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Cross country skiing holiday guide
Cross country skiing is all about freedom. First, the long, narrow ski has a free moving heel and much lighter boot than downhill skis, giving you more freedom of movement. Second, you are free from crowds, chalet scenes, cable car queues and congestion, skiing far from traditional downhill resorts. Third, you are free to explore tranquil landscapes without having to be alpinism aficionados. The cross country ski also gives you the freedom to move up gentle hills, gripping snow in a way that stops you from slipping backwards. Which is why, depending on your experience, you can cover all sorts of landscapes and cover great distances. Although, in contrast, you often ski on a set track, or ‘loipe’, created along routes used for hiking when the snows melt.
Cross country skiing isn’t all Nordic and niceties. It can involve some downhills with none of your parallel stops and fancy skids. It’s all about letting the landscape lead the way.
Also known as Nordic skiing and langlauf, the French name ‘ski de fond’, meaning ‘skiing in the depths’ sums it up well. Deep into nature, and deep in your thoughts. That’s where cross country skiing holidays will take you.
Read our cross country skiing holiday guide for more details.
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Our top Cross country skiing Holiday
Guided hut-to-hut cross-country skiing holiday in Finland
From €1040 7 days ex flights
Small group travel:
2022: 20 Feb, 27 Feb, 20 Mar, 27 Mar
2022: 20 Feb, 27 Feb, 20 Mar, 27 Mar
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.
What does a cross country skiing holiday entail?
Most cross country skiing holidays are about a week long, giving you time to traverse different landscapes, learn new techniques and have plenty of downtime too. As daytime hours are limited in many cross country skiing destinations during the winter season, you need more time than you might on a summer hiking or cycling holiday in order to get from A to B, so a week is perfect for most places. A good level of fitness is required, with cross country skiing holidays usually suited to people who are regular hikers throughout the year and happy to be active for several hours during the day.
How experienced?Guided holidays in small groups are the norm with cross country skiing, as having an expert guide is very important when skiing in remote spots. The type of holiday often depends on the level that you decide to go for although you will usually spend at least five hours a day out in the snow. A beginner’s holiday will involve daily tuition in the classic style, learning the snowplough technique, and often sticking to pre-cut loipes. As you up the levels, you usually up the elevation, tackling more ups and downs and, therefore, a greater variety of landscapes. You can also up your skills by learning the ‘skate’ technique, which requires shorter skis and more ankle support, and enables you to cover longer distances at a faster (ergo fitter) speed, using a style that is a little bit closer to ice skating or roller blading. Expert skaters can even consider taking on one of the cross country ski races that happen around the world, such as the Engadin ski marathon in Switzerland, with companies offering holiday opportunities around the race, similar to running marathon holidays.
You can choose between a holiday that is based in one mountain hotel or chalet and one that involves skiing from one bed to the next. The latter is usually for those with a bit more experience, and a bit more sense of adventure, staying in wilderness cabins or mountain huts, wearing a backpack to carry your luggage or having it transported by sledge. At the end of the day, unless you are an expert, cross country skiing holidays will entail a fair amount of falling and feistiness, so do leave your pride at home. Once you have learned to fall, and get yourself up smoothly, still smiling and pride intact, you know that you have definitely moved up a level! Leave your modesty at home too by the way, as mixed, naked saunas are often a feature too. All part of the adventure.
More about Cross country skiing
The cross country skiing season is sometimes different from that of downhill, because it doesn’t rely on snow cannons and resort openings.
If you want to find the best places to go cross country skiing, think downhill and then close that box of clichés and think again.
As well as taking in the back country beauties that envelop you, there are plenty of things to do on a cross country skiing holiday that are not only responsible but very rewarding.
Ski touring holidays differ from cross country in that they are more hard core.
Cross country skiing holidays in Austria are a true celebration of the outdoors and mountain culture.
Cross country skiing is something of a national pastime in Finland.
Cross country skiing holidays in Germany take you to that most magical of landscapes – the Black Forest.
What better way to get acquainted with a Norwegian winter than strapping on some skis and making your way across the frozen countryside – taking it slowly and eschewing faster-paced downhill shenanigans? Read on to find out the ins and outs and the dos and don’ts of cross country skiing holidays in Norway.
This 365 sq km region of mountainous terrain in northeastern Italy offers perfect fodder for winter sports, and all with a pretty spectacular backdrop, too.
From being safe on the mountains, what to pack to reminders on the importance of having an expert leader or guide, these cross country skiing holiday tips are invaluable.
Responsible ski holidays are ones that don’t wreck the landscape and also tie in with local communities in a positive way.