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Customer reviews: Winter Snow Collection

Everyone who goes on a Headwater holiday will be emailed a link to our post-holiday questionnaire where they can give us an honest assessment of all aspects of their holiday - everything from how quickly we answer the phone to how clean the hotels were - plus an overall rating and comments about their holiday.

Any feedback collected is posted to our website, so that people can make an informed decision based on past experiences before heading off on holiday. We don’t edit the reviews, the only thing we do is proofread them and alter any typos, where necessary, to ensure they are easy to read for everyone. All reviews will be published (except in certain extreme circumstances), and a member of the Headwater team will respond to any constructive criticisms/comments under the reviews, at their discretion. So, for the real tales, twists and turns of our holidays, look no further than the reviews from our previous travellers.

Mrs Freedman
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Excellent week in this traditional Norwegian hotel with the usual experienced and friendly ski guides.

Mr Hordern
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Brilliant but for one small issue

Excellent hotel. Great food, comfortable, spotless. Couldn't have had a warmer welcome. Wonderful staff.

Beautiful area. Fabulous mountains.

Probably not the right place if you are looking for a party.

An excellent introduction to cross-country skiing in a beautiful location.

Mr Noakes
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

What a place.

Location is ideal - a large, hilly plateau with 150 km of trails, most with tracks regularly refreshed. With Rondane National Park on the edge of the area, it gives great views and a chance to go visit. The hotel is not alone, there were a few discreet chalets around with access roads but we were there over Easter, "the busiest weekend", and it was quiet.

Instruction and guiding is good. Dedicated and experienced, the guides take you on great circuits. The safaris had finished for the season but the 4 hour trips each morning were ample to satisfy our exercise drive. The afternoons are available to go out on your own and navigation is dead easy. Sometimes you need to ask the guides for tips on technique if you want to improve, that could be more forthcoming. The ski waxing rituals were explained on the first morning but there could have been more checking that you did it properly on subsequent days. It's a real pain when you start sliding back when you are most tired.

Accommodation is superb. It's an old hotel that has been well maintained, we had an older room that was basic but good - a fantastic view, a great shower and a good double bed, they have only a few, ask for it. There's a big communal lounge for relaxing at any time, with a piano player too. The food was excellent, 3 hot buffet meals a day with 3 courses, or as many as you like, difficult to resist. They stage a Norwegian night with preserved meat and fish that was fantastic, some brand new flavours.

There are are add-ons:- massages (excellent); pilates (not too hard); yoga (not great) and a felting workshop which was poorly taught with nothing in English.

People come back here again and again, with good reason.

Mrs Neal
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Great place to experience cross country skiing with excellent instructors who ensured the holiday was enjoyable yet challenging. Fabulous location with memorable food .

Excellent food and well led skiing.

We had a wonderful cross country ski holiday beginning on the 24/2/18. We had a previous bad experience with another company when trying to learn cross country ski, our Headwater instructor, James Robertson, was excellent and we felt at ease from the first day. He adapted to the different abilities in the group and we came away feeling that we had really progressed and could cross country ski on the flat. On our free day we ski-ed down the Leutasch valley and also got our bronze medal medal for completing 30km. The food was excellent at our hotel and our group was lovely too. Had an unforgettable, fun, relaxing time! We will definitely recommend to our friends and would like to do another cross country ski holiday preferably with James. Jenny and Dave

We didn't really know quite what to expect in Leutasch as beginners to the sport, but we had a wonderful (if tiring!) week cross-country skiing. James was great, very flexible in the itinerary and timings and as the only 2 people booked during the Feb half term week, we had our own private guide! The location is beautiful and quiet but with enough trails to keep the interest. The hotel is exceptionally clean and (very) warm if a little old fashioned in parts, but no complaints on the food which was fresh, plentiful with lots of choice. The hotel even offered us a packed breakfast as we were leaving to drive home early - nice touch. Would we do the week again - yes, most definitely!

We feel that we have made a lot of progress with our cross-country skiing this year due to the excellent teaching of your rep. So many of the locations were stunning due to the massive amounts of snow. The hotel was cosy with plentiful supplies of food. A fabulous holiday. We will be back.

