If your family, friends or partner is busy planning a skiing holiday, you don’t have to spend your days in the chalet alone while the rest of your group hit the slopes. Whilst the Three Valleys is home to the world’s largest interconnected ski-area, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other things you can do as a non-skier. In a similar fashion to going to wine-country as a non-drinker, there are many wonderful things to see and do in the mountains and while you would usually have to seek them out (as ski resorts are generally only geared up to entertain skiers and snowboarders), below we have listed our Top 15 Activities for Non-Skiers this Winter.
Snowshoeing is a great way to head out for a walk without worrying about sinking into deep snow drifts and since it doesn’t require any technical expertise, it is perfect for just about anybody who can walk. All you need is a pair of winter boots, as most resorts offer poles and snowshoe rentals that will attach to your boots. While many resorts also offer guided hikes, if you want to head out on your own, check the Tourist Office for a map of suggested snowshoe trails. In Saint Martin de Belleville, there is a path specifically dedicated to snowshoe walkers, linking the top of the Mont de la Chambre with the centre of the resort and depending on the chosen itinerary, the difference in height is either 400m or 1000m.
If your idea of a holiday involves things like facials, massages and lying poolside rather than perfecting your parallel turns and conquering black diamond slopes, then you will want to try our wonderful wellness area and spa. Even if you are planning to ski, there is nothing better than returning from a long day of skiing to relax with a massage, hot bath, sauna or hot tub.
Stay Warm with Hot Drinks
One of our favourite things about going to cold snowy places is that it is a perfect excuse to indulge in drinking lots of hot drinks like cocoa and elaborate coffee drinks. If you’re looking for something with a bit more punch, why not try an Irish coffee, hot toddy, vin-chaud (mulled wine) or hot buttered rum. And while Ski resorts and bars are a good choice, our team at Chalet Floralie can also offer you an extensive array of hot drinks!
Practice Your Winter Photography
Winter is a great time to practice your photography for a number of reasons: first, you’ll often find attractions that are packed in the summer months are almost deserted in the winter making for wonderfully atmospheric shots and second, it is a great time to get some surreal winter landscape photos or practice your action photography by capturing those skiing, skating or snowboarding moments. Finally, the skies are often clearer in the winter making for great day and night photography opportunities. Take a look at our Top 15 Winter Photography Tips for more ideas on how to level up your holiday snaps this winter!
Cross-Country Skiing or Nordic Skiing
If downhill skiing isn’t your thing, you may want to consider trying cross-country skiing, also known as Nordic skiing or “Ski de Fond” in French. With cross-country skiing, you use your own locomotion to move across snow-covered terrain which allows you to move at your own pace. Best of all, unlike Alpine Skiing, access on to the pistes is free of charge and rental of equipment is generally much less expensive than its downhill counterpart due to less of a demand. We have often found that those who are scared to try downhill skiing, come to enjoy cross-country skiing. Saint Martin de Bellevilleand Les Menuiresoffer more than 28km of marked trails, and guided tours can be arranged for those trying the sport for the first time. Once you have some experience, you can even head out on your own off-piste, on un-groomed trails and go ski-touring.
Visit the nearby Towns and Villages
Just because you are staying at a ski resort doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time there and while Saint Martin is a beautiful destination you will soon want to explore further afield. Ask at the Tourist Office for information on nearby towns and villages in the Three Valleys to visit museums, cultural attractions, go shopping or check out local events and festivals. You’ll often find walking tours, food tours and museum passes in towns/cities to help you get more out of your visit.
Learn to Ski
If you don’t know how to ski and want to try it, a holiday in a ski resort is obviously an ideal time to learn or take your kids to lessons. Almost all ski-resorts offer lessons and equipment rentals, but if you are considering lessons for either yourself or your children, please ask our helpful team at Chalet Floralie, who will be only too happy to arrange something for you.
Chances are if you are reading this article and you don’t ski, you probably are not that interested in snowboarding either but we thought we would throw this in since it is such a popular activity in resorts. A relatively new snow-sport, snowboarding was invented in the mid-1960s in the USA and soon became very popular with young adults. Most ski resorts allow snowboarders to use all the ski runs and can rent you all the equipment you’d need. If you would like to give it a try, please ask our helpful chalet staff who will happily arrange lessons for you.
Winter is a great time to eat some hearty meals, especially if you are spending the days burning off calories on winter related activities. Although this is something of a given when staying at Chalet Floralie, it is important to make the most of our talented Master Chef while you are staying with us. You will have the opportunity to eat out in restaurants during the day, perhaps sampling some local specialities (fondue, anyone?) and in the evenings we serve beautifully crafted and freshly prepared canapés and meals that will make your stay with us a truly memorable experience!
Snuggle up in Front of a Good Fire
Tastefully furnished in a contemporary chalet-style, with modern furniture and beautiful artworks, Chalet Floralie will be your Alpine home from home during your winter retreat. Our comfortable living room, with vistas over the Three Valleys and the picturesque village of Saint Martin de Belleville, is the perfect place to sip drinks, while away the evenings talking to friends and family or curl up in front of the fire with a good book!
Catch up on your Reading & Other Hobbies
Whether you pack your books, magazines, and e-readers to settle down in front of the fire or on a cozy, enclosed patio at the top of the mountain and read while others are hitting the ski slopes, your holiday at Chalet Floralie is also the perfect time to catch-up on doing the things you love, but which you don’t have time to do at home. Even if you are skiing, the short winter days make for long nights that are perfect for spending some quiet time doing a crossword puzzle, watching a film or playing cards and games.
Christmas Markets and Holiday Events
If you are planning your stay with us in December, be sure to check on dates for local Christmas markets, fairs, and local festivals over the holiday season. These can be a great way to spend time while your friends or family hit the slopes and is also a great way to learn more about local customs and French culture.
Sledding, Tobogganing, and Tubing
Resorts will often have a course or hill set up for those who want to rent a sled or go snow tubing or tobogganing and if not, you’ll likely be able to find one within walking distance of Saint Martin de Belleville. Snow tubing is one of our favourite snow-activities (when we’re not skiing), although it can sometimes be hard to find good courses or hills for adults. If you find yourself without a toboggan, take a look at this post in which we list six household items that make great sleds!
If you want to have some sledding fun and there is no sledding area or sled rentals, don’t despair. Ask our friendly chalet staff, and we can lend you one of our own! Failing that, look at our list of 6 Things That Can Be Used As a Sled, so even if there isn’t a course or designated hills available nearby you can try finding your own hill (away from the ski slopes of course!) and do your own sledding!
Dog sledding is just another of the many fun activities on offer that don’t involve skiing in Saint Martin de Belleville. Reservations can be booked via the Tourist Office and outings operate every week starting from the village, running down through the Belleville Valley to a traditional mountain mill. If dog sledding is on your list, be sure to book in advance.
Appreciate the Quiet Beauty
Winter is often associated with being a more quiet and peaceful time outside and it is often easier to find places without people where the snow brings a stillness to our otherwise hectic lives. You won’t have to wander far from Chalet Floralie to find some time of peace to appreciate the beauty of the mountains, especially if you venture out in the mornings or after dinner. If you’re travelling in the spring, it is also possible to enjoy a guided hike to learn more about the local flora and fauna.
Have you ever gone on a ski holiday as a non-skier or needed to accommodate non-skiers on a holiday you were planning? Even if you do ski, what other activities do you enjoy on a winter holiday? We’d love to hear any other tips you may have!