Meanwhile in France

13th of February 2018

The winter focus may on South Korea this week, but for a travelling skier the French Alps are where it’s at.


Anna, scoping another fresh line

Mountainwatch | Anna Segal

I’ve visited the French Alps in winter on numerous occasions and have always loved my time there, but for the most part, skiing has been the main focus of my trips. Huge mistake on my behalf, as winter in The Alps has so much more to offer. On my most recent trip to the Savoie region I took a more relaxed, holidayer’s approach. I still managed my fair share of perfectly groomed steeps runs and off-piste pow turns, but the extra-curricular activities were where my head was at.


A table with a view. It has been an big winter in the French Alps and the Mecca for core riders is at its best.

First up was fat biking. I thought this was a novelty form of mountain biking with the summer tires swapped out for snow wheels. There are similarities to mountain biking, but my favourite thing is, if you crash you fall on to soft snow. Even better, the bikes are part electric, giving you the option of boost mode to get up the steeper slopes.

Second on my list of things to try was biathlon. I’d x-country skied as a kid and loved it, but since growing out of my equipment, my chook footing days were only a distant memory. I just needed a little extra inspiration to realise my love of Nordic skiing again; a gun, a red lycra-clad instructor and stunning views of the alps in all directions. I’m thinking this is a sport I should invest more time into.


No wonder the European Alps are on everyone’s bucket list

To counteract all the energy I’d been burning on the x-country track, I decided to try something less taxing on my body. Dog sledding seemed like a fun option! We arrived to meet the pups and spent a good 20 minutes running around and playing with them, before they were attached to the sled. Each dog was from a rescue shelter and our musher, Bertie, explained that their differing roles and positions in the line up were due to the each breeds’ distinctive physical features and temperaments. I did feel a little lazy as Bertie ran by the sled as the dogs dragged us uphill, but witnessing the camaraderie between our musher and her dogs was something special.


Anna Segal dropping into a perfect run of light powder

Finally, there was the skiing. I couldn’t resist. The week before I arrived, large areas of the French ski resorts in The Alps had been shut down due to extreme snowfalls and avalanche risk. By the time arrived, much of this had settled and the skies had broken blue. We found easily accessible untracked snow in Meribel, Val Thorens and Porte de Soleil. It seems like temps in the area are staying cool for the coming weeks, making for a good February of shredding in France.


Anna switched to the skinny skis for a Nordic experience

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