Cross country skiing holiday tips

Cross country skiing holidays tips


TIPS FROM OUR CROSS COUNTRY SKIING EXPERTS

Why Finland?


Urpo Heikkinen, of our Finland supplier, Upitrek, shares his cross country skiing holidays tips: “I really recommend cross-country skiing. You go from place to place, spending each night with different people – you feel like you’re having an adventure. The rhythm is flexible and it’s much easier than walking – you can cover great distances while still seeing wildlife and tracks in the snow. On the downhill sections you’ll enjoy the speed. In these remote areas people still have a more traditional way of living – they have gardens where they grow their own vegetables; it’s always Finnish food made with local ingredients, so no pizza or pasta! It all comes from very close by. Skiing from place to place is also an environmentally friendly way to see Finland – it’s much better than travelling by car.”

Downhill differences


Tom Wilkinson, cross country skiing expert from our supplier, Exodus: “Don’t compare it to downhill! It’s smooth, often peaceful, and a wonderful way of experiencing the landscape. Also, if you are a downhiller you often forget your heel is not attached particularly when doing a snowplough. It’s not about going 100 miles an hour. It is however more of a full cardio workout. And pack a drinks bottle/flask. Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean you don’t get thirsty. Also I’m also a mega snacker, so need things to eat to keep me going.”

Tips for Chile travellers


Cross country skiing holidays tips from Cristian Levy, co-founder of our supplier Amity Tours in Chile: “Always hire mountain guide services, the terrains include glaciers with crevasses. The avalanche risk is really, really low. You should bring your own touring skiing gear as here in Chile rental options are very limited. Consider skins for spring snow and icy conditions. Ski crampons won't work well. Most of the southern volcanoes have a small ski resort at the base, with basic drag lifts and double chairlifts. My favorite is reaching Villarrica Volcano crater, look the powerful interior and then ski off piste to the base.”

Safety first


Emma Mason from our supplier Mountain Bug and expert in ski touring holidays: “It's very important not to set out into the mountains without the correct equipment and knowledge of the snow conditions. While you might be able to read the avalanche forecast, or pick a route from a guidebook, there is no substitute for the local knowledge and experience of a qualified ski touring guide. In France, your guide would be a UIAGM high mountain guide, or a professional ski instructor, who will choose routes that are suitable for your skiing ability, level of fitness and the weather and snow conditions at the time. Most guides will also provide avalanche security equipment (transceiver, shovel and probe), and make sure that everyone in the group knows how to use the kit, which is absolutely essential.”

Health & safety


Travel safely on skis

Health


  • Stay warm. Even though the sun might be shining, temperatures can suddenly plummet in the mountains, especially with inclines. And on top of this you have wind chill. So take your tour operator’s advice regarding the correct clothes to wear.
  • Always wear sunscreen, hat and mountaineering sunglasses when necessary. And, if conditions become severe, be wary of frostbite on your fingers, toes, face and cornea, although if conditions are that bad, you probably shouldn’t be up there.
  • Stay hydrated. Cross country skiing is a full on aerobic activity.
  • Consult your doctor or travel clinic before travel – they may be able to prescribe antibiotics and anti-diarrhoeal medication to take with you, or any other medications that you might need, as you will often be skiing in remote areas.

Safety


  • Always go cross country skiing with the help of an expert guide, such as an International Mountain Leader (IML) or one recognised by the International Federation of Mountain Guides Association (IFMGA). A responsible holiday company should give details of all their guides on their website, their experience, qualifications and so on.
  • Although you should always be cross country skiing with an experienced professional, know the local emergency number just in case. The emergency number in Europe is 112.
  • Always check the avalanche forecast. There can be avalanches even as late as May in Europe, so you need to be switched on. There might not be snow where you are walking but, if there is a big melt higher up, it can travel down the valley. A responsible cross country skiing company will include instructions on how to use an avalanche transceiver and other emergency procedures during their introductory sessions, so that everyone is au fait with the safety procedures.
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If you'd like to chat about cross country skiing or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.
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Cross country skiing holiday tips


ADVICE FROM OUR TRAVELLERS

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful cross country skiing holiday tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your holiday.



“The most memorable part of the holiday…..getting in one week from being almost unable to stand up on skis to skiing 15km across country on the final day. Get as fit as you can before you go. Take layers of clothes for skiing and lighter clothes to wear indoors - Amanda Ariss on a cross country skiing holiday in Austria.” - Amanda Ariss on a cross country skiing holiday in Austria

“If you can, try to put a group of at least four together and pay a little extra so that you can have a guide just for your party as we did. We asked for a guide who spoke good English as our French is limited and I think this was wise as our guide Richard was excellent. When enjoying the luxury of the chalet be prepared for the huts which can be cold and not especially relaxing (e.g. benches and bunks) but that is part of the experience.” – Steve Jackson-Turner on a Ski touring holiday in the French Pyrenees

“We took our own silk underwear (t-shirts and long johns) and this was excellent underneath the traditional clothing for skiing supplied by the guide. It would be worth taking silk gloves as a lining, and any other tried and tested methods for keeping hands warm.” – Gilliane Sills on a cross country skiing in Lapland
Photo credits: [Why Finland?: Ari Helminen] [Tips for Chile travellers: ilya_ktsn] [Helpdesk box: Exodus] [Review 1 - Catherine Harris: Greenland Travel] [Review 2 - Linda White: Exodus Travels]
Written by Catherine Mack
Pyrenees cross country skiing holiday in France

Pyrenees cross country skiing holiday in France

Cross-country skiing and beautiful views of the Pyrenean mountains

From £1079 8 Days inc UK flights
Cross country skiing in Austria

Cross country skiing in Austria

Tuition is provided by Eric Woolley, a Snowsport England Coach

From £1059 8 Days inc UK flights
Cross country skiing holiday in the Dolomites, Italy

Cross country skiing holiday in the Dolomites, Italy

A famously beautiful range of jagged peaks

From £999 8 Days inc UK flights
Cross-country skiing holiday in Finland, Russian border

Cross-country skiing holiday in Finland, Russian border

Guided cross-country skiing holiday in the beautiful wilderness

From €935 7 Days ex flights
Ski touring holiday in the French Pyrenees

Ski touring holiday in the French Pyrenees

Discover the real mountains ski touring in the Pyrenees

From £895 8 Days ex flights
Norway cross country skiing holiday

Norway cross country skiing holiday

Ski trail, from Rondane National Park to Lillehammer.

From NKr12800 8 Days ex flights
Chile ski touring holiday

Chile ski touring holiday

Climb and ski 7 active volcanoes in Chile

From US $4960 12 Days ex flights
Venabu cross country skiing holiday in Norway

Venabu cross country skiing holiday in Norway

Independent cross-country skiing in dramatic landscape

From £1119 8 Days inc UK flights
Ski touring holiday in Romania

Ski touring holiday in Romania

Enjoy pure winter on touring skis.

From €750 8 Days ex flights
Cross country skiing in Norway

Cross country skiing in Norway

Skiing in Norway's Telemark ski region

From £1099 8 Days inc UK flights
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