My wife and I are now in our sixties. We were beginners to cross country skiing. We arrived with some trepidation about the week ahead but on meeting James our guide, any initial fears were dispelled as we could tell from the outset that he was committed to making our holiday experience both enjoyable and rewarding. We were not disappointed. The location of the accommodation to the loipes was excellent and the use of a mini bus throughout the week to transport us to new locations was invaluable. The process of hiring skis, poles, boots and passes was effortless and straight forward. From day 1 James was there to advise and guide. At the end of the week we both felt that we had progressed well and will certainly return to partake in this type of holiday again. A great week in excellent company which was so enjoyable and fulfilling.

Mr Connon
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Brilliant cross country skiing in a fantastic location.

Ms Snashall
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Venabu is the perfect location for cross country skiing. The snow quality is predictably excellent. The plateau is surrounded by low mountains and offers easy gentle track skiing as well as more adventurous long distance and off track excursions. The hotel is comfortable and relaxed with superb food. Guided tours return for a late lunch but there are facilities for taking out a packed lunch for those wanting independent all day tours. The guided tours are graded and flexible so that everyone is accommodated from complete beginners to fit experienced skiiers looking for a challenge. The tours are personalised to allow for differing degrees of experience and fitness. The tracks are well maintained and signposted so that it is safe to ski alone if preferred. It is significant that most of the guests, including those who have developed their skills in other centres in Norway (even Kvitavatn!), now come back to Venabu year after year.

Mrs Pollet
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

An excellent, well-planned holiday in a delightful, friendly hotel with excellent food. First rate ski and snowshoe walking guides and your day is as energetic as you choose. Good yoga and Pilates classes available too

Ms Baxter
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

A good location to try cross country skiing for the first time in a beautiful location.

Overall highly enjoyable

Mr Boldogh
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

The perfect place to go for cross-country skiing! Incredibly beautiful landscape with lots of very nice trails and off-track opportunities. The hotel is very well located. There are trails going off to every direction! Food is excellent and the staff is friendly and very helpful.

Excellent experience. The guide (James) had great local knowledge of walks and cross country tracks suitable for our ability. 1.1 tuition for cross country skiing techniques to ski effectively and safely.

Mr Bates
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

As 1st time XC skiing this holiday was the perfect introduction with hotel, equipment, & instruction all first rate

Mrs Waldron
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

This was the first time I had travelled on my own which I was anxious about, but any worries were dismissed on arrival at the hotel - with all 9 Headwater guests sharing the same dinner table. We could all 'dip in and dip out' of eating together - very flexible. The food was superb - and dare I say it too much!!!!

The ski guides were excellent, and timings of routes accurate, - it was also lovely to have the flexibility of switching between longer and shorter trips during the week.

It was a positive experience and one which I will definitely repeat, thank you so much.

Mr Locke
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Excellent hotel in a superb location. The trails were well marked and extremely well maintained. The skiing conditions were as good as you'll find anywhere. Extremely pleased with the holiday and we will be coming back.

Dr Macmillan
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

The usual excellent experience at Venebu; hotel, food, snow, skiing and ski safaris all made for a wonderful holiday

Mr Stokes
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Venabu is a great location for both novice and experienced nordic skiers. The staff, facilities and food are all excellent and help you make the most out of your holiday. I have no hesitation in recommending a Nordic Ski holiday in Venabu to anyone who wants to try this wonderful sport.

Fabulous introduction to cross-country skiing in Leutasch, with excellent instruction from our guide James. His knowledge of the area and each of the individual trails meant that we were able to experience a variety of routes, saving the best to last - leaving us all with great memories of the week. The hotel was always warm and welcoming, lovely to relax in the sauna/steam room after a day out in the snow and you could never go hungry at the Hotel Xander!!

Mrs Souch
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Excellent location for cross country skiing. Bedrooms basic and could do with updating but the hotel was otherwise excellent. The ski guides were superb.

