UKC

/ Nordic / XC Skiing

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SebCa - on 08 Jan 2018
Ive done a bit of a search through the forum and nothing recent in relation to this...

Does anyone have any ideas/experience for a Nordic Ski/Snowshoe holiday type package deal? Ideally flying from Manchester, most are German based with the exception being Exodus based in the south.

Anyone with experience or views your influence would be of help!
wbo - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to SebCa: what do you need? Basically fly Oslo, go shopping at XXL or similar and off you go.

Mark Bull - on 08 Jan 2018
Big Lee - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to SebCa:

What wbo said.

Ski trails are on the Den Norske Skiforeningen website. Easy to do hut to hut tours wherever there is snow and roads are open.
SebCa - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to SebCa:

That's brilliant cheers
summo on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to SebCa:

Just visit Sjusjøen or nordseter, endless pisted tracks to follow.

Or pay others to do the planning. http://www.tracks-and-trails.com/index.php/eng/Cross-Country-Skiing/Nordic-Countries-Finland-Sweden-...
wbo - on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to SebCa: ok, some questions about what you want.
1. Have you done it before, have you skied before
2. Kids, wife, ditto?
3. Do you plus any family see yourself zooming along relatively flat tracks with cut trails , or fjell touring?
4. With a big rucksack?
5. Are you as rich as a king?
You're still most likely going to fly to Oslo, but hotel or cabin? When , exactly?
You won't see much gear for hire. You can buy it at the equivalent of Decathlon, xXL, or G-sport or whatever as kits. What you need depends on how you answer the above

kenr - on 08 Jan 2018

Really the most fun + pretty groomed-track cross-country ski trail networks around Europe are in France, especially Savoie.
. . . (but that knowledge might not help you) . . .

Norway has the most km, so if you want to do hours or hours on boring trails with boring scenery, go to Norway - (tho might be some biathlon centers with interesting track layout designs). I call Norway
"the land where skiing is taken for granted."

There's a few spots with interesting trail networks in Austria and NE Italy, but those places often have trouble holding good snow nowadays with warming. Otherwise the usual boring trails,

In France, the top XC ski networks know they have to compete with the best of the alternative snow sports, so they have to make XC skiing _fun_. They've designed really interesting trail networks with curves and dips and rolls.
. . . (tho most of the xc centers in France are boring like other countries).
The top centers are at higher altitude, so they hold snow better. And the mountains surrounding the top XC centers in France are just more dramatic.

Unfortunately the XC holiday tour organizers and their customers do not know this -- seem to believe that the good cross-country skiing must be in German-speaking or Scandinavian countries. My guess is that their reasoning is that since France is the best for lift-served downhill and backcountry ski mountaineering and high-mountain road-cycling, then surely it could not also be good for cross-country skiing.

But geography is unfair:
the French Alps are better also for the _fun_ version of "la glisse nordique".

Ken
Post edited at 23:13
1
TobyA on 08 Jan 2018
In reply to kenr:

It's odd but I don't think I've ever heard Norwegian scenery described as boring before. There must be some boring bit of Norway, but the parts I know must be amongst the least boring scenery places on earth!

SebCa, in Finland when you say "skiing" Finns normally think of what we call XC first. There are many 100 kms of prepared trails at the Lapland resorts, often around the downhill resorts. Some tracks are lit for midwinter skiing. I found it completely enchanting first time I went - Kenr might say the terrain is boring though! ;-) Finnish towns and cities across the country make their own tracks too in parks, forest areas etc. just for recreation. In good winters you can ski starting from the train station in downtown Helsinki on hundreds of kms of prepared tracks out through the suburbs and beyond into the national parks and forest areas outside of the metropolitan area.
kenr - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to TobyA:
> I don't think I've ever heard Norwegian scenery described as boring before.

Maybe you've never talked with people who've done lots of skiing (and climbing) in the northern French Alps. Or maybe they were being polite.

This is a _climbing_ website, and lots of climbers think that pointy peaks / spires ("aiguilles") are interesting. Norway doesn't have many of those. The mountains are mostly rounded down by too many glaciers going over them.
. . . (Many regions of France are also boring. So I don't ski or climb around those).

There's a few places in Norway where the glaciers have carved dramatic cliffs, but not many popular ski trails are near them (but perhaps try around Rjukan?). Also some dramatic fjords.
Not close to Sjusjoen.

I could easily forgive the scenery for being a bit boring if most of the trail designs weren't so boring.

I really love cross-country skiing, and I've done it in many places around Europe and North America. Therefore I have not the slightest interest in trying it again in Norway -
"the land where skiing is taken for granted".
. . . (versus Savoie, where joyful XC skiing is nurtured and treasured).

Ken
Post edited at 04:36
1
summo on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to kenr:

Keep up the good work, it'll be a sad day when I have to queue for tows or keep changing tracks passing people during the 5/6month long season.
SebCa - on 09 Jan 2018
In reply to wbo:

> ok, some questions about what you want.

