Travel diary: Snowshoeing within the Vercors | EUROtoday

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Travel notes from the actual France. Carnet de Voyage is a weekly private journey story in France despatched in by readers. If you'd like to write down a narrative for Carnet de Voyage, head right here for particulars on find out how to submit.

As somebody who doesn't take pleasure in snowboarding in any respect, I often discover myself relunctant to go to the mountains within the winter as I really feel the complete journey is predicated across the tight schedule my fellow touring companions put collectively to benefit from their time on the slopes. On a number of events, I've been left to 'benefit from the chalet' which means I find yourself cooking for everybody.

At the tip of final summer season, my new accomplice, a Frenchman, urged we go to the mountains for a few weeks within the winter however slightly than head for the Alps and the busy resorts, he proposed the Vercors, a decrease massif within the southern Alps. At vacation spot, he defined, which was extra about 'various' mountain actions than down-hill Alpine snowboarding. My curiosity was piqued and we booked a visit to and round Villard-de-Lans.

The Vercors is a shocking space, nestled between the Isère and Drôme departments. Towering peaks give technique to serene valleys and, within the winter, it takes on a very polar environment. I'd been earlier than on a mountain climbing journey in the summertime however was desirous to embrace the crisp mountain air and pristine landscapes beneath a coat of glowing snow.

I used to be questioning what we might do there for 2 weeks however I used to be so happy to see a wealth of non-downhill-skiing actions! For occasion, there’s a enormous space devoted solely to sledging which we completely beloved. I even tried Nordic snowboarding sooner or later and reluctantly admitted to my accomplice that it was fairly enjoyable as he smiled triumphantly. He did go downhill snowboarding a few occasions whereas I headed to a spa for some R&R.

But my true revelation was snowshoeing. I'd by no means carried out it earlier than and at all times needed to provide it a go, so we booked a primary 'stroll' with a information. As I strapped on the outsized, webbed contraptions to my boots, I couldn't assist however really feel a mixture of pleasure and trepidation. The seasoned teacher assured me that snowshoeing was a stroll within the park, fairly actually. “It's like walking on fluffy clouds,” he chuckled, sensing my power as I giggled nervously (although his pleasant French pronunciation of the phrase 'fluffy' may need one thing to do with my mirth).

With every step, the unfamiliar crunch of snow beneath my ft was oddly satisfying. The Vercors, draped in a recent blanket of snow, had, it appears, placed on a present to indicate us her finest aspect. The recent air stuffed my lungs as we started our ascent into the pristine wilderness, the crunching snow the one sound accompanying our journey.

The first incline examined my newfound snowshoeing abilities, however the distinctive design of the snowshoes prevented me from sinking into the powdery snow. As I trudged uphill, I marveled on the untouched magnificence round me—pine bushes heavy with snow, their branches forming delicate arches over the path. Indeed, with snowshoes, you possibly can entry areas that aren't deformed by man-made slopes, as I identified smugly to my accomplice who replied with a Gallic shrug.

Reaching a clearing, the panorama took my breath away. The Vercors stretched out like an enormous, icy canvas, with the solar casting a heat glow on the snow-covered peaks. In that second, we had been all speachless and shared, I believed, a profound connection to nature, a way of serenity that solely the mountains might present. The snow sparkled like one million diamonds, and I couldn't assist however be pleased about the chance to witness such splendor.

As we continued our snowshoeing expedition, the path meandered by way of dense forest. The hush of the wilderness was interrupted solely by the rhythmic swish of our snowshoes and our information who often delivered attention-grabbing titbits a couple of peak we might see or animal tracks we got here throughout.

The tour allowed us to take our time, I imply actually decelerate and benefit from the second. The great thing about the panorama wasn't restricted to grand vistas; it was additionally within the intricate particulars—the fragile snowflakes clinging to pine needles, the elusive tracks of woodland creatures, and the refined play of sunshine filtering by way of the branches. As the day unfolded, my preliminary apprehension remodeled right into a contagious pleasure.

Descending because the solar started to set, we marveled on the altering colours of the panorama and the sky. We arrived again to the resort and as we took our snowshoes off, our information stated “So? How did you find it?” to which I merely replied “Are you free tomorrow for another hike?”.

With a coronary heart filled with gratitude and a newfound love for snowshoeing, I left the Vercors with reminiscences etched within the snow, promising to return to this magical winter realm, my coronary heart absolutely reconciled with the mountains within the winter.

Read our different Carnet de Voyage entries right here.

Carnet de Voyage: Snowshoeing in the Vercors