Cross Country Ski Resorts

The world's very best XC Skiing.

Seefeld

World-class cross-country, Oodles to do

Great for:

  • Cross-country
  • Families
  • Groups

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Geilo

Small Norwegian town, Kite skiing capital

Great for:

  • Cross country
  • Beginners
  • Families

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Yllas

Short transfers , Northern Lights, Finland’s biggest...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Groups
  • Non-skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

St Moritz

Stylish town centre , High-altitude glacier skiing, G...

Great for:

  • Late-season skiing
  • Non-skiers
  • Couples

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Kronplatz

Authentic Tyrolean charm , Pristine pistes , Excellen...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Foodies
  • Non-skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Kitzbuhel

World's most difficult run, Romantic Austrian charm, ...

Great for:

  • Groups
  • après ski

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Davos

Off-piste mecca, long ski season, Classic mountain town

Great for:

  • Families
  • Non-skiers
  • Late-season skiing

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Levi

Bucket list destination , Meet Santa, Great food

Great for:

  • Families
  • Beginners
  • Non-ski activities

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Val d'Isere

½ of Espace Killy, Fantastic après, Traditional cho...

Great for:

  • Families
  • Groups
  • Non skiers

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Banff

3 ski resorts, Cosy mountain town, Stunning sights of...

Great for:

  • Long ski breaks
  • Non-skiers
  • Varied terrain

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

Top 10 Most Popular

Nordic, langlauf, ski de fond, cross-country – whatever you call it, nothing tests your fitness or brings you close to nature quite like skinny skis do. From the wondrous wilderness of Norway and Finland to the village-hopping networks of the Alps, read on for our favourite resorts for cross-country skiing.

If you have a certain country in mind, take a look at our top XC resorts in the big winter sporting nations. Austria, France, Italy and Switzerland each have a terrific network of trails – some catering brilliantly for beginners, others with testing terrain for experts, and absolutely everything in between.

Top 10 Cross Country Ski Resorts

Cross-country comes first in Seefeld – this ‘home of langlaufen’ is Austria’s, if not the continent’s, skinny-skiing capital. Five villages make up the Olympiaregion area and between them you’ll find 279km of trails to roam, split almost evenly between classic and skate. Most run across the sunny, snow-sure Seefeld plateau, which has twice played host to Olympic Nordic events and is a regular stop on the World Cup tour. Local instructors will ease beginners from the gentle Wildsee trails onto to the first-rate grooves of the Wildmoos area; XC-Academy (led by Olympian Martin Tauber) run group lessons, 1:1 sessions and Biathlon classes. With corking views of the valley, the Gaistal loop on the Leutasch plateau is a must-ski for rolling terrain, while the 1.9km A2 Lehner trail (both classic and skating) attracts dog owners with its Fido-friendly label. We especially like the 3km groomer between Seefeld and Mosern which is floodlit if you fancy a spot of skiing after hours.

If clocking up the mileage is top priority, Geilo reigns supreme. 550km of trails wind through truly spectacular valleys, across wide plateaus and along the highest quality grooves – and they’re often open for a long season from October through to May. A top spot has to be the Ustedalen Lake: 15km of tramlines split off and loop around it, cutting through silver birches and pines, passing Viking burial sites and ancient bridges. Up on the peaks, fluttering ptarmigan, curious reindeer and timid elk line the routes. Follow the blues and reds over to Ustaoset where a 16km circuit visits traditional Norse cabins that have been part of the landscape for generations. Brave the 5km frozen lake crossing from Storenuten, before gliding back to Ustaoset on the steady 13.km blue. Back in Geilo, you’ll find instructors and guides aplenty in the Nordic centre, ready and waiting to share the country’s national past time with newbies. They also lead tours over into the dramatic terrain in Northern Finse, were there’s at least 4 days’ of fun to be had.

Ylläs has a fabulously long (October – May) ski season. One reason the doors stay open so long is the sheer size of the place: a whopping 330km of seriously pretty, groomed terrain circles the resort, venturing into the other-worldly wilderness of Pallas-Ylläs national park. Here, trails for every level creep through silent woodland - follow the tramlines for a memorable loop on blues and blacks, down rolling fells and across fields of flawless white. Laplander huts are dotted around the park, where warming fires and roasting bratwursts await to banish any winter chills. Also keeping toes toasty are the ‘warm tracks’, where temperatures score 15 degrees warmer than down in the village… 38km of floodlit lines keeps the XC going into the evening and on Lapland’s Polar nights, doubling up as the route back home at the end of the day.

This area’s crammed with romantic side valleys and its 220km of prepared runs glide along the very best of them. 80km skirt the shores or cross the waters of enormous, crystal lakes – we love the 12km course over the Sils, Silvaplana and Champfèr that dances across the Isola Peninsula. Big numbers are no uncommon sight in St M, with the 35km La Pachifica and 65km La Diagonela routes testing the hardiest skiers (no wonder visitors get extra hours of practice on the night-skiing trails in town). The most laborious gets global recognition when the Engadin Ski Marathon comes to town: 13,000 skiers descend on St Moritz every March to attempt the 42km endurance test between Maloja and S-Chanf (Pippa Middleton aced it a while back), which crams in steeps, crosses lakes and climbs through forests.

