Six days of guided snowshoe walking in the Haute Maurienne valley between the Vanoise National Park and the Italian frontier mountains. A snowshoe holiday in an exceptional and unspoilt area. The valley floor in the Haute Maurienne is close to 1800m above sea level giving good winter conditions.
Our snowshoe walks explore much of the Haute Maurienne valley. Typically, we will take a chairlift so that we can explore the Col de Mont Cenis. The far side of the col marks the French-Italian border. In summer, you can drive or cycle over the col and drop down to the town of Suse.
Another classic day is when we start our walk from Bonneval-sur-Arc and wend our way along the bank of the river Arc. One of the walks highlights is exploring the hamlet of L’Ecot and may be having the opportunity to enjoy a hot drink in one of the delightful cafés. Further on from L’Ecot we can explore further and take in the outstanding vistas towards the Refuge de Carro and the peaks marking the Italian border.
Our exploration of the Haute Maurienne is almost guaranteed to give us sightings of wildlife. On the flanks of the valley we are likely to observe chamois and ibex. In the air we could well see eagles and the bearded vulture.
We will discover the Chemin de Petit Bonheur as it threads its way along the valley. We will discover the Monolithe between the villages of Sardiere and Aussois nestling on the southern slopes of the Vanoise amongst varied pine forests.
Our base for this snowshoe holiday in the Haute Maurienne will be a comfortable hotel in the small village of Lanslevillard.
Arrival and transfer from Geneva or Chambery airports to Lanslevillard.
Le Chemin de Petit Bonheur (literally translated, the path of a little happiness). We will set off not far from the hotel before climbing gently to the Chapelle St Laurent. We continue through snowy meadows, woods and clearings close to the Col de la Madeleine (not to be confused with its namesake near La Chambre). From here we descend gently past the Chapelle St Maurice before crossing the river Arc. Our snowshoe walk continues along river banks covered in birch before climbing through larch forest. We start a gradual descent via the hamlets of Chantelouve to regain Lanslevillard.
Today’s snowshoe walk will explore the valley between Bessans and the village of Bonneval-sur-Arc. We will pass by the Rocher du Chateau the site of a pre-historic settlement and faded drawings. Normally we have the chance to enjoy a hot drink at the refuge in the hamlet of Villaron. There’s a high chance of seeing ibex on the slopes above the village. We continue our walk along-side the river Arc to Bonneval where we will catch a local bus back to the village of Bessans.
Our snowshoe trip today starts by crossing some of the cross-country ski tracks at Bessans. Our objective today, conditions permitting, is to reach the hamlet of Averole. Leaving the cross-country ski tracks behind us at the hamlet of La Goulaz we enter a valley dominated by the Pointe de Charbonnel (3752m) and its glaciers. This valley is only accessible on snowshoes or skis in winter. As we enjoy the peace and solitude of the valley we reach the first hamlet of Vincindieres, deserted. We snowshoe on looking forward to the peak of the Bessanese (3592m) before us. Onwards until the spire of the church in Averole comes into view. We will make Averole our lunch stop drinking in the amazing mountain vistas that surround us.
The Col de Mont Cenis (2100m) has linked France and Italy for centuries, an historic crossing point. We will make use of the chairlift at the village of Lanslebourg to approach the col. Arriving at the top of the chairlift we will put on our snowshoes. Our route to the col passes a little chapel and then we arrive at the col and the Relais de Mont Cenis, a small cafe / restaurant. We can enjoy a hot drink and find out about some of the history. Our day will once again use the chairlift to make the descent to Lanslebourg.
The Monolithe is an amazing sight and a geological phenomenon. A rock tower 93m high, composed of dolomitic limestone, reaching out of the pine woods in the Commune of Sollieres-Sardieres at the foot of the Vanoise National Park. Our walk starts between the villages of Aussois and Sardieres across open ground. Our snowshoes then allow us to explore the woods of larch, pin à crochets (Pinus uncinata) and pins cembro (Pinus cembra or Arolla pine) that typically grows between 1700 and 2400m of altitude. The site is classified Natura 2000.
L’Ecot (2022m) is the final inhabited hamlet in the Maurienne valley. It nestles in the valley above the river Arc gorge beneath the high peaks and glaciers of the Haute Maurienne. Parking in the village of Bonneval-sur-Arc we put on our snowshoes. Our twisting route follows the left bank of the river through open ash woods, climbing slowly to reach L’Ecot. Here we can wander through the ancient passageways between the stone houses. Stone slabbed roofs of local stone help the hamlet blend into its surroundings. We may be able to explore further on below the impressive glacial cirque of the glacier des Evettes, the Mont Seti and the Albaron.
Departure after breakfast
The price indicated is for the group.
1 – 2 people: Euro 1500
3 – 5 people: Euro 1800
6 – 8 people: Euro 2400