Ski touring is a very popular winter sport in the mountains near Annecy. It is a demanding discipline that requires a good physical condition and the respect of safety rules. In return, it offers a feeling of freedom that is almost unrivalled.
Ski touring: a discipline that respects nature
This is the modern version of skiing as it was invented by the people of Northern Europe 4,000 years ago. This winter sport is practised in a natural environment, on virgin snow, with no prepared slopes and medium to gentle gradients. It is practised in two phases: the ascent and the descent.
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Skiing off the tracks and trails, you will have the opportunity to come across alpine wildlife. Ski touring is a discipline that respects nature and has no impact on the natural environment. The level of the skier must be complete, as he will have to alternate various techniques such as the flexibility possible with Nordic bindings and the balance necessary with soft and narrow skis. With the demand from holidaymakers for a more nature-friendly way of skiing, ski touring and cross-country skiing are becoming increasingly popular sports. These developments in terms of the expectations of the winter sports clientele have also enabled a wider public to discover these disciplines.
The effort is sustained to climb the slopes, but the reward is great to be able to ski in the powder, far from the crowd and noise, in total freedom! You may be lucky enough to come across the wildlife of Haute-Savoie.
Ski touring equipment and safety
The choice of equipment for ski touring is a little different from that for alpine skiing. In order to climb the slopes, the skis must grip the snow, so they are equipped with“skins“. This term refers to an anti-backwards system. The technique is similar to cross-country skiing, alternating one leg after the other to progress.
For the descent phase, you simply lock the bindings as in alpine skiing and remove the anti-backwards system.
For the clothing, it is necessary to take into account that during the rise, the body is hot and inevitably for the descent, it is the opposite, therefore one will adopt the technique of three layers of clothing with a change.
It is imperative to be equipped with a DVA, which allows you to be found in case of avalanche. The necessary equipment is quite expensive, so we recommend that you think about the second hand.
And for the first experiences, you should be accompanied by a guide and never go alone.
Ski touring routes near Annecy
We propose six magnificent itineraries near Annecy for ski touring. These routes vary in difficulty and are among the best ski touring spots in France. Ask your guide which one will be the most suitable for your level.
- La Tournette with 1,400m of vertical drop. It is the highest mountain on the shores of Lake Annecy, with an altitude of 2351 m.
- The Pointe de Tardevant with a difference in altitude of 1,050 m. The panorama is magnificent between the beautiful Pointe Percée and the Mont Blanc massif.
- La Sambuy with a 1,000 m difference in altitude. Access to the ski touring trails is via the La Sambuy chairlift.
- Le Sulens with 600 m of vertical drop. Located above Thônes and set back from the Aravis chain between Charvin and Tournette.
- The Coillu à Bordel: located above Manigod at the level of the hamlet of Comburce offers a difference in altitude of 1,010 m.
- Le Crêt de Chatillon: starting from the car park of the Semnoz resort, only 20 minutes from Annecy, with a difference in altitude of 250 m. The panorama is magnificent over the Aravis, the Bauges and the Mont-Blanc.
With the health crisis, ski touring has been widely popular with ski resort clients. The communities of communes of the Pays du Mont-Blanc and the Chamonix Mont-Blanc valley have produced a free guide of 27 ski touring routes. The routes take marked natural itineraries and resort slopes for the descent.
Video of the Tournette north face ski touring descent
How to prepare your ski touring trip near Annecy?
This magnificent sport, in the middle of nature, cannot be improvised, it is necessary to be accompanied by specialists.
- You can join the CAF (the French Alpine Club), its Annecy section is very dynamic and offers ski touring outings in groups.
- The mountain guides are great professionals for unforgettable memories in complete safety. The Annecy Guide Bureau offers several packages on La Tournette, Les Aravis, Le Sulens and the Col de Balafrasse. You should expect to pay around €100 for a day of mountain skiing.
- The big resorts also have this sport in their catalogue, with experienced guides to accompany you.
And as with all winter sports, you need to check the weather on the day.
Ski touring clubs in Annecy
We advise you to practice ski touring in clubs affiliated to the French Ski Federation. They have volunteer federal instructors who are trained to teach and practice ski touring. If you would like an introduction to ski touring, you can contact one of the following clubs:
- Gums Annecy : Polyèdre, 4 Impasse St Jean, 74600 Seynod
- Club Alpin Français d’Annecy: 17 Rue du Mont Blanc, 74000 Annecy
- Ski Club d’Annecy : 12 Rue Louis Boch, 74000 Annecy
- Club Alpin Français de Meythet : 4 rue de l’aérodrome, Meythet, 74960 Annecy
Where to hire touring skis in Annecy
It is convenient to rent your skis in Annecy before going on a tour.
- Ski Loc Shop: 78 bis route des Creuses à 74960 Cran-Gevrier
- Intersport: Rue de la Tuilerie, 74330 Épagny Metz-Tessy
- Versant Nord : 48 avenue d’Annecy 74230 Thônes
Due to the high demand for ski touring, we advise you to rent your equipment the day before and to call the rental companies to find out what is available before you leave. Since the health crisis, the practice of ski touring has developed considerably and it is frequent that at weekends there is no more equipment to rent.
More info: Winter sports in Annecy