(Re-)Discovered: Cross-Country Skiing
A winter sport that has the potential to become the most popular of all snow sports. Counter to the somewhat dusty image it had in the past.
Healthy winter sport for everyone
Wow, when you get down to the nitty-gritty, it really does sound like it does it all. A winter sport that works out your tummy, your legs and your butt, that strengthens your cardiovascular system and activates 90% of your musculature. That demands, strength, stamina, powerful lungs and great coordination. It clears your head, and your spirit rejoices. We are talking, of course, about cross-country skiing. A winter sport which is also, incidentally, gentle on your joints with relatively low risk of injury. There's the sedate and enjoyable experience of Nordic Cruising, which is basically nothing more than hiking or walking on skis. If you want something sweat-inducing and powerful, then skating technique is the way to go. And last but not least, take the "classic" approach as you perfect your diagonal stride gliding along the ski tracks.
Reasons to give this trendy winter sport a try (again)
The equipment and gear are comparatively cheap, as are the opportunities to get out there and actually ski. In fact, many of the beautifully maintained cross-country trails in the Alpine region are free of charge. Plus, you will look for crowds of skiers and raucous après-ski partying in vain. And let's be honest: The combination of sport and those snowy, silent winter landscapes in the mountains is almost impossible to beat, right?
But how to get started?
In other words, cross-country does you a world of good and it's great fun. Just so long as you learn the right technique from the very outset. Which means, it makes the most sense to turn to an expert. At many winter destinations, the local ski schools also offer lessons (introductory and advanced) in cross-country skiing. A unique opportunity awaits you in the Altenmarkt-Zauchensee region, not far from our Tauernresidence Radstadt in the Salzburger Pongau: the only Flying Coach in the Alps. Twice a week (and free of charge!), the coach will explain the basics of this winter sport, introduce you to various techniques or give you tips on how to improve your personal cross-country style.
How not to cross-country ski ;)
ALPS RESORT with direct trail access
With tips from the Flying Coaches safely tucked away at the back of your mind, you will be able to step from your apartment at Tauernresidence Radstadt straight out onto the XC trail. To be more precise, onto two of a grand total of 38 contiguous cross-country trails in the Salzburger Sportwelt region: The Untertauernloipe (5.5 km, easy) and the Taurachloipe (10.9 km, intermediate) both run right past our Apparthotel with wellness area. Yet another cross-country tip, this time courtesy of Elisabeth, the charming manager of the resort in Radstadt, is the Gnadenalm recreation center. There, at 1350 meters above sea level, you will find trails that are snowy and beautifully maintained, and with a full range of difficulty, including easy, intermediate and expert. The natural snow resulting from the high elevation is further supplemented by snowmaking infrastructure. Use of the trails is free. Guests also have the opportunity to try their hand at biathlon. A cross-country and biathlon school as well as sports shop are available locally.
Glacier Skiing in Springtime
But what to do when the temperatures begin to rise again and cross-country experiences in the valley are no longer possible? Then it's time to head up to the glacier. For example, up to the Dachstein glacier, home to the world's longest glacier cross-country trail. The trails there (at 2700 meters above sea level) are groomed for skating as well as diagonal technique, also highly regarded and frequently used by the XC elite for their own training purposes. The Schladming-Dachstein region as a whole, including the Ramsau Cross-Country Center, is a true paradise for XCers. There's good reason this region hosts so many top Nordic skiing events.
Another glacier trail close to our ALPS RESORTS is the Kitzsteinhorn in Salzburger Land (Tauernsuites Mitterwirt).
Other cross-country highlights close to our ALPS RESORTS
These include, for example, DSV Nordic Aktiv Cross-Country Center St. Englmar-Hirschenstein: 8 different trails, ranging in difficulty, 74 kilometers-long, excite cross-country fans and professionals alike. The gateway to this cross-country trail network is only 1.5 km from Englmar Chalets in the Bavarian Forest. By car or ski bus, which you can use for free with your guest card, your cross-country adventures are barely 4 minutes away, points out Benni, our resort manager. The easy Hochwaldloipe (classic, 3.5 km) is perfectly suited for beginners. And once you are done with your cross-country training, you will be able to loosen up those tired muscles in the hot tub or your private sauna.
Just a few steps from Tauern Lodges Uttendorf in Salzburger Land, you will discover a floodlit trail with snowmaking capability that runs around the swimming lake in Uttendorf. There are other trails in Uttendorf, too, part of the 200 kilometers-long Pinzga Loipe – as are the 27 km of trails in Piesendorf, not far from Tauernsuites Mitterwirt.
Cross-country skiing is way cooler than you might have first thought, right? Can't wait to slip into your cross-country gear and clock a few laps? In that case, go ahead and send a booking enquiry to your preferred ALPS RESORT. When you arrive, the reception will be able to put you in contact with a cross-country rental store and provide you with trail maps.
Photo materials © Title photo: Schladming Dachstein / Peter Burgstaller; Cross-country skiing in Radstadt: Tourismusverband Radstadt / Christian Schartner; Cross-country skiing in Salzburger Land: Salzburger Land Tourismus Gmbh / Michael Größinger; Cross-country skiing in Hohe Tauern National Park: Ferienregion Nationalpark Hohe Tauern / Michael Huber