Italian Ski Break

Cross Country Ski in France & Italy

Cross country skiing in Italy

This is the perfect winter break! Benefit from expert cross country ski tuition on world-class tracks, combined with Italian cuisine, comfort and cappuccino! Join us first in the heart of the French in Chamonix and learn how to cross country ski on groomed trails then transfer to the picturesque town of Cogne, known as the 'Queen of Italian Cross Country'. 

Cogne is one of our favourite cross country ski venues offering exceptional skiing away from the crowds in the Gran Paradiso National Park, which is also home to Italy's highest peak. It is a lovely village of traditional stone-houses with an eighteenth-century chapel.


  • First class ski instruction from a professional Nordic Ski Teacher
  • Ski below Mont Blanc & in Italy's 'Grand Paradiso' National Park
  • Return transfers from Chamonix to Cogne included
  • Ski in a remote Italian valley away from the crowds
  • True Italian hospitality with great food
  • Private guide and tuition for 5 full days

No matter what your age you can still master this original form of skiing. The word “ski” is Norwegian and comes from the Old Norse word “skid”, which was a split length of wood. Cross country skis are slender, very lightweight and easy to use. For centuries in the Nordic countries, skis were for travelling in winter to enable hunting, and to keep contact between communities.

On this trip you will learn the basic 'classic' technique on flat or slightly undulating ground so that you can propel yourself across the snow efficiently. Once mastered we will progress to longer journeys at a pace that is right for you. Cross country skiing can be, if you want it to be, a very aerobic activity, which also makes it ideal for winter 'cross-training'. On the other hand you can relax, take your time and just enjoy being out in the mountains.


  • accommodation
  • airport
  • meet in
  • transfer
  • Today you will arrive to Chamonix. You flight is BA0734 to Geneva Fri 07 Feb 2020 15:15. You have booked your own accommodation for the next 3 nights at the Hotel Mont Blanc who are also assisting you with your airport transfer.

  • Today you will have free time to visit the world famous alpine town of Chamonix where there are a multitude of options and activities. It's possible that you may alpine ski today. We can recommend Snell Sports for ski rental who will also be able to advise you on the skiing available that day depending on your experience, the weather and conditions.

    Alternatively you might want to take a trip on the historic Montenvers rack and pinion railway train which takes you up to 1913m (6274ft) above the famous Mer de Glace glacier, the 'Sea of Ice'. The mountain views from this location are stunning, while looking down you will find yourself focusing on the Mer de Glace where you can usually see ski mountaineers descending from the high summits.

    Also at Montenvers you will find the 'Grotte de Glace', or Ice Cave which takes you into the very heart of the glacier. Re-sculpted every year, it describes the life of mountain people in the early 19th century. There is also the Glaciorium where there is a fascinating exhibition looking at the creation and evolution of the glaciers over the centuries. Well, worth a visit! Full details of ticket prices and opening times can be found here

    Or you may want to take the Aiguille du Midi cable car up to 3800m (12,464ft) where you will feel the altitude and experience what it is like to see Mont Blanc up close, or at least as close as you can get without further effort. For more than 60 years, the Aiguille has been a world attraction. 

    There is also the alpine museum which chronicles the history of Chamonix, and the famous climbers who have made their mark on the mountaineering world. 

    Or if you would like some luxury you could visit the new QC Terme wellness and spa centre. The spa is indeed a wonderful place to spend an afternoon and you will feel brand new after the experience! You should consider booking on-line in advance of your visit if you want to be guaranteed a reservation. On-line reservations can easily be cancelled if necessary.

    Overnight at the Hotel Mont Blanc.

  • Your ski instructor, Lindsay Cannon, will meet you at your hotel this morning at 8:30 and brief you on the days ahead. She will then go with you to arrange your ski hire and your ski passes.

    After fitting our skis and boots, and finding our 'ski-legs,' your instructor will take you through various exercises to introduce you to the techniques for 'classic style' cross country skiing, and what we call 'diagonal stride'.

    Expect to ski for 3 hours in the morning with a coffee break and after lunch you will be able to put your new skills into practice and go on a longer journey end the day at about 15:30.

    Overnight at the Hotel Mont Blanc.

