18.10
2013 Mountain activities

Although it remains the number one activity in resorts, there isn’t only skiing in the life of a winter visitor! The snow is perfect for numerous different experiences. Some examples are snowmobiles, snow scoots and mountain biking on snow, with the common denominator being a handle and intense sensations. We’ll tell you all about it - let yourself be tempted! 

Snowmobile

Although it remains the number one activity in resorts, there isn’t only skiing in the life of a winter visitor! The snow is perfect for numerous different experiences. Some examples are snowmobiles, snow scoots and mountain biking on snow, with the common denominator being a handle and intense sensations. We’ll tell you all about it - let yourself be tempted! 

Snowmobile

If you are looking for speed, this is not for you as in France, snowmobile are mainly used for leisurely trips along sign-posted, authorised trails, once the ski slopes are closed - so at night for most of the season. And this is the real attraction - discovering the areas where you have skied and snowboarded all day, in a different way and with a different atmosphere. “It’s a complete change of scenery”, confirms Denis Passeman of 2 Alpes Motoneige. “It is a different, fun way to discover the resort”. To drive, you must be over 18 (parental authorisation between 16 and 18 for some providers). You can be a passenger from 12 years old (sometimes 14 years). On average, the trip lasts for an hour, with a safety briefing and how to drive the machine for the first 10 to 15 minutes, followed by a warm-up tour, and then you are off for the expedition following the guide. It is the guide who fixes the group's speed -not too fast, not too slow, to avoid jolts and ensure that the machine doesn’t slide from one side to the other. Very quickly, the evening pilot finds the right balance and is at one with his snowmobile. 

How much does it cost?Between around 50 to 100 € 
Where can you do it ? Les Deux-Alpes, Les Arcs, Praz-de-Lys, La Clusaz, Montgenèvre, Auron,Saint-Lary, Le Lioran and other resorts

Snowscoot

Invented by a Frenchman at the start of the 1990s, the snowscoot - a cross between a bike and a snowboard - has developed in all the mountain ranges. Nearly all the resorts have authorised it, in all or part of their ski area. This snow scooter comprises two snowboard-like planks - the front one articulated and fixed to the handles axis, and the rear one fixed to the frame, where the pilot stands in the centre.   A strap links your foot to the machine to avoid losing it in case of a fall. In its leisure version, this sport is very easy to learn, even if you have never skied or snowboarded before. In half a day, you will learn how to stop, turn and use a drag lift. Several ESF ski schools teach the snowscoot. Manufacturers have developed versions for children, so now you can pilot at any age! 

How much does it cost?Around 25€ for a half-days hire, 35€ for the day. Lessons are 45€ without hire. 

Where can you do it? Tignes, Notre-Dame-de-Bellecombe,Combloux, La Giettaz, Super Besse, Praloup, La Mongie/Grand Tour Malet, Le Champ du Feu and other resorts

Mountain biking on snow

A popular summer sport, mountain biking can be increasingly found on prepared ski slopes. With notched tyres and ultra powerful hydraulic disk brakes, snow mountain bikes look very similar to the summer versions. Biking on snow is great fun, as with a bit of speed you start sliding. The secret? A good position -leaning on the pedals, your backside behind the seat to put all your weight on the rear wheel, looking far ahead, and playing with the slope and the turns! Helmet and protective pads are compulsory, although snow is a great shock absorber if you fall. In some resorts such as Tignes or Saint-Pierre-de-Chartreuse, mountain biking on snow takes place after the slopes are closed, in others such as Les Menuires or La Mongie/Grand Tourmalet, you can bike on dedicated slopes. The more fearless can reach speeds of up to 60 km/h! 

Actumontagne for France Montagnes 

Crédits photos :
Cyril Cousin/OT Les Menuires 
OT Sancy 
OT Les 2Alpes/B.Longo
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