Snowshoeing in the Southern Alps

8 days
from
$1,675 USD
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Traveller ratings
5 / 5 from 2 reviews >
Trip code: 
CAF
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Winter Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–12

Spend a week snowshoeing in one of the most beautiful areas in the Southern Alps

Dramatic landscapes and breathtaking vistas of sparkling snowfields, towering pine forests and rugged mountain peaks make the Queyras Regional Park one of the most beautiful areas in the Southern Alps. We base ourselves in the small village of Saint Véran, one of the highest inhabited villages in Europe. We enjoy five gentle snowshoe walks, perfect if you are new to snowshoeing or simply wish to admire the surroundings at a steady pace.

Highlights

  • Discover the remote Queyras Regional Park
  • Enjoy gentle snowshoe walks
  • Spectacular snow-covered landscapes
  • Friendly family-run hotel with fantastic views

Key information

  • 5 guided snowshoe walks
  • Snowshoes and poles provided
  • Group normally 4 to 12, plus leader, min age 16 years
  • 7 nights 2-star mountain hotel

What's included

  • 7 nights at Le Grand Tetras in Saint Veran
  • All breakfasts, 4 dinners
  • 5 guided snowshoe walks
  • Snowshoes and poles
  • Tour leader throughout

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Visas or vaccinations
  • Single accommodation (available on request)

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Saint Véran.

    Start Sain Véran

    Meals included: Dinner
  • Day 2

    Introduction to snowshoeing on the south faces of Saint Véran.

    For our first day of snowshoeing we will begin with a walk on the south faces of Saint Véran to get comfortable with the snowshoes and introduce the location. From here we enjoy a walk through the alpine forest to Molines where we can relax with hot drink. We will then transfer back to Saint Véran and enjoy a delicious local dinner in the evening.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 3

    Transfer to Molines, set off through sleepy hamlets and through snow covered forests.

    After a short transfer to Molines, we will walk in the direction of Gaudissard and Prats Hauts which are beautiful hamlets where you will be able to view traditional, timber-built chalets. The forest that you will explore on this day is particularly fun to snowshoe in as the snow is always very light and powdery. We will generally end the walk with a break at Gaudissard where you can get a hot chocolate.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Morning transfer to Ristolas near the Italian border; explore Guil Valley.

    This morning we will transfer to Ristolas, near the Italian border, where we will explore a remote part of the Queyras. The majority of our walking will be along the beautiful valley of the River Guil where we will have a good chance of viewing Chamois on the slopes. At the end of the walk we can look forward to a stop at a local café in Ristolas or Abries.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    A free day for downhill or cross-country skiing or unguided snowshoeing.

    There are plenty of options available for today: downhill or cross-country skiing, dogsledding, paragliding or our leader can suggest some snowshoe walks to do alone. Alternatively, Saint Véran is a lovely place to relax and explore at your own pace.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Start out from Molines and head up to Sommet Bucher for outstanding views.

    From Molines we will enjoy a pleasant walk up to the ‘Sommet Bucher’, a pastoral and forest plateau. From the top there are amazing views of the surrounding Ecrins National Park and an orienteering table from where we can identify features of the landscape. There are many ways to the top to choose from and we will complete a loop of the area.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 7

    Through larch forests up to Curlet Cross viewpoint and along the ridge.

    Today’s walk will bring us to one of the prettiest vistas of the Southern Alps. We will begin our day walking through a beautiful forest of Larch trees before gradually climbing to Curlet Cross viewpoint from where we will see Saint Véran village, Pic de Rochebrun and the Italian border. Following this we will trek along Curlet Ridge which will continue to give us impressive views of the surrounding area.

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    End Saint Véran.

    Our trip ends in Saint Véran.

    Meals included: Breakfast

Essential Info

Visas

France

No visa required for British passport holders.

Italy

No visa required for British passport holders.
Please note in Italy it is compulsory to carry ID with you at all times.

Vaccinations

France

There are no specific health risks.

Italy

There are no specific health risks.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts and 4 dinners are included.

