In Auvergne, winter frequently arrives without warning. One minute the sun is shining and the weather is mild enough for a jean jacket, and the next the wind descends like a screaming chorus of banshees, frantically dumping snow onto everything in sight. When this happens, the tramontane dells of Sancy and Cantal — with their frost-laden pine and spruce trees — start resembling the hinterlands of Siberia. This annual transformation creates the perfect conditions — not only for skiing — but also for dog sledding.
In fact, dog sledding is possibly Auvergne’s most underrated winter activity. Every year dozens of mushers assemble amidst the mountains peaks to train and race their dogs. At the same time, they offer adventure-seekers incomparable experiences — sleigh rides through a bona fide winter wonderland. Many of Auvergne’s dog-sledding companies also let visitors channel their inner mushers and try their hand at leading a dog pack.
This kind of sport, which allows one to get a taste of life in the Arctic Circle without leaving France, is without a doubt one of Auvergne’s hidden thrills. Of course, skiing and snowboarding are exciting — but what can beat the exhilaration of a scenic race through Auvergne’s glacial landscapes?
For more tips on must-see attractions in Auvergne, click “Trip Ideas” below.