  • Today you will visit a different cross country ski area in the Chamonix Valley, perhaps Vallorcine or Argentiere. After another full day of developing skills and touring you will then transfer through to Italy and drive to Cogne in the Gran Paradiso National Park with Lindsay your ski teacher and guide. The drive is about 1 hour 15 minutes and for ease you can take the rental skis from Chamonix with you.

    You will spend 4 nights here. You have booked your own accommodation at the Hotel Bellevue.


  • Cogne is a small town equipped with all the facilities you might need for this trip including; a pharmacy, banks/ATMs, small supermarket, sports shops, tourist office, local produce, souvenirs, bars and cafes. Situated in the heart of the old town our accommodation is perfectly situated to easily access the ski trails, free bus to neighbouring villages, shops and bars.

    Please note that you will need a different ski pass for this area. Cogne has an excellent stadium offering beautifully groomed tracks in a large flat area which makes it the perfect arena for learning. There is also a large network of trails through the valleys and forest which we will progress to during the weekend.

    Mid-morning we normally take a break for coffee and cappuccino, after all it is a holiday. Lunch will be at a local restaurant or cafe. In the afternoon we return to our skis for further practice, consolidating our learning and with the option to make a tour to the neighbouring village of Epinel.

    However, it is not all about the skiing! After a day on the ski trails there will still be time to explore the shops, bars for a pre-dinner apéro or relax in the hotel wellness spa. Post ski massages can be booked directly with the hotel.

  • This morning we head back to the stadium for our warm up exercises. One of the reasons we love Cogne is that it is so well provided as a cross country ski resort. With 55km (35 miles) of ski trails, many regional and national cross country ski competitions like the Marcia Gran Paradiso take place in the Cogne valley. The main trails are flat or gently undulating, and are the perfect training ground for beginners and racers alike.

    The free ski bus means we can explore the neighbouring villages such as Epinel, or Lillaz which, like Valnontey,  is a famous ice-climbing venue, attracting climbers from around the world. Our aim will be to do a short journey to our lunch-stop, then our afternoon will be spent adapting our basic diagonal stride for different types of terrain. There will be plenty of opportunities for learning new skills or practising along the way. Our instructors aim to ensure that you progress each day at 'your' level while maximising your enjoyment of the activity.

  • Today we plan to put all our skills into practice and make a longer tour that can be adapted to suit all levels. Our aim is to ski to the beautiful upper valley of Valnontey. This snow filled valley is famous for ice climbing, and it's possible to see ice climbers tackling the spectacular frozen waterfalls that line the valley on both sides. We will stop for lunch at the characterful family run Albergo of La Barme. Think heavy stone tiles on the roof, ancient woodwork, and a tiny hamlet of old wooden houses.

    After lunch we tour further on undulating trails by the rivers edge to the head of the valley. It's often possible to watch ibex and chamois on the valley slopes and in the woods close to the trails. Our return journey includes some enjoyable downhill sections which can be avoided if necessary by simply taking the ski bus back to Cogne.

    A final Italian meal concludes this Italian Ski Break, where we hope you have enjoyed learning about cross country skiing and experienced the charm of the French and Italian Alps.

  • Today is departure day and your guide Lindsay will collect you after an early breakfast from your hotel to take you back to the Hotel Mont Blanc in Chamonix. From here we understand that you have arranged with the hotel your return transfer back to Geneva airport.

    The return transfer will leave Cogne at approximately 07:30 in order to arrive in Chamonix by 08:45 / 09:00. So please arrange for your transfer to leave Chamonix no later than 09:15 to arrive at Geneva airport between 10:30-10:45

    We understand that your flight home is BA0727 to London Fri 14 Feb 2020 12:25.

It is always our aim to complete the proposed itinerary outlined above, however, it may be necessary for our guides/instructors to adjust the daily itinerary based on the weather conditions, group safety and enjoyment.


  • Chamonix, France is easily reached from other European and worldwide destinations by road, rail, coach or plane.

    Geneva, in Switzerland is the closest international airport, only 1h15 by road which makes shared transfers, buses or trains easy to arrange.

    A range of travel options to reach the Chamonix valley can be found on the Chamonix Tourist Office website.

