2020 Health and well-being
This winter, look after number one! Head for the mountains to clear your mind and, above all, take advantage of the wide range of activities on offer in France’s many resorts. For all those who are (or will be) fitness enthusiasts, we’ve put together a list of the top activities to help you combine fresh mountain air and physical exercise. So no more excuses! Ski touring, cross-country skiing and snow trailing are all on the agenda this winter to help you stay in tip-top shape.
Accessible to all
Whether you’re after intensive training at altitude or you just want to experience the mountains in a new way, France’s resorts offer all kinds of fitness activities, including a wide range of Nordic practices. So you can keep up with all the latest trends, amid some of France’s most stunning scenery! Here is an overview of what’s on offer:
Who can do it? This is the latest trend hitting all the resorts! Initially a pastime for seasoned skiers, ski touring is becoming increasingly popular with holiday makers in general. While it initially started out in off-piste areas, you can now go ski touring on safer, signposted trails. Although it’s a real cardio workout, this is a gentler approach to exploring the mountains than skiing and is aimed at all those who want to work on their stamina both up and down the slopes.
Where? Many resorts have developed signposted trails for ski touring. For example, you can walk in complete safety in both the Arêches-Beaufort and Vars resorts, and even enjoy dedicated ski touring events such as the Trace Catalane in Les Angles!
Any added benefits? Many resorts offer introductory sessions for beginners!
Nordic ski touring
Who can do it? Mountain lovers in search of seclusion, peace and quiet. Accessible to anyone with the appropriate equipment, Nordic ski touring enables you to ski on packed snow and is ideal for several days of touring. With constant variation between climbs and descents , you’ll work out all your different muscle groups and improve your cardio fitness! This is the ideal mountain activity for groups wanting to venture off the beaten track.
Where? Wherever there is snow, provided you have checked that the weather and mountain conditions are safe, of course. Some resorts have even developed sign-posted Nordic ski touring trails for visitors.
Any added benefits? Apart from your Nordic ski touring equipment, this activity is completely free, and no ski pass is required.
Who can do it? Exercise addicts and anyone who wants to get back in the game. Whether ‘alternative’ or ‘skating’, you’ll soon gather speed and enjoy an exhilarating experience with the mountains as your backdrop. This is the ideal activity for working on endurance and exercising the whole body.
Where? There are 200 Nordic domains in France (you can find the list on the Nordic France website). Whether you’re in Font-Romeu, home to the cross-country ski champion Martin Fourcade, or on the famous slopes of the Jura mountains, you’re well set up to try out cross-country skiing!
Any added benefits? Even if you’re a beginner, it’s easy to make progress fast and have fun!
Who can do it? Anyone who enjoys running and wants to push themselves in a new way, as running in snow and at altitude is definitely different to normal running! The challenge is to adapt your steps to the varied ground created by the snow. Push your muscles to the max and improve your cardio-vascular fitness!
Where? Preferably on any of the snow trails that have been specially developed by the resorts. Why not register for a snow trail such as Le Bélierin La Clusaz (11km) which takes place on 9 January 2021 or Les Deux Alpes Night-time Snow Trail (date to be confirmed)?
Any added benefits? Snow trails are accessible to all – all you need is a pair of trainers with studs and off you go! The bonus of snow trailing is that you get picturesque mountain scenery no matter what time of day. So even on a family holiday in the mountains, well-being is within easy reach.
Five good reasons to get fit in the mountains:
- Altitude: Training at altitude stimulates our bodies and develops our physical capacity. This is good news for endurance enthusiasts. Getting active in the mountains also provides the valuable opportunity to enjoy some fresh air, away from the city.
- Stunning landscapes: what better way for fitness sports enthusiasts to enjoy the great outdoors? In the mountains, whatever your chosen activity, your surroundings are bound to be stunning, with beautiful panoramic views as far as the eye can see!
- Cardio-vascular fitness: From cross-country skiing to trail and Nordic cross-country skiing, each activity has its own benefits in terms of muscle conditioning. The positive effects of mountain exercise on cardio-vascular fitness are well documented.
- Accessibility: You don’t need to be a pro or at the peak of your fitness to try out these activities – they’re all suitable for beginners. The social aspect to these sports, generally practised in a group, is also a great reason to try them out, and presents a good opportunity to try something new with family or friends.
- Choice: Raring to get back in the saddle? Try fat-biking. Love animals? Go dog sledding! Want to feel at one with nature? Escape into the mountain forests on a cross-country ski trail. Whatever you feel like, there’s a mountain activity for you!