Winter is the best!

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Winter is the best! Morzine fr

With the arrival of the first snowfalls, a feverish activity overtakes the mountain populations who prepare to welcome the tourists in the best possible conditions. Everyone’s attention is focussed on the snow sports and all the many variations that are added each year to an already long list.


With the arrival of the first snowfalls, a feverish activity overtakes the mountain populations who prepare to welcome the tourists in the best possible conditions. Everyone’s attention is focussed on the snow sports and all the many variations that are added each year to an already long list. 

– downhill skiing: the main activity. Very pleasant on well-packed slopes for easy descents pour, or on the other hand, for schussing down.
Parabolic skis whose narrow form is inspired from surfing, give you better sensations on turns. Free ride skis are supposedly better adapted to snowboarding and off-piste skiing. Becoming a good skier able to ski on any kind of snow is not easy – luckily the technique can be mastered fairly quickly on easy slopes. So you are already on the road to happiness! 
Book your skiing lessons with the ESF

Anecdotally: skiing is undeniably one of man’s great conquests, but do we know where and when it happened? In fact, no one really knows how it originated. It would seem that the primitive people from the North of Europe and Asia knew how to use skis well before they knew about wheels. For a very long time, skiing was the privilege of northern countries where it was a means of transport and not a sport. The word ski is probably of Norwegian origin. The exploit of the Norwegian Frijtof Nansen who skied across Greenland in 1892/1893, caused it to gain popularity. That was probably the beginning of modern skiing.

Telemark skiing: this ancient technique is coming back into fashion today and has its place in the very trendy circle of new snow sports. It is skiing for exploration, where speed is not really necessary, a method that goes back in time and reminds us of the origins of the sport. It is also a technique for all those who love the pure lines, the fluid movements and elegant turns. In short, a real art which is attracting more and more followers.

snowpark or bordercross: this is a trail about 500 metres long, fairly narrow, which looks like a motocross track with banked corners and moguls. You generally go down in groups of 4 and the first to arrive wins. Not always easy to completely go for it, but it guarantees excitement.

snowboarding (or snow surfing): this appeared in the eighties,  and guarantees amazing sensations. If you have never experienced the pleasure of skiing downhill on powdery snow, you cannot easily understand why people are so enthusiastic about surfing. 
Everyone who does this agrees that the sliding sensations are really fabulous. Even if you have never skied before, you can start with surfing as, contrary to widespread belief, surfing is easier than skiing because it is less technical.

snowblading: this is done on short skis, which are very easy to manoeuvre, and is very easy to learn. You can go anywhere and it’s great fun. It’s easy to turn, even 360°, and you slalom between the trees. On the other side of the coin, it is less stable than ordinary skis and it’s not meant for speed. But it’s worth trying, especially for very new

off-piste skiing: synonymous with freedom and absolute pleasure, off-piste skiing is
without a doubt the quintessential winter sport. Off-piste skiing implies wide-open spaces, huge stretches of immaculate snow and fields of powdery snow. Far from the crowded noisy slopes, you will experience moments of pure happiness and intense emotion…
You too can discover this alternative way of skiing and be overcome by an irresistible sensation of total freedom. Welcome to the club!

Careful! This type of skiing is not totally risk-free (avalanches, falls for example). It is highly advisable to be accompanied by a professional guide.

heliskiing: for those who want to get away from the slopes and their nearby off-piste trails. Move on upwards. Here there is more space, fewer crowds, everyone can trace his own tracks in good quality snow: the height of snow sports. 
After a spectacular flight you will be put down on a slope, or even on a glacier in spring or summer, ready for the interminable descent that you wish would never end, on virgin snow. 
Everything is possible and in the space of a few moments you will feel as if the mountain belongs to you alone. Careful, it’s addictive!

-  cross-country skiing: far from being a marginal activity, thousands of enthusiasts go cross-country skiing in the French massifs every day in winter quite happily.
This activity is open to anyone with a minimum of skiing technique and who enjoys hard exercise.
ge is not a limiting factor, rather like cycling, and it is not rare to find senior citizens bravely striding along despite the weight of years. This activity combines the pleasures of a slow, contemplative ascent, far from the noisy equipment of the resorts, and downhill skiing in protected, natural surroundings.

rando surfing: inspired from cross country hiking on skis (where you stick “sealskins” under the skis to walk and climb without sliding back down) “rando” surfing consists in climbing on foot, in snowshoes or with crampons, carrying the surfboard on your back to reach the desired spot where the virgin snow awaits the surfer’s new tracks. Clearly, rando surfing gives you glorious walks with the added pleasure of the long descents. But be warned, you have to be in good physical condition for the upward climb.

snow shoeing: far from the crowded ski slopes, recharge your batteries and discover the real mountains in winter. Quietly, gently, you will follow the tracks of the mountain hare as he looks for food among the larches, or if you are lucky you might see an ibex peacefully nibbling buds or tree bark. 
Snowshoes will allow you to venture off the beaten track and leave your mark in the undergrowth and fields of virgin snow. A wonderful family activity, snowshoeing is attracting an increasing number of fans who like the idea of rediscovering the pleasures and benefits of walking with the added fun of the snowshoes. 

 – dog sledding: Enjoy the adventures of the Far North at the end of the track. Increasingly nowadays, riding in dog sleds, one of the oldest forms of transport in Arctic countries, is coming back into fashion. The sleds are well adapted to the many open spaces in our massifs. Discover the wonderful sensation of contact with the beautiful huskies. A complete change of surroundings!

This long list of activities does not claim to be exhaustive. Imagination knows no bounds in this field. For those who enjoy new or unusual sensations, take a look at the following list in no particular order of priority: snow-kiting  (skis or surfboard pulled by a kite, snake-slide (several sledges strung together) or even snow-skateboarding (a raised board)

Useful links
Fédération Française de la Montagne et de l'escalade French mountaineering and rock climbing federation


Point of interest