Winter activity holiday in the French Alps

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made anytime between mid Dec - mid Apr and can be adapted to suit your interests, budget and requirements as necessary
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Winter activity holiday in the French Alps

Environment

We don’t promote any motorized sports on our activity list and try to choose activities that have a minimum impact on the environment and that are outside the big ski resorts. However in order to provide a good choice and diversity of activities we have included some resort based activities, such as the giant tyrolean zip wire – it is a balancing act! When arranging your itinerary we can advise you on activity choices that are environmentally friendly!

For snowshoeing and other activities that involve a trip into the Alpine winter wilderness or the Ecrins National Park our guides will explain the habitat of this harsh and fragile environment. You will get to know the difference between a wild boar print and a chamois and suss out if they were running, being chased or just chilling out in the snow!

The Ecrins National Park is a protected area for wildlife and there have been several projects to reintroduce animals such as the ibex and safeguard other species from the erosion of development elsewhere. These activities give a good appreciation and respect for the work and it’s importance globally.

We have a range of accommodation on offer and all the hotels, bed and breakfasts and self catering that we use is vetted by us. We favour family run local establishments over large commercial chains and are always on the look out for ecologically friendly buildings and environmentally conscious proprietors! We have a number of eco-gites on our books and a lot of our suppliers use solar power for hot water due to the climate here.

Our office policy is to be as paperless as possible, to use recycled paper where necessary and re-use envelopes and jiffy bags where possible. We try and promote train travel wherever possible when discussing ‘getting here’ options with clients as in general it is a far more pleasant and practical experience as well as being better for the environment.

Community

The local economy of the Alps in winter is predominantly supported by the ski industry, which other than providing an income for local people is not the most responsible holiday activity for the environment! However it is often the only way local people can earn a living.

The mountains in winter are truly at their most magnificent and there are so many other ways to explore and discover them without having to strap a pair of skis to your feet. We have chosen a list of activities that you can do outside of the big resorts, to encourage non-skiing winter holidays and provide an alternate means of making a living for the local people.

For example, we have one ski instructor and high mountain guide who has reduced his contract with the ski school in order to have more time to lead ice climbing and snowshoeing trips for us which we are very pleased about! We always use local guides and instructors and rather than bringing over foreign guides.

Reviews of Winter activity holiday in the French Alps

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 14 Jan 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The young people Sam and Rachel achieved confidence respectively in snowboarding and downhill skiing in a small quiet resort at Ancelle for the first three days. Their parents decided that overland skiing is just too difficult for elderly novices! We all very much enjoyed the snowshoeing in the valley near Prapic as the sun went down, and in the Champoleon valley.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Book a flight to Grenoble which arrives earlier in the day, as bad weather caused us to be diverted to Lyons and we did not arrive at our destination until 3 am after a scary drive in freezing fog. The weather was unusually warm for the last two days, but it was still possible to ski in Orcieres.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, we employed local ski instructors and local guides, we used the small auberge in the village rather than a hotel further away, and we had four people in the car at all times. I suppose we could have used public transport, but time was short and we wanted to pack in as much as possible.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Successful as a way of satisfying all ages and giving the family precious time to be on our own without the pressures of work and university.

Reviewed on 10 Jan 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Too many! But definitely: Snow shoeing on a beautiful sunny Christmas Day and completing our first Via Ferrata.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Be flexible - the weather can be unpredictable! Take lots of layers and be prepared for any weather. On the day of particularly persistent snow, we were glad of our spare gloves in our dry bag. Winter tyres and snow chains. (We had winter tyres and snow chains. We didn’t have to use our snow chains, but other cars did on some of the steeper roads.)

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


We were booked into a lovely quaint family run hotel in a small village. They cooked all their own meals and used locally sourced supplies. All the activities were booked using local services and guides. Sally is based in the region, so she has gained the local knowledge required to support the local services and take you off the beaten track.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


The holiday was amazing! Although some of activities were cancelled due to freak weather conditions, Sally ensured that other activities were booked for us. During the whole holiday Sally was in communication with us to keep us up to date with any changes. Booking with this operator was the best decision we made! It was the perfect holiday for us: the ease of booking and the use of local services. This was all achieved through Sally's hard work. If we had tried to book this holiday ourselves, we just would not have had such a great experience and would have probably ended up with some hideous commercial holiday with hoards of people. Thank you to the operator and to responsibletravel.com!

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