> 1. Have you done it before, have you skied before
Yes managed a silver Langlauf a few years back...nothing special I know but i could get bye

> 2. Kids, wife, ditto?
Negative never any of the above

> 3. Do you plus any family see yourself zooming along relatively flat tracks with cut trails , or fjell touring?
Cut trails ideally for simplicity and zero stress nav in familiar territory especially with children but never say never

> 4. With a big rucksack?
Probably not. Day sack at most

> 5. Are you as rich as a king?
Very much negative

> You're still most likely going to fly to Oslo, but hotel or cabin? When , exactly?
Brainstorming at the mo, testing the water with senior command, but Jan time most likely

> You won't see much gear for hire. You can buy it at the equivalent of Decathlon, xXL, or G-sport or whatever as kits. What you need depends on how you answer the above

My guess is from previous a basic set up of boots skis and poles but would certainly bow to your greater knowledge. Hire would be significantly easier

Thanks for your help

Vronski - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to SebCa:

If you are still looking for a package trip, have you considered Crystal Ski? I have not used them but I think that they fly from Manchester as well as London. I know they have a presence in the Finnish Lapland resorts (see TobyA comments) and that includes Ruka (Kuusamo) which I would recommend for novices. The XC around Ruka is characterised by forest and frozen lake, so quite sheltered typically. The more northerly resorts will I imagine offer routes on open fells.
Good luck and let me know if you want any info on Kuusamo / Ruka / Oulanka.

V
JamesSA - on 10 Jan 2018
In reply to SebCa:

Your original post doesn't say whether you want tracked, lycra-clad Euro cross-country from a resort or the the full-fat, hut-to-hut Scandinavian version. I've only done the former but hope this helps...

If you want a package-type tour, your best bet might be a trip organised by a club like London Region Nordic. I think they do a trip to Seefeld each year. Their website is a useful source of information in any case.

If you're prepared to send a few emails, it's usually possible to put together a trip fairly independently without too much hassle; in my experience (three trips to Bavaria and the Tyrol now) hire shops are happy to reserve gear and put it aside to save a little time when you arrive. Tourist boards or direct bookings with apartments/guest houses are usually surprisingly good value away from the blue-riband downhill resorts, and people are always surprised but happy to see Brits on skinny skis and will go out of their way to help if you don't speak German. Ditto ski instructors. Snowshoes can be hired for peanuts, if you take big boots and poles with you.

Bergfex gives a great breakdown of trails by difficulty and height gain, together with altitude (sadly important in winters before this one) and live updates of what is currently skiable. It's a really helpful resource when picking a resort. We were in the Kaiserwinkl before Christmas (near the german border, just south of Chiemsee), which has a Chamonix-style transfer from Salzburg airport to avoid the complicated train changes involved in getting to smaller Tyrolean towns. Though snow can be scarce in lower resorts, particularly in Germany, the whole trail network there was open by 16/12 this winter.
alasdair19 on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to SebCa:

With a few emails it would be very easy to organise a trip to the jura hills north of Geneva it's where the French Nordic tram train and there's lots of mini resorts. You can do the whole thing from Geneva airport by public transport. We of course brought our metal edged nansens but other styles are available. 

The tourist office is very helpful.

Fruit on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to alasdair19:

Another vote for Jura.

we’ve done KE tour in Sweden, self organised hut tours in Norway and a mixed xc and downhill week in Jura, Les Rousses.

I bet you had the same experience we had in Jura, bc skis just a bit wide for the cut tracks ;-)

Hoping to head to Hardangervidda at beginning of March for more

Post edited at 07:26
Doug on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Fruit:

I've had several long weekends (4-5 days) in the Jura (for me its closer than the Alps) and although its not 'alpine' in the sense of big, rocky, pointed mountains, it does tend to have good snow cover and feels a lot like skiing in parts of Scandinavia (ie lots of forest). We usually stay in one place (mostly Chapelle des Bois, Bellefontaine or  Foncine le Haut) and occassionally drive to a different ski area but it would easily be possible to do something like the Trans-Jura route using a mix of small hotels & gites. http://www.espacenordiquejurassien.com/ is a good source of information.

But places like Feclaz in the Alps are also very good

JuneBob on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to kenr:

Kind of funny that if you didn't come in with such confrontational messages, your suggestions would probably be taken quite positively. Instead I find it hard not to look the opposite way.

 

Big Lee - on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to SebCa:

> Cut trails ideally for simplicity and zero stress nav in familiar territory especially with children but never say never

The cut trails in Norway are certainly zero stress and I rarely look at a map, except to see the overall picture of where I'm going. Trails are well signposted and I use the Norsk Skiforeningen app, whose map shows your location and which trails are prepared. 

> My guess is from previous a basic set up of boots skis and poles but would certainly bow to your greater knowledge. Hire would be significantly easier. 

I hired the basics from Oslo winter park a few winters ago before I had my own stuff. They had ample stock and you could definitely just turn up and hire. They don't care where you take the gear as long as it comes back on time. They only had the wax-free type of skis. There's probably other ski centres that also rent. 

If you decide to buy some kit on the cheap then it's worth pre-ordering something from XXL in advance and collecting it and paying for it upon arrival. I find their stock of footwear a bit frustrating in that they often have a big selection of products but only a small selection of random sizes for each product. Seems to be a common problem everywhere in Norway. If you're planning a week then buying probably won't cost that much more. Just depends on whether you want the hassle to bringing stuff back and storing it. 

Must stick up for Norway as well. For somebody who likes the wilderness there's nowhere in Europe that really compares to Scandinavia for me. Plus I love the Norwegian huts. Temperatures have been freezing nearly everyday, there's a good snow base everywhere. If conditions hold, and you wanted to keep things simple, then you could start skiing from the end of the Oslo metro, thus avoiding the need to hire a car or travel anywhere first.

summo on 11 Jan 2018
In reply to Big Lee/op:

I agree. You can hire at Sjusjøen, Hafjelll/lillehammer resort area alpine slopes and the main shops at the skistar resorts also have hire. Xxl have packet price deals now for £200-250. 

I think the biggest plus for the Nordics is if you avoid the very peak of the season in certain places, half term or sports week and the start / finish of vasaloppet or birkebeiner when they are on, it's quiet compared to many alpine places.

 

 


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