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Best Beginner Cross Country in Europe

Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 9:11 am
by rickkeller
I want to learn cross country skiing and will take a week off in February
while I am in Europe to kick start it. Can anyone give me
any recommendations for the best place to go for instruction and a
good environment to learn? Basically I need to go to many countries
in Europe for my job, so I can arrange my schedule to go anywhere
during my week off. Norway, Switzerland, Austria, etc. So I guess
I'm really looking for the "best" place in your opinion and I will see
if I can make it happen.


Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2010 9:34 am
by Ami in Berlin
I can only comment on places I've been, and there will surely be many other options.

My general advice would be sure that you are going someplace where cross-coutry skiing is taken seriously and is not just considered a side activity to downhill skiing. Chamonix and Verbier can't be beat if you're alpine skiing, but if you go cross-country skiing there you will be shoved off into a corner and will not receive quality instruction.

In the Alps, Seefeld, Austria is a major, world-class center for cross country. You would have a hard time finding a better place. La Clusaz, France is another good option. We were just recently in Davos, Switzerland, and cross-country skiing is also taken seriously there. I would also guess that Davos would give you the best chance of getting quality instruction in English of those places.

The Alps are not necessarily the best, though. The smaller mountains in Germany are fantastic for cross-country, and if there is any downhill skiing at all it is given second billing to nordic sports. That makes for a nice change. Oberhof is probably the best spot. I'm not sure if you'd find much English language instruction, though.

I've only been to Oslo in Norway. They have a great trail system, but it's a community system. It can be quite crowded, and I didn't see as many ski schools or rental shops as you would in more proper resorts. I'm sure this is different in actual resorts in Norway, though. The people there take cross-country skiing very seriously.

It's impossible to say what is best. My best day of cross-country skiing was at Oberweisenthal along the German-Czech border, but there are many factors that go in to that. If you're going to spend a week somewhere, you will also want to think about what sort of place you want to stay in and what your budget is. If money were not an issue, I'd probably take a close look at St. Moritz.

Posted: Wed Jan 13, 2010 8:27 am
by goff
Hi Rick,
As Ami says can only comment on where we have visited, and we have plumped for is the Juras in France .
Easy acces from Geneva, Luassane, and a dedicated nordic region with endless possibilities, but the area is very French and you would struggle to find a English speaking group.Think Austria is the way to go, we learned at Lermoos not far from Seefeld which is class international resort.
Have a great time.


Juras link

Posted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 6:34 am
by Ami in Berlin
@goff: how did you find Lermoos? It's one of my favourite little undiscovered downhill ski resorts. The cross-country has always been marginal when I've been there due to poor snow cover. Theoretically there should be a couple hundred km of trails, but the relatively low elevation combined with the mossy ground keeping warm (at least that's what the lady at the tourist office said), severely limited what was open. I really wish I could experience it with all the trails operating.

The view of the Zugspitze from Lermoos is also probably my favourite in the Alps.

Ramsau/Dachstein, Austria might also be somewhere to look at. It seems to be quite a center for cross-coutry skiing, and they even have trails on the glacier that national teams train on.

Posted: Thu Jan 14, 2010 10:00 am
by goff
Hi Ami.
Loved Lermmos stayed been there twice and had superb snow conditions, both times at xmas.We stayed at the Juchof next to the lift and two lively apre ski bars, although the hotel is quiet. Huge valley with the towering Zugspitze dominating. The flat valley runs up to Erwhald and
Bierberwier are perfect to build up confidence.
We specially enjoyed jumping on the train and visiting other resorts along the valley, the trails to the lake at Heiterwang well worth a vist. The train and trails are included on your geust card.Driving there from Germany is easy to, friends are going this year so mite join them :D

Posted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:44 am
by Ami in Berlin
I've had lunch at the Hotel Juchof, and know the Larme Ente bar well.

I'll have to keep the Heiterwang trail in mind for next time.

Posted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 1:00 pm
by goff
Larme ente.
that must be the one next to the Jux bar both were superb ,never did alpine there ,the Apres ski was typicaly Austrian superb, full off dutch having a great time.Only thing puts me off going back is that they smoked like troopers as we say in England, and end up kippered day or night. Is it banned yet in the Tyrol.Last year we crossed the border into Switz and the guy lit a huge cigar in restaraunt awful.Thankfully the canton Vaud has now banned smoking indoors.
Hietrwang is flat but scenery is superb.

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 9:46 am
by Ami in Berlin
It is odd about all the Dutch in Lermoos. It seems like every second car has an NL on the plate. Then head down the valley to Berwang and it's all Brits. What unifies all seems to be a love for Williams schnaps with pieces of pear in the glass.

I don't know if they have a smoking ban yet in Tyrol, and I haven't been there for a couple years. There certainly wasn't one last winter in Salzburg. was in Graubunden, CH over the holidays, and it seemed to be non-smoking in most places, but then I'd get surprised by a few bars and even restaurants allowing it. I couldn't figure out what the law is there. Anyway, we've always vistited Lermoos while staying in Garmisch, which has a pretty strict smoking ban. Of course so do we in Berlin, but the difference is that the Bavarians actually follow theirs.

Nothing wrong with flat and scenic.

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 1:20 pm
by Phil
The small run in Adelboden is quite easy for a beginner. Even the bigger one should be no problem. Enjoy!

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 3:46 pm
by goff
Pear Williams in a ice Bar perfect.
As far as i can work out if area is under 50 square metres then its up to the owner to allow smoking or not, if over then there has to be seperate area for smoking,so i geuss that means smoking is ok,thats there choice and are not going to share it with them. Still love Austria tho

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2010 5:02 pm
by Cloxxki
Huge put-off for me that Davos bars were like smoking contest arena's. Global Asthma centre. And it's not just the tourist smoking, no: it's the local youth's sport.

Posted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 1:58 am
by Ami in Berlin
Cloxxki wrote:Huge put-off for me that Davos bars were like smoking contest arena's. Global Asthma centre. And it's not just the tourist smoking, no: it's the local youth's sport.

When were you last there? Things may have changed (or maybe I just got lucky). We ate/drank at the large apres bar/restaurant next to the Langlauf center near the bottom of the Jakobshorn cable car: no smoking (at least in our area). We had dinner at a pizza place in town: no smoking. We had a few beers at the Gotschna Bar next to the cable car station in Klosters: no smoking. Only the Montana Bar near the Parsenn funicular was smoky, so we left.

Posted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:44 am
by goff
On Switzerland the cantons of Vaud joins Ticino, Graubunden, Valais, Neuchatel, Solothurn, St Gallen, Bern and Nidwalden have now banned smoking in public places, now where to go for a mix of Alpine and xcountry.Normaly go to Tarentaise in French Alps but Xcountry is limited.

Re: Best Beginner Cross Country in Europe

Posted: Wed Sep 14, 2016 12:38 am
by addseo1115
We had dinner at a pizza place in town: no smoking.