Dolomiti Nordic Ski is Europe’s biggest trail network and Kronplatz is one of the region’s shining stars. With top class snow making capabilities, a web of easy and intermediate groomers and a gargantuan total of 300km to ski, this place has it all sussed. The Nordic Ski School are on hand for any and every level; join one of their safaris to follow in expert footsteps (they do a super tour to the Kasern mountain hut, then onto Antholz for a spot of biathlon training). At 35km, the longest trail’s mildly easier to ski than it is to get your tongue around: the ‘Val Casies Monguelfo Tesido - Gsieser Tal Welsberg Taisten’ hosts the annual Gsieser Tal Lauf marathon for the ultimate test. For something a little less trying, head to the foot of the mountain where the easy-going Olang is a smooth 5km ride on the outskirts, or ski the Kronplatz summit trail, a 0.7km flat loop with tip-top grooves and groomed snow. The intermediate route from St. Vigil is perfect for progression, easing into slightly more challenging territory as you approach Pederü. Heading up Mount Kronplatz, the 700m route below the Ruis cable car peak station mixes it up with a touch of bumpiness, and views of the Dolomites worth seeing again and again (and again).

The Wilder Kaiser mountain range has 500km of marvellous cross-country offerings, and there’s 60km of classic and skate skiing (plus the illuminated Golf Club trail) in Kitz alone. Local pro and Nordic Ski team member David Kreiner has vetted the terrain and last time we checked, it was all free to ski… High-lying routes span every level, with a lack of steep climbs letting everyone in on the action. The trails in and around Pass Thurn and Kirchberg are known for their excellent snow, where the terrain is almost evenly split between red, blue and black. Winning the gong for eye-popping scenery is the Aschau bei Kirchberg trail – have cameras at the ready, as the views of the Tyrolean town in the distance are nothing short of spectacular. Another must-ski is the 20km Sonnenloipe trail to Kirchberg, which passes through the cross-country service centre (for all things XC plus fabulous Gluhwein…).

As the training ground of the Swiss, Russian, Swedish, and Norwegian Nordic ski teams, Davos is definitely doing something right. Höfmanner’s (in the centre of town) is the original XC outfitters, providing servicing and equipment for the pro’s, skiers and novices who take to the trails each year. A whopping great 4000m2 store of snow helps kick off the season in October – earlier than any other resorts in the area – and as peak season hits, over 100km of classic routes and 46km of skating lines spring up in the valleys and villages. The Sertig and Dischmatal valleys have newcomers covered, where the trails are gentle and extremely relaxed. Kick it up a notch on the classic 10km Loipe Wolfgang that sweeps past the charming mountain village of Schwendi (keep an eye out for the red beacon of the Rhaetian Railway, which occasionally darts through the white landscape). It takes nerves (and buns…) of steel to conquer the super challenging, super steep Cologna Stutz section in the Flulatal Valley, fondly named after the local langlauf champion. Speak of the devil, Dario Cologna’s part of the furniture here, and it’s not uncommon to ski alongside him on the world cup ski runs (also in Flülatal).

Having hosted Finland’s first Ladies World Cup in 2004 (and the Men’s 2 years later), Levi’s firmly made its mark in the history books. 230km of tracks make up the Nordic network here, which is gloriously different from the trails in the Alps. You’ll probably pass more reindeer than people, and the trails lead through miles of the wintry wilderness that Lapland does best. Levi Ski School are on hand to help perfect the double pole push, and you can log a few hours of after-dark practice on the 28km of illuminated trails. These keep things ticking over when Lapland’s mid-winter daylight is limited, meaning you needn’t lose out on ski time but get the added bonus of a cross-country ski holiday with a possible sighting of the incredible northern lights.

Val’s grooves and groomers feel worlds away from the lively party town, but they’re actually fabulously accessible. Open up a piste map and you’ll spot 21km of tracks sharing the colour grading of downhill pistes. Ski schools like Oxygène at are at the disposal of anyone looking to learn, with lessons kicking off on the easy 1.5km green over in La Daille. If you’re au fait with the basics, there’s a brilliant mixed gradient trail in the Manchet Valley. Head up to the Solaise cable car, where a smooth green will land you at the Clochetons restaurant (for fab fondues and puddings). Guiding you peacefully through to the Manchet hamlet is a 3km blue, followed by a trickier 6.5km red to the high altitude (1850m) Le Manchet valley. The 2560m Ouilette Lake loop, also leaving from the Solaise car, has buckets of beauty and a generous helping of challenging stretches. The crème de la crème is by far Le Fornet - a 5km blue that runs out of Val d’Isere towards the magnificent Vanoise National Park.

Rockies + XC = the most incredible experience. There’s no better way to get up close and personal with the Banff National Park - the trails are positioned to have the best views of the UNESCO-listed landscape and the span of difficulties leaves nobody out of the loop. Beginners can head just out of town to the Tunnel Mountain Campground, where a 5km circuit is spot on for getting to grips with new equipment and techniques. Also keeping it soft and simple is the route around Emerald Lake, while more advanced skiers can continue onto the Connector to up the mileage. Other intermediate trails make their way past rivers and through silent wilderness, with the 18.7km one from Goat Creek to Canmore always first on our list (there’s a cracking picnic spot on the right as you approach Banff town, so fill your pockets with goodies from Banff Sweet Shoppe before setting off…). Just round the corner is the Brewster Creek, where a 10.5km groomer winds over to Sundance Lodge along the side of Healy Creek. Make a beeline for the Lake Louise Loop whatever your ability: the lake is a sight to behold, and the double tracks around it let you view it from every angle, before dipping into the woods to finish.

If a glance at the world’s greatest Nordic resorts has given you a nudge to try cross country skiing, you can read more about the sport here.

Our cross-country ski holidays feature chalets, apartments and hotels in winter resorts all over the planet, from Europe to North America and beyond.


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