Snowshoe Summits in Samoêns
Snowshoe Summits in Samoêns
Snowshoe Summits in Samoêns
Snowshoe Summits in Samoêns
Snowshoe Summits in Samoêns
Snowshoe Summits in Samoêns

Snowshoe Summits in Samoëns


Snowshoeing in the French Alps

One of the best kept secrets in the French Alps! Situated in the beautiful Haute Savoie region of France, Samoëns is a gorgeous alpine village set amongst impressive mountain scenery such as the Cirque du Fer a Cheval. These huge cliffs form a horseshoe in front of the Dents Blanches mountain range creating a magnificent mountain environment.

The terrain is excellent for snowshoeing and promises some great days on summits. Its proximity to the Mont Blanc range means excellent views of the highest mountain in Western Europe in good weather.

Highlights

  • Truly spectacular mountain landscape
  • Views to Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Western Europe
  • Hidden gem of a village, fast becoming popular with mountain lovers
  • Fabulous range of snowshoe routes
  • Gorgeous alpine village base with excellent bars and cafes
  • Meals which feature great local Savoyard food

Samoëns is a mountain village which is becoming popular with those 'in the know'. It has recently been described as the next 'Chamonix', in other words a great place for mountain adventure. The name “Samoëns” dates from 1167 A.D. and is based on a medieval expression meaning “the seven mountains”, a reference to the peaks around the village. This is why the local men are known as “septimontains” and the women “septimontaines”.


Many thanks for all your care and attention last week. I found it quite challenging both physically and mentally on occasion but the views at the summits were always worth all the effort and I felt I learnt a lot more about snow-shoe walking as a sport rather than merely a leisure activity. The Edelweiss was such a nice place to stay and our hosts could not have made us more welcome, we would certainly go back again. Bill joins me in wishing you all the best for the future.

Had a wonderful holiday - Arno is an amazing guide. The hotel was lovely, very French and homely, with delicious local cuisine. Good group too - I was the youngest!

Excellent! We stayed at Hotel Edelwiess, where we had a warm welcome from the hosts, great meals and a lovely room with superb views. Emma, our guide, was top class; very knowledgeable, superb communication skills and great fun.

Itinerary

  • house
  • airport
  • You will meet your guide this evening at your accommodation and they will be available to discuss the itinerary and answer any questions about the week ahead. After the briefing we will enjoy some great local food prepared by the hotel chef.

  • A leisurely start and a great local day to begin with as we have an ascent to the summit of Le Bourgeoise. We have a very short drive before setting off on our route. The summit is easily gained at 1770 metres (5805ft), where we can enjoy excellent views of the surrounding mountains. The summit has a satisfying 'cross' to aim for and we will plan to have lunch perched on the top. There is a steep drop to one side which makes the summit feel quite exciting, but don't worry, you do not need to stand too close! After lunch we will aim to make a circuit back down to Samoëns, via the area below the Col de Joux Plane famous for road biking and the Tour de France. The 1997 winner Marco Pantani climbed to the Col de Joux Plane in 33 minutes! We suspect that you might take a little longer.

    Ascent: 700m (2296ft) Distance: 5km (3.2 miles) Duration: 5h00 

  • Time for one of our favourite ascents: Pointe Ratti. You get the feel of being in big alpine mountains, yet it's easily accessed from the Col de l'Encrenaz, another famous road biking pass. After a drive over to the famous ski town of Morzine, we climb steadily towards our Col where we can enjoy a morning coffee or hot chocolate before heading off up the mountain. A very steady climb takes us up to a col, and then along the ridge line to the summit of Pointe Ratti at 1923m (6307ft). This really is a gorgeous walk offering varied and interesting terrain, which is mostly high above the treeline. From here we have views to the impressive massif of the Roc d'Enfer with its jagged cliffs and peaks.

    Ascent: 490m (1607ft) Distance: 6km (3.7 miles) Duration: 4h30

  • A lovely outing today to Mont Caly, with our day beginning with a drive to the alpine village of Les Gets. Our goal is the easy ascent to Mont Caly at 1489m (4883ft), and then onwards to the Col de Lachat at 1632m (5352ft) which offers a vast 360 degree panorama of the surrounding mountains. It is a day when we also discover the mountain 'alpage'. These high mountain villages are populated only during the summer months when the local people tend their herds of sheep and cows, producing mountain butter and cheese which is either sold to passing hikers or is stored for sale in the valley and in the winter months. If the weather is clear we may go higher to the shoulder of Mont Chery where we can benefit from an every expanding view. If the local mountain restaurant is open we will aim to have lunch there.

    Ascent: 470m (1541ft) Distance: 11km (6.8 miles) Duration: 4h50  

  • Today we head up the valley to Bonnavaz and pass the beautiful, photogenic old chapel to be found there. A beautiful trail continues through the forest and up to the wide open spaces below Pointe d'Uble. Our destination is the summit of Le Parteset at 1606m (5267ft), which provides excellent views of Pointe Ratti, Praz de Lys, and the surrounding peaks all the way to the jagged teeth of the Dents du Midi. Our final approach to the summit offers a wide open vista of the surrounding peaks and it is hard to focus on the walking as we are usually pre-occupied with taking photos. The summit cross with the promise of an excellent lunch stop provides a good goal. On the way back down we often stop at the characterful old cafe by the chapel at Bonnavaz.