We had a splendid week in Leutasch, weather and snow about as good as it gets! Our group included a walker, some experienced xcountry skiers and some beginners. James, our guide for the week, could not have been more helpful. He planned each day so that there was just the right amount of challenge for everyone, while making sure that it was being fun for all. He could not have been more patient or encouraging and by the end of the week everyone had the satisfaction of having mastered new skills. The hotel was great - friendly with plenty of hearty food and skiing right from the door. Lis, Cliff and Fiona

Miss Dsilva
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

This beginner cross-country ski holiday in Venabu was excellent - great skiing, great scenery, great accommodation, absolutely superb food, & the availability of pilates-yoga sessions 3 times in the week really helped with the groaning muscles. Loved the snow-shoe day trip too.

Ms Turner
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Venabu is a wonderful location ,great skiing and food. It was my second holiday there and will definitely go back.

Miss Peters
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

The trip was everything I'd hoped for, apart from no clear skies or Northern Lights sightings - excellent ski tuition from a 'zero knowledge' starting point, amazing food, generous hospitality. The only thing I craved was a hot tub...

Mr Mcduff
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Wonderful first experience of cross-country skiing, very warm welcome and excellent food.

Very well organised trip that we much enjoyed despite a wrist fracture to one of us due to a fall while skiing. We will probably return to the same place next year.

Ms Davnall
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

10 out of 10

Very comfortable hotel, good food, set in an extensive xc ski area, which provides the perfect base for a skiing holiday. The provision of a mini bus and guide makes it easy to find the best snow on any given day. The pool and spa area gives a relaxing environment in which to unwind.

My X Country Skiing holiday in Leutasch in Jan 2018 was my first holiday with Headwater. I found the Sales/Admin staff most helpful, polite and efficient in planning my holiday and supplying me with all the correct information/ documentation. Travel arrangements were smooth, and use of the Minibus during the holiday was a massive plus enabling the group to access the various Loipes. James, our guide, was always helpful, considerate of our needs and always approachable and friendly. I found the Hotel Xander excellent, good large bedrooms, excellent selection of food at breakfast and dinner with soup, cakes, fruit etc available at lunchtime. The Spa area was excellent and much appreciated after an excellent days skiing. I would have no hesitation in booking this holiday with Headwater again and look forward to doing so next year even though it seems much too long to wait for me to be back X Country Skiing with Leutasch and the Hotel Xander as a great base. I really enjoyed all aspects of my holiday so 'Thank you'

We had a fantastic week skiing. hotel Xander was excellent in every way, especially the food. James our rep looked after us and made the holiday the best we have had for a while. He quickly understood everyone’s levels and taught us new skills so that we were quickly attempting red runs (slowly!) something we have never done before. He took us to different places each day and we really felt we had done everything we could have including a walk into Germany and a circular walk around the forests on our last morning.

Thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the holiday, everything went like clock work. Great rep, friendly, helpful and a good ski instructor. Lovely hotel - almost too much, quality food and the snow conditions were perfect.

Mrs Donnison
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

A great experience, excellent guides and attentive hotel staff. Good fun.

Ms Bolton
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Really enjoyable. Very friendly staff and fellow travellers. Fantastic food and scenery

Mr Buckland
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Great experience for cross country skiers of all abilities, including absolute beginners. Skillful tuition matched to abilities and fitness. Experienced encouraging tutors. Great for people travelling alone, in pairs or groups. Friendly, welcoming obliging hotel staff. More food than you could wave a chef at.

Mrs Ruberry
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

I first visited Venabu in 1994 - in the early days of Headwater. I have returned most winters since then - always booking with Headwater. I have never had cause to complain about anything to do with the hotel, destination, or quality of ski guiding. It is the most complete package of perfection from start to finish.

Mr Curran
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

wonderful location, plenty of ski trails, able to ski from the hotel

Mrs Hunt
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

If you enjoy staying somewhere remote, where the welcome is genuine, the food is wholesome and delicious, and the accommodation is comfortable and homely, then Venabu fits the bill. On top of that, there are extensive trails to explore, the scenery is stunning and the skiing tuition and support is excellent.

Mr Hordern
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Quite simply the best short holiday I have ever had. Wonderful location, great snow, delicious food and excellent company.

