“Les Montagnards” offer its guests a familiar atmosphere in which to discover the traditions and history of Balme, a small alpine village which, by the end of the nineteenth century, was an important vacation resort, but there is much more …
You will be cordially hosted so as you may live an exciting experience, both natural and cultural.
If you wish, your stay will be a fascinating journey into the traditions and culture of the Alps, as well as a full immersion in a genuine and untouched nature, the realm of lynx, bearded vulture and owl … as well as of ibex and marmots, and of the most varied alpine flora.
Balme is a village rich of water: as a matter of fact, ever since the beginning ‘900, the city of Turin has been partly supplying its waterworks from the territory. From late spring to autumn you may reach a dozen lakes, both permanent and “ghosts”, with walks of different difficulties. You will also find numerous waterfalls which, in winter time, make Balme one of the most important places for ice climbing on frozen waterfalls.
If you are hikers, you you may enjoy daily walks and several days tours such as the Bessanese Tour (4 days) or the Balme Trekking Tour (2 days). If you are mountaineers, you may climb the peaks that saw, in the second half of the XIXth century, the birth of Italian mountaineering (Turin).
To this regard, in 1890 the famous British mountaineer W.A.B. Coolidge wrote on “The Alpine Journal”: “… The few English mountaineers who have visited the Valleys of Lanzomust certainly have been struck by the position of the village of Balme in the val d’Ala, surrounded on all sides by steep rocky ridges, and dominated by the grand rock wall of the Bessanese (11,917 feet high) which fills the head of the valley.
This was the home of the great Italian guide Antonio Castagneri …. “.
In winter Balme becomes an ideal destination for hikers with snowshoes and for cross-country skiers. It offers dedicated trails for pedestrians and a cross-country ski track that starts from the last houses of the village and reaches the 1800 meters of Pian della Mussa, developing a total length of up to 30 km, depending on snow conditions. Starting from February, the lovers of powder snow may usually start practicing ski-mountaineering. This activity reaches its climax in the months of April and May when the mountain huts, both Italian and French, open, making it possible to go on haute route border-line trails valued with a scale BSA/OSA (good and very good mountaineering skiers).
Fit into this natural environment, you may visit the Ecomuseum of Mountain Guides “Antonio Castagneri”, where you will find evidence of the daily life of Balme highlanders. These people were able to transform themselves from simple cattle shepherds to mountain guides for nobles and burghers of the ‘800, accompanying them on important climbing also out of the local valleys.
Finally, in the past few years, the wooden sculptor Andrea Gamba and his association ”La Foresta di Sherwood” have been working on the territory, engraving trunks and stumps of dead trees along the most accessible trails. Their proposal is to realize these kind of works also along more farther away trails.