I spent some time in France during the last holidays, including a few days in Morzine. That’s a ski resort located in Savoy, not far south of Lake Léman, with a large ski domain including slopes in Switzerland. Alas, the weather in western Europe was depressingly warm for this time of year, and only a few slopes were open, with a rather bad quality of snow. Not that I am really interested in this kind of things, but there was almost no cross-country skiing track open either there or around Grenoble, so I did not bother myself with ski clothes and took hiking shoes instead!
I did not regret my choice, as we spent most of our time on short hikes in the mountains. The battery of my camera was empty for the first day at Mont-Chéry, but I made a point of charging it for the second day, which saw us ascend up to 2000m. Yes, in the last days of December! We still crossed a small patch of snow, which made my brother say “I was going to say “Hey Dad, we are walking in the snow in the middle of summer!”, but…”
Depressing… luckily, the vista was quite exciting, with the Mont-Blanc as a guest star.
A kestrel and a few choughs were the only notable observations I made on our way to Col Ratti, to which I want to add the Crested tit (Lophophanes cristatus) of the first day and the Coal tits (Periparus ater) of the day after, at “Gold Mines Lake” (Lac des Mines d’or). Again, the appeal dwelt in the scenery. This said, I learnt that nearby is a pass, the Col de Bertolet, which sees every year a tremendous autumn migration. Definitely something I’ll keep in mind.
BONUS: an hilarious video showing a ski ride in the Dolomites. From the valley, that’s what it looked like in Morzine too.