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Cross-country Skiing Holidays

  • Cross-country skiing in Finland
    Cross-country skiing in Finland
  • Cross-country skiing at Kvitavatn
    Cross-country skiing at Kvitavatn
  • Cross-country skiing at Dobbiaco
    Cross-country skiing at Dobbiaco
  • Exodus group photographing the Aurora above Buksnesfjord
    Exodus group photographing the Aurora above Buksnesfjord

New to Cross-country skiing?

Many newcomers imagine that you need to be super-fit to cross-country ski. While fitness helps, a sense of balance and a reasonable amount of coordination are what really count in making the learning process a pleasure. Most people find that by day 2 or 3 they are gliding and stopping with ease.

Different cross-country skiing styles


The majority of our holidays follow classic technique. In prepared tracks (known as loipe), the movement is similar to walking with a gliding action involving a more pronounced motion back and forwards of the arms. Wax or grip under the ski holds it to the snow when a skier’s weight is on it, helping to tackle steeper gradients with ease and glide along flatter terrain. The classic technique can be mastered with ease and once the snowplough technique is grasped (grade 1) even more undulating slopes become stress-free.

The classic technique can also be taken off-track, offering adventure and exploration away from the pre-cut loipe. Different skis can be used to cope with the deeper snow and steeper slopes and you should expect to venture to more remote areas. Heading off-track is more common in Norway, where deeper snow can provide a more controlled ski pace and softer landing should you fall!


The movement for skating is similar to ice skating or rollerblading. Skate skis are lightweight and shorter than classic skis, with increased ankle support provided in the boots. More physically demanding than classic style, once mastered most skiers find they can pick up speed and travel greater distances at a faster pace than those on classic skis. To join a skating holiday it is essential to know how to snowplough (on either classic or downhill skis) and have good balance and fitness.

Exodus offers cross-country skiing holidays to suit a wide range of technical and physical levels. This year we have improved on our old system to be more comparable to the activity levels we use on our snowshoeing, cycling, activity and trekking holidays. Skating technique requires a certain level of competence in classic cross-country skiing, so this retains the original system.The aim remains to create groups of similar ability and fitness. We believe a slightly different system is still required, due to the tuition we provide on our holidays. This sets our cross-country skiing holidays apart, as we tend not to need to teach people how to ride a bike or walk!

Our descriptions are below, however feel free to call and speak to an expert if you are unsure which grade or type of holiday will suit you best.

Warming up for Cross-country SkiingGetting fit for Cross-country

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.
You can also try the sport of rollerskiing to get acquainted with the movement and balance required. This is a great way to prepare for your trip. Rollerskiing has a relatively small but faithful following and is well worth a try - Exodus can recommend who offer classes in various locations.

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 below carefully, and see the notes for each trip page.

Grade 1 Beginners.
A week for complete beginners. Inevitably we start with the basics, including how to stop using the snowplough technique and how to turn. You will be on skis for at least 5-6 hours a day with a focus on tuition, getting comfortable on skis and building towards longer tours through the winter landscape.In some centres there may also be some easy off track skiing. This involves heading off the pre-cut tracks, typically across frozen lakes or snow covered pastures.

Grade 2 Improvers.

These weeks are ideal for those who have enjoyed at least one grade 1 holiday and grasped the basics. They offer tuition to refresh and improve technique and typically will ski a little further than Grade 1 weeks, and over more varied terrain, i.e more ups and downs and therefore requiring a slightly higher level of fitness.

In some cases these weeks are acceptable for newcomers to cross-country skiing. Beginners on these weeks should be very fit and proficient in sports that develop balance - ice-skating, roller-skating or roller skiing and will need to pick up the basic technique quickly. Please contact us if you wish to book a Grade 2 holiday but have not skied before.

Grade 3 Intermediates.

A grade 3 week is ideal for those looking to push on, tackle some slightly steeper terrain and cover more ground each day. Typical groups will have a few weeks skiing behind them, be very comfortable with the basics and happy on longer day tours. There will still be tuition on these weeks,  at the required level.

All our race weeks Engadin (Trip code: CME), Fossavatn (Trip code: CTI ) and Tartu (Trip code: CMB)  are set at this level, as are our higher level skate weeks. Please not the higher level skate week also require specific skating experience.

Grade 4 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.

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.

Grade 5 Challenging
Grade 5 is for experienced, very proficient skiers looking for long, steep ascents and descents, including off-track skiing over variable snow. Good fitness, stamina and sound and controlled technique is required.

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.

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.

