Being able to combine Italian coffee, food and hospitality with a healthy quantity of snowshoeing is my ideal week! So I have to say that I have thoroughly enjoyed my week in Etroubles, near Aosta with the Austrian Alpine Club members. This is the second year that Tracks and Trails has guided a week of snowshoeing for Club members and as per last year I think I can say that a good time was had by all.
The week started with mixed weather with some snowfall and rather 'Scottish' visibility which in my mind never detracts from the 'snowshoe experience' as simply walking through a winter forest is magical and any additional views are a bonus but not essential! However, later in the week we had stunning weather for our overnight trip to the fabulous Rifugio Bonatti, in Val Ferret near Courmayeur. The hut was built 12 years ago and is so comfortable - with hot showers, and wonderful surroundings. Mara Rizzo and her daughter Sara who run the refuge do an amazing job of providing a great Italian welcome and plenty of delicious homecooked food. Our day out into the Malatra Valley behind the hut was fantastic with blue, blue skies, and fresh untracked powder snow - a really magical experience.
The team from the AAC were, as always, great company and many a laugh was had. This year the usual suspects turned up - Fred, George, Margaret, Pat and Sue - with the addition of newcomers Pat and Oliver. It's always a pleasure when our clients return for another trip into the mountains with us, and the aforementioned are now like old friends! Next year we are planning a Traverse of the Chablais area which will be a six day through trip making a true journey across the mountains. Details will be available soon.