Breakfasts are all simple continental breakfasts. Evening meals are 3 courses, usually starting with soup followed by a meat or vegetarian dish such as pasta or stews, and a dessert. All is home cooked. House wine is available for around €10 for a litre, and beer can be purchased – this is often local and on tap. Lunch can be purchased at shops in Saint Véran or the hotel can prepare picnics or sandwiches.

Vegetarians can be catered for but options are limited.  Please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests.

Weather

The Queyras benefits from relatively constant sunny weather compared to other parts of the Alps. Temperatures usually vary between -5º and -10ºC. Even well established ski resorts have trouble guaranteeing good snow conditions throughout the season but we have the great advantage that we can operate in a variety of snow conditions which skiers might find difficult. The dry and cool climate of Queyras usually means good snow conditions from December to May. In light snow conditions you might expect to begin walking with your snowshoes strapped to your pack, then stop to put them on as we reach more consistent snow-cover.

Is this trip for you?

Snowshoeing is offered at level 2, leisurely/moderate, suitable for beginners. Certain walks are dependent on weather conditions, and alternative routes may have to be chosen as necessary.

The average ascent per day will be 550 metres. Maximum ascent: 630 metres. Expect walking hours of 5-6 hours per day.

Snowshoes are adaptable to fit most trekking boot sizes, however if you wear larger than UK size 12 boots (US13 or EU47) please let us know at the time of booking. We will then be able to confirm if we can provide suitable snowshoes for you.

The drive to Saint Véran from the airport can take over 3 hours and is predominantly on winding mountain roads.  However, there will be minimal drive times on the remainder of the trip.

Accommodation

Hotel le Grand Tetras 2*

This small friendly 2 star hotel is our base for the week. With wonderful panoramic views of the Queyras from the restaurant and the terrace, a cosy lounge with a fireplace, a small library/book room and a sauna, it is the perfect place to relax after the walks. All the rooms are en suite and have a balcony or terrace. Wi-Fi available at reception.

Single accommodation (available on request).

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed February 2017
    Eveline Harlow
    A superb snowshoeing holiday. The Queyras is very beautiful, & quiet in mid January. Our routes were varied & well chosen for the snow conditions. Every day was a good day! St Veran is an old & fascinating village & a good base. The hotel was very friendly & comfortable & the food excellent. A place that can satisfy a hungry, gluten free vegetarian gets full marks.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    All the mountain panoramas were inspirational but discovering how to descend fairly steep slopes while remaining upright was the best part.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader was great. He tailored the days to our abilities but also challenged us within our individual comfort zones & patiently improved our snowshoe techniques. He seemed to know something about everything - animal tracks, local wildlife & geology, history and legends ranging from miraculous lights in the mountains to dragon's blood.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Go for it - a good trip both for beginners & hopeful improvers.
  • Reviewed February 2017
    Andrew Grun
    It was a wonderful holiday amongst the magnificent snow covered mountains of the Queyras region of the southern Alps. We explored the forest covered in deep snow and its wildlife and reached summits above the forest, from which we had wonderful views over the landscape, and of mountains buried in deep snow. We stayed in the very attractive historic French village of Saint Veran, which is perched on a steep mountain side at high altitude. The old houses have wooden balconies for drying crops quickly in Summer, which are often rather amusing in construction. The village faces a great wall of rocky peaks, covered in snow. A walk up the valley leads to the high alpine pastures, which are buried in deep snow in Winter, with steep mountain passes on the Italian border beyond.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views of the big snow covered, jagged, rocky mountains in the Ecrins national park.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our guide Yves was always very helpful to everyone participating. He carefully kept a watch for any problems which people might have and gave them his full attention. He set the right pace so that everyone could achieve their maximum potential, without getting over tired or left behind. Consequently we soon reached summits from which we had magnificent views to distant mountains, as far as the Ecrins national park. He was full of information as we walked through the snow covered forest, telling us about the tracks in the snow, the wildlife and the geology of the region. He took us to see the chamoix grazing with their young on the high mountains.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Snow shoeing allows you to quickly reach high points and get wonderful views across the landscape, covered in deep snow.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food at the Grand Tetras hotel was excellent and the staff were very friendly and helpful. The holiday was a great experience and I would like to return in the future.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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