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“Infinite Views and Slow Emotions": Why Snowshoeing Is So Sexy

OVERALP GUIDE CARLO GABASIO EXPLAINS THE SUCCESS OF HIKING IN OASI ZEGNA: "SPONTANEOUS ACTIVITY IN CONTACT WITH NATURE”

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The very name promises to repay the fatigue of the legs with food for the soul. They’re called “infinite view snowshoe hikes”, they’re suitable for beginners and families and they attract dozens of people every time. Carlo Gabasio (OverAlp) coordinates the group of guides and confirms the success of the initiative: “For the last outing we had to close registration early because there were so many bookings.” 

You’re an alpine guide with 30 years of experience: people would expect you to be a ski rather an a snowshoe man.

“Snowshoe hiking is more spontaneous than downhill skiing because it involves immersion in nature, far from crowds and noise. It’s an activity where you set the pace and decide how much effort to expend. No particular technical skills are needed, which is part of its appeal.”

Your snowshoe hikes are called “infinite view”. The panorama must be amazing then...

“Extraordinary. You only have to go a little way up the slopes in Oasi Zegna to have an infinite view, on one hand, of many of the 4,000ers in the Alps: you can see the peaks in Switzerland and the Monte Rosa massif, and on the other hand the plains, with Milan, Turin and Novara. You can see the entire chain of the Alps as far as the unmistakable pyramid of Monviso. Up there, the sunrises and sunsets are breathtaking, especially in this season.”

Guide Carlo Gabasio
Guide Carlo Gabasio
Snowshoe hiking is a classic in this area. What makes Oasi Zegna particularly suited to this activity? “It’s ideal because it has itineraries that are already consolidated, nothing very steep, and well signposted. The routes are suitable for everyone and are used in summer for walking.” 

Your favorite? “The one to Artignaga, an alpine grazing ground. It’s only a 90 minute walk to this tiny village of old stone dwellings that used to have bracken roofs. They’ve all been been renovated now but there’s still a very special atmosphere.” 

Snowshoe hiking must be a sort of “slow philosophy”... 
 “You have all the time in the world to stop and study the details. Embrace the landscape, become a part of it. You perceive its climate, colors, fragrances. If you’re lucky, you’ll come across deer and roe deer.” 

Do you often see the fauna in Oasi Zegna?
 “Not infrequently: you only have to move a little away from the ski facilities and you’re in the heart of Valsessera, a very special place, wilder, with only a few unsurfaced roads and one or two grazing grounds. It’s very close to the concept of uncontaminated nature.”  

Tips on dress?
 
“The classic onion method. It’s also a good idea to wear waterproof overpants, underwear for mountain sports and trekking boots. Trainers are off limits. You can rent snowshoes on the spot.”  

And on behavior up there?
 
“Above all, it’s important to keep to the paths and not stray onto the downhill ski slopes or cross-country ski trails, where you’d be risking your safety. In general, I’d also say that if you go without a guide, it’s always best to check up on weather conditions and routes before you set out. You have to be cautious in the mountains, and if you’re in doubt, you should always consults the experts.” 


Dates 
25 January; 2, 8, 16 February; 1 and 7 March. The hikes start at 10.30 from Piazzale 2, Bielmonte (meet up at 10.00). 
Where to book 
overalp@overalp.com or tel 349 6252576 
Useful info 
A guided hike lasts around 2 hours. Rates for medium difficulty trails (3.5 kilometers) including the uphill section to the panoramic Rifugio Monte Marca: 12 euros for adults, 8 euros for kids of 8 to 16. Snowshoes can be rented on the spot: 5 euros for a half day, 7 euros for a full day. 

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