Learn to Skate Ski
An extended weekend in Italy dedicated to learning the art of 'skate skiing'. Developed in the 1980's 'skating' or 'freestyle' as it's known is a form of Nordic or cross country skiing where we ski on groomed trails moving in a similar motion almost to ice skaters or speed skaters but on skis whilst propelling yourself with the help of ski poles.
Enjoy mastering a new technique in stunning surroundings whilst gaining strength and fitness along the way.
These extended weekend trips suit classic track style Nordic skiers or alpine skiers looking for a different snow sport. Once mastered, a 'skate' can easily be fitted into a winter holiday in most resorts for both fun and fitness, but most of all to enjoy the freedom to explore the quieter corners of the mountains and valleys. This trip also suits those wishing to just refresh and perfect their skating skills.
- Learn and improve the art of skate skiing
- Enjoy skiing in a quiet alpine valley
- Sample true Italian hospitality and cuisine
- Meet in Chamonix, France for easy access from Geneva airport
- Reduced price option for 'locals' joining on Day 2
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We base these long weekend breaks in the small Italian valley of Val Ferret where it reliably holds snow late into the winter season. This picturesque location is famous for walking, biking and skiing in view of many 4000 metre peaks such as the Monte Bianco (or Mont Blanc), Grand Jorasses and Dent du Geante. With it's typical stone-house summer hamlets and eighteenth-century chapel, the area is steeped in history and tradition. From our base we will also take a trip along the Aosta Valley to Cogne. Enjoy exploring up to 45km of trails. Here we have plenty of options for varying lengths of excursions and terrain to practice our skills while enjoying the mountain and woodland scenery.
Skating takes place on a wide, evenly prepared track that has been well groomed and pressed. The skis are shorter, stiffer and lighter than classic skis, and are narrower at the tip and tail than in the centre. Neither fishscales skis nor grip wax skis are used. The stiffness, lightweight and gliding nature of the skis makes them excellent for learning the art of the snowplough.
Day 1 Arrival Chamonix, France
We meet in Chamonix, France due to its easy access from Geneva airport. Regular flights to Geneva from around Europe, and multiple transfer options to Chamonix make this the best meeting point for your skate weekend. Italy is in fact just 30 minutes from Chamonix via the Mont Blanc Tunnel. We meet you at your hotel the evening you arrive to brief you on the days ahead and answer any questions.
If you live locally there is the option of a reduced price without the two nights accommodation in Chamonix. Please ask for details.
Day 2 Val Ferret, Courmayeur
This morning we drive through the famous Mont Blanc Tunnel to Courmayeur and Val Ferret. Our morning will be spent fitting our skis and taking time to find our 'ski-legs'. We will introduce you to the skating technique learning step-by-step the most efficient way to master this graceful sport. Due to our gradual approach, it makes skating very achievable to pick up. Ideal for those also wishing to refresh their skating skills and knowledge.
We aim to have a leisurely lunch, Italian style, which means excellent home made food and the compulsory hot chocolate and cake! We finish the day with either a journey or more skills practice, exploring the beautiful groomed tracks in Val Ferret. The ski tracks wind along the entire valley, up to the hamlet of Lavachey. The pistes, which are always tracked and groomed, have many detours where we can lengthen or shorten our journey which gives us fantastic views of the Mont Blanc range.
As we also have access to the groomed trails or 'loipe' if you find that at any point you'd like to have a 'classic' or 'traditional' track ski then this is also available. After our ski there will be time to visit the charming town of Courmayeur.
Day 3 Cogne & the Gran Paradiso National Park
Today we will take a pleasant drive along the Aosta Valley to the valley of Cogne in the Gran Paradiso National Park. This picturesque location is famous for the Gran Paradiso, Italy's highest peak. With it's typical stone-house village and eighteenth-century chapel, the area is steeped in history. This excellent venue is where many regional and national competitions take place and where we can explore up to 45km of trails. Like Val Ferret, we have plenty of options for varying lengths of excursions and terrain to practice our skills while enjoying the mountain and woodland scenery. We again return to our accommodation and for our evening meal.
Day 4 Going through the Gears
Skate skiing enables the skier to transfer weight from ski to ski to travel over a variety of terrain. Learning to skate also helps with other sports that you may already do making it an excellent form of 'cross-training'. It will enhance your balance, co-ordination, aerobic and muscular strength and tone all whilst enjoying gliding along amongst beautiful views. Back in Val Ferret today we will increase the pace a little and look at the different 'gears' to the art of skate skiing to ensure you make the most out of your effort over the different terrain we find.
At the end of the day we travel back to Chamonix, in France (30 mins via the Mont Blanc tunnel) which gives you the chance to experience the 'apres ski' in this vibrant alpine town. It also means easy access back to the UK.
Day 5 Departure Day, Chamonix, France
Today is departure day. If you wish to stay for additional days then we can help arrange accommodation in Chamonix. You may even feel you want to continue skiing? We aim to use the only hotel in Chamonix which sits right on the cross country tracks.
For these weekends we spend the first and last night in Chamonix Valley, France which gives easy access to Geneva airport. In Italy we stay in La Palud village, which sits at the gateway to Val Ferret, and is situated close to the cross country ski tracks. Our hotel offers a true Italian experience, as we always aim to use family hotels offering excellent hospitality. In the evenings we usually eat out in a local restaurant serving true Italian food.
Included: The price includes half-board accommodation for 4 nights, based on two people sharing in a 2* hotel, transport between ski venues and 3 full days of instruction by a fully qualified BASI Nordic Instructor.
Not included: Insurance, flights and transfers, lunch and drinks, ski hire (approximately 35 Euros for the 3 days) and ski passes (approximately 21 Euros in total), any ski lift tickets which may be used as an alternative in bad snow conditions.
Please be aware that 'skating' does require a reasonable fitness as you will be skiing for between 4 - 5 hours per day. You do not need to be a super athlete, but you do need enthusiasm, determination and a willingness to put a good degree of effort into this activity. We would expect you to be someone who does exercise several times a week.
This trip requires a minimum of 4 clients to run. We will take a maximum of 8 clients.
Please ensure that you must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity. You must be covered for helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. With regard to this requirement please be sure you have read the Insurance section in our Terms and Conditions.
Please note that this itinerary is dependent on the weather and snow conditions at the time. Therefore changes to the itinerary may occur. Previous cross country or alpine ski experience is an advantage but not necessary. Upon booking a full list of the necessary suitable clothing will be provided. Specific skate skis, boots and poles can be hired in resort.
Val Ferret is in the Aosta Valley, near the ski resort of Courmayeur, and is situated only 30 mins away from Chamonix, France. Chamonix is easily reached from other European and worldwide destinations by road, rail, coach or plane.The nearest airport to Chamonix is Geneva, in Switzerland which is approx 1 hr and 15 mins from Chamonix.
Please contact us so that we can help you arrange your specific travel requirements.