When you are in Champoluc for one week, and you do not only want to ski, what could you do? I have a job mate at our office, and she says: skiing do many people, so I don’t need to.
There is a point in this indeed. She is in Champoluc one week in early March, and she enjoys. How can she survive in this environment, which is so incredibly dedicated to skiing as Champoluc in wintertime? What else could possibly be done here?
Gourmet, some pastries and aperitivo before dinner
Well first of all you can go around the village, a sunny day, looking like you are occupied taking pictures of the people hanging around and of the cozy village, with the goal of taking your lunch at the Atelier Gourmand or another of the restaurants on the main street.
After that you can have a coffee and a pastry in the pasticceria down the road after the main square. And wait there for the time to take an aperitivo at the nearby Café du Centre, where they also have internet, and where they show the soccer games of the Italian and the main international leagues. This only will take you more than one day to accomplish, if you don’t want to miss your dinner at one of the fabulous restaurants of the valley: the mythical La Grange in Frachey, above all, but also Le Sapin near the lift station, or the easier Pizzeria Churen.
If you then have a ticket to get up to the first station of the lift in Crest, you have at least two other gourmet restaurants, the Frantze and the Aroula, each 15 minutes walk from the lift, or you could also combine some sport with this and take a snowshoeing hike to the fish restaurant in the middle of the Ostafa slope: the Baita Alpina (Alpine baita which serves fresh Genovese fish meals each Friday). Check their Facebook side!
Why do you need snowshoes instead of just using your boots to hike on the trails wintertime?
When you start walking up one of many trails in the woods around Champoluc, it seems unnecessary; the snow is compact on the trail and the hike seems short and easy. But then, after a short while, you realize that the trail is going straight uphill and that you take two steps ahead and one back. The snowshoes have tags and crampons, which give them a perfect grip on your way up. Even more important are these things under your boots when you walk downhill. Without snowshoes, it would mean sliding down at a dangerous pace.
Champoluc has some 5-8 different trails particularly marked for snowshoeing. They have a red sign at the start, and they are also classified by difficulty and time of duration to reach the top or the goal.
There are some trails going to small medieval villages as Mascognaz, with its beautiful Hotellerie de Mascognaz, where you could try their restaurant and SPA, after your hike. Some are on plane terrain as the Ru Cortot, at 2000 meters all the way following the ancient water channel that the old inhabitants of the valley built to make fields irrigation possible with rational means. It starts in Barmasc, above Antagnod and its lift system, and ends after around 10 kilometers, above Saint Jacques. Perfect if someone can drive you to Barmasc and then you can take the skibus back to Champoluc.
There is one trail I am very happy for. It is the one going from Saint Jacques, at the end of the road, to Pian di Verra, a plateau with the most splendid glaciers view one can imagine at 2000 m. Take your picnic with you to one of the stone houses in fields or why not going on to Rifugio Ferraro, in the Walser village of Resy, where you can have a delicious polenta dei vecchi (the oldest polenta with potatoes and polenta and cheese and butter) with prayer flags above your head and pictures of the Himalayas around you that were taken by the owner Fausta during his many travels to the big mountains.