Photo: Office du Tourisme Val d'Isere

What's New for Non-Skiers this Winter

From winter golf to cheese-making and night-time photography, find out what there is to experience off the slopes this season.

Photo: ALPIMAGES/Fleur Gerritsen

New Winter Activities in the Alps for 2021/22

From sporting activities to workshops and relaxation, non-skiers will have plenty to keep them entertained this season.

Gourmet connoisseurs will have several chances to improve their skills in the kitchen. In Verbier you can discover the artisanal tomme cheese is made. Run by Marc, the cheese workshop takes you step by step through the process of making the region’s famous cheese. You will also get the chance to try some of the dairy’s other cheeses, such as Vieux Bagnes, and at the end of the day you can either take home your fresh homemade tomme or leave it to mature in the dairy.

In Chamonix, talented chef Philippe Convers, who is well known for his foraging skills and Guillaume Dalmais, a master of wine cellars, will share their skills and knowledge with amateur cooks, taking you through the creation of a gourmet menu and accompanying wines. The workshops are held in the Chai Guillaume wine bar and the 1 hour 30 minute course costs EUR 80 including the tasting and three glasses of wine.

If you are keen to get up close and personal with the wildlife of the region, then Morzine’s falconry snowshoe experience is not to be missed. After being introduced to your falcon and equipment and learning some basic commands and gestures, the action begins. Taking place on the wild plateau of Nyon, enjoy a 45-minute hike with a falcon on your arm! Afterward, hikers will be able to admire the birds of prey in a flight demonstration.

In Les Gets you can combine snowshoeing with yoga. Led by an experienced mountain guide, this half-day excursion takes hikers to Mont Caley, a small Alpine village, nestled in the hills of Les Gets. After the hike, your yoga teacher will lead a dynamic open-air session, stretching and improving your flexibility. Yoga has also become increasingly popular in St Anton, with arl.flow dedicating a room to vacationing yogis.

For something a little more adventurous, head to Val d’Isere where you can try out moonbiking with Evolution 2. Enjoy a 45-minute guided tour along Val d’Isere’s trails, through the forest towards Laisinant on your ultra-light electric snowbike. Golfing fanatics will be happy to hear that Barnes Winter Golf Week is returning to Crans Montana this February (7- 13th). This snow golf tournament is open for half the week to visitors who wish to register, whilst the other half of the week is dedicated to competition. Amateur photographers are also catered for in Chamonix with a discovery walk capturing the town during the most photogenic hours, led by a professional photographer Prices start at EUR 60 with a minimum of 2 people.

After all that exercise, relaxation is called for so why not try Tignes’ new ice floating experience. You will don a waterproof wetsuit and slip into the frozen lake for an extraordinary moment of relaxation where you can be at one with nature for a unique wellness boost,.

Photo: OT Morzine/Sam Ingles
Photo: OT Les Gets/Mel Carle
Photo: Andy Parant

New Activities for Children Off the Slopes

For parents who would like their children to take charge of the kitchen more, Mountain Thyme Kitchen in Verbier are offering workshops teaching 7 to 11 year olds how to cook tasty dishes such as chicken fajitas, Thai curry, meatballs and sushi. Taking place every Sunday from 12 December to 10 April, the workshops are designed to stimulate young taste buds whilst potentially inspiring future careers.

On 28 November, Christmas spirit is in the air in St Anton am Arlberg with the bells ringing at Advent Magic from 5 pm to 8 pm. Take a stroll along the “Christmas Experience Trail” which leads through St. Anton Museum Park. Featuring themed areas and traditional doughnuts, children can make their own Christmas cards, enjoy handicraft sessions at the elves workshops or bake their favourite cookies. Further dates include the 4th December (from 4 pm) and the 12th, 18th and 19th December (5 pm to 8 pm.)

Further creative workshops can be found in Les Gets with the Velvette concept store welcoming children aged 4 and over for pottery painting workshops. The workshops take place every Tuesday from 3 pm to 5 pm or from 5 pm to 7 pm.

For a programme combining adventure and education, Evolution 2 are offering a Mountain Yeti course for children aged 5 to 12 years old over four half-days. With the theme of new mountain experiences, the workshops teach children how to respect the mountain environment and include trapper activities in a yurt, a snowshoe treasure hunt through Val d’Isere’s forest, igloo building and, rounding off the course, the Savoyard Olympics.

For further educational activities, children can learn about the local wildlife in Morzine, on the resort’s fun new snowshoeing trail. Located on the Nyon plateau, the trail is dotted with information panels along the route. Afterwards, why not enjoy sliding down the adjacent sledging piste? For more wildlife-themed activities, Meribel’s Animal Trail has received a makeover this year. Children can spot mountain animals and take part in wildlife quizzes as they make their way along the trail.

Photo: TVB St Anton am Arlberg/Die West
Photo: OT Les Gets/ Marian Co Photography
Photo: Evolution 2

New Mountain Adventures in the Alps

For those in need of an outdoor adventure, Tignes’ Polar Adventure hits the spot. The adventure begins with an hour-long hike on snowshoes to the Wild Nest, a translucent dome located on the edge of the frozen lake Chardonnet. Here you will spend the night beneath the stars with cosy duck feather duvets, slippers, hot water bottles, a wood burning stove, candlelight and solar-powered energy to keep you warm. Before settling in for the night, enjoy a snowshoe hike along the snow-covered mountain ridges followed by a traditional Savoyard dinner.

If you are working up the courage to tackle an exhilarating adventure, then Tignes’ training facility for explorers is worth visiting. Budding explorers can come and discover the techniques of polar survival on the frozen lake in Tignes with exercises such as falling through the ice into cold water and learning how to get out alive, digging a hole in the ice and setting up a tent in the middle of a storm as part of the programme.

Another exciting excursion to recommend is Chamonix’s gourmet evening experience. Taking place in a pine forest above the village of Servoz, an evening in a perched hut with a blazing log fire and a delicious cheese fondue awaits. Afterwards, a moonlit hike back down to Servoz is the perfect way to end this magical evening.

Photo: Andy Parant
Photo: Evolution 2
Photo: Monica Dalmasso

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