Mr Tichler
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Great package of excellent tuition, ski gear, programme and comfortable family run country hotel

Ms Heaton
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

A real experience of winter in Norway, and an antidote to grey January in the UK.

Mr Smith
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Venabu Fjellhotel is the perfect cross-country ski destination. Headwater really know what they are doing by organising the logistics of this holiday - we highly recommended!

Miss Chard
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Great fun and the best possible place to learn cross country skiing

Mrs Turton
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Venabu is a well run and comfortable hotel. The skiing programme was well organised and thought out catering for different levels of experience with a choice of tours offered each day.

Ms Singleton
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Venabu Felljhotel was excellent. What it lacked in glamour was more than made up for by the quality of the food and the excellent staff and ski guides who were so friendly and helpful. The whole experience was wonderful. My first snow holiday and I would definitely go again.

Miss Styles
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Excellent holiday for first skiiers. The guides were brilliant and the hotel kept us well fed.

Mr Oakley
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

The holiday at Venue totally lived up to 'the promise'. The skiing was excellent due to the location and the professional ability of the guides. Great holiday to go on ones' own as everyone is there for the same reason and generally with a similar background in terms of fitness and interests. When not skiing the Fjellhotel provided excellent food, a very welcome sauna and even yoga classes. With everything included in the cost the holiday was extremely good value for money. Would definitely return without question.

Mr Belson
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Regular vistor to Venabu. Great skiing, good international friends, good guides and good food. What more do you need?

Mr Sayles
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Good: - Hotel, food, weather, X-country skiing area, ski team guides and ski prep. organisation. 'Wicked' VIEWS.

Another great weeks skiing with Steve. Although the snow conditions were not the best Steve ensured we skied the best routes every day. He is a master juggler ensuring everyone's abilities are met. Nothing ever seems too much trouble

The food at the Xander remains good, however at times the waiting staff seemed stretched.

The hotel is very clean, however rooms & bathrooms could do with updating

Mr Payne
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Venabu is an excellent Cross Country skiing holiday for anybody from beginners to experienced skiers. With a good network of tracks right from the door, plus guides with the knowledge and skills to teach beginners or lead off piste tours. This is backed up by a comfortable hotel with excellent food.

Great flexibility of winter activities, as I wanted to try cross country skiing, without being committed to it. I joined the winter walking group which I really enjoyed.

Steve and Martin are excellent, very helpful and knowledgeable guides. They both know the area very well. Despite less snow than in previous years, Steve was very accommodating in where we skied and adapted his plans for the day depending on the snow conditions when needed so overall I had an excellent skiing week. Steve is a patient teacher and I improved again this year! Martin knows the area very well and provided excellent walks every day for my wife who was on a walking week. The hotel is very well situated, rooms are very spacious, the hotel is always very clean and the food is good particularly the buffet breakfasts and buffet salad bar in the evenings. There is a reasonable choice of meals in the evening and there is always a fish or vegetarian option. For those who get back early, the hotel also provides drinks, cakes or a hot meal between 2 and 4!

Mr Knight
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Very comfortable hotel with a very good, plentiful, and varied daily buffet. The guides were very thoughtful and trips they arranged excellent.

Ms Arnott
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

My first holiday with headwater - well organised and good service from agents. I travelled alone, and found the whole thing a very easy intro into x-country skiing. While Norweigans of all ages are skiing, my group was definitively middle aged and up. Staff at the hotel were ready to engage & just overall very pleasant. Guides were also easy to get on with altho I would add that while all were very knowledgeable & helpful, some were not so good at actually instructing. If you're a competent downhill skier my advice would be don't go in the beginners group, you'll be bored within 30mins because you already know what skis and poles and balancing feels like. Groups were large, if you want to experience space and peace going off by yourself or with some buddies in the afternoon would do the job. There seemed to be a good choice of equipment, I was able to change my boots after a day or so to get ones which were more comfortable. Also seemed to be in good condition (judging by the boots being clean, newish, not smelly in any way!). location of hotel is excellent for skiing out either in the groups or alone. it's as beautiful as you hope for. And handy to be able to walk down to supermarket. Meals are a buffet - the food was plentiful, delicious, and varied particularly if you eat both meat and fish. I was surprised how good it was, and lots of new things to try - the description given by Headwater of the fermented fish is offputting, but really it's not scary as long you don't stick your nose right into it! Like everyone says booze is pricey, and there's no common area to drink your own with other people (not that's allowed anyway...). I was in a double room in the older wing and it was disappointing: heating which wasn't reliable, thin curtains you could shoot peas through, duvet was short so it would cover feet or shoulders but not both (I'm 5'8'), an open electric bar heater in the bathroom, the shower curtain sticking to your legs scenario, no products except showergel - not even the ubiquitous 'bonnet de douche'. Having said that, I wasn't spending much time in my room but if there were two people it would be a bit of a squeeze finding room for clothes towels etc. Decent quality towels though. There's a separate ladies sauna and if you're prepared to walk over the corridor, up some stairs you can cool down on a tiny deck. Nice.

