On cross-country ski trails it’s all about going slow in the snow, escaping chalet scenes, piste bashers and cable car queues. Yes, you follow ready made tracks, or loipes, in many places, but after that it’s all one natural adventure. For our self-guided cross-country skiing holidays, we do recommend that you have some experience before you go. However we can arrange a lesson in several of our cross-country skiing holidays destinations, such as the Dolomites. That way, you make the most of finding freedom in the big freeze, or frieze, because that’s what these landscapes feel like when you ski through them. A masterpiece of mountains, forests and meadows, frozen in time, that you can just move through, stare at and be utterly bewitched by. Why would you want to zoom through it when you can just slow down and commune with it?
This cross-country skiing holiday in the Dolomites follows luscious loipes through valleys that cut through some of Europe’s most famous peaks, the Drei Zinnen or Tre Cime di Lavaredo. Slide through the tranquil Sesto and Braies Valleys or up to the heights of Prato Piazza plateau, with an option to have a snowshoe trek up to the summit of Strudelkopf, also known as Monte Specie (2,307m). The total skiing distance on each day ranges from 6-60km, and you can use public transport at certain spots if you fancy a short cut. This means that it’s suitable for experienced or intermediate skiers, but you should also have some experience in cross-country skiing. Unless you decide to take extra lessons at the beginning, which we can organise for you and is also highly recommended.
Italy and Austria
This winter treat of a holiday also delves into Italy’s Dolomites but, in addition, continues along a borderland trail into Austrian Tyrol, with three days and nights spent in each country. Starting off in the sublime shadow of the Drei Zinnen, exploring the white plains of Monguelfo and Valle di Casies, you then slide your way into Austria and base yourself in the Sillian for three nights. This is a quiet, mountain town that’s home to only 2,000 residents, with their natural guardian, Mount Thurntaler (2,407m) overlooking them. From Sillian, you have access to a network of forested and meadow trails in the Lesachtal and Villgratental Valleys as well as a gentle descent and river trail to Lienz.
Given that cross-country skiing is also known as Nordic skiing, your compass should definitely point towards Norway at some point for a winter adventure. The wild and wonderful Valdres region is gateway to Jotunheimen National Park, one of our favourites with summer hikers, and home to Norway’s highest peaks, including Galdhøpiggen. It feels even more vast as it turns to white, and there are hundreds of set trails to explore here. Choose between holidays based in either Vaset, a small family-friendly skiing area at 1,000m, or Beitostølen (900m), which is 50km further north at the foot of Jotunheimen’s high mountain peaks. Both places open up Narnia-like Nordic landscapes, with traditional mountain lodge hotels, that have the obligatory saunas and stargazing to greet you at the end of the day.
Cross-country skiing in Finland
Cross-country skiing is just one of many winter wonderland fun that you embrace on our outdoor extravaganza in Finland, a centre-based tour packed with adventures all on the doorstep of where you are staying. Your base for this winter week is a small, lakeside hotel, just 3 km from Kuhmo, in the east of Finland, and gateway to Finland’s Wild Taiga region, the vast subarctic forests of the north. Your trip gets off to a high, learning to cross-country ski, soon to be followed by snowshoeing, husky sledding and a snowmobile safari, all fully guided.