Things to do on a cross country skiing vacation

Things to do on a cross country
skiing vacation


APRES SKI

Hut to hut

For those who want to swap quotidian for quirky, these trips out into truly wild winter wonderlands have the X country factor. For the more experienced cross country or downhill skier, these are guided by mountain experts, as you head into remote, elevated environs and stay in mountain huts along the way. Some cosier than others, but all in incredible locations. Such as in the far northern wilderness taiga region of Finland, up on the Russian Border, or France’s Pyrenees National Park, where you can stay in mountain refuges at over 3,000m. In Swedish Lapland, as far north as you can imagine, woodland cabins with no electricity or running water, but roaring wood burning stoves and ice to melt for water, await adventurous snow lovers, as do the Northern Lights in these spots that have no light pollution at all. Or, for hot but Chile cabins, go ski touring from volcano to volcano in this South American ski paradise, staying at remote cabins between craters.

Keeping wild company

Holding court in the snow rather than their usual camouflaged status, are the red squirrels in the Pyrenees, elk in the Carpathians and, if you are very lucky, wolves in both. Although you are more likely to see tracks. Lapland has reindeer, moose and the arctic fox, and the Dolomites are home to sweeties such as ibex and chamois. And you won’t need binoculars. They stand out a mile.

Mountain culture

In some parts of the world, you will ski across country that is otherwise cut off from the world in winter. Many of these communities live traditional, mountain lifestyles. In Romania’s Carpathian Mountains you will meet the Moti people of the Tara Motilor region, with artisan skills such as leatherwork and blacksmithing. Their folklore and folk music traditions are wonderful to tune into also. In Lapland the Sámi people live beautiful, ancient lifestyles, which they invite you to join by reindeer tracking as you ski or meeting reindeer herders. Look out for Sámi crafts too, the Duodji label guaranteeing authenticity, and you don’t get more real than their traditional ‘yoiking’ music either, using flutes and drums. And in the Southern Tyrol region of the Dolomites, Italian and Austrian cultures are married into a magical melange, with bilingual lifestyles in a region that is known as the Alto Adige in Italian and Sud Tirol in German.

Sweat it out

After sweating it out on the hills, you can sweat it out in a box at the end of the day, the traditional sauna being a pivotal part of most Nordic cultures. Yes, they are usually mixed, and yes, they are nearly always naked, although having a small towel to sit on (rather than cover your bits) is the norm.
Photo credits: [Hut to hut: Sylvain Moreau] [Keeping wild company: Billy Lindblom] [Sweat it out: Candida.Performa] [Helpdesk box: Exodus]
Written by Catherine Mack
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Tuition is provided by Eric Woolley, a Snowsport England Coach

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A famously beautiful range of jagged peaks

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Enjoy pure winter on touring skis.

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