Famille faisant un jeu de piste dans le Massif des Vosges
Discover The Vosges mountains Back
Massif des Vosges - La nuit des refuges nordiques
Adventures Mountain beauty

Like a fearless trapper

A night of mountain refuges

The Fischer family took part in the very first edition of the Nuit des Refuges Nordique in March 2020. Five mountain refuges participated in this Nordic-themed night. Sabine, Vincent, and their children Lucie (5 years old) and Theo (8 years old) opted for a weekend of snowshoes and igloos at the Markstein ski resort. They think back on their wonderful weekend in the mountains.

Massif des Vosges - Préparation pour la nuit des refuges

Pack your bags

It's Saturday morning and we’re loading up our rucksacks:

●       Sleeping bag

●       Slippers

●       Toiletries

●       Change of underwear

●       Flashlights

●       Camera

●       A few sweets for a pick-me-up

It's the same rule for the whole family. Everyone is packing light today. Because, yes, everyone has to carry their own backpack. Where are we headed dressed in our ski clothes? We're leaving for the Markstein to experience a unique weekend in the great outdoors.

A polar expedition

We've only just arrived, and the children know exactly where we are. They're all ready to hurtle down the green pistes where they learned to ski. But that’s not why we’re here today. Yes, we’re going to tackle the mountain, but in snowshoes. It's a first for the whole family. We grab our rucksacks, rent our equipment, and meet up with our group and our guide, Pascal Garny. He'll be taking us to discover a different side of the Markstein, all the way to the Auberge du Steinlebach. We've often skied by this rustic inn but never stopped in.

Massif des Vosges - Randonnée en raquettes

The outing begins and we chat with the rest of the group while the children race. We need a few steps to get used to our snowshoes, but it's very easy. We head away from the ski slopes and trudge along through the snow. Everything around us is white. We thought we knew the Markstein well and yet this Nordic landscape is a real change of scenery.

Massif des Vosges - Randonnée en raquettes au Markstein

 Snowed in 

The hike lasts about two hours, and we arrive at the chalet. Pascal has booked us an igloo building workshop. The youngest dive right in and the adults quickly find their inner child. The roof is much more complex than it seems, and we all share our strategies. It's a good way to break the ice in the group. The sun is beginning to set over the peaks of the Jungfrauenkopf and the Trehkopf. Theo wants to add some finishing touches to his igloo, while Lucie has long since given up and is throwing snowballs at her brother instead. It's time for everyone to head inside.

Massif des Vosges - Atelier igloo
Massif des Vosges - Neige en famille
Massif des Vosges -Bataille de boules de neige

Sandra and Sébastien, our hosts at the mountain refuge, have already prepared everything. The aroma coming from the kitchen means the munstiflette is almost ready. This Munster cheese and potato dish smells a little strong if you’re not used to it, but don't let that put you off. The taste is milder than you would think. It's truly hard to resist. Everyone takes off their shoes, puts on their slippers and gets comfortable. Theo and Lucie run off to see the dormitory and choose their beds. They (surprisingly) agree on who gets the top bunk and then come back down for dinner.

After a deliciously hearty meal and some wild card games, it's time to turn off the lights and slip into our sleeping bags. We need a good night's rest because tomorrow our group will head out with Pascal once again. He'll take us to other little-known corners of the Markstein. And next year, weather permitting, we'll come back again.

Massif des Vosges - Repas dans un refuge
Massif des Vosges - Dormir dans un refuge
Massif des Vosges - Petit déjeuner à la nuit des refuges

The Night of the Nordic Refuges takes place in March. A chance to play Davy Crockett, but with a ski jacket instead of a bear skin coat. And if you're not a fan of the cold, try the lsummer edition, of the event held every June.

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