Spend New Year’s Eve “lost” in the Alps: the best huts to welcome 2019

Carolina ThibaudMay 19, 2017

Tired of your classic New Year’s Eve bash? Were hoping for something different this year? Then welcome 2019 in one of the Alps’ friendliest mountain huts and start the New Year on the right foot!

Go really big this year. Hike, snowshoe or ski to one of the huts on our list and spend January 1 ski touring around the Alps with a local mountain guide.

It’ll be a New Year’s Eve party you won’t ever forget. You’ll find yourself “lost” in the mountains, far away from civilization but in the coziest atmosphere. There will be good food, beer, breathtaking mountain views and, of course, altitude. Is there a better combo?

New Year's Eve
Good food, beer, breathtaking views and, of course, altitude! (Photo: Julia Virat)

Bring friends and family along and make this a truly memorable New Year’s. Besides, each one of you can choose what to do on the first day of the year. From the hut, those who have the energy can go ski touring, while the others sleep off the excesses of the previous night.

You need to look no further. We’ve asked IFMGA certified guide Julia, who guided an Explore-Share.com user for New Year’s last year, to help us put together a list of the best spots to celebrate the arrival of the new year in the Alps. This is our definitive list:

  • Rifugio Bonatti (2025m):

    Rifugio Bonatti (Source: Rifugio Bonatti)

    Located at 2025 meters, it can be accessed from the Italian town of Courmayeur. Skis or snowshoes will get you up there during the winter. If a delicious New Year Eve meal is one of your top priorities for this special night, this cozy mountain hut in the Mont Blanc massif might be just perfect for you. You can choose the full-board option and have Bonatti’s super hospitable hosts take care of everything! It is one of the priciest options, especially for New Year’s, but the atmosphere is as friendly and joyous as it gets.

From Bonatti you’ll get to enjoy stunning views of the Mont Blanc massif, from Col de la Seigne to Col Ferret. There are also plenty of itineraries to choose from if you wish to spend January 1 on your skis. Let a local guide show you to the best spots!

Julia recommends the Tête entre deux Sauts and Col de Malatra ski tours. Or you could go backcountry skiing in other spots of the Aosta Valley.  Rifugio Bonatti’s highlights for New Year’s Eve? The great food and the amazing atmosphere!

Hire a guide and go ski touring on January 1. Start 2018 on the right foot! (Photo: Julia Virat)
  • Refuge de Loriaz (2020m):

    Refuge de Loriaz (Source: Refuge de Loriaz)

At 2020 meters and 15 kilometers away from Chamonix, this mountain hut is a favorite among families. You’ll need ski touring bindings or snowshoes to get here for New Year’s Eve. It’s a 2-hour walk from the parking lot at Vallorcine and, once at the hut, you’ll get to choose from a wide variety of itineraries. From short hikes to several days-long programs, there are choices for everyone. Col de la Terrasse is one of Julia’s favorites. Join her on a guided ski touring weekend around Chamonix.

This hut offers a special New Year’s Eve meal and also a great atmosphere. You can choose a full-board option or just opt for dinner and breakfast. The highlights? It is easily accessible and great for families.

Bring family or friends for a memorable New Year’s Eve! (Photo: Julia Virat)
  • Refuge du Chardonnet (2227m), Refuge Buffere (2076m) and Refuge de Ricou (2115m):

    Refuge de Ricou (Source: Refuge de Ricou)

All three are located in the Clarée Valley and, according to our sources, are the best in the area. Julia’s favorite is Refuge du Chardonnet. From this hut, you can access the Col de Roche Noire, Tour du Queyrellin and Col du Chardonnet ski tours. She highlights the easy access and the fact that you can make reservations online. Moreover, the cozy fireplace and all the like-minded people don’t hurt.

Some of the ski tours that you can go for from the Refuge Buffere are Crêtes de l’Échaillon and Grand Area. From Ricou, you could try Rocher de la Grande Tempête and Lac Blanc. Hire a local guide and stay safe!

Remember to book well in advance for New Year’s Eve! The three huts are easily accessible and are great options for families with kids. For example, to reach the Refuge de Ricou, it is just a 30-minute walk from Nevache. Why choose one of these 3 huts to spend New Year’s Eve? The views of the valley are amazing and you’ll find a super-friendly atmosphere and great meals!

Lose yourself in the Alps! (Photo: Julia Virat)
  • Refuge de la Ferme du Tornieux (1450m):

    Just an hour and a half away from Sallanches, this is another great option for your New Year’s Eve bash. This former farm, built in 1892, was recently transformed into a mountain hut and quickly became a favorite among skiers and hikers.

Hire a guide and step into your snowshoes to explore the area around the refuge. Or, if you think your group would enjoy a more ludic option, this hut offers an extremely fun “sled night”. You’ll meet at the parking lot in Sallanches and go up to the hut in a snow mobile. Your hosts will then offer a traditional Savoyard dinner and you’ll spend the night in the middle of the mountains. The next morning, you’ll sled back down to Sallanches on an amazing 5-km path!

This hut is not too far from civilization. The delicious Savoyard dinner is definitely another of its highlights!

  • Cabane Brunet (2103m):

    Cabane Brunet (Source: Cabane Brunet)

    First built in 1930, the cabin was carried away by an avalanche in 1937 and rebuilt in a different location in 1942. Located in the Bagnes commune in Switzerland, this picturesque mountain hut is a really cool spot to spend New Year’s Eve.

During the summer, you can drive to the hut. However, during the winter months, you’ll have to ski or snowshoe to access it.

The area is great for ski touring. Make sure a local guide shows you to its best-kept secrets! Julia recommends Mont Rogneux and Les Capucins.

Spend January 1 on your skis! (Photo: Julia Virat)
  • Build an igloo:

    At the top of the Italian resort of Courmayeur, in Pointe Helbronner, you can build your own igloo and wake up on January 1st under your own roof.

    This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Come with family or friends and spend an unforgettable New Year’s Eve. But please beware: building an igloo is no joke. Construction takes a half day and it’s a quite demanding job!

You’ll have to bring your own sleeping bag and mat as well. Make sure your sleeping bag is warm enough to withstand the cold temperatures up there! The Courmayeur cable car is a great advantage in this sense, as you won’t have to carry your backpack up. You probably won’t sleep as soundly in the igloo as you would in the other huts, but what a great way to start 2018!

Aspirant mountain guide Julia and one of her friends in an igloo they built themselves. (Photo: Julia Virat)

Do any of these sound like good plans? They all sound awesome to us! So plan ahead and reserve your spot. We can guarantee that you’ll spend a memorable New Year’s Eve. And, who knows? You may even want to come back in 2020.

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