Grand Traverse of the Jura
The Grande Traversée du Jura (or GTJ) is a fabulous journey over the Jura mountains crossing through France and parts of Switzerland. Located not far from Geneva, the journey is made on classic cross country skis. This 180km, long distance ski trail was first completed in 1978 and is nearly all on prepared, pressed tracks.
The route starts in the Val de Morteau in the Doubs département and finishes at Giron in the Ain département crossing the Jura and the Haut-Jura regional nature reserves. The ski route with it's varied terrain and relief can't fail to impress you with it's natural charm and beautiful landscapes.
Each day we aim to cover approximately 25-30km of the tracks whilst carrying a small day pack. Each night we arrive at our hotel or auberge to find our luggage waiting for us.
- Make a continuous 7-day journey across the Jura on skis
- Ski 180km on prepared trails - Ascend 3300m - Descend 3520m!
- Stay in characterful accommodation in rustic inns and hotels
- We are one of the few operators offering this classic ski journey
- All luggage transported for you
GRADE UPDATE: the GTJ traverse is designed for those that can confidently get on their skis and go! We grade this trip as an intermediate/advanced trip. On our first day we will spend time to find our ski legs but we do expect participants to be able ski a variety of terrain and longer journeys of 20-30km in length. Participants should be able to ski at a good pace and have mastered a controlled snowplough for both undulating and any steeper descents. You should be at a very good fitness level and be able to ski up to 6 hours per day.
On this trip you may be joined by clients from the Telemark Ski Company, providers of Nordic, Telemark and Alpine courses and tours throughout Scandinavia, as we run this trip in conjunction with them.
|Trip||Departure date||End date||Price||Status|
|GTJ1 14||Sat 18 January 14||Sun 26 January 14||£1245||Places available | Make a Booking|
|GTJ2 14||Sat 1 February 14||Sun 9 February 14||£1245||Places available | Make a Booking|
|GTJ3 14||Sat 22 February 14||Sun 2 March 14||£1245||Places available | Make a Booking|
View Grand Traverse of the Jura in a larger map
Sitting on the border of both France and Switzerland, the Jura, a limestone plateau, lies very close to Geneva. Steeped in history, geology and gastronomy it also has mountains that go on for miles, but unlike the jagged peaks of the Alps it's of the 'Nordic rolling' variety. This unique trip which gives a real sense of making a journey is all on skis. Despite its popularity it's not unusual to ski all day without seeing any other skiers.
Bespoke Jura Trips
This trip can also be organised as a bespoke holiday where the itinerary can be changed to match the quantity of days, ski locations and distances that suit the requirements of your group.
Day 1 Meet in Morteau
We meet you at your hotel, La Guimbarde, a typical Logis de France hotel in the small French town of Morteau. Your guide will be at your accommodation from 6pm to assist with organising any ski hire, to brief you on the days ahead and answer any questions.
Day 2 Le Gardot to Les Cernets
We begin our Jura crossing by transferring to the trail head at Le Gardot. We allow time to find our ski legs skiing along gentle terrain through pine trees and across snow covered meadows to Les Seignes. We ski to Les Cernets, which lies in Switzerland, just before the French border where we sleep the night. Total distance skied: 23km Ascent: 520m Descent: 480m.
Day 3 Les Cernets to Metabief
We begin our morning with a descent to Les Verrières de Joux where we cross the border back into France and onto the next section of hillside. We hike for a very short while through the woods with our skis attached to our backpacks. Once back onto the tracks we enjoy rolling terrain to our destination for the day, the small ski resort of Metabief. Total distance skied: 29.5km Ascent: 530m Descent: 715m.
Day 4 Metabief to Mouthe
We leave Metabief and rejoin the trail that takes us back off the beaten track. We climb into the woods and join a network of trails where we climb to the plateau of Mont d'Or. After lunch we enjoy skiing gently downhill to Mouthe and La Source du Doubs (the river source). Total distance skied: 29km Ascent: 630m Descent: 500m.
Day 5 Mouthe to Chapelle des Bois
The next three days of our journey take us along the race course of the world famous Transjurassiene, France's longest cross-country ski race. Our journey takes us into fabulous pines woods and past summer meadows linking us to Pre Poncet. As we enter the Combe des Cives the terrain angle eases for an enjoyable ski into Chappelle des Bois. Total distance skied: 26.5km Ascent: 390m Descent: 370m.