    When arriving via Geneva we recommend that you book a seat on a shared transfer which is a door-to-door service to reach your accommodation in Chamonix. We recommend Mountain Drop Offs, Chamexpress and Haute Pursuit for this service. Easybus also runs a service from Geneva airport to Chamonix Bus Station. This service runs throughout the day, but does not drop you at your hotel.

    For convenience we have included a transfer from Chamonix to Cogne with your ski guide/instructor.

    Please contact us if you need further advice on your specific travel requirements.

  • You must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity including emergency helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. We also advise you take out Trip Cancellation/Curtailment Insurance in the event of you being unable to join the trip. 

    If you are joining a trip in the UK helicopter/mountain rescue insurance is not required as this is a free service.

    The insurance referred to should only be purchased AFTER we have confirmed your trip is guaranteed to run. 

    The insurance clause set out in our Terms and Conditions is below:

    Insurance: It is a condition of booking that you are insured against medical expenses, injury, illness, death, cost of repatriation, and personal accident risks. This must include cover for the activities to be undertaken during the trip. For tours taking place outside the United Kingdom you must ensure that your insurance covers rescue from the mountains, including helicopter rescue. It is the right of the leader to make a decision to call for helicopter rescue if such assistance is needed. Costs incurred by you, the client, due to an evacuation, rescue or other emergency shall be your responsibility. Any subsequent costs incurred for expenses, not limited to but including such costs as hotels, food, transport etc, shall be borne by you, the client. You are responsible for ensuring insurance cover is adequate for the particular needs of your chosen activity. You must be fully aware of the implications involved in arranging your own travel insurance and understand the limitations and exclusions of the policy. By agreeing to our Terms and Conditions you are authorising Tracks and Trails Ltd, or the person employed to lead the trip for Tracks and Trails Ltd, to instigate rescue and/or helicopter evacuation procedures without previously obtaining the permission of the company issuing your insurance policy. We reserve the right to cancel your booking at any time if we are not satisfied you have the necessary insurance policy covering your activity. Please ensure that your insurance covers you to the maximum altitude given on your trip itinerary. If you are unsure or are joining a bespoke trip then please contact us for specific details.

    You must bring all insurance documentation with you at the time of the activity. We also recommend your insurance covers you for trip cancellation and baggage loss/damage. Tracks and Trails Ltd are unable to accept responsibility for the loss or damage to any client equipment or luggage.

    For further details, please read the Insurance section on our website.

  • Winter mountain weather in the European Alps can vary considerably, and in this respect it is no different to any mountain environment where the terrain influences the weather and it can change from valley to valley. 

    In winter the weather can deliver everything from clear blue skies, and glorious sunshine, to heavy snowfall and strong winds. Essentially, as with all mountain journeys, you should be prepared for any eventuality.

    Temperatures vary depending on the month, generally December, January, and February are colder, but by March and April the temperatures are warming up and spring is on the way. 

    In December and January they can range from -10°Celsius (14°F) to 3°Celsius (37.4F), in February from -5°Celsius (23°F) to 7°Celsius (44.6°F), and in March from 0°Celsius (32°F) to 13°Celsius (55.4°F). 

    The above figures are a general indication only as the weather can vary considerably year on year for any given month.

  • The cross country skiing equipment we will use features lightweight track fishscale classic skis (not skate skis or waxables), NNN (or similar) boots, bindings and poles. The total ski hire for the week is approximately 70 Euros per person. We ask that you pay this sum directly to the ski shop.

    Please make note of your equipment hire on our Booking Form. We will need to know your height, weight, normal shoe size (you must give us your everyday shoe size and not your personal adjustment for wearing boots) and the measurement of your height up to your armpits (for ski pole hire).

    Ski passes can be purchased once you arrive and are expected to cost approximately 20 Euros in total for the 3 days in Italy and 18 Euros for the 2 days in France. 

  • Your safety while skiing is our top priority. All skiers are requested to adhere to the Code of Conduct published by the International Ski Federation, or FIS. The aim is to make you, the skier, aware of how to avoid risks, take responsibility and act thoughtfully while on the cross-country ski tracks. 

