Cross-Country Skiing Holidays
Find out why this is one of the most popular of all winter sports. Cross-country skiing (Langlauf in German, Ski de Fond in French) is easily mastered and is the most popular winter sport after downhill skiing – in fact cross-country skiing is a way of life for many people in the Alps and Scandinavia. Using longer, thinner and lighter skis than downhill, you will wind between snow-dusted pines on one of our popular beginners, intermediate or advanced courses. Specialised ski race weeks are also available for those looking for more of a challenge.
The majority of cross-country takes place on prepared and signed trails called ‘Loipe’, and these are graded from blue to black, easy to difficult, the harder trails having more ascent and descent. But overall, most of the cross-country skiing takes places on relatively flat terrain, therefore takes place in valley bottoms, or high mountain plateaux. Many alpine regions that offer cross-country skiing have a cheap bus service linking the hotels to the different trails, and we make use of these where possible, where as in Scandinavia, it is normal to ski from the hotel door.
Exodus leader Eric Woolley has put together a guide to some simple exercises you can do in preparation for your trip, which are particularly good prior to cross-country skiing. While you do not need to be super fit for cross-country, a few simple moves for 10 minutes a night can go a long way towards reducing aching muscles during the first few days of your trip. The key is to build up your strength, stamina and balancing skills and improve your flexibility.
Download the leaflet containing the exercise diagrams.
Cross-country skiing grades
It is essential to choose the right grade of trip for your level of cross-country skiing experience or ability. Please read our grading system carefully, and see the notes for each trip on the dates and prices page.
Grade 1 Beginners.
Recommended for beginners, or those who feel the need to improve basic techniques. We teach you the essentials and explore gently undulating terrain. All or most skiing is on prepared tracks (loipe). More experienced skiers are welcome, but the pace will be set for the beginners. Towards the end of the holiday you might ski 10-15km or more a day, at a gentle pace. Throughout the week you will be taught how to snowplough and different techniques to have you gliding along the tracks in no time.
Grade 2 Intermediates and confident beginners.
A mix of flat and hillier terrain. Grade 2 weeks are for people who have enjoyed a Grade 1 holiday, grasped the snowplough and now want to improve technique. We ski a little more quickly and over more challenging ground than on a grade 1 trip.
Acceptable for newcomers to cross-country skiing, but you should be very fit and have experience of ther sports that develop balance - ice-skating, roller-skating or downhill skiing. Most of the skiing will be on tracks but there may be some off-track skiing.
Grade 2+Intermediates (unsuitable for beginners).
On these holidays we will be skiing on some steeper terrain. Suitable for clients who have done a couple of weeks with us, have developed their snowplough and can cope fairly confidently with undulating tracks. Also suitable for those wishing to progress onto a skating week.
Grade 3 Advanced.
Choose this level if you can tackle ‘ups and downs’ competently, manage a controlled snowplough descent, and if you want to ski at a lively pace. You should also be able to get up swiftly and easily by yourself after a fall. The mix of track and off-track skiing varies.
Grade 4 Strenuous.
Be prepared for long, steep ascents and descents, and for off-track skiing over variable snow. You need good fitness, stamina and sound and controlled technique. Climbing skins will be needed on some days.
Cross-country Skating levels
Level 1 Beginners.
Recommended for those who have tried classic cross-country skiing, mastered the basics (including the snowplough) and now wish to try the skating style. Generally a faster skiing motion than classic cross-country skiing, you will need to be of reasonable fitness and have confidence on the snow. Whilst not skiing in tracks you will be on prepared, gradually undulating slopes and cover approximately 10-15km a day. This is not suitable for those who have not tried classic cross-country skiing.
Level 2 Intermediates.
Covering more challenging terrain, this level is for those who have already mastered the basics of the skating style and wish to improve their skating technique. Terrain covered will be slightly more challenging and you should expect to cover 15-20km per day. You will be taught techniques to help you increase your speed, perfect for those wishing to take on the challenge of a ski race.
Multi Grade: At certain centres we have two leaders running two grades at the same time, allowing skiers to move between grades during the week. Multigrade weeks are a great option if you are slightly unsure of your level, or like to ski at different intensities on different days, or if you are a couple who ski at different levels. These trips are highlighted with the ‘Multigrade’ logo
NB: The cross-country grades are listed against the departure dates on the holiday dates and prices pages so you can check which is the best week to travel with the correct grade for your ability.
Rollerskiing - ideal preparation for cross-country skiing
If you'd like to experience the sensation of cross-country skiing before you go, why not try a session or two on rollerskis. We recommend rollerski.co.uk Club who run sessions in London and the South East and the London Region Nordic Ski Club who are based in and around London.
Client Blogs: Cross-Country Skiing Adventure
There’s Been A Terrible Mistake by VecchioJo.
Soup and Souplesse - VecchioJo compounds his mistake and keeps on skiing.
A Beautiful Mistake - VecchioJo realises it wasn't a mistake after all.