So, which course would be best for you?
As each winter passes we find more and more people are trying cross country skiing. It's such a fabulous way to travel in winter, and you can do it at whatever level you wish. You can 'toddle' along enjoying the views, or really 'go for it' and give yourself an all over body workout! We offer various courses for different levels. Read to see where your skiing could take you.
Our Italian Ski Breaks are based in the wonderful Val Ferret valley, near Courmayeur. The terrain and environment is ideally suited for our introductory courses with a wonderful range of cafes and bars for the all important Italian hot chocolate and cake stops!
Mix your activities, and try snowshoeing and cross country skiing then combine the Italian Ski Break with our Snowshoe Long Weekends. You will spend time in the world famous Alpine town of Chamonix, and also get to spend the night in a mountain refuge - think mountain 'hotel', rather than basic hut!
In the Obergoms area of Switzerland which has 82km of groomed trails to explore between Oberwald and Niederwald. With the help of the local train, included in your ski pass and regularly passes through, it gives us the flexibility to ski in different areas of the valley and from village to village. This trip offers weeks either geared to beginners or intermediates, so do check the grading for the one which is suitable for beginners.
Swiss Alps Cross Country Skiing
OK, so you have done some cross country skiing, perhaps our Italian Ski Breaks and are wondering "what next?". Our Jura Highlights long weekend is graded 'Intro/Intermediate' and is perfect as the next step in your cross country skiing career. We have based our weekends in Vallée de Joux, close to Geneva, to ensure it's easy to access and that we are on the doorstep of some of the region's highest cross country ski locations. The Jura's forested limestone plateau makes for perfect 'Nordic rolling' terrain. The region is very proud of both its traditions and sports and is steeped in history, geology and gastronomy.
For those of you who have already done our Jura Highlights, at Les Rousses, in France, the good news is that we have moved our base, and thus you might enjoy another weekend with us in our new location at Vallee de Joux in Switzerland.
We also have an 'Intermediate' week based in the Obergoms area mentioned above. Just check the grading against the week to see which one is for 'beginners', and which for 'intermediates'.
Swiss Alps Cross Country Skiing
The 'Grand Ski Traverse' of the German Black Forest is a classic 100km point-to-point journey located near the borders of France and Switzerland lies north of Freiburg and Basel. The Black Forest extends from 150m above sea level to the upper reaches of the Rhine River to more than 1,400m above sea level in the highest mountains of the southern Black Forest. This is an excellent progression for 'intermediate' skiers, and sets you up nicely for our more challenging long distance ski trips.
If Norway is an attractive proposition, then I would urge you to consider the fabulous Peer Gynt Trail, this is brilliant for beginners with a good grounding, and confident snowplough, and excellent for intermediates also. A real journey across the mountains, but always on prepared tracks - it is wonderful!
You can also develop your skills on two of our other Norway weeks at Venabu, and at Geilo and Finse. Both these trips help develop your 'touring skills'; in other words, your ability to ski a journey on consecutive days through the valleys and across the rolling mountain landscape. Both these weeks include the next step in your cross country career in that they introduce the idea of 'off-piste' skiing where you make your own tracks in the snow.
Geilo Finse: Pistes, Trails, Tours
I would suggest you consider Venabu first, then look to follow with our Geilo and Finse trip.
The obvious next trip is the Jotunheim tour, home to Norway's highest mountain, the Galdhöpiggen (2469m), this majestic rocky mountain range offers superb Nordic touring with an almost Alpine feel.This tour follows a classic south to north route providing a great way of skiing through this quieter area between the popular Hardangervidda and Finse area to the the well-known Jotunheim. The tour ends at one of best and most important lodges of the northern Jotunheim having skied passed some of the most dramatic peaks in the country.
So you've worked your way through all of the above and are looking for more challenging long distance skiing? Don't worry we have plenty for you to go at! I would suggest the following progression:
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 142km long-distance ski trail was first completed in 1978 and is nearly all on prepared, pressed tracks. If it is peace and tranquility and a true taste of authentic mountain life you seek then look no further!
The 'Trans-Jura Swiss' is a 'tracked' point-to-point cross country ski journey over the Swiss mountains of the Jura, and is a little harder than the French GTJ described above. Following the success of our Grand Traverse of the Jura (GTJ), which is mainly in France, we are pleased to now offer the 'TJS' - the Swiss version. Starting within easy reach of Geneva the journey, first made in 1976, is on classic cross country skis, nearly all on prepared, pressed tracks and covers 153km.
Norway, and a really brilliant trip with plenty of challenge is the fabulous Trolls Trail. A true mountain journey which requires commitment and stamina. It is a point-to-point ski trip across the Rondane mountains of Norway. This 200km journey takes us through a beautiful landscape of frozen lakes, plateaux, and forests which gives the perfect environment for a multi-day adventure on cross country skis. We begin in the north at Høvringen in the Rondane National Park, and ski south to the Olympic town of Lillehammer. The terrain is not steep, but offers views of the bigger peaks in the area.
Next up, it's the infamous Hardangervidda in Norway, and the route of the legendary ‘Heroes of Telemark’ raid to stop the nuclear ambitions Axis powers. This is a unique opportunity to retrace, visit and savor the extraordinary raid involving Norwegian and British servicemen to sabotage the heavy water atomic plant near Rjukan in 1943. This Nordic skiers 'must do' tour is designed for our 'Advanced Nordic Tourers' wishing to not only absorb the historic events but also complete a challenging and remote tour in the footsteps of our Heroes of Telemark.
Oh, nearly forgot to mention 'skating'! Skating has evolved as a separate Nordic discipline and is much loved by those who like to get a good workout on skis. It is very graceful and is wonderful for fitness and form. We run several skate long weekends each winter, and if you check the dates you will see these are divided into 'introductory' and 'intermediate'. People often ask "do I have to learn to ski 'classic' before I can 'skate'?". The answer is 'no'. It's often said that 'classic' is easier to learn, but harder to be really good at, and that 'skate' is much harder to learn, but that is is easier to be good fairly quickly.
I am hoping that the above will have given you plenty to think about, and will also help you with your progression as a cross country skier. Enjoy the tracks this winter!