With the help of tourist offices and locals, we have selected for you certain regions and resorts offering stunning domains that combine nature with athletic and exciting itineraries.
In the Alps, we more often hear talk of resorts whose ski domains are dedicated to alpine skiing, and yet the mountains abound with a wealth of domains intended for cross-country skiing, each one more captivating than the next. You’ll find a presentation of some well-known plateaux but we also want to share with you some lesser known spots, where you’ll find the calm and the charm associated with the type of environment often sought by cross-country skiers.
The region of Vorarlberg with St Anton am Arlberg
This domain benefits from a good reputation with cross-country skiers. The province of Tyrol has awarded a quality label to the pistes and cross-country trails of this domain. Around forty kilometres are prepared, offering varying levels of difficulty, and that provide the opportunity to set-out on a peaceful itinerary or a more energetic one, something for everyone. The different trails range from 2.5 to 22 km for the boldest among you.
Details and map of the pistes
The region of Tyrol with SEEFELD
Seefeld: In the heart of the Tyrolean Alps. What makes this place magic are the magnificent mountains of the sunny high plateau. This Nordic skiing domain is described as exceptional, it’s one of the largest domains for cross-country skiing in the world and has already won many awards. In fact, this resort will host the world championships for Nordic skiing in 2019. Amateur and professional athletes alike will appreciate the region’s 279 km of classic and skating cross-country skiing trails: 154.3 km for classic and 124.7 km for skating.
Details and map of the pistes
The region of the province of Salzbourg with Zell am See and Kaprun
Zell am See and Kaprun: Between them they offer 55 km of cross-country skiing trails. Zell am See has trails of all kinds, some as long as 38 km. Kaprun, for its part, provides 17 km of pistes. To enjoy the distinctive features of Zell am See we recommend that you take the long circuit which passes over the frozen lake of Zeller See! However, you can only do so if the layer of ice on the lake is thick enough, but it’s well worth the detour. The cross-country track, Zeller, situated at 1,300 m is easily reached thanks to the CityXpress cable car that carries you up there in 5 minutes! This 3 km trail is intended for the classic style and leads to the superb mountain of Schmittenhöhe. The resort also offers two cross-country trails that are open at night: one at Zell am See and one at Kaprun, both of which are 4 km long.
Details and map of the pistes
Les Saisies: This resort in Haute-Savoie hosted the Albertville Olympic Games in 1992, and reminders are ever present according to the tourist office! The cross-country ski domain, situated at an altitude of between 1,650 and 1,720 m, covers 120 km with 15 pistes adapted to all levels, from beginner to expert. The resort also offers a biathlon stadium and a Nordic park.
The Grand Bornand: With paths through the forest, or surrounded by white chalets, this domain is also most enjoyable. It offers 58 km of trails prepared for both the diagonal stride and skating. With 10 circuits from 1 to 15.5 km and for the beginner to the expert. 9 km of pistes can be covered with artificial snow which guarantees you’ll have a great holiday! In addition, the Grand Bornand also offers an itinerary at Chinaillon, shorter but higher, and offers a superb route for discovering the Aravis mountain range. It brings together 4 circuits for classic Nordic style from 1.4 to 9.4 km. The resort also proposes a biathlon stadium, a timed circuit and 3 fun learning zones.
The Clusaz: This resort is also renowned for cross-country skiing with the valley of Confins, one of the most popular in Haute-Savoie. The cross-country skiing world championships have already taken place there 4 times. Nested in the heart of the Aravis mountains, this domain offers a remarkable and authentic environment with a view over the lake of Confins. You’ll find 50 km of pistes adapted to all levels, even for professionals! The resort also offers pistes specially reserved for children, a laser biathlon and a Nordic ski park that includes slalom, tunnel, ski-jump…
The resort of La Clusaz and that of Le Grand Bornand are linked by a 7 km path, which means that you can multiply your outings.
