Sacrilege as it may sound to those who are first lift up, last lift back types, there are lots of other winter activities available in the Giffre Valley and wider Grand Massif area - cross-country skiing, snowshoe walks, animal tracking, dog sledding, parapenting, igloo building, fat biking and even ice climbing on the frozen waterfalls. In fact we had some recent return guests, none of whom were skiers or snowboarders but who loved the area in winter.
Having received some snowshoes for Christmas, I've been doing a little bit of exploring on foot recently. My first outing was the easy loop on the La Charniaz trail at Morillon 1100, which starts opposite the main car park and is well signposted all the way round.
The path is gently undulating and, certainly when I did it, well trodden, although I had the route to myself most of the way round. It loops around the forest and brings you very close to Marvel before looping back to near the start where you need to retrace your steps. It's an excellent introduction as it only takes 1 - 1.5 hours.
For my next outing, I headed over to Les Carroz to tackle the walk up to the Croix des septs frères, which is actually in Morillon, just off Marvel. Les Carroz tourist info has a really useful map / guide on its website.
The hardest part was finding the right car park at the start! Although the car park is signposted on entering Les Carroz, I didn't spot any more signs and so having driven around and been misdirected twice, I took a guess on the road name (Route des Grangettes) and that did the trick.
The trail guide classes it as a red route ('only for regular hikers'). Although the path climbs steadily for 400 m, none of it is excessively steep, technical or exposed and it's well signed, and well-trodden as far as the Chalet des Tronchets.
The views back down to Les Carroz and the Arve Valley and across to the Aravis mountains are stunning.
It's clear that the majority of people make the lovely Chalet des Tronchets their end point as the terrace was full when I reached it and past the chalet the signage was a little more sporadic and the path harder to follow.
However, I soon reached Marvel just by piste marker 46 and decided not to do the last few minutes to the cross itself as I'd been before and it was past lunchtime!
I retraced my steps to the Chalet des Tronchets and had an excellent omelette savoyarde. The location of the Chalet des Tronchets means it's accessible both on foot or from the piste, making it a good lunch destination for groups of skiers and non-skiers.