Whether you an experienced cross-country skier or just starting out these are the best resorts for fabulous cross-country skiing.
Originating around five millennia ago in Scandinavia, this winter sport started as a form of transportation to cross snowy landscapes. Today cross-country skiing continues to grow in popularity, giving holidaymakers an alternate way to discover the resort whilst improving their fitness.
With some of the best cross-country trails in the Alps, St Moritz and the Engadin Valley have 230km of tracks for skiers to explore. Beginners can enjoy the frozen lakes of St.Moritz and Silvaplaner or try Engadin’s longest gliding zones in Zuoz.
Those looking to take on a challenge can face Switzerland’s most renowned cross-country trail, the 42 km Engadin Ski marathon route from Maloja to S-chanf.
For an after-dark adventure, St Moritz also has floodlit trails as well as dog-friendly tracks so you can enjoy this activity with your four-legged friend. Should you wish to cross-country skin in St.Moritz, a trail pass is needed.
The beautiful resort of Kronplatz in South Tyrol has 200km of cross-country trails for holidaymakers to discover. Snowmaking capabilities in Kronplatz mean that some trails such as the Sportpark Reischach circuit remain open even when the snow conditions aren’t at their best. Kronplatz has something for everyone with ski schools ready to help beginners get started on the flat bottom trails of the resort, whilst intermediate and advanced skiers can explore the more challenging, high altitude trail on the Würzjoch.
For further excitement, every year South Tyrol welcomes thousands of ambitious participants to compete in the Gsieser Tal-Lauf country marathon, an event which sees over 40 countries take part along two routes at 30km and 40 km in the Gsieser valley.
All of the cross country trails in and around Kitzbuhel can be used free of charge, with 129 km of trails available and access to a further 500km with the connection of the Pinzgau Loipe trail into the Brixental Valley. If the trails are busy during the day, skiers can explore the resort by night and enjoy the 3.3km Kitzbuhel-Schwarzsee-Reith Golf Club trail which is floodlit from dusk until 9.30 pm. Popular routes include the high trail at Pass Thurn which guarantees snow cover as well as the Hochmoor trial for intermediate skiers.
Davos has 172km of free cross country trails that start from the town and lead to the quiet side valleys of the resort. Throughout the summer months, Davos stores snow under a layer of wood chip which is then used to prepare the cross country trails for October.
Along the Landwasser, skiers can take their dog with them to ski on three specially marked dog trails, or enjoy 2.5km of night trails illuminated daily until 9.30 pm. For beginners looking to improve their fitness, the Herzloipe trail is a short circuit without climbs to ease beginners into this sport. Davos also has the Davos Nordic Park which provides special free cross-country skiing courses where skiers can learn the right technique and watch demonstrations of both skating and skiing cross-country.
If you wish to spectate rather than partake in cross-country skiing, the FIS Cross-Country World Cup in Davos dates back to 1972 and sees the world’s elite male and female cross- country skiers compete in front of over 18,000 spectators.
Val Gardena offers more than 133km of well-prepared cross-country ski runs with fantastic panoramas of the Dolomites. The Dolomiti NordicSki area is the largest in Europe with 1000km of trails making Val Gardena and its neighbouring resorts a paradise for cross-country skiers.
Those wishing to improve their technique can visit the cross-country centre on Monte Pana whilst more experienced skiers can enjoy the 7.5km track which connects the Alpe di Siusi with Val Gardena.