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There comes a point in a backpacker's life when knowing how to read an IGN map, recognize mountain flowers or spot a chamois in the distance is no longer enough to arouse the admiration of your friends or children. Are you starting to run out of ideas to make the eyes of those who accompany you on the trails shine again? Now is the time to beef up your game with some unusual info to slip away on your next ride!

The hiking trails of the Vanoise National Park and the Tignes - Champagny and Grande Sassière Nature Reserves are an inexhaustible source of small pleasures for those who like to walk. Discover the flora and fauna, boost your cardio by climbing passes and summits, let yourself be dazzled by the beauty of this high mountain territory, go on an adventure and swap the comfort of your bed for that, more basic but also more authentic, of a refuge… Unforgettable memories that outdoor enthusiasts collect like so many little treasures.

Despite all the passion that you try to transmit to your hiking companions, do you feel that the motivation of the troops begins to decline after 10 kilometers of hiking? Pick an anecdote from our selection below, and enjoy their amazing reactions!


Algae far from the sea


During your hikes at altitude, you may have already observed this astonishing phenomenon: the residual snow still present at the beginning of the summer season (névés) takes on a pinkish tint! If the yellow / ocher coloring sometimes observed on the tracks in winter is due to the transport of sand by the wind directly from the Sahara (already amazing info in itself), the pink / red coloring is caused by an algae (chlamydomonas nivalis) which wakes up in the spring when temperatures rise and the snow melts. A natural phenomenon, but nevertheless intriguing!


Children raised in the great outdoors


Info that will make your children dream who drag their feet on their way to school in the morning! Did you know that some shelter keepers choose to spend their spring and summer season with their families? This is the case of Claire Lanari, guardian of the Fond des Fours refuge, who lives in the middle of the mountains of the Vanoise National Park with her children Bastien and Romain for a large part of the year (and who therefore spent the confinement of spring 2020 in a setting, certainly isolated, but enchanting, while the two little ones were respectively 4 years old and 18 months old!). Remote school with ibex for neighbors, not bad isn't it?



Marmots… not so cute!


You could stay classic and talk about hibernation, waking up in mid-March, the first marmots out of their burrows in early July. Play the scientific card by talking about chemical communication thanks to odors. Evoking casually the fact that the oldest marmot identified in the Grande Sassière Nature Reserve was 15 years old. But for a guaranteed effect, drop a small bomb: did you know that marmots ... were able to bury their enemies alive ??? A question of survival in a context of saturation of the territory on which they live and are socially organized.



Flowers that change color


The next time you are walking in the forest and come across an anthill, pick a nearby blue flower, place it on the anthill, and gently 'annoy' the insects (eg with air, by blowing on it. with care). Magic: the flower will take on a purple color! Indeed, the ants of the Formicinae subfamily have the particularity of projecting formic acid when they feel threatened. It is this substance that causes this color variation (but you don't have to reveal your wizarding secret!).


The aster that hides the edelweiss


Edelweiss are rare and protected mountain flowers, which makes them a popular subject of attraction. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), Their rather dull color makes them difficult to spot. In contrast, asters are very easy to identify with their purple petals and orange hearts. Now it turns out that asters and edelweiss grow on the same ground. Conclusion: look for asters, and increase your chances of finding edelweiss! To be touched with the eyes only. Thanks to Julie Balmat (guide at the Bureau des Guides de Tignes) and Maëlle Lepoutre (from the Vanoise National Park) for their contribution! Discover even more anecdotes and unusual information by calling on a mid-mountain guide for your next hike! Contact the Tignes Guides Office: 04 79 06 42 76 /


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Share your vacation photos on social media using the hashtag #tignes, and maybe we'll share them with the Tignaddicts community.

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