Snowshoes were probably invented in Canada, in times very distant, perhaps as early as 6000 BC. Since then they were used by the inhabitants of the Arctic areas to move, by the peoples of the Asian mountains to hunt and by woodsmen of the Alps collecting firewood.
Now snowshoes, which are no longer made of wood but of metal and plastic, are a greener alternative to other winter activities such as skiing. Winter hiking with snowshoes allow you to discover the whitewashed nature in the most authentic way: walking in the woods surrounded by snow-covered trees, by a fairy tale landscape and the silence of the winter is an experience that you must do at least once in your life.
In addition, it’s easy to learn and suitable for everyone; even the less athletic, children and the elderly will be able to fully enjoy the mountain with wonderful walks.
Discover the 3 itineraries that we have selected for you!
1 The views of the Odle di Funes (South Tyrol)
We are in South Tyrol, in one of the most uncontaminated areas. The itinerary starts from Malga Zannes, at 1686m above sea level, along a wide forest track. The first part of the route is suitable for all, the signs are clear and the climbing is not too steep. We enter the woods until reaching the pastures of Malga Gampen, we are at 2062 meters above sea level. We suggest only to those who have some experience in the mountains to proceed. Leaving the pasture on the left we head to the Genvoa Refuge, located in the middle of the slope. We are already at 2340 meters above sea level and there’s only the last stretch to reach the pass of Poma; from here the views over the entire chain of Geisler Funes are truly breathtaking.
Where to stay: At the foot of the Dolomites Odle, which are UNESCO World Heritage Site, on the edge of an idyllic forest there are eco-friendly luminous apartments, furnished with wooden furniture.
Fun Fact: Peter, the landlord, is, among other things, a ski instructor and guide for excursions and he can recommend other rides and, upon request, accompany you.
2. A balcony with 360 ° view (Veneto)
We move in Veneto to reach the top of Mount Rite. From Forno di Zoldo, we go up towards Cibiana pass, stopping in Quattro Tabià. From here we follow the trail No. 494 which takes us into a beautiful forest. We arrive at the fork of Val Inferna and continue through the path n.478 that will take us to the top. At this point, it goes up quite rapidly until the fork Deona, at 2053m. The scene starts to open and we can admire the Boite Valley and Mount Pelmo. At the top before our eyes we find a unique view: a real balcony of the Dolomites that allows us to admire the Antelao, Val Boite, Sorapiss, M. Pelmo, Marmolada, Croda da Lago and the Cortina basin.
Where to stay: Exactly in Forno di Zoldo you will find the B&B Dormì e Disnà, an old mountain house of 1700 in wood and stone restored according to the criteria of green architecture.
Fun Fact: During the First World War the Italian Army, for its panoramic position, chose the Monte Rite as artillery fort. Today the Fort has been restored and houses the Museum in the Clouds – the Messner Mountain Museum
3. On the Trail of Legends (Trentino)
From Vigo di Fassa we take the cable car system with the snowshoes in hand; time 10 minutes and we reach Ciampedie. From the arrival of the chairlift we keep the right and continue, in a rather steep downhill trail, towards Pian Pecei. The views of the Rosengarten, the Vajolet and Larsec are truly spectacular and it looks like a truly magical place, out of touch.
Where to stay: In Vigo di Fassa Active Hotel Olympic awaits for you with beautiful rooms, gourmet cuisine and an incredible spa area. And all is in harmony with nature!
Fun Fact: The route is called Trail of legends and the signs of King Laurin, during your walk, will tell you about the enchanted world of his reign and the six Ladin legends that animate these places.
4. Towards the Berrier pasture (Aosta Valley)
A completely snow-covered valley welcomes us with the traditional and idyllic winter silence. We are in Valpelline, known resort of the Val d’Aosta. We start from Chez des Chenaux, hamlet of Bionaz. We head west on a snow-covered road. In 45 minutes we reach Grand Rond which already offers a beautiful view of the valley. We leave the track to venture into the woods, up a slope. Soon we find the trail that leads us near the Moulin stream. Turn right following the track and in front of us we see the goal: Alpe Berrier. We go straight to the pasture that offers breathtaking views of the Becca Luseney.
Where to stay: Just a short walk from the starting point of our journey, we find an eco-friendly B&B, Alpe Rebelle. Daniel Pellier, the owner, describe it: “we chose to renovate the old grandparents’ house to open a business in the wildest valley of Aosta Valley, the only with no lifts and distant from the influences of mass tourism . It was logical to create an accommodation that would integrate well with the natural environment that surrounds it.” Discover the wooden-beamed ceiling in the rooms and taste the typical flavors of Valpelline.
Fun Fact: The walks surrounding the chalet give the chance to spot ibex, eagles, chamois and marmots.
5. Among woods and wide views (Piedmont)
A perfect itinerary for those who try snowshoeing for the first time is in the Maira Valley, to the conquest of the Costa Chiggia. It starts from the parish church of the village of Marmora, following the snow-covered road that climbs toward the larches. Following the path we enter the woods that leads us near the church of San Teodoro, where we can admire the Monviso. We continue to the right on the western side of the Costa Chiggia. At 1978m we find a hut, in the inlet below Mount Buch. Go ahead and as the trees disappear, beautiful views open. We find a refuge and continue south, reaching the top of Costa Chiggia. You can see far away, to the peaks of Tilbert and Piovosa and Mount Giobert.
Where to stay: an ancient village of Marmora, Sagna Rotonda, took new life. Giovanni and his wife have renovated the chalets in an environmentally friendly manner and have turned it into a beautiful Albergo Diffuso. Thus the Ecovillage Sagna Rotonda was born, with 100% green energy and also a small restaurant.
Fun Fact: in winter the last kilometer to get to the Ecovillage is full of snow! The stretch of road is not cleared. Your luggage will be brought by snowmobile, and you will follow its trail with snowshoes (you can rent them). Experience the authentic mountain life!
Do yo love walking with snowshoes in the mountains? Choose one of these routes, you will not regret. You’ll come home with legs full of kilometers and eyes full of memorable sights.
Cover image: photo by Nicole June via Flickr