Cross-country ski adventures

July 29, 2015

There is nothing quite as invigorating or enticing as a landscape transformed by a blanket of fresh, dazzling snow. Cross-country skiing allows you to take advantage of the very weather conditions that make normal hiking impossible. These tips will show you how to get started on your own adventure.

Cross-country ski adventures

Unlike downhill skiing, there are no crowds to contend with or lift tickets to buy. The usually hard facets of the terrain are softened into white, sculpted forms and the light becomes diamond-sharp. The best way to appreciate these white, open spaces is to travel beyond the confines of the ski resorts and try some cross-country skiing, a sport that beginners can enjoy right from the start. And because cross-country equipment is light and relatively easy to use, the novice can make steady progress over gentle terrain without fear of the bone-jarring ­acci­dents that often occur on downhill slopes.

In addition to the standard equipment, take along the normal items required for an outing in snow country.

  • Dress warmly (in layers, so that you can shed clothing as you warm up) and carry a first-aid kit, food and plenty of liquids, both hot and cold.
  • Remember to treat cold weather with respect: do not go out alone, and be sure to guard against frost bite, hypothermia, sunburn and snow blindness.

Touring on skis

Touring encompasses many grades of cross-country skiing, from a morning's outing on a marked track to a week-long expedition into the wilderness. Many regions have signposted circuits suitable for day trips. Maps and guidebooks are available for popular destinations with suggested day and overnight tours.

While a snowbound landscape is spectacular, it is also a harsh, unforgiving environment. No matter what the duration, a tour should be well planned and provisioned. Even if you intend to ski for only a couple of hours, take a rain jacket, first-aid kit, warm clothing, food, water, map and compass. More ­ambitious day trips may require survival items, such as a bivouac bag, down jacket, snow shovel and flashlight, as well as extra food.

Overnight touring is particularly demanding, and is recommended for experienced skiers only.

  • Beyond the signposts, excellent navigation skills are required.
  • The weight of a loaded pack not only places heavy demands on feet, legs and back, but also seriously affects stability, making even basic manoeuvres tricky.
  • Before touring overnight for the first time, it is a good idea to practise snow camping so that ­prob­lems with equipment and techniques can be identified and solved.
  • Use a mountain tent capable of withstanding extreme winds and snowfalls.
The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
Close menu