Wildlife under a blanket of snow


Although mountains account for only 25% of the land area, they are a veritable refuge for biodiversity. The Alps are home to a wide variety of wildlife that has adapted to the rugged terrain and extreme altitudes.
With this in mind, we've put together a short list of activities that we hope will inspire you to find out more about the wildlife that brings our mountains to life.

    An educational trail for children
    On foot or on snowshoes, families can take advantage of the new nature trail accessible directly from the top of the Nyon cable car. All along the way, adventurers can discover the fauna that inhabits the mountains thanks to educational panels. Using the "Locafaune" application, which can be downloaded from the trailhead, children can report any animals they happen to spot! It's an ideal way to help preserve these species.
    The ibex, an emblematic Alpine animal within binocular range
    Ibexes live on the ridges that they use to travel between mountain ranges. They are rarely seen from ski areas, as the ibex is a rochassier. Nevertheless, Hervé Le Sobre, a mountain guide, offers holidaymakers the chance to meet this majestic animal during his "Chamois Mouflons" outing. It is at the bottom of the Boutigny valley, on the adret slope (in the sun) that the ibex come to feed on young shoots. Using binoculars, the group of hikers observe them without disturbing them and learn more about their way of life, their tracks on the ground, etc. A moment of peace and quiet in the middle of the mountains.
    Falconer for a day
    All winter long, young and old alike can come and enjoy a unique experience: an encounter with some exceptional birds of prey. White owls, great horned owls, eagles, buzzards, vultures... Throughout the workshop, the falconer passes on his knowledge and the secrets of birds of prey in the form of games. To round off the experience, the children are treated to a breathtaking flight over their little heads.
    Another way to ski... in the company of eagles!
    This concept, unique in the world, is offered by the "Aigles du Léman". Holidaymakers and locals can come and take on a gyrfalcon, the aim being to race and beat the bird of prey to win a falconry animation (worth €75), but if the falcon proves to be faster, participants still win a meal for 2 in the Aigles du Léman restaurant. Who will be the fastest?
  •  - © Office de Tourisme de Morzine
  •  - © Christian Pfahl
  •  - © Hervé Le Sobre
  •  - © Office de Tourisme de Morzine
Did you know?

Since 2018, the Portes du Soleil ski area has set up a fauna and flora observatory. The aim is to take stock of and monitor species, identify key areas and draw up action plans accordingly. Care for water, landscapes and biodiversity is a constant preoccupation so that all lovers of snow sports and the mountains can, in the long term, come and reconnect with nature.

In addition, a white-tailed eagle rehabilitation programme was recently set up. The White-tailed Eagle is the largest eagle in Europe, and has made a comeback on the shores of Lake Geneva after an absence of 130 years. The White-tailed Eagle is a fishing eagle that lives on the shores of lakes. Several chicks were hatched at the Aigles du Léman wildlife park in neighbouring France and reintroduced in early summer 2022. The young eagles were released at the end of June. Over the next few years, only a few birds will be reintroduced each summer. Eventually, the reintegration programme plans to release more than 80 birds of prey. You can also visit the Aigles du Léman winter park in the Morzine ski area at the tip of Nyon.
  •  - © Christian Pfahl
Do you know...

... Black grouse? these small sedentary animals can now only be found in the Alps.

In France, the black grouse is found over a large part of the Alps (from the Chablais to the Var). To spend the winter, it builds a sort of igloo in the snow, where the temperature stays at around 4°C. In order to protect this endangered species, inventories of areas suitable for breeding and wintering are carried out every year to learn more about it and preserve it. The Morzine ski area has 2 protected areas: the Lac de Joux plane and the Col de Joux plane.
  •  - © Jacques Blanc