Following a warm spring like feeling across many parts of the Alps I am pleased to report excellent snow conditions in Italy. We currently have our Italian Ski weekend running based in Val Ferret, in the the Aosta Valley. The depth of the pressed ski tracks is over a metre and the very COLD temperatures of -23 at night are making sure it stays around. During the morning it was still -16 so we enjoyed immaculate, cold, soft snow to slide and glide across. Prepped with enough layers, warm coffee stops, good gloves(!), blue skies & sunshine we enjoyed another great day beneath the breath taking peaks of the Mont Blanc massif. Tomorrow we'll be in Cogne in the Gran Paradiso National Park for more of the same.

Last weekend we ran our January cross country ski weekend in Italy. Aimed at beginner level or those wanting to refresh their nordic skiing skills we spend 3 full days skiing the tracks at different locations in the Aosta Valley. The cross country tracks are in perfect condition at the moment. We've had plenty of snow (and continues falling as I type) and as the temperatures stay cool the pistes are pressed into excellent condition.

Cross country skiing can be adapted to suit all levels. But the fitter you are obviously means you can have longer days out. Skiing with me were fell runners from the UK who had tried cross country skiing before but wanted to learn the right technique for future adventures. Once they had gained enough skills to cope with a variety of snow conditions and terrain we went on a 25km journey on day 2! Our last day together was spent on skates but still they had the energy to get some km's in their legs. In total we skied about 70km in 3 days. Nordic skiing is not only fun and an opportunity to enjoy the snow but is also perfect cross training for other sports. And whilst in Italy we benefit from excellent cuisine to top off a great weekend!

Our next ski weekend is 18th-22nd February - Happy New Year.

We keep saying it I know, but we really have had a great season of snow. I first dusted off my 'skinny skis' in November & I can't believe it's now April and I'm still able to teach & train on my cross country (xc) skis.

Apart from various trips to the Jura mountains near Geneva (see last blog) I have also spent time xc skiing in one of my favorite locations close by, Val Ferret in the Italian Val d'Aosta.

Val Ferret features highly in a variety of our trips; from walking the Tour du Mont Blanc & Nordic Walking in the summer to snowshoeing upto the Bonnati Hut and cross country skiing in the winter. Apart from being a beautiful remote valley with views of the 'Italian side' of Mont Blanc (or Monte Bianco) and other 4,000m peaks, great Italian cuisine & sunshine!!!!! Val Ferret has some fantastic cross country ski tracks - so much so it was the obvious location to base our Italian Ski weekend.

This winter we have run two Italian Ski Weekends one 'with a twist'! The weekend, designed for beginners and improvers, consists of 3 days of skiing in the Aosta Valley, visiting a variety of locations, learning the skills and technique of both the classic and skating styles. Each day also features a little more than the skiing too, apres ski in Courmayeur, a visit to the thermal baths and the 'twist' for one of our weekends was to also snowshoe upto the Bonatti Hut!

Our Bonatti Hut 'expedition' consisted of us .....cross country skiing with our snowshoes strapped to our backpacks and then swapping our skis for snowshoes to make our way up to the hut. As the sunset we sat watching the 'alpine glow' on the peaks around us whilst sipping champagne in celebration my clients 25th wedding anniversary. What better way to spend such a special day!

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