Client Blogs: Cross-Country Skiing Adventures

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.

Cross-country skiing holidays

Cross-country Skiing in Seefeld

Cross-country Skiing in Seefeld

8 days Excl. flights From
GBP £929.00

Discover cross-country skiing in the Tyrol

  • Explore Austria's top skiing area
  • Enjoy immaculately groomed trails
  • Choose from a wide range of activities on free day
  • Discover the Austrian Tyrol
Austrian Tyrol Skate Week

Austrian Tyrol Skate Week

8 days Excl. flights From
GBP £929.00

Perfect your cross-country skate skiing technique in the Tyrol

  • Stay in one of Austria's top ski centres
  • Learn or improve your skating skills
  • Receive tuition from expert leader
Cross-country Skiing: Kamben

 Cross-country Skiing: Kamben

8 days Excl. flights From
GBP £999.00

Enjoy the well-marked cross country skiing trails around Kamben in central Norway

  • See beautiful Norwegian landscapes
  • Choose from a wide choice of trails and terrain
  • Receive wonderful hospitality
Cross-country Skiing: Mosstrond

Cross-country Skiing: Mosstrond

8 days Excl. flights From
GBP £999.00

Explore the winter landscape in Norway

  • Ride on a fantastic variety of terrain
  • Witness stunning remote scenery
  • Stay at unique accommodation
Cross-country skiing in Oulanka National Park

Cross-country skiing in Oulanka National Park

8 days Excl. flights From
GBP £1,179.00

Ski mile upon mile of pristine wilderness in Finland.

  • Explore national parks
  • Ski private tracks through pristine wilderness
  • Chance to see the Northern Lights
  • Relax in a traditional Finnish sauna
Cross-country Skiing in the Pyrenees

Cross-country Skiing in the Pyrenees

8 days Excl. flights From
GBP £999.00

Varied skiing at over 2000m in the Eastern Pyrenees

  • Enjoy a wealth of skiing
  • Varied tracks and great views
  • Two grades available
Jura Cross-country Ski Tour

 Jura Cross-country Ski Tour

8 days Excl. flights From
GBP £1,299.00

Enjoy cross-country ski touring on the beautiful and remote Jura plateau.

  • Ski point-to-point from Switzerland to France
  • Explore the Jura mountains
  • Stay overnight in beautiful remote mountain refuges
  • Ski on and off-track
Cross-country skiing in Iceland

 Cross-country skiing in Iceland

8 days Excl. flights From
GBP £1,899.00

Explore Icelandic landscapes of mountains and fjords

  • Ski the beautiful north around Akureyri
  • View landscapes of mountains and fjords
  • Ski uncrowded tracks
  • See Reykjavik and ski Blafjoll
  • Chance to see the Northern Lights
Cross-country Skiing Dobbiaco

Cross-country Skiing Dobbiaco

8 days Excl. flights From
GBP £979.00

Ski surrounded by the Italian Dolomites' jagged peaks

  • Find the right level on multigrade weeks
  • Explore an extensive network of loipe in a snow-sure area
  • Relax in a comfortable family-run hotel in picturesque Dobbiaco
Versciaco Classic and Skate Week

 Versciaco Classic and Skate Week

8 days Excl. flights From

Improve your classic technique and learn to skate

  • Improve your classic technique
  • Learn to skate with expert tuition
  • Experience the beauty of the Northern Dolomites
  • Stay in a comfortable family-run hotel with excellent cuisine
Cross-country Skiing: Kvitavatn

Cross-country Skiing: Kvitavatn

8 days Excl. flights From
GBP £849.00

Ski through the magnificent Norwegian wilderness

  • Receive expert instruction from our first class guides
  • Choose from excellent off-track and track skiing options
  • Stay at a welcoming mountain lodge accommodation in the heart of Telemark
Cross-country Skiing: Venabu

Cross-country Skiing: Venabu

8 days Excl. flights From
GBP £1,038.00

Enjoy varied tracks in beautiful Norwegian landscape with our sister company Headwater

  • Stay in the cosy Norwegian mountain hamlet of Venabu
  • Enjoy skiing for all levels
  • Enjoy cross-country skiing in remote wilderness
  • Receive tuition from qualified ski guides
  • Sample traditional Norwegian dishes
Swedish Winter Adventure

 Swedish Winter Adventure

7 days Excl. flights From
GBP £1,049.00
  • Try dogsledding and icefishing
  • Overnight in a Sami Tipi
  • Horse ride through the forest
  • Cross-country skiing

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