7 mountain experiences to reconnect with nature

Surpass yourself, get out of your comfort zone, marvel at the beauty of the world around us: this winter, we take the time to savor the mountains. In the Alps, the Vosges mountains, the Jura mountains or the Pyrenees, dare to think outside the box to live one of these 7 unforgettable experiences in the heart of nature.

Live the mountain at night

The night is calm, the sounds are muffled by the snow. Only the sliding of your steps on the snow pierces the silence. Sometimes a cry is heard in the distance, in a tree. A tawny owl, maybe? Above you, the sky is wonderfully starry: light pollution is so low in the mountains! An experience to live for one evening only, for example during a night out on snowshoes, a bivouac in the snow, or a night ski descent: in Courchevel, in Savoie, or in Le Grand Bornand, in Haute-Savoie, the slopes are lit at night! And for an experience in the heart of nature, head to the Fond des Fours refuge in Val d’Isère : accessible only by ski touring, it promises a night as close as possible to nature.

In the Vosges, between forests and ridges, the mountain guide Valéry Poirot takes you for an unforgettable night walk from La Bresse, not far from Gérardmer. On the heights of Saulxures-sur-Moselotte, near the slopes of Ventron, the stars twinkle above your heads. Valéry Poirot delivers all the secrets of the sky to you, and particularly those of the constellation of Orion, the star of winter!

Check with the operators to find out the reception conditions in relation to health measures.

Take a forest bath

Do you know the Shinrin-yoku ? This forest medicine, very popular in Japan, invites you to get closer to nature, to rediscover in yourself its capacity for self-healing. Close to sylvotherapy , this art of forest bathing consists of connecting with the trees and the vegetation that surrounds us.

In the middle of winter, when nature hibernates, this experience is particularly rich! Between the pines and the beeches, we offer ourselves a soft and silent journey. The snow invites you to observe animal tracks, the crystals sparkle in the branches, and you walk in full consciousness: a 100% rejuvenating forest bath, to live for example in the great forests of the Vosges or the Jura , but also in some Alpine resorts such as Morzine or Chamonix, where you can enjoy a one-and-one-hour outing with the practitioner.

Learn how to drive sled dogs

If there is a massif associated with sled dogs, it is the Vercors! From Méaudre to Autrans, the crews train and offer outings. But it is now possible to find crews elsewhere, whether in the Alps (in the Grand Massif on the heights of Morillon, in Contamines-Montjoie, in Val Cenis or even in Chamonix), the Haut-Jura, the Vosges but also in the Pyrenees .

The driving companies offer travelers the opportunity to learn about the discipline, for half a day or for longer courses. We start by meeting the pack, made up of ten dogs per sled. Excited by the prospect of the walk, the dogs bark, and it is in a joyful cacophony that we start the day. Once harnessed, we sit in the sled: let’s go for a hike in the large snowy spaces.

Check with the operators to find out the reception conditions in relation to health measures.

Go on a discreet winter safari

Shhh: nature has fallen asleep! Patience, observation, silence and wonder are on the program for winter naturalist outings. In the heart of the Vanoise National Park, from the Pralognan-la-Vanoise resort, mountain guide and photographer Pierre Descotes takes you to meet the emblematic species of the park. We spend the night in an old shepherd’s cottage at an altitude of 2,000 meters, and in the early morning, when the forest wakes up, we take out the objectives. A photographic hunt as close as possible to the Alpine ecosystem.

For more classic naturalist outings, we turn to the National Parks: four are located in mountain areas. La Vanoise, therefore, but also the Pyrenees National Park , the Ecrins and Mercantour National Park. Finally, in all the resorts in France, you can find naturalist guides who will be delighted to share the richness of their territory, including in the Vosges and Jura where there are regional natural parks .

Check with the operators to find out the reception conditions in relation to health measures.

Try out a survival course in the mountains

What if we lived a crazy experience of survival in the wilderness? Winter is even more incredible! We learn to build a shelter, to make a fire, to orient ourselves in the mountains, to cross rivers using ropes, we learn the basic first aid actions as well as the wild plants that surround us. And we learn as much about nature as we do about ourselves. Intense.

The courses are accessible to all levels, some are offered to beginners and others to experienced survivalists. In the Alps, to be tested in the Giffre valley, in Morillon, on the Glières plateau in Petit Bornand, in Haute-Savoie, in Courchevel or even in Lans-en-Vercors. You can also turn to the resorts in the Pyrenees, which host mountain survival courses, especially around Font-Romeu: there, you can even live an experience of “extreme cold” survival. To be reserved for the more adventurous!

Check with the operators to find out the reception conditions in relation to health measures.

Dive under the ice

Want to dive under the ice? You have to climb up to find a frozen lake. In the Alps, direction Lake Tignes, Lake Montriond or Lake Sollières, in Val Cenis. In the Pyrenees, head for Lake Balcère, in the resort of Angles in Capcir. Equipped with a dry suit, it is a question of immersing yourself in icy water thanks to a hole dug in the ice. Connected by a rope to an instructor throughout the dive, we enjoy a magical immersion of about twenty minutes: no more, it would tire the body too much! Enough to experience the immense silence that reigns under the ice, dream while contemplating the ballet of air bubbles, and vibrate with the aquatic fauna. Magical.

A variation: if the Sollières lake is not frozen, you can try ice floating: equipped with a thick and waterproof suit, you let yourself float in ice water. It seems to relax the body and the mind!

Check with the operators to find out the reception conditions in relation to health measures.

Surpass yourself in ski-pulka hikes

To imagine themselves in the Arctic, apprentice adventurers can embark on a ski-pulka crossing. On touring skis, the courageous pull their pulka behind them, a sled that serves as a suitcase and allows them to carry the necessary to bivouac. An activity to practice for example on the Vercors plateaus, or in the Clarée valley, in the Hautes-Alpes, but all the resorts where you can ski touring can be used: just rent a pulka! In the Jura, which has one of the largest Nordic areas in Europe, you can even plan a complete crossing of the massif by ski-pulka from the Rousses resort.

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