Switzerland

St Bernard's Beginner Snowshoe

15

Beginners snowshoe experience, completing the famous pilgrimage to St Bernard's Hospice. Along the way, you'll also visit Barryland - home of the Grand St Bernard dog and have an opportunity for a Swiss sledge descent!

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival & Introductions

You'll be collected by your guide at Martigny train station at 16:00 - a direct train ride from Geneva airport. From here we'll do group introductions and you'll have a chance to settle into the accommodation before dinner. All food, accommodation and specialist equipment is included on this trip.

The accommodation will be in mixed rooms with bathrooms and showers, bar and restaurant. We use various places depending on conditions. One place requires a 2km walk from the carpark, so pack light (you can leave things in the van).

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On this day we'll head out from our base in a mountain valley, to a location that's fantastic for gaining snowshoe skills - learning how to move over the snow with ease. We'll also complete a small journey into the Swiss wilderness, with incredible mountain backdrops.

At the end of the day there is an optional sledge run for the more adventurous. The less adventurous can warm up with a Hot Chocolate or Hot Wine.

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An early start will see us on the trail to ascend the 5km, 450m up, the trail to the Grand Saint Bernard Monastery. Once there we will break for tea and food with the monks. Afterwards, we'll make a short journey across the Italian border, before returning back to Switzerland and descending back to the valley. Our final visit is Barryland, to see, and hopefully, pet the dogs. You are then dropped back at Martigny train station. Most people then return to Geneva by train (1h 50m) for an evening flight home.

Please note, this is a high mountain trail and in poor weather or avalanche conditions, another route may be chosen.

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15 verified reviews

Rated 5.0
Julie
Julie

Traveled Mar 2022

This has been the most perfect adventure for me! Tom our host was absolutely brilliant and made us feel so comfortable. I can't actually believe what I have achieved this weekend as I have never had a snow trip away before. The homemade cake was superb as well!

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

Traveled Mar 2022

Grateful to have went ahead to this trip! I had an amazing time since day 1, from the frozen Champex Lac to getting to greet the St Bernard's. It was a strenous journey of snowshoeing but a very well worth experience. The sledging and the chair lift was a great add to the adventure, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Thanks to Tom for his patience and great company of David & Julie.

Andrew
Andrew

Traveled Mar 2022

This was an amazing adventure, led by our guide Tom. He had an excellent balance of humour, and crucially the expertise that allowed me to have full confidence in him. The accommodation and food was perfect, and the weekend ran completely to plan. I would recommend Tom, and this trip, to everyone.

Nick
Nick

Traveled Mar 2022

Nice short sharp intro to snowshoeing in the Alps. The climb to the monestry was tough but well worth the effort. Tom our guide was a knowledgeable professional guide with a sense of humour. We had a great group of people to share the experience. Already thinking of going back for the summer.

Alexandra
Alexandra

Traveled Mar 2022

This was an epic trip starting with a bright sunny day and ending with minus temperatures. Excellent location(s), company, guide. You need a certain level of fitness and stamina to complete the hikes. Expect Swiss cheese and funny banter at the dinner table. A weekend that felt like a week away! I highly recommend and will go an another adventure with Alps Adventures.

Sharmila
Sharmila

Traveled Feb 2022

The 2 days felt like 4. So much packed in without feeling like there was any rush. Everything ran super smoothly and the views were absolutely stunning. The guide was fantastic and accommodated to everyone's needs so you got the sense you could just switch off and enjoy!

Roberto
Roberto

Traveled Feb 2022

Had a fabulous trip. Tom the guide was very professional, helpful and very knowledgeable about the area. The views on the walks were breathtaking. I would definitely recommend this trip and have even booked another tour for the summer.

Sonya
Sonya

Traveled Feb 2022

I had absolutely great time! Tom (our guide) made absolutely sure everybody is feeling great and enjoying the tour. He created such an amazing and friendly athmosphere during the entire trip. He thought us few important techniques for snowshoeing and even demonstrated some great abilities of the snowshoes. Thank you Skayhook and Tom for the freat time in Switzerland 🇨🇭!!!

Katie
Katie

Traveled Jan 2022

A very fun adventure with a great group of participants and great guides. The snowshoeing was a good workout and the sledding opportunity was a real adrenaline rush, not for the feint hearted. The guides are very knowledgeable and personable. A great way to spend a winter weekend in nature.

Sarah
Sarah

Traveled Jan 2022

Excellent trip - was a really great way to spend a weekend. 2 excellent days of snowshoeing with a lovely group of people. Tom and Guy were great guides and I would highly recommend this trip.

