Tired legs? Here are 5 off-piste activities in the French Alps

In the French Alps, there's advice if your legs are too tired for another trip down the steep slopes. Ski resorts offer a wide range of activities that don't involve traditional skiing. Spend a day at the spa, treat your taste buds or get up close to nature on a dog sled or snowshoe hike.

Enjoy nature by dog sled

A dog sled ride is a great way to experience the snowy Alps. The dogs move effortlessly through the snow and many dog sled drivers happily share their knowledge of their four-legged "colleagues".
Many ski resorts also offer mini courses where you can try your hand at driving a dog sled yourself. Such a course typically lasts half a day or longer. First you greet the dogs, who are jumping around energetically in excitement at the prospect of going on a trip soon. And with the right guidance, you'll soon be going over hill and dale, thanks to the strong dogs!
The Massif des Vercors, which borders the French Alps, is famous for its dog sledding, but the activity is also available in many other places in the French Alps. See a full list of where to find dog sledding adventures here: https://www.savoie-mont-blanc.com/ (External link)

Try a dog sled ride in the French Alps
Try a dog sled ride in the French Alps

Soothe sore muscles with wellness and spa

Wellness, spa and relaxation are a must when you've been skiing for days and feel muscle groups that normally don't make a fuss... that's why many hotels offer spa and wellness experiences that you can often afford to take advantage of, even if you're not staying at the hotel.
Here's a list of some of the places we recommend:

The Roman hot springs of Serre-Chevalier
The hot springs " Sources Naturelles du Monêtier " were already known in the fourth century AD and at Les Grands Bains du Monêtier you can benefit from the properties of the hot springs. Treat yourself to wellness treatments inspired by Roman times, when the springs were first discovered, and enjoy the view over the Serre-Chevalier valley in the magnificent outdoor baths.
Grands Bains i Serre-Chevalier (External link)

Pampering at the foot of Mont Blanc
At Thermes Saint Gervais - Bains du Mont Blanc at the ski resort of Saint Gervais Mont-Blanc, sore muscles can be treated to a steam bath, hot stones or pools where the water is as hot as 39 degrees...
Thermes Saint Gervais (External link)

Koh-I Nor, Val Thorens
The Koh-I Nor luxury hotel is located in the ski resort of Val Thorens and facilities naturally include a spa where you can enjoy a jacuzzi, hammam and sauna. The spa also has a swimming pool and offers up to several different massage treatments with essential oils and hot stones.
The Koh-I Nor spa is also available to out-of-town guests, but you must book an appointment for a minimum of one hour if you are not staying at the hotel.
See more here: https://www.chaletdesneiges.com/en/val-thorens-resort/koh-i-nor-residence.html (External link)

Luksusspa at Barrière Les Neiges, Courchevel 1850
Courchevel 1850 is home to the five-star Palace Hotel Barrière Les Neiges, set in stunning surroundings on the resort's famous Bellecôte piste. Out-of-town guests at the spa can enjoy a massage especially for skiers or facials. Lucky guests at Barrière Les Neiges can enjoy all the spa facilities, including a hammam, sauna, cold baths and outdoor jacuzzi with views of the Alps. Just outside Courchevel 1850's front door, by the way, is one of the world's largest ski areas, "Les 3 Vallées"...
Barrière les Neiges, Courchevel 1850 (External link)

The Barrière Les Neiges hotel in Courchevel 1850 offers wonderful massage treatments
The Barrière Les Neiges hotel in Courchevel 1850 offers wonderful massage treatments.

Charge your batteries in the robust Alpine Kitchen

The winter cuisine of the French Alps, known as "Haute-Savoie" consists of robust dishes made for the harsh climate and tough mountain life. Quality cheeses, charcuterie, robust red wines and local pastries reign supreme. Dishes like cheese fondue, tartiflette and raclette with charcuterie are great to share around the table while the snow is blowing outside:

Ostefondue was originally a poor man's dish, consisting of cheese hummus and berme (dregs from wine) that you melted together and dipped your pieces of bread in. Today, cheese fondue is served in many French ski resorts as a traditional and convivial dish. The cheeses used are usually gruyère, emmentaler and appenzeller.

Raclette's main ingredient is also cheese, although in a slightly different version. The cheese for this dish should be local and powerful. It's mounted on an electronic device, and the trick is to slowly melt it onto your plate and eat the hot cheese with potatoes, green salad and charcuterie.

In essence, tartiflette is a kind of potato gratin with local reblochon cheese and dry-salted bacon or seasoned pork leg. It is served with sliced potatoes and fried onions and bacon that are brined with cream. The dish is gratinated in the oven and served steaming hot - bon appétit!

Cheese has a prominent place in French Alpine cuisine and is the main ingredient in the dishes raclette and foundue
Cheese has a prominent place in French Alpine cuisine and is the main ingredient in the dishes raclette and foundue.

Ride the mountains with snowshoes

Slow down and replace your skis with snowshoes for a day! Snow shoes strap directly onto winter boots and are designed to walk on snow without sinking in. They can be rented at the vast majority of ski resorts and are a great starting point for experiencing nature on its own terms.

With snowshoes on your feet, all you can hear is the crunching snow and the forest's own winter sounds: trees creaking in the wind, a bird soaring above the tree canopy... the mountains' four-legged inhabitants are silent in winter. Some hibernate while others save their strength to keep the fat layer on. Put on snowshoes for a day and you can move off the slopes and into the animals' habitat - undisturbed and on their terms.

Snow shoes strap directly onto winter boots and are designed to walk on snow without sinking in.
Snow shoes strap directly onto winter boots and are designed to walk on snow without sinking in.

Relax in the quiet of the forest

A walk in the woods almost always works if you need to relax and unwind, and in France many places have gone a step further and started practising the Japanese form of therapy called "skik shinri yoku". "Sylvothérapie", as the concept is known in French, is recommended for people suffering from stress, and in all its simplicity consists of walking through the forest in silence and meditating among the trees. In the company of a guide, you set out into the forest with the aim of showing gratitude to the trees, disconnecting and just "being" in nature.

See more at Divonne-les-Bains (External link) near Geneva or visit sylvotherapie.net (External link) for deals in the forests of Rambouillet (an hour's drive west of Paris), Vendôme (located along the Loire River 2.5 hours southwest of Paris and Brocéliande (2 hours west of Paris).