Fern Cates


  • 29 November 2023

Fern is from Shropshire, but now lives in Chamonix, France, and works with GB Snowsport & Snowsport Scotland as a GB Para Nordic coach, spending most of summer coaching on rollerskis before taking athletes to international competitions in winter. She holds the Level 3 ISIA Nordic Ski Teacher qualification and is a Nordic Ski Trainer for BASI. Growing up, Fern was a competitive open water swimmer and alpine skier before seeing nordic skiing on TV which soon became her dream sport, at eighteen she left the midlands for Sweden where she studied political science as a full time athlete in the British Nordic Ski Team, training alongside Olympic medalists and competing at World Championship level until 2018. She returned to UK for a while and coached the London XC Ski Club before moving to the Alps. In her spare time, Fern loves to ski and hike with her dog and is passionate about the accessibility and holistic benefits of nordic skiing for all abilities and types of skiers.

Since the 18th century there has been a real craze for the Alps, there was a great influx of travellers 'discovering the alps' from scientists and botanists making sense of the land, to alpinists making first ascents and the aristocracy seeking the fresh air. Haute-Savoie consists of a small but very important 'nook' of the French Alps , bordering Switzerland and Lake Geneva to the north, and Italy to the east and southeast. With the highest mountains in Western Europe as it's back drop and Annecy the "Venice of the Alps " as it's administrative centre, there's no doubt that Haute-Savoie is one of the most beautiful parts of Europe. 

Why Begin Cross Country Skiing this Winter? It’s the perfect boost for your running fitness

Cross country skiing (a.k.a. Nordic skiing, or ski de fond) is currently enjoying a serious renaissance. Like the boom in road cycling and ultra trail running that’s taken the UK and US by storm in recent years, it’s no longer just nerdy endurance geeks and burly army boys who are hooked on this now-fashionable-again winter sports pursuit. 

Unlike their Scandinavian forefathers, today’s Nordic newschoolers are decked out in on-trend, technical gear (from brands such as Oakley, Maloja and Salomon), while events such as the Vasaloppet in Sweden have attracted celebrity participants including Kate Middleton’s sister, Pippa. The Swiss Engadin Marathon – one of the biggest XC Ski events (even looks cool in writing!) has between 11,000 and 13,000 participants every year. 



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.

When I think of Peer Gynt I associate the name with the character in the famous play by the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen, but I have to say that thoughts of drama on the stage have been replaced by drama in the mountains! Last year, for the first time, we took our clients to Norway to ski the 'Peer Gynt' trail, and it was stunning.

We are pleased have now confirmed our new cross country ski tour to Sweden. Skiing entirely on groomed trails we will be leading a tour in the charming Dalarna region. Our itinerary offers a true taste of the region both on and off your skis. The trip starts with two warm up days around Sälen, exploring both the tracks and wilder mountain trails then progressing onto a fairly luxurious four-day point-to-point tour along the route of the historic Vasaloppet. All whilst travelling at a comfortable pace. There is also time to visit the capital of Stockholm.

Tonight it's the World Cup Final in Rio, bringing to a close a month of frantic footballing action. Interestingly, aside from the skills and tactics, the finals have shown how sports medicine and, in particular, on the field advances in treatment, continue to push forward athletes' performance. A common injury amongst the players (and other athletes that high-speed stride, such as in basketball, baseball, marathons or even brisk walking) are hamstring strains and tears. The New York Times has recently published a good article on the development of this stretching regime and a study of its benefits by the Sports Orthopaedic Research Centre in Copenhagen. Read more here.

Why we should all be cross country skiing this winter: it’s the perfect boost for your running fitness. Cross country skiing (a.k.a. Nordic skiing, or ski de fond) is currently enjoying a serious renaissance. Like the boom in road cycling and ultra trail running that’s taken the UK and US by storm in recent years. It’s no longer just nerdy endurance geeks and burly army boys who are hooked on this now-fashionable-again winter sports pursuit. Read on to find out all the benefits of Cross Country Skiing. 

The great snow conditions continue here in the Alps giving us a fabulous start to the New Year. The view from the office window this morning offers another blue sky day with the sun sparkling on the mountain tops. Ski conditions on the downhill pistes in Chamonix are excellent and the town is buzzing !

The phones have been ringing off the hook! Not sure we have 'hooks' in 2013, but you know what I mean. Travel writer with 'The Sunday Times', Jez Lazell decided that our epic cross country ski journey across the Jura mountains in France was just the ticket for a feature for last weekend. I can see it now, a log fire, a cup of something warm, the dogs lying across the hearth, and feet up with the Travel Section dreaming about winter mountains and sparkling snow crystals.