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Trying Snow Shoeing in Le Semnoz, France

In January 2024 I got to have a wintery adventure trying mountain snowshoeing for the first time with my sister at the beautiful mountain Le Semnoz in the French Alps. Here is how I found it.

Photo: Alain Dujardin

After visiting the Haute Savoie region of France to participate in the GlaGla Race 2024, I wanted to have a snowy adventure!

My sister has always wanted to try snowshoeing so we gave it a try. It’s a bit like wearing mini skis on your feet and it helps you walk across snow more evenly, without sinking into it. You use poles as well.

Snowshoe trekking is a way of venturing deeper into the natural surroundings and tracing your own way through this pristine environment. Imagine walking through snow-covered forests, along frozen lakes or on white peaks.

The Lake Annecy Tourist Office had kindly arranged a guided tour with Alain from Bureau des Guides d'Annecy so we met him on a Sunday morning.

Alain had already spoken with me on the phone to ensure we had the right clothing and equipment. You don't need much, but breathable sporty clothing is best with appropriate snow boots and outer layers such as ski trousers and jacket. Sun cream is also needed, a hat and sunglasses. We both carried small backpacks with water and snacks too.

Alain provided the snowshoes and poles and he helped us fit them and showed us how to walk.

We started off by crossing through a magical forest winter wonderland. It's quite easy to walk in the shoes once you get started and the poles really help. The forest was absolutely beautiful and we were gasping in awe at the sheer beauty of the unspoilt snow and white trees. It started to get steep as we went up the side of the mountain. I found it quite hard going to begin with until I hit my stride, it is a really good workout! You can change the angle of the shoes to help you get up the hill though and it is best to really dig our poles in. I was quite pleased when we were finally up higher. I found it much easier to come down and I didn't have to stop for breath as much!

Photo: Alain Dujardin

Le Semnoz

The Semnoz mountain is part of the Massif des Bauges Regional Nature Park and dominates the western shore of Lake Annecy. It is 15 km long and reaches an altitude of 1699 m. Its two main peaks are the Crêt de l’Aigle and the Crêt de Châtillon. It was very easy to get to as well, just being a 30 minutes’ drive from the centre of Annecy. We got the bus back easily from the resort.

Photo: Lac Annecy Tourisme

The views from Le Semnoz are breathtaking. From the summit the 360° panorama stretches from the Jura to the Ecrins via the Aravis chain and you can also see Mont-Blanc! At the crest of Châtillon (1702m), the highest point of Semnoz, on clear days you can have a view of the 3 lakes of the area (Lake Annecy, Lake Bourget and Lake Geneva).

Photo: Alain Dujardin

Where to go

Winter in Haute-Savoie offers an enchanting landscape for snowshoe enthusiasts who want to venture off the beaten track into the heart of unspoilt nature. With stunning Alpine panoramas, it is a paradise for lovers of snowshoeing. Most resorts in Savoie and Haute-Savoie offer specific snowshoeing routes. Some areas to visit near Annecy include the Semnoz, the Glières plateau, the Grand-Bornand and La Clusaz - Manigod. has some ideas for the 10 most beautiful snowshoe walks in Haute-Savoie here:

Photo: Lac Annecy Tourisme

Trying an Igloo

We also looked at some amazing little igloos made of real snow and an eco-designed base camp of igloos you can sleep in Alpes Bivouac at an altitude of 1600m. A stay in one of these igloos looks amazing.

Disclaimer: This experience was provided by the Press Service of the Lake Annecy Tourist Office. who organised the guided snowshoeing experience through Bureau des Guides d'Annecy.

As always, all thoughts, opinions and images are my own. Thanks so much for supporting the brands that support Natasha StarSeeker. For more information on snowshoeing with a mountain guide, be sure to follow them on Instagram or Facebook. For more information on Lake Annecy Tourist Office follow them on Instagram or Facebook.

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