P1040683 It has been 2 years since I had a real opportunity to play in the snow, so I have been really looking forward to my third challenge this year – snow shoeing in Meribel, and it has not disappointed! for anybody who likes walking, particularly nordic walking this is a great winter sport. whilst the rest of the family have been throwing themselves down the busy ski slopes this week, I have been enjoying the peace and quiet away from the crowds. I engaged the services of Mark from Simply Savoie. Mark has excellent local knowledge about the area & the wildlife. On our first day we started from the village of Les Allues, and climbed up through the woods. We had many magnificant views of the local mountains & slopes, with blue skies & sunshine! It was quite a challenging walk, climbing about 700m in total. as many know I have no problems with walking up, but am not so keen on the down …. but in the snow shoes I even enjoyed the downs, despite one particularly impressive face-plant on a steep decline! The only time we saw anybody else was when we stopped for lunch at the Refuge de la Traye, 1/2 way down the mountain. The refuge was run by the very hospitable Pascal, and lunch is always followed by a glass of his speciality – vipérine. A bottle of almost neat alcohol with a viper in!!

On our second day we snow shoed in The valley of Champagny le Haut a listed site of natural beauty since 1992. This was a much more straight forward walk up the valley. Again the scenery was stunning, and we did get to see a lot of the local wildlife (ibex, eagle, bearded vulture, fox, and marmottes which have just come out of hibernation!)

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We managed to get quite close to this particular ibex which had a very impressive set of horns! The snow is beautiful, and is meters deep on the roofs of the houses. Its weight has a major impact on the silver birch trees, causing them to bend double! yet they still continue to grow! I have uploaded more images to the gallery.

John, the kids, and the Ridley’s have been having great fun on the slopes. They have been filming much of their antics on the newly acquire Go Pro, which I will upload, when they have reduced down the hours of footage! I think Sam & in particular Simon are speed demons, creating a fair amount of havoc in their wake! Annie & Lucy are much more sedate! John who is a very competant skier, skiing with little effort, has been told by the kid’s instructor that his technique is out of date, and that he skies like he is in a 1960’s Bond film – I think that is a back handed compliment!!

I am really looking forward to my final days snow shoeing tomorrow, and think this is definitely the way ahead for me, rather than the crowded slopes full of mad skiers & boarders like my sons!!

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