Headwater response:
Dear Ms Arnott,
Thank you for taking the time to complete your holiday questionnaire. Please be assured we value all of the feedback we receive, whether complimentary or constructive and use this to help us improve and develop our holidays for the future.
Firstly, it was great to see you enjoyed your holiday overall and found the service and organisation good. We were however sorry to read there were areas of your holiday which did not meet with your expectations. We have discussed your comments with our hotelier; she was pleased to hear you enjoyed your stay and would like to provide an update on some improvements they have made. They have installed new heating systems in the East Wing bathrooms. They have also added new soft furnishings to these rooms. They do not provided toiletries, with the exception of body wash, as they have found that most customers prefer to use their own hair products.
We have removed our description of the trout dish, which they serve on the buffet. This is a Norwegian delicacy and worth a try. We are sorry if our description was off putting, this was not our aim.
In closing, we would like to thank you for choosing to travel with us this winter and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Kind regards,
Headwater Customer Service team

Good venue, dedicated leader who was v. Flexible & ensured we all got the maximum from the holiday. Meals were not as a group so possibly better for couples than singles, although Steve worked hard to ensure everyone's needs were met. Hotel restaurant staff & bar v. busy and somewhat inflexible possibly as a result.

Another very enjoyable holiday x c skiing in the Leutasch area. Steve's knowledge and experience of the area and his dedication as a guide enabled us to get the most out of our week. As we had a late afternoon flight home we opted to walk on the morning of our return, rather than ski, and this was a perfect end to a very good week.

Dr Macmillan
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Excellent centre for xcskiing, both on and off trails. Could ski with guided group or without guide. Very comfortable hotel with friendly atmosphere and staff, and wonderful food.

Mrs Rowland
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Venabu is an excellent location for a cross-country skiing holiday. The hotel is very comfortable, the food is excellent, and the welcome from the family is warm and genuine. There are ski trails and tracks to suit all abilities, and plenty of guides are available. The equipment is good quality, with metal edged skis which are suitable for tracks and off-piste. We had a wonderful week in Venabu and I'd happily go back tomorrow and do it all over again! We had learnt to ski while living in Sweden 40 years ago and had not been on skis since. We had no idea if we would remember any techniques. On the last day I did a 25km 'safari' and my husband did 17km before lunch, so we felt very pleased with our progress!

Mr Carter
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

An excellent holiday for cross country ski beginners. Fabulous location. Great food. Small group. Helpful instructors.

Another great trip to Venabu, everything up to the usual standard. I particularly like the inclusion of Pilates and Yoga sessions, along with the option of booking a Massage. Good for tired muscles!

One week's cross-country skiing in Leutasch, Austria. Magical setting which prolonged the traditional White Christmas experience. Great tuition and guided skiing in stunning countryside.

A great holiday with an excellent guide and hotel in a very scenic area.

Sue and I had never tried Nordic skiing before, but with Steve the ever helpful guide providing tips along the way and his encyclopaedic knowledge of the valley and the loipes around the area, we are sure to try it again. The Xander provides comfortable rooms, but out does itself at meal times. The breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner, in reality constitute full board. All that is 'required' is the occasional hot chocolate to warm up mid ski. A spectacular valley, and an active holiday that can be as hard or easy physically as you wish, and all the while Steve will facilitate mixed groups with ease and plenty of laughter along the way.