Anna
Anna

Traveled Jan 2022

It was a great weekend! The guides were really nice and helpful. I enjoyed the snowshoeing a lot, and the dogs were really cute!

Michelle
Michelle

Traveled Jan 2022

Wonderful trip! Lots of wonderful food provided. Treks we’re challenging but the views impeccable. Our guide Tom was funny and very personable. Tom provided plenty of support and insights to the area. Highly recommend this adventure!

Patricia
Patricia

Traveled Dec 2021

Had the most fantastic weekend on the beginners snow shoeing experience. Tom and Cece looked after us exceptionally well and ensures we enjoyed every step. I would highly recommend this weekend with Tom and the team at Alpsadventures

Anna
Anna

Traveled Dec 2021

Absolutely idyllic pre Christmas treat. Tom and ChiChi looked after us all so well and we shall have memories forever! It's not too exhausting either but you do need basic fitness and the sledging is probably the most scary bit! Day one we were in the tree line and day two we went to monastery and saws the dogs at Barryland. If you are skier, off piste in deep powder can be daunting but in snow shoes it's great fun! I saw a different side to the mountains in snow shoes.

Elise
Elise

Traveled Dec 2020

Absolutely fantastic weekend on the St Bernard snowshoe pilgrimage. Tom was professional, friendly, and immensely patient, especially with complete beginners like us. I would 100% reccomend, definitely the trip of a lifetime with experiences we'd never of had otherwise. Thanks for an absolutely phenomenominal weekend, hopefully our tingly thigs will recover! (and you get to cuddle lots of dogs, what's not to love) 🐶

FAQs

This trip is very much aimed at beginner snowshoers for their first experience of walking in the snow. You'll need to be fit enough to walk in the mountains for up to 5 hours per day. If you have always wanted to visit the mountains in winter but don't want to ski this is an ideal trip for you. 

Included - Guide - In-country transfer - Accommodation - Breakfast and Dinner - Specialist equipment. (Snow Shoes, Poles, Safety Equipment) - Entry to BarryLand Excluded - Flights - Airport transfers - Travel Insurance - Sledging (20chfs extra) - Lunches - Visa (if applicable)

We stay in a large shared room in a mountain hut. There are showers, it is heated and comfortable with a restaurant and bar on site. Wifi and 4G are available at the accommodation. 

Sledging is an optional extra, it also depends on the conditions of the slope. It costs 20chf but is a real thrill. We get the chairlift up and then head down at speed. If that's not your thing there is a bar/cafe to wait in whilst others take the plunge. It takes about an hour up and down. If you choose to sledge you are responsible for your own safety.

Yes. Depending on Availability. Double Room Suplement 50chf per trip. Single Room Supplement 100chf per trip. When you book the trip your dorm room is guranteed and if there is availability we can upgrade you to single/ double / twin room. Let us know what you need after you have booked. Availability is seldom a problem. You will pay locally for any upgrade.

The Grand Saint Bernard is a very special place. There may be an opportunity to attend a Latin Mass or space for reflection. Effort and the location certainly give you something to reflect on. 

Documents

  • Passport
  • Boarding pass for flights
  • Money (CHF)
  • Credit/Debit Card 

Sleeping

  • Sleeping bag liner (you can buy these from your host for 25chfs) they are required in all Swiss budget accommodation.
  • Ear Plugs

 Footwear

  • Trekking boots: 4 season waterproof, warm, lightweight
  • Lightweight shoe's for the evening (or you can borrow hut slippers)

Clothing

Please make sure that you have non-cotton clothing for trekking.  

  • pair of synthetic under-top and bottom (long johns or similar)
  • comfortable shirt for the evening
  • hiking socks
  • spare underwear
  • fleece
  • light down or Primaloft jacket
  • waterproof jacket and trousers
  • hiking trousers.
  • comfortable trousers for the evening
  • sun hat, warm hat and waterproof gloves
  • buff or scarf

Other

  • day bag: 35 - 45 litres - all your kit should fit into this bag.
  • travel towel
  • dry bag or liner
  • water bottle: At least 2L
  • sun protection: Sunglasses, suncream and sun hat
  • personal medication
  • toiletries 
  • electronics - headtorch, travel adapter, phone and charger
  • hand sanitiser and mask

Specialist equipment is included in the price of the trip. (Snow-shoes, poles etc.)

You will get to meet the dogs at Barryland. 

It is up to you how close you get to them and what is allowed depends on the current health recomendations. 

They are gentle giants though. Soft as teddybears. 

