12 Best non-skiing winter activities in the French Alps

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas here in the French Alps and we hope you are as excited as we are for the coming season! With only one week until the big man in red comes to town, let’s take a look at some fun-filled non-skiing activities that will keep you busy for the whole week.

Annecy Christmas Markets

Annecy Christmas Market
There is nothing quite like a traditional Christmas market to get you in the festive spirit and the Annecy Christmas market brings good cheer and shining lights in abundance. Just walk through the old town and take in the smell of toasted almonds, enjoy a glass of vin chaud, shop for handmade gifts and try a spot of ice skating.

Find out why we at OVO Network love the Annecy Christmas markets on our blog post “10 reasons not to miss the Annecy Christmas market”.

Escape Game La Clusaz

Escape Game La Clusaz
Brand new for 2018, this experience is different to anything else in the Aravis! Found near the centre of La Clusaz, Escape Game La Clusaz challenges your group’s problem solving and teamwork skills!

The story begins as you enter the “Oxygene Express” gondola to return to La Clusaz after a day on the mountain. However, as you set off, you become aware a storm is coming and you might not make it back…

Book early to avoid disappointment as we think this will be popular! Visit their website for more information.

Pottery experience with Atelier Polkadot

POLKADOT ceramics
Join Laurence André at her studio for a creative pottery workshop. Workshops run regularly throughout the season and give a wonderful change of pace to your holiday! Laurence will guide you through making a collection of special pieces to take home or to give as gifts.

Her shop is open year round and she sells everything she creates. Visit her website to discover her collections and learn more about the pottery workshops.

Ice hockey match

Annecy Chevaliers Hockey Team
The Jean-Regis ice rink in Annecy is home to the Annecy Chevaliers Ice Hockey team, a second division team with a lot of talent. If you’ve never experienced an Ice Hockey game before you’re in for a treat, this fast-paced game is an excellent spectator sport!

Tickets are a very reasonable price, so why not grab a bite to eat in town before the match?  
You can also see the Aravis recreational hockey team train on Wednesday evenings in La Clusaz. Just make sure to stand behind the safety rope!

Ski joering with Aravis Passion

An old black and white photo of a skier being towed by a horse from the St Moritz Winter Olympics in 1928
Ski Joëring is believed to have originated in Sweden over 4000 years ago. What was then used as a means of transportation by peasants has developed into a leisure and competitive sport and even featured in the St Moritz Winter Olympics in 1928.
Ski Joering is a winter sport where a person on skis is pulled by a horse, a dog (or dogs) or a motor vehicle. It is derived from the Norwegian word “skikjøring”, meaning “ski driving”.

Aravis Passion offers equestrian Ski Joëring tours. Julian and his team guide you and the horses around a mixture of groomed trails of varying levels. With packages for different skiing abilities available, you don’t have to be an expert skier to get out and give it a try!
To find out about other equestrian activities on offer at Aravis Passion read our blog post “Horse riding in the French Alps with Aravis Passion”.

Grab a coffee

Coffee in the aravis
While away the afternoon, people watching with a warm coffee in hand at one of the many fantastic cafes in our destinations. Don’t miss the fresh crepes and waffles available at most cafes, a perfect sweet treat on a frosty day.

Though it requires a car to get to we strongly recommend that you make the trip to Lo Garajo in Manigod. Lo Garajo is a concept café serving fantastic coffee as well a whole host of other delights. The café is also a shop and they work with producers from near and far to bring gift ideas, quality food and drink products and even furniture.

Lo Garajo also hold regular events such as book signings, film viewings and more… Check out their Facebook page to find out more and see what’s on.

Paret and Yooner

Paret
The Yooner is a modern take of the traditional sledge from the Aravis, the “Paret”. These sledges with a single runner are easy to get to grips with and make a very fun alternative to skiing.

Every Tuesday and Thursday night of the season you can try these entertaining sledges out for free in La Clusaz. The Patinoire gondola opens up for two hours and the piste is open specifically for Parets and Yooners! Advance booking at the Tourism Office is required.

Bowling

Bowling La Clusaz
Bowling La Clusaz is one of the latest additions to the already buzzing town centre at La Clusaz. At four lanes it is a compact bowling alley, however, it makes for a great fun couple of hours to get together with friends and family!

Farm visits

Cow from a dairy farm
When on a ski holiday many people forget that they are skiing over cow and goat fields! The Alps are renowned for their cheese, and the Aravis is most famous for Reblochon. It’s definitely worth visiting one of the local farms to see how it is made and buy the cheese direct from the farmer. Also, why not visit the Hameau des Alpes, in La Clusaz, to buy and learn the history behind this famous cheese.

Massage

Have some me time at a spa day in Valmorel
You’re on your holiday, indulge yourself! Take time for yourself and spend a moment of relaxation and well-being at one of the spas in the area. You can also experience a relaxing and revitalising massage in the comfort of your OVO Network chalet with these mobile masseuses.

Oysters and champagne at Le Vieux Chalet

Oysters and Champagne
Spend an afternoon in the sun enjoying one of the most quintessential food and wine pairings, champagne and oysters. You and your group can indulge in this culinary delight at Le Vieux Chalet, found right in the middle of the piste just above the La Clusaz. The views are spectacular from the terrace at Le Vieux Chalet and there is usually some pretty cool music too!

Paragliding

Parapente winter
Aside from skiing and snowboarding, paragliding is one of the most popular sports in the Alps. Take to the skies above the mountains and get a perspective like no other of these wintery resorts! Get in touch with Activ’Annecy to book your flight!
However you want to spend your holiday this winter, make sure you have a fantastic base to do it from! Visit OVO Network to discover our range of beautiful chalets in the Northern French Alps.

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Written by... Andrew

Andrew

Hi, I'm Andrew and I am the Social Media Manager at OVO Network. I live in La Clusaz and love everything about life in the mountains. My favourite things to do are skiing, mountain biking and chilling by Lake Annecy with my little family! - andrew.goodman@ovonetwork.com