Holidays in the Alps in Winter: 10 Essential Tips

Holidays in the Alps

Why spend your holidays in the Alps in winter? Here, you see.

As you read on, you’re going to want to go to the mountains today! Obviously, if it is the winter season there, it is cold and it has snowed. You should be prepared for the cold beforehand.

Tips for Travelling in the Mountains

Choosing the ideal equipment for extreme cold

First of all, you will have to equip yourself properly. I’m not just talking about warm fleece-style clothing, a silk hat and gloves. By equipment, I mean the essential equipment for difficult high mountain conditions. 

Of course, you don’t have to buy all the gear you need for an expedition in the powder snow in advance, you can rent the gear on-site, at the resort. However, there are a few things to pack. 

Admittedly, hiking poles will not fit in your suitcase, but remember to take some anyway. It is an interesting investment if you like to walk, they are appreciable in any season on uneven but even more so on frozen ground or fresh snow. 

And being able to choose your walking sticks is not an insignificant little luxury, the support at the hand level is, according to the article, studied to prevent the risk of blisters. Last advice on this subject by Julius Homes, you will take good quality sticks and will not choose the economic price.

List of useful equipment for holidays in the Alps in winter:

Non-exhaustive and debatable list

  • a headlamp (the vital thing in the mountains! trust me, always carry it on you),
  • a solid but light water bottle,
  • snow hiking boots or snowshoes,
  • a Thermos bag,
  • snow boots or boots to keep warm outside for sports activities,
  • a toboggan to have fun and relax,
  • good ugly fleeces or itchy wool sweaters,
  • snowshoes if you plan to do them often (it’s practical not to have to waste time at the rental company in the ski resort),
  • super warm and anti-friction socks,
  • your hiking poles or at worst ski poles can do the trick,
  • a duvet (if you had the urge to go to a shelter or if, more plausibly, you have to sleep on the sofa),
  • a windbreaker or a sleeveless down jacket for great freedom of movement.

For more technical elements, the in-store rental will be more profitable.

Bring snow chains or come by train to the mountains

If you want to reach the ski resort, prevention is better than cure and have all your anti-slip gear in the car. It would be a shame to start badly or not to start the holidays at all.

Going to the mountains without a car:

You also have this solution, do not take a car and in this case, take the train to your favourite ski resort. Yes but hey! which one to choose besides, in the Alps where to go? I know that further down in this article I give you practical indications for choosing a destination well served by transport.

Try different winter sports

Indeed, I see you coming up with this almost mechanical association of ideas: ski holidays in the Alps, such a predictable leitmotif, but you are not a sheep and you can experience new sensations! Get out of the mass of tourists coming to break on the ski slopes, and discover the ungroomed snow and slopes without ski lifts.

Leisure in the Alps

You will discover extreme sports like ice climbing, snow mountain biking and even ice diving in the Alps! Or fly over the wonderful snow-capped mountains of the Alps in a helicopter, paraglider, ULM, or hot air balloon.

Otherwise, ski touring is quite physical but you can really cover great distances. In a more leisurely way, you can try snowshoeing. Similarly, to experience a real change of scenery, it is the dog sled ride, authentic and wild. You can also experience the mountains without skiing in winter and have a great time!

On a hike, go with a mountain guide or work on the topo before

It is essential to go on a snowshoe hike or put on touring skis with a high-mountain guide if you are not seriously used to this universe. Even for the most knowledgeable, safety first! You really have to be aware of your limits and those of the people who accompany you. 

The hiking topo must be observed carefully and you will never leave without an IGN map of the region, a compass and your composure. Also, do not overpack. Keeping all this in mind, it’s an opportunity to approach incredible glaciers, follow wonderful valleys and finally see less discreet animals on the white of the snow because it remains an activity for all levels. 

In family ski resorts, you can use a marked and secure snowshoe route, there are lots of them and thanks to the tourist office of the resort you will bring the topo-guide to be unbeatable.

Alternate mountain activities, do not force too much

Do not abuse the good things, an intense day of snowshoeing, a calm day by the fire. A dive in a frozen lake in Tignes, a hot bath in the hotel jacuzzi. Climbing on an icefall in Chamonix then sleeping in an igloo near Mont Blanc. In short, have fun discovering many nature activities while respecting your rest, you’re on vacation anyway, don’t forget!

Know that the days in the mountains are very short in winter 

Already, the days are short in winter but that is without counting the reliefs that surround us. So from 3 p.m., don’t count on having any more sun in the heart of the valley. Always think about your return trip. You must watch your schedule after that.

Do not cover yourself too much during physical tests

For the same reasons, it will be necessary to take a hiking bag with food certainly but not too full to be able to slip your jacket, your cap and your gloves. Indeed, beware of the mountain climate and very rapid temperature variations. A big sun, a slope and you sweat and spend all your stuff on your back. Conversely, your many layers will insulate you from the cold that has arrived on the summit in the icy wind.

Provide a snack and sweet hot tea in Thermos

Mandatory breaks to recover from emotions with a good hot sweetened tea and a cereal bar. It is not an excuse to eat but rather a necessary good to continue the ascent of a pass as during a hike in Ubaye which had required real endurance and regular breaks. The thermos will help you warm up after a crazy dog ​​sledge race in Alpe d’Huez, for example.

Useful information

For holidays in the Alps in winter, the leisure activities are endless. Obviously, it featured winter sports, skiing. One may wonder: where to ski in the Alps? Les 2 Alpes or Tignes? Alpe d’Huez or Val Thorens? But also quite simply where to go to the mountains in winter? The answers can be searched on the map of France.

Indeed,  compare details of each ski resort in the Alps so that you can find the suitable one for your trip. Very practical criteria are mentioned there, such as:

  • The different means of transport to get to the Alps, you can for example know which ski resort is accessible by train.
  • Winter sports activities and mountain leisure activities are possible and thus select among the winter sports that suit you the most for your holidays in the Alps.
  • With the possible festivals in the mountains, you will know how to choose which ski resort to party at.

A precious help for a judicious choice according to your own desires. So, do you take your holidays in the Alps in winter?