There is a first time for everything and a fabulous family from Australia decided after a Christmas of over indulgence there is nothing better than getting out in the mountains to burn off those extra kg's!

On holiday from down under they opted for mountains of the snowy variety as a complete contrast to the weather they normally get in January in Sidney.

We proposed something a little different and suggested a overnight stop in a mountain refuge so after there arrival in Les Houches we set off early morning to the Italian Val Ferret. Kitted up and ready to go we left the minibus in Palud and took the Navette (bus) to Planpinceaux. A cold start at -6 and an easy start on flat terrain which was good for them as they had never seen snowshoes before let alone used them, by the time we reached Lavachey we were in the sun, see the deck chairs and could smell the coffee!

After suitable refreshments we headed on up to the Refuge Bonatti, a beautiful refuge built & run in the memory of Walter Bonatti the iconic Italian climber & explorer. The refuge is situated at 2025m high above the Val Ferret with the most spectacular views of Mont Blanc and the Grand Jorassess. The refuge is modern, comfortable and has great facilities, food & drink and is open all year round & is very popular in the summer months for those doing the Tour du Mont Blanc.

After a climb of 400m we reached the refuge in time to enjoy the last of the sun and get inside where it was cosy & warm as the late afternoon temperatures dropped dramatically.

Unfortunately some of the group felt under the weather to say the least, a bug picked up whilst travelling through Europe or maybe a dodgy burger the night before in Les Houches who knows? They retired early and missed out on the excellent food & drink offered by the guardian.

The following day the group were back fighting fit and were determined to make a real day of it after missing out the evening before.

We had the most fabulous descent from the hut, surfing through the fresh snow and bum sliding through the trees. After another refreshments stop at Lavachey for coffee & paninis we headed back to the minibus through the beautiful Val Ferret.

Many thanks to the Aussies Scott, Justine & family (great kids) you were a pleasure to guide and had such a fantastic outlook on life 'glass half full' even in the face of illness at 2025m!