Which Country? Tips on Choosing Where to Ski and Snowshoe
Written by Lindsay Cannon
07 December 2015
Last modified on
24 July 2020
Spoiled for choice: there's a destination for everyone!
It can seem a little daunting choosing the right destination for your cross country skiing or snowshoe trip this winter. So much choice! Well, we’ve a short guide to the different countries - what they each have to offer by way of their distinct charms and unique experiences … Read on to see whether France, Switzerland, Italy, Norway, Sweden or Germany should be top of your list for your next cross country skiing or snowshoeing holiday.
France offers two mountain ranges within reach of Chambery, Lyon and Geneva airports for snowshoeing and cross country skiing: the Alps and the Jura. It’s also possible of course to take the train from London, Brussels and other destinations making use of France’s well-run high speed TGV network and Eurostar.
Our guests love the traditional French ambiance they experience in the Alpine towns of Chamonix, Samoëns and Briançon. In the smaller villages the peaceful way of life and farming traditions have remained little changed for fifty years. Of course, French cuisine is also a great draw: fresh baguettes and patisseries, mulled wine and and seemingly endless variety of local cheeses.
Why we love France:
- A choice of different type of resorts: quieter locales such as Samoëns or the villages of the Queyras, or towns with a buzzing nightlife such as Chamonix. - Good food and wine at affordable prices. - Alpine centres such as Chamonix have a long history of winter sports, but also offer many other activities both during the day and in the evening. Chamonix also has the added bonus of easy access to Italy and Switzerland, and not forgetting of course Mont Blanc itself! - Extensive cross country ski networks with affordable, quality ski rental and good value day ski passes.
It’s very name conjures up images of alpine chalets, dramatic snow-covered mountains and charming villages that feature on chocolate boxes and postcards from a country that turns into an amazing winter wonderland when the snow falls.
Access to the mountain villages and towns of the Swiss Alps is often made by scenic railways that wind their way through spectacular valleys and alongside pristine frozen lakes. There’s perhaps no other country that’s quite so well looked after! The superlatives used so often to describe Switzerland really are well deserved – it is breathtakingly beautiful!
-First rate public transport that’s reliable, clean and efficient making village to village skiing a breeze! -Excellent accommodation. -Good food and warm hospitality. -Efficiency and service: whether it’s at the ski shop,hotel, restaurant or the airport - the Swiss will always do their best to make sure you’re taken care of! -Good green credentials in many of the resorts, with increased efforts being made to be eco-friendly.
The Italian resorts all have the own distinct charms and individuality. Italians will say that there’s ‘no such thing as Italian food’ it’s all regional: from one region or valley to the next, there’s a different style and a unique speciality that they’re very proud of. We can’t praise the food too much - really, it’s a major draw for our guests who come back year after year!
Coupled with the cuisine is the amazing warmth and hospitality of the Italians, which is especially generous in the mountain regions of Aosta and Piemonte.
Choose Italy for:
-Exceptional cuisine! -Local people are very friendly and relaxed. -Quieter resorts than many in the other Alpine countries. -Great value for money. -Glamourous mix of mountain tradition and style whilst staying in Courmayeur below the towering Monte Bianco.
Germany’s most popular holiday region transforms into a winter sports wonderland with the first snowfalls in December. Skiing in the Black forest region of Germany, close to the Swiss border, is truly a delight (and not just for the cake!). The area has a particular, hand-crafted feel and the region proudly preserves its distinctive identity.
The cross country tracks are well groomed and orientation via the trail maps and signposting top notch - the skiing here is indeed made all the more enjoyable by the excellent facilities and care taken to assist visitors. The hotels and restaurants too are of a high standard and provide a warm welcome. All-in-all a first class experience for the skier!
Germany's special for:
- Friendliness of the local people. - Good public transport: efficient, clean and good value. - Environmentally friendly ski operations. - Well-run hotels with great service. - Incredible Black Forest gateaux and sweet treats!
Norway is synonymous with Nordic skiing… it’s a way of life! Cross country skiing in Norway is a unique experience, and quite different from that of the Alps: you’ll experience the majesty of exploring wilderness areas where population centres are few and far between.
For the Norwegians the mountains are ingrained within their culture, and the outdoors are seen as a wonderful playground to venture into and enjoy. Staying in Norway you’ll experience first class service and the warmth of a people genuinely proud to share their love of nature!
-Stunning scenery and the feeling of complete remoteness. -Regular flights to Oslo and easy/efficient trains to the resorts. -Sterling/Krone: the best exchange rate for several years! -Warm and welcoming people that are genuinely enthusiastic about all things skiing! -Amazing light in the spring months. -A different pace of life: Norway’s generally quieter than its Alpine counterparts -You won’t struggle with the language: almost everyone can speak English really well!