Avoriaz: The domain of Avoriaz covers 37.5 km of pistes made up of 8 circuits: blue, red, green and black allow for both the classic and the skating style and the itinerary is free of charge. Beginners or professionals, you’ll find what you’re looking for! The paths travel through pine forests and provide a vista of the surrounding peaks including the Dents du Midi and the Dents Blanches. The surrounding landscape is breath-taking! The resort is linked to the domain of the Portes du Soleil that offers 250 km of cross-country skiing trails. Sufficient to keep even the most enthusiastic among you occupied.
In the Hautes Alpes
Serre Chevalier: This resort offers a beautiful space that ranges over 46 km of pistes spread over 16 circuits. You’ll find great variety in terms of techniques and skill levels. The domain includes beginner itineraries (green pistes, easily accessible), athletic circuits (lengthy skating and diagonal stride circuits with wide and technically challenging trails) and if the snow is lacking, the Nordic site is moved to an altitude of 2,058 m at the Lautaret pass. The resort also features a biathlon stadium, a nocturnal ski piste, a countryside itinerary and picnic areas.
The Valley of Aoste: offers cross-country ski enthusiasts hundreds of kilometres of pistes, always perfectly groomed, as much for the classic technique as for skating. They snake around the foot of the mountains, where it’s quite possible that you might come across wild animals.
Courmayeur: this station has an abundance of magnificent pistes, in the middle of the forests, while still offering superb expanses of snow. We’re talking about Val Ferret, one of the largest valleys that follows the contours of the Mont-Blanc mountain range. Cross-country skiing at Courmayeur presents 20 km of trails, perfectly groomed with several possible variations.
Cogne: is nick-named “the kingdom of cross-country skiing”! Renowned for its silent, snow-covered landscapes, woods, torrents and little bridges. In the heart of the national park of the Grand-Paradis, the domain stretches over 80 km of pistes and 12 loops, suitable as much for experts as for beginners. You’ll pass under the peaks of the Grivola and the Grand-Paradis and have the opportunity to travel through the beautiful villages of Epinel, Lillaz and Valnontev.
The Dolomites Paradiski is also very well-known
To give you a small idea, it’s the biggest cross-country ski domain in Europe. Situated in the south of the Tyrol and with almost 1,800 km of cross-country ski trails, there is, of course, something for everyone. For example, there’s the resort of Alta Badia, which offers pistes from 4 to 23 km long, where you can make the most of the majestic décor. You will even be able to glide over some nocturnal circuits.
Valley of Conches
A trail unlike any other! Spanning 85 km between Oberwald and Niederwald and linking 12 typical Valais villages. Unusual in that: it follows the railway line of the Matterhorn Gotthard Bahn, which means you can decide at any moment to return by train to the point of departure. It’s said that the ski-lift is just as unique: it enables you to ascend a 12 m drop in only 30 metres. There’s also an original feature, every year a fun-park is set-up with a bumpy piste and mini ski-jumps. You can also take advantage of 4 km of night trails.
According to seasoned travellers and cross-country skiers, the trails surrounding Gstaad and those of the Sarine region are among the most beautiful in Switzerland. You’ll have the run of 14 different pistes, 82 km for classic and 71 km for skating. Amid the different circuits, you can travel alongside the young Sarine and through the flanking valleys of Lauenen and Turbach. At 1,600 m of altitude, you’ll also find the marshlands of Sparenmoos and their scenic trails that are renowned for being a natural jewel, with an arresting vista over the Alps of the Bernois Oberland. You can journey through the Simme too, on a valley trail from Zweisimmen to St. Stephan and Lenk. If you wish to become acquainted with the joys of nocturnal gliding, you’ll find what you’re looking for at Schönried.
The Engadin (Saint Moritz)
Described as a paradise, the Engadin offers spectacular cross-country skiing possibilities in a magnificent environment. It’s said that the region is endowed with unparalleled snowfall. Two circuits are particularly outstanding, the Direttissima that passes by the three lakes and guarantees a peaceful outing, or one of the longest trails in the Engadin near to Zuoz. You can also explore the picturesque parallel valleys or employ all your efforts on the racing trail close to St. Moritz, where you can prolong the experience into the evening with the nocturnal piste.