I always thought that summer in the mountains meant frolicking like Heidi amongst wild flowers. Long walks followed by quiet evenings on the balcony watching the sunset before an early night with my book. Don’t get me wrong, whilst I knew it would be lovely, I thought it might get a little….dare I say it, dull? A bit boring? Little did I know that the summer activities in the Alps would be endless…
Sat with a group of friends one sunny lunchtime last year, we made a bucket list of things we wanted to try during our summer in the Alps. So, true to form, (I’m famed for organised fun) I made a calendar with all our remaining free days and allocated an activity to each day.
Here’s what we got up to:
Summer Activities in the Alps:
Our Bucket List
When it was too hot to contemplate being out in the sunshine without dipping into the water, off to the lakes we went. Wakeboarding (or waterskiing) was tricky to get the hang of, but ultimately great fun. Some of our group progressed quickly onto jumps and tricks off the kickers and rails, with only a splash to worry about when they fell – which was pretty often to be fair!
Waterslides & Kayaking
For those of us with less balance, off we went to the infamous Acroland in Tignes, where the slides shot us into the air before landing in the lake. My preference was sliding headfirst on my belly, but we saw some guys skiing down and practicing big air tricks, and one even went down on his BMX!
There was also white water rafting on inflatables, and kayaking on down a spectacular gorge.
But perhaps the most memorable watery funday? Sunset paddle boarding at Lac Annecy with the mountains in the background, working up an appetite for sausages cooked over the campfire before sleeping under the stars.
I never used to believe my Dad when he told me how enjoyable fishing was, and now I come to think of it, I’m not entirely sure why. Sit down by a lake at dawn or dusk with your friends with mountains in the background and try to catch a fish to have for dinner- sounds, well, great fun actually. And fun it is, even when you return your catch to the water afterwards.
Some of my other childhood scorn was directed to the British game of Bowls; I just wanted to run around on that perfect lawn. Now I’ve discovered a love of the French equivalent, petanque, and we’ve spent many a pleasant evening chucking around the metal ‘boule’. Again, some with more skill than others…
Rock and (not so much) roll
When we weren’t struggling to walk up the mountain, or rolling down it on bikes, we tried out another method to see the hills; via ferratta. Chuck on a helmet and harness, and strap yourself onto a metal rope that guides you along a craggy, and often precipitous route with metal hand and foot holds built in to help.
For a more challenging option there’s more rock climbing than you can shake your caribiner at, and the views from the summits are just stupendous. A perfect location for playing ‘spot the village’ in the valleys below.
For a breezier and speedier way back down the mountain, several friends of mine parapent back down the hill. I went with a qualified parapenter, and in fact, although running towards the edge of a precipice was pretty scary, the ride was breathtaking.
It was more of a ‘ohmygoshthisisamazing’ manner than a ‘I’mgoingtodie’ type way.
No horse-ing around
A horse ride was a wonderful way to while away an afternoon. There are plenty of shady trails through the woods and many of us had ridden as a child. We were pleased to get back onto such magnificent creatures AND see some more of the mountain at the same time.
And the things we didn’t manage to fit in last summer?
- Foraging for wild mushrooms
- Mountain top yoga
- Making our own Génépi
- Zip line in Val Thorens
- Quad biking
- Summer luge
- Downhill roller skiing (my particular favourite)
So that was my bucket list! What summer activities in the Alps do you get up to? Share on Facebook and let us know.
Big thanks to our 3V friends and family for all the photos: Dan Rees, Elliot Smith, Laura Harris-Cooksley, Jonny Kaye, Remy Davignon-Doolan, Laura Blackwell, Steph Hackley, Katy Jennings.
By Katy Jennings, Relationship Coordinator