Start: You'll meet your guide at Martigny Train station, at around 4 pm on day 1 of your itinerary. It's easily accessible from Zurich Airport (3 hours)/ Geneva airport with regular direct trains (1h 40 direct, 2h 10mins with a change).  

End: Your guide will drop you back off at the train station, on the final day of your iteinerary. We aim for 4.30pm. Leave plenty of time to return for your fligh or continue your experience with a day in Montreux or Geneva. If you choose to fly home that evening we recommend a flight after 830pm. 

Normal Group size for this trip is 7-12 people. You'll make friends with like-minded people.

The food is wholesome, good and very high quality. Three courses dinners and buffet breakfasts. You will not go hungary.

Due to the distances and ascents covered on this trip, it is geared towards adults. Therefore the minimum age for this trip is 18 years. However, those aged 16-18 years are welcome to attend in the company of a responsible adult. If you wish for someone younger to join the trip then please get in touch. We will deal with these requests on a case-by-case basis.  

It is traditional in mountain regions to tip the gudie. It is appreciated and reflects how hard they work to make your trip a success. A suitable ammount is 20-50chf per person. You can also review and name check those guides who have given you a particularly good experience.

You'll hike from 1800m to 2500m. Altitude sickness is not normally an issue at this height. 

You'll be in the swiss mountains, so there are endless opportunities! You can visit Geneva, Montreux or Lausanne. If you want to ski or do more snowshoeing then this would be a perfect opportunity. There are also some of the worlds best train trips starting near here. Your host can advise. Your host will also happily extend your trip with ski instruction or further snow-shoeing trips if you would like a longer trip, ask them for details and prices. If you are on a pre Christmas trip we highly recommend the Montreax Christmas Market, a market for young and old alike full of Christmas buzz. Taking a train to the summit of the Roche de Naye. Or for the more adventurous taking a train , bus and cable car to walk between two summits on the Glacier 3000 Peak walk. If you want to stay to go skiing or snowboarding we can put you in touch with our friends at various ski schools.

Not at all. You can get to us by train from Europe and Britain. Search for trains to Geneva. Here is a nice explanation. The train to Milan actually stops at Martigny too. There is also the Swiss Snow train from London. Just be careful if you have to connect in Paris, its two different stations, leave an hour +. Alternatively, you can drive if you are in a group, or are local. There is plenty of parking.

Yes. We would always recommend getting travel insurance well before your trip departure date.

If you even sprain an ankle you will need a helicopter pick up and without insurance this will be pricey.

Travel insurance including, search and rescue, with hiking up to 3000m. Popular providers include the British Mountaineering Council (Trek policy, if a BMC Member), Snowcard (UK residents) and the Austrian Alpine Club (All nationalities, an annual policy comes with other benefits).

These do require organising before you leave so that you get all the details. 

We are sorry that we can't recommend Insurance providers from every country. The Austrian Alpine Club seems to cover most countries and its annual fee is 62Euro making it a great option if you plan multiple trips. 

Check the normal price comparison websites but be sure to select winter sports cover.

Watch this video of ski Sunday visiting the GSB. Although hopefully, we will have better weather for our ascent.

It varies. On ideal days it is cold and sunny but this is a mountain pass and we can have any of the 4 seasons. So do come prepared. If there are snow storms we will need to adapt the itinary. 

Very easy with trains 2 or 3 times an hour. Swiss trains are known for being efficient and this train ride offers some beautiful views along the way. We will pick you up at the train station and this helps us keep our carbon footprint low. The train journey that most take Geneva - Martigny is part of the magic of this trip.

You can leave what you do not want during the days in the accommodation. Some of the accomodation we need to hike into, 2kms. On those occasions you can leave what you don't need in the bus.

Whilst we do everything we can to match this advertised itinerary your safety is our number one concern. We can always get out and about and go snowshoeing but we may not be able to go to the Hospice as it can be a potentially dangerous route in poor weather or avalanche conditions. In such a situation your guides will choose another suitable and safe route.

Swiss Francs, CHF is available at cashpoints. You certainly need cash at the hospice but other places take card.

We live and work in the environment and care deeply about it. This provider is in the process of joining the 1% for the planet scheme and volunteers regularly in mountain clean up operations. You are likely to hear about this during your trip. If you travel your entire journey by train, or offset your carbon your host will reward you with merchandise. Be sure to mention it to them. 

Your head guides are Louise and Tom

All trips on Skyhook are run by small, hand-picked local guiding companies. For this trip your guides run AlpsAdventures, based in Collombey Muraz.

By booking through Skyhook you'll be joining a small-group trip. This can make it nice and sociable (you'll be added to a group chat after booking), and guarantees great value for money!

Louise
Tom