    Ascent: 420m (1377ft) Distance: 5.5km (3437ft) Duration: 4h00

  • The Bostan valley is a beautiful combe with jagged limestone cliffs rearing up on one side. It really is quite spectacular and worth the effort of the climb. We begin with a steady ascent through the woods to the Refuge de Bostan. The Refuge is very characterful, and if it is your first encounter with an alpine refuge you will not be disappointed. Normally the refuge is open and the guardian is in residence, and your guide will phone ahead to check if we can have our lunch here, or at least a cup of hot chocolate! From there we have a wide rolling comb to explore, and it makes for a lovely day enjoying the ambiance and remoteness of the surrounding mountains.

    Ascent: 714m (2341ft) Distance: 10km (6.2 miles) Duration: 5h30

  • This is our fabulous summit day! The Tête de la Sallaz offers snowshoers the chance to be in really high mountains while still in suitable and easy terrain for snowshoeing. We drive down to the main valley near the town of Cluses, before climbing the very steep and exciting alpine road to the high village of Romme. This is our starting point for our day out and our ascent to the Tête de la Sallaz, which sits at 2026 metres (6645ft) and offers stunning views to the Mont Blanc Massif and the nearby peak of Pointe d'Areu. It is a wonderful peak to finish off the week and gives the feeling of a big mountain day. Our guests always love this day out, and it really is a great destination. We are often accompanied by ski mountaineers and it makes for good entertainment to view the skiers descending the various gullies from the summit.

    Ascent: 700m (2296ft) Distance: 8km (5 miles) Duration: 6h00

  • Today is your departure day. Please ask if you need help with arranging your transfers for your onward travel. 

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. 

Hotel Edelweiss, Samoëns

Hotel

Our accommodation is cosy and comfortable with excellent food. We are normally based at the Hotel Edelweiss where our hosts guarantee a warm welcome. Rooms are ensuite and have views to the mountains. The hotel is a short walk from Samoëns village and therefore very peaceful without the noise of bars and cafes in the town. 

However, the village is easily accessible if you wish to visit for an apero at the end of your day in the mountains. There are a range of bars and cafes and the most amazing chocolate shop! The village main square is particularly characterful with an ancient 'market' canopy covering the area. This is a genuine alpine community and one we love visiting. 


  • You can reach Samoëns, in France by road, rail or air. The nearest airport is Geneva, in Switzerland, and transfers can be arranged from the airport to Samoëns, which is in France, for around 45 Euros each way per person. There are various companies which offer this service, such as Powder Cab or Go Massif.

    You can also take the Eurostar train then the TGV train to Cluses, where you can get a taxi to Samoëns. The train journey takes approx 2h30. The French rail timetables can be found at SNCF although it is also possible to book through the Swiss rail service here. It is best if you have a taxi reserved at Cluses as there is not a 'taxi rank' at the train station. You can pre-book a taxi with Taxi Malgrand: +33 680332539 or mail@taximalgrand.com. Or upon arrival at Cluses you can take the Altibus service which runs regularly to Samoëns and costs approximately 10 Euros for a single ticket. It will drop you at the bus station in Samoëns. Please let us know if you are taking the Alitbus and we can arrange for the hotel to collect you when you arrive in Samoëns.

  • 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 £385. 

  • 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 19 Jan - Sat 26 Jan
Code: SAM1 19
Price: £1445 Book
Sat 09 Feb - Sat 16 Feb
Code: SAM2 19
Price: £1495 Book
Sat 02 Mar - Sat 09 Mar
Code: SAM3 19
Price: £1495 Book

What's Included

  • Half board accommodation in a 2** Hotel or similar; based on twin rooms
  • Professional guiding services of a qualified International Mountain Leader
  • Snowshoe equipment; snowshoes, poles, snow shovel, probe, and avalanche transceiver
  • In resort transfers
  • Tracks and Trails memento -a gift to take home!

What's Not Included

  • Lunches
  • Flights
  • Transfers
  • Drinks and snacks
  • Insurance

Many thanks for all your care and attention last week. I found it quite challenging both physically and mentally on occasion but the views at the summits were always worth all the effort and I felt I learnt a lot more about snow-shoe walking as a sport rather than merely a leisure activity. The Edelweiss was such a nice place to stay and our hosts could not have made us more welcome, we would certainly go back again. Bill joins me in wishing you all the best for the future.

Had a wonderful holiday - Arno is an amazing guide. The hotel was lovely, very French and homely, with delicious local cuisine. Good group too - I was the youngest!

Excellent! We stayed at Hotel Edelwiess, where we had a warm welcome from the hosts, great meals and a lovely room with superb views. Emma, our guide, was top class; very knowledgeable, superb communication skills and great fun.

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At a Glance

From Price £1445
Holiday Type Snowshoeing
Duration 8 Days
Group Size 8
Minimum Age 18
Maximum Altitude 2026m (6645ft)
Countries Visited France
Meet In Samoëns, France
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