    • Respect for others
      A cross-country skier must ski in such a manner that he/she does not endanger or
      prejudice others.
    • Respect for signs, direction and running style
      Trail marking signs must be respected on any trail marked with an indicated
      direction. A skier shall proceed only in that indicated direction and ski in the
      indicated running style.
    • Choice of trails and tracks
      On cross-country trails with more than one packed track, a skier should choose
      the right-hand track. Skiers in groups must keep in the right track behind each other. With free
      running style, skiers shall keep to their right-hand-side of the trail.
    • Overtaking
      A skier is permitted to overtake and pass another skier to the left or right. A skier ahead is not obliged to give way to an overtaking skier, but should allow a faster skier to pass whenever this is possible.
    • Encounter
      Cross-country skiers meeting while skiing opposite directions shall keep to their
      right. A descending skier has priority.
    • Poles
      A cross-country skier shall make the utmost effort to keep his poles close to his/her
      body when near another skier.
    • Control of speed
      A cross-country skier, and especially going downhill, shall always adapt his/her
      speed to personal ability and to the prevailing terrain and visibility and to the
      traffic on the course. Every skier should keep a safe distance from the skiers ahead. As a last resort, an intentional fall should be used to avoid collision.
    • Keeping trails and tracks clear
      A skier who stops must leave the trail. In the case of a fall, he/she shall clear the trail
      without delay.
    • Accident
      In case of an accident, everyone should render assistance.
    • Identification
      Everybody at an accident, whether witnesses, responsible parties or not, must
      establish their identity. 
  • When packing for a trip in the mountains it is important to have appropriate equipment and clothing. This kit list features items we believe are necessary for the weather you will encounter and accommodation you will be staying in. 


    We use 'classic' style cross country track skis for this trip either ‘fishscales’ or ‘skintec’. You can choose to bring your own 'classic' track skis, however, do check with us first to ensure they are suitable. 

    Skis, boots, and poles - can be hired at the start of the trip. The cost of hire is indicated in 'Trip Information'. If you are intending to hire you must inform us as soon as possible as equipment must be booked in advance. The type of ski supplied by the hire shop is provided in the 'Ski Rental' section of the Trip Information page. If in doubt about the suitability of your own skis please contact us.

    • Rucksack - 20 to 25 litres with waist and chest strap
    • Rucksack waterproof cover or liner to keep contents dry
    • Water container - 1 litre, drink tubes and bottles stowed on the outside of your rucksack usually freeze in winter
    • Whistle


    • Waterproof jacket - essential, this must keep you dry during a day of continuous snowfall or at least as dry as any waterproof jacket ever keeps you!
    • Waterproof trousers - in case of heavy snowfall
    • Trousers - lightweight, windproof and warm 
    • Thermal top - long sleeves
    • Thin fleece - long sleeves
    • Waistcoat - fleece/wind stopper 
    • Gloves x 2 (one thick and one thin)
    • Over-mittens for colder days can be useful
    • Warm hat
    • Sun hat
    • Head/ear band 
    • Duvet jacket (or second warm layer)
    • Scarf or 'Buff' for neck
    • Socks - 2 or 3 pairs


    • Lip salve
    • Sunscreen - essential
    • Sunglasses - essential
    • Goggles - or Nordic Ski Visor
    • Snack bars/chocolate
    • Tissues - we recommend biodegradable bags to dispose of rubbish
    • Anti-bacterial hand wash

    Personal First Aid

    • Personal medication 
    • Blister plasters (e.g. Compeed)
    • Painkillers/anti-inflammatory
    • Glucose tablets/Energy gel
    • 2 x Rehydration sachets - eg Dioralyte
    • Throat lozenges
    • Antiseptic cream/spray


    • Mountain Rescue/Ski Insurance documents - compulsory
    • Passport
    • Credit card
    • Cash - Euros

    Additional Items

    • Slippers for use at accommodation
    • Clothing for use at accommodation
    • Travel Kettle if required 
    • Swimwear for when sauna is available
    • Camera/ Book/Music
    • Toiletries – soap/shower gel; not all accommodation supplies these
    • Ear plugs - if room sharing
    • Small thermos for hot drinks
    • Short gaiters for snowy days - not essential 
    • Head torch - plus spare batteries 

    **Supplementary snacks if you follow a gluten free or coeliac diet**

    Leaders are all first aid trained and carry their own first aid kit

  • We go to great lengths to work with first class guides and instructors who are passionate about their work. They are all fully qualified, insured, and hold the correct documentation.

