Who doesn’t enjoy having fun in the snow? For some, it's the chance to get close to nature and try out gentle activities like snowshoeing through the total silence of a virgin snowscape. For others, it's the exhilarating thrills from winter activities such as skiing, dog sledding, horse-drawn sleigh riding or tobogganing.
Our snow activity holidays take you to incredibly pretty mountain villages in Austria where life has hardly changed over the centuries and dramatic, snowy landscapes in Norway where it’s far enough north that you have a good chance of seeing the Northern Lights.
Cross-country skiing dates back thousands of years to when humans first realised that, by attaching two shaped pieces of wood to their feet, they could travel a lot faster across snow-covered fields and through woodlands when hunting!
The beauty of cross-country skiing is that you’re able to admire the stunning scenery around you whilst skiing on crisp white snow, compared to downhill skiing when you move at a much faster pace. Take your time to marvel at the fascinating wildlife, beautiful winter flowers and sky-blue alpine lakes. In some places you can stop off in a little hut and cook a snack en route to warm up and keep your energy levels high, and others you can buy food and hot drinks in a restaurant, bar or mountain hut. It’s also a great overall workout that will tone your entire body. What are you waiting for?
Cross-country skiing is a popular winter sport with people of all ages - it's a great alternative to snowshoeing or downhill skiing as a means of getting about on holiday that enables you to see as much scenery as possible whilst keeping fit at the same time. Like when you first learn to ride a bicycle, cross-country skiing is all about mastering the art of balance - and once you've done that, you're halfway there!
Cross-country skiing allows you to have more control, you can travel as fast or as slow as you like. When downhill skiing, it's mostly fast and you see the breathtaking scenery at a sped-up pace. When cross-country skiing, you'll move at a more leisurely pace and take in all the scenes around you. Although both types of skiing require physical strength, when cross-country skiing you'll use every muscle in your body, particularly your arms and legs when striding through snow. Downhill skiing uses mostly the legs.
Cross-country skiing is considered to be one of the safest of winter sports. Although falling could result in minor sprains, serious injuries are very rare, and they usually occur only when the cross-country skier ventures into steep terrain or off the main piste. On a Headwater holiday you'll have the help of a local expert who will give you easy step-by-step instructions right from putting on your ski boots to control techniques.
Yes, cross-country skiing is suitable for all ages and abilities, providing you are fit and healthy. You can do as much or as little as you want on a cross-country skiing holiday, too, so there's no pressure. The combination of low risk of injury with smooth, dynamic movement also makes it an ideal endeavour for older people.
Even if you have done Alpine (downhill) skiing before, the equipment and the techniques are different, so it's best to have a few lessons to learn how to stay balanced, how to control the equipment, brake, go up and down and, most importantly, how to fall and get back up again (it can happen).