Day 6 Chapelle des Bois to Les Rousses
Chapelle des Bois in the Haut Jura boasts first class ski trails. From here we have the option to either ski towards the town of Bellefontaine or via the Forêt Risoux to reach Bois d'Amont. Either give superb views and excellent trails before reaching the ski town of Les Rousses for the night. Total distance skied via la Forêt Risoux: 17km Ascent: 345m Descent 385m.
Day 7 Les Rousses to Lajoux
We leave Les Rousses and head uphill to another popular ski location, visted by many ski teams in the Forêt du Massacre which provides excellent views and is steeped in history of warfare. Our high point for the day is in the heart of the forest at chalet 'La Frasse' where we can enjoy a well earned rest before our descent to the delightful village of Lajoux. Total distance skied: 21km Ascent: 425m Descent: 340m.
Day 8 Lajoux to Giron
Our final day and to complete our 180km traverse. We leave Lajoux for the mountain village of Bellecombe and wind our way up into the mountains and along the limestone crest where we find plenty of opportunities for lunch and stops for hot drinks along the way. The tracks provide views of peaks all around until we start making our gradual descent towards the trail end at Giron where we meet a taxi to take us to the village of Lancrans for our final night and celebratory meal. Total distance skied: 28.5km Ascent: 665m Descent: 740m.
Day 9 Departure
Today is departure day and the package ends after breakfast. Lancrans is a village approximately 10 minutes drive away from Bellegarde-sur-Valserine so taxi transfers are easily arranged the evening before. Bellegarde is in France and is on a main TGV line - links back to Geneva are about 1 hour by train costing about 12 Euros.
Included: The price includes half board accommodation and local taxes, based on two people sharing or in some cases basic mixed non-segregated dormitory style accommodation. The accommodation arrangements are dependent on our group numbers and availability at the time of booking. On some nights twin rooms or single can be arranged in advance which may incur an additional fee (please ask if you like this option upon booking). Luggage transfers (1x bag per person), the fees of a qualified BASI Nordic Ski Instructor/International Mountain Leader and their expenses are also all included.
Not included: Ski hire (this can be arranged at approximately 100 Euros for the week), insurance, flights & transfers, the GTJ ski pass (approximately 42 Euros for the week), drinks, lunches and the evening meal on the first night.
If in the event of a poor winter season it could be that the complete traverse is not possible and that we are required to ski in different locations each day using a vehicle to transfer us along the lower sections (for more details see the bad weather options section below). Depending on the group size this may or may not incur an additional fee, however previously when we have used a vehicle back up it has not cost our clients anymore.
This trip requires a minimum of 4 clients to run. We take a maximum of 8 clients.
Please note 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 please be sure you have read the Insurance section in our Terms and Conditions.
Upon booking a full list of the necessary suitable clothing will be provided.
The Alps are easily reached from other European and worldwide destinations by road, rail, coach or plane.
Our starting point in Morteau is easily reached from Geneva or Basel Airport by transferring by train - please consult www.sbb.ch for timetables. Alternatively you may wish to travel entirely by rail in which case many high speed trains link into Besançon and then onto Morteau. For suggested travel links please refer to our Booking & Information pages for further details.
If your arrival does not meet the trains into Morteau then taxis can be arranged from Le Locle to Morteau for approximately 40 CHF (which is approximately 33 Euros). We can help advise on all your travel arrangements and help with the group taxi transfer on the departure day.
If you would like to buy a map book to track your journey along the way then your guide will have copies on sale at the welcome meeting for 12 Euros.
The Grand Traverse of the Jura is a classic cross-country ski tour and we are one of only three UK companies to offer this holiday. Tracks and Trails work as the main winter-specialist ground agent for booking this trip on behalf of other UK tour operators. Our clients could therefore join up with other adventurers who have booked via one of the few other specialist UK companies.
Accommodation Arrangements & Bad Weather Options
The complete Jura traverse is approximately 175km, which means we will ski anything from between 20-30km per day. The 30km days include much easier terrain. The accommodation available is varied in its facilities and due to availability we do not always use exactly the same places so it could mean the daily distances on the day to day itinerary vary by a few kilometres. Please note that your guide will try to fulfil the stated itinerary but this is dependent on weather/snow & track conditions at the time.
Lunches will normally be picnics bought from either our accommodation, bakeries or in cafes when we pass them - please feel free to bring additional hill snacks from home.
We run our GTJ traverse at a time of year when the snow is most reliable and the tracks are well maintained in preparation for one of France's most important cross country ski races. However, in the event of poor snow conditions, we will offer an alternative Jura ski itinerary visiting the highest Nordic ski areas both regionally and on the traverse offering the same quantity of kilometres per day.