    Please note your guide/instructor has complete discretion to make a daily decision on whether or not to take the advertised route based on the weather and the ability of the members of the group. They have our authority to make any route changes they believe are necessary in the interests of safety and enjoyment. 

    For our walking, family, and snowshoeing trips your guide will be a fully qualified and experienced International Mountain Leader. For our running trips your guide will be an International Mountain Leader, and an experienced mountain 'trail runner'.

    If you have booked on a cross country ski trip you will be with a fully qualified professional BASI Nordic Ski Instructor or equivalent. BASI is the British Association of Snowsport Instructors.

  • On our Italian Ski Breaks the lunches are definitely one of the highlights. We do not include the cost of lunches in your trip fee as we find that our guests prefer to make their own choice at lunchtime. In Cogne there are various options for cosy and characterful cafes serving excellent local dishes at a very reasonable cost. We would normally stop at one of these and take a leisurely lunch break or we may eat at one of the local villages. It really depends on how far we have skied!

  • A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required for visits to countries outside the EU, such as Norway. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice.  

  • We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

    Note that if your trip involves staying in a mountain refuge/rifugio/hut that electric sockets may be in short supply and for that night you may not be able to charge any items. Although the accommodation will have electricity this will often be supplied by solar panels or a generator and limited to use by the staff. For this reason we advise that carrying a small slimline and lightweight 'battery pack' can be very useful for recharging phones which many of you will also use as your camera. 

  • Before booking consider whether you expect to be in the appropriate physical condition on the date of your  departure to allow you to fully participate in and enjoy your holiday. If you have any doubts because of an illness or injury it would be advisable to check with your doctor.

    For UK residents travelling to an EU country you should obtain and bring with you a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment in certain European countries, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance. Also note that if/when the UK leaves the European Union that the EHIC card may no longer be valid. Please check this before departing. We advise that you always carry your insurance documents with details of the Emergency Medical telephone number for your insurance provider, and your policy number. 

  • We feel strongly about protecting the environment and do not encourage the use of single-use plastic items. We would ask that you arrive with a ‘water bottle’ or ‘hydration system’ that can be used repeatedly. We would point out that we operate a ‘zero tolerance’ for rubbish, and would ask you to remove all your rubbish items from the mountain even those you consider to be bio-degradable. In particular we ask that you remove any toilet tissue.

    You can read our full policy here.

  • Working across international boundaries, and with various currencies means that the price of our trips can change overnight. We have, however, undertaken to guarantee that once you have paid your deposit the price of your trip is fixed. In this respect we urge you to book early to ensure that you receive the price advertised on our website. The website price may increase due to currency fluctuations, but we guarantee that the price advertised on the date of your booking will be maintained in your individual case. 

Prices may vary depending on date.

What's Included

  • Five full days of 'classic' style cross country instruction by a qualified BASI Nordic Ski Teacher
  • Guides accommodation for 4 nights
  • Guides meal expenses
  • Guide ski passes
  • Italian taxes for our teacher to work in Italy
  • A card for discounts in shops, ski rental and restaurants available from your hotel
  • Transport between the ski venues
  • Return private transfer between Chamonix and Cogne
  • Tracks and Trails memento - a gift to take home!

What's Not Included

  • Insurance
  • Flights
  • Accommodation
  • Lunches and drinks
  • Massages
  • Ski hire 
  • Ski passes
Return to Search Print Trip Notes

Grade: Beginners


At a Glance

From Price £0
Holiday Type Cross Country Ski Instruction
Duration 8 Days
Group Size 2
Countries Visited Italy, France
Meet In Chamonix, France
View all Cross Country Ski Instruction Holidays

Skiing in Cogne

Italian Ski Break

Wildlife of the Gran Paradiso National Park

Why book with T&T?

  • Highly professional guides
  • Personal service guaranteed 
  • Attention to detail throughout
  • Explore off the beaten track
  • Single rooms on request
  • No surcharge guaranteed
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