit' will be minimal and usually just a case of sharing a few lightweight 'survival shelters'. For example on a week-long trip you may carry a small shelter for just one day before passing it on to the next person.
If you are booking a trip in winter there will be a few additional safety items. These will be distributed 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.
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. The full week long trip has a single supplement of £350.
Samantha Armstrong of WALX and Tracks and Trails go to great lengths to work with first class guides and instructors who are passionate about their work. They are all fully qualified, insured, and hold the correct documentation for the countries that they work in.
The WALX Team are passionate about promoting the physical, mental and social benefits of being active outdoors and believe that walking really is the way forward (excuse the pun!) when it comes to enjoyable but effective exercise.
Please note your guide/instructors have 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 snowshoeing trips your guide will be a fully qualified and experienced International Mountain Leader and for cross country ski trips you will be with a fully qualified professional BASI Nordic Ski Instructor or equivalent. BASI is the British Association of Snowsport Instructors.
Please note that our Snowshoe and Ski Combo is designed to be an introduction to these activities and therefore you do not require previous experience, but you do require a reasonable level of fitness and be used to taking exercise. All our grades are available here but for ease of reference we have also provided the description below.
Cross Country Skiing - Grade: Beginners
Our beginner cross country ski trips are designed for newcomers, those who have had some time away, or cross country skiers wanting a refresher before moving on to more challenging trips. Previous alpine ski experience could be helpful, but is not essential. Full instruction is given on the ski techniques for 'classic' style cross country skiing and the equipment. All skiing will take place on prepared tracks skiing in and out of parallel grooves, first on the flat progressing to more undulating terrain. Instruction will be given on how to control speed and direction including how to initiate a basic 'snowplough' enabling you to control speed when travelling downhill. We will expect you to have a reasonable level of fitness so that you can be active and on skis over the course of the day for approximately 4 hours. While very active, anyone with average fitness will be able to enjoy this holiday.
Snowshoeing - Grade: Moderate
This is for you if you would like to walk in the mountains in winter, but your experience of snowshoeing is limited or zero! On these trips full instruction is given on snowshoe technique and equipment. In reality you just need to be able to walk, it is that easy. However, we will be walking in the mountains and we expect that you take regular exercise that involves climbing up hills and have a reasonable level of fitness. We will walk on a variety of terrain from flat to steeply undulating, most of the time we will be walking on a trail, but if there is fresh snow we will enjoy making our own track. We may on occasion reach an altitude of up to 2500m (8200ft), and we will sometimes take a cable car to get there. We may complete ascents/descents of between 300–500m (984-1640ft) per day with one longer day of up to 750m (2460ft). Expect to be out on the mountain for between 4 – 6 hours per day.
For this trip you are centre-based, in other words you are staying in two hotels with one vehicle transfer between your hotels in Chamonix, France and Cogne, Italy. We would, however, ask that you keep your luggage to a maximum of 15kgs (33lbs), and ONE bag per person. This is because your luggage will travel with you in the minibus between Chamonix and Cogne and there is only a certain amount of space for all the group luggage.
Please note that not all the hotels we use have elevators. This means you may need to carry your luggage to your bedroom and this might involve climbing several flights of stairs. We would suggest that luggage with wheels is generally a good idea.
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.
While on your snowshoe trip in Chamonix, France we suggest that you order a sandwich or packed lunch from the hotel the evening before your day out. When in town it is a good idea to also stock up on a few snacks, and high energy food.
In Cogne, in Italy where you will be skiing there are many cafes and restaurants and we usually eat lunch in one of them. This is the best way to warm up, and hydrate and enjoy the best local dishes. The meals in Cogne are relatively cheap, and you can indulge in an Italian experience with fresh pasta, and polenta dishes. Great fuel for skiing, just don't eat too much before getting back on your skis or you will find the afternoon hard work.
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.
For both of these trips you will require Euros. The hotels will take a credit card for any payments necessary, but ski hire and your ski pass usually require a cash payment. Please refer to the Ski Rental and Ski Pass section for the cost. There are cash points in both Cogne, and in Chamonix if you require to withdraw cash Euros.
On our trips we encourage you to experience local tastes and dishes that reflect the culture of the country 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. Our accommodation will try to cater for those with vegan diets but in remote refuges in the mountains this is more difficult. If you would like to discuss the suitability of a trip for a vegan diet please contact us. Gluten-free diets will be possible with regard to the evening meals, but we would advise that you 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 apologise, but 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.
The countries we visit all have tap water which 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:
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.
This trip features two lovely family-run hotels with spa facilities. At both hotels massages are available upon request, and should ideally be booked as soon as you arrive.
On the day to day itinerary we have given details of our suggestions on how to spend any free time in the afternoons. Chamonix has a large range of activities on offer, and there is plenty to see and do. You will find many recommendations on the local Tourist Office website.
In Chamonix you also might enjoy visiting the newly opened QC Terme a luxury wellness and spa experience offering a large range of treatments. This can be booked by yourself on-line in advance of arriving in Chamonix. It is possible to cancel your booking without incurring cost. If making appointments for the late afternoon or early evening please give thought to the impact on your evening meal and if you have sufficient time. The last train back to our hotel in Chamonix is at 20h14 and is approximately a 10 minute ride.
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.
For UK residents travelling to an EU country you should obtain and bring with you a 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. Also note that if/when the UK leaves the European Union that the EHIC card may no longer be valid. Please check this before departing. 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.
Prices may vary depending on date.
|Code||Start date||Return date||Dates||Price||Status|
|PV SEB||Sat 22 Jan||Wed 26 Jan||
Sat 22 Jan - Wed 26 Jan
Code: PV SEB
|Price: £975||Spaces available||Book|
|PV ISW||Wed 26 Jan||Sun 30 Jan||
Wed 26 Jan - Sun 30 Jan
Code: PV ISW
|Price: £995||Spaces available||Book|