After over 40 years zipping down ski slopes all over Europe without incident I’d always fancied cross-country skiing – graceful, quiet, relaxing, no snowboarders to avoid and best of all, comfortable boots. So this was how I came to book a three day beginners’ course in Cogne, Italy.
In case you read no further I have to say – it was fantastic. I am already looking forward to booking on an ‘improvers’ holiday next year, no more ‘zombie walking’ for me.....! But was it what I expected? Yes and no.
It's exciting and exhilarating to learn a new winter activity, or at least that is what we find when we introduce our guests to cross country skiing. This type of skiing is also referred to as nordic, langlauf, and ski de fond, depending on which country you are visiting. Julia Tregaskis-Allen has taught all ages; from youngsters of 8 years old, to mature guests of up to 75 years of age. The main thing is a reasonable level of fitness and a good attitude to acquiring new skills. An ability to drink lots of delicious Italian coffee, and wine, and eat a lot of fabulous pasta, and cakes is also a pre-requisite! This is not a boot camp, but an excellent three days of discovering the joys of cross country skiing.
Well winter has definately arrived here in Chamonix. Over last night and this morning we have had at least 2 feet of snow fall at our front door here in Finhaut, at 1340m! This added to an already good base. Today I woke to a very quiet, magical, snow drenched village. Each year it's hard to not be impressed with this amount of the white stuff. I will be getting out in a while to enjoy the snow falling on my snowshoes! This week i've already i've been out on my cross country skis in Argentiere, France and Val Ferret, Italy where the tracks were in great condition, freshly pressed and barely a soul about. But you definately get the feeling that Christmas and the winter season is just around the corner as the shops make their final winter scenes and The Hotel Belvedere in Val Ferret (where we base our Italian ski weekends) yesterday were opening their doors for the first time this winter - cappucino and cake all round