Barbegazi are gnome-like people that inhabit the Alps mountains between France and Switzerland.
The name "Barbegazi" is probably a corruption of 'barbe glacées', which means "frozen beards".
They look just like other gnomes except for large feet which gives them the advantages of both skis and snowshoes. Barbegazi's feet allow them to glide rapidly across snow, no matter how powdery - plus they can also use their feet to dig tunnels. Should the need arise, a Barbegazi can cover himself with snow in seconds, and dig himself out no matter how deep he may be buried. Their hair is frozen and resembles icicles. They communicate over long distances by a kind of eerie hooting which may be mistaken for the whistling of the wind through the mountains peaks.
They live in a network of caves and tunnels at the summits of high peaks, where they also estivate during the summer. Because of this, Barbegazi are rarely seen when the temperature gets above zero. They never venture below the tree-line and the few specimens who have been trapped by mountaineers (or by the occasional confuzzled Yeti Hunter) and taken down to the Alpine villages, died after only a few hours of captivity. The entrances to their cave-dens are tiny openings shielded by curtains of icicles.
Barbegazi are known as the caretakers of the Mountains and are generally friendly towards man-kind, and will often help those who are lost and dying of cold in the mountains. Barbegazi have been credited with leading St. Bernard's to trapped climbers - they talk with the dog using cantrips.
They also will hoot to warn mountaineers of oncoming avalanches, even though they themselves quite enjoy these, and surf them down the mountainside.