This holiday delivers in all respects.

Mrs Cornthwaite
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

We spent Christmas in the Fjellhotel at Venabu and learned to cross country ski. The tuition and guidance was excellent. The area is perfect for skiing with well maintained ski pistes, ski runs and signposts which clearly show distances travelled and points of interest, it is a really beautiful and unspoilt area. Maps are supplied so it is impossible to get lost, well thought through. The ski guides are excellent, friendly and versatile. The food is exceptionally good with many healthy options and cuisine for all tastes. Our only disappointment was the room for which I had paid an upgrade after taking advice from a Headwater representative by phone before booking. It was very tired and drab, poor decor and no facilities as advertised, such as Minibar, Hairdryer, TV and Wi-Fi. (Wi-fi is only obtainable in the main lounge of hotel). I checked twice with reception, that this was indeed an 'Upgraded room!' I would advise taking a head torch to

read/see clearly for cards/hand crafts, as the lighting in the hotel lounge is very poor and there are 18 hours of darkness at this time of year.

Thoroughly enjoyable XC skiing in a stunning mountainous location and at the end of every day a very comfortable hotel awaited us.

Fantastic holiday in a lovely setting

Martin was an excellent guide very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. The walks he planned were varied and suited to the days weather.

Mr Hordern
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

This was a brilliant holiday away from the crowds, aggro and danger associated with downhill skiing. I seldom go away alone but the company of like minded people was great. Food excellent, location brilliant - what more can I say. Cross country skiing is hard work - you need to be fit to enjoy it.

Ms Foster
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

A great holiday. The skiing was excellent and the quality of the guiding superb. We were really lucky to have great weather. The extra activities available by the hotel (snow shoeing, night skiing, horse drawn sled ride etc.) really added to the experience. The food was plentiful and, as vegetarians, we were well catered for - although the food was a bit richer than I am used to. I really liked the fact that we did lots of off-track skiing. The final day's trip to the hut was a real highlight. The hotel is traditional and some of its rooms are in dire need of an upgrade - that said, the staff are great, it's a good location and the beds were comfortable.

Mr Queen
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Very good hotel with friendly staff and guides, in a fantastic location.

Ms Robson
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

The package provided by Headwater was excellent for the solo traveller as it included everything I needed to try xc skiing for the first time. The group approach made it a lovely week; small groups for skiing at different levels each day meant I always had people to ski with. The hotel is friendly and comfortable and ideally situated in the middle of miles of routes. Will definitely be going back!

A gentle skiing experience.

Ms Jessop
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Fantastic service from initial phone conversation with headwater to the holiday itself.

the cross country skiing was fantastic, and there were groups to suit every ability. The ski guides were all friendly and encouraging and the hotel accommodation laid back and welcoming. Overall a great experience.

Thanks for organising a wonderful holiday.

apart from not being picked up at the airport a well organised and enjoyable holiday in a good area with a good instructor and very good accomodation

Another very good cross country skiing holiday here during February with good snow conditions. Steve's expertise and his skill in organising a group with varying abilities is amazing - a very enjoyable week.

Dr Nesbitt
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Well organised trip,excellent food, rural location, plenty of opportunities for independent exploration as well as guided activities

Mr Price
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

We loved our first experience of cross-country skiing. The ski guides were outstanding, and all staff at the hotel were most friendly and helpful. The food was superb, with a vast array of different dishes at every meal. The skiing area around Venabu is beautiful, with a huge variety of tracks to cater for beginners and intermediates - not being experts, we can't comment on suitability for them. We also loved the snow shoe expedition, and a couple of yoga sessions - both included in the holiday cost. In fact, everything that was needed was included in the price, and it would have been possible to have a good holiday wiothout spending any money locally. All in all, a great holiday.

Mrs Turnbull
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

We had a great time. The skiing was excellent and we particularly enjoyed the guided ski tours which took us to different areas every day. We loved the walk on snowshoes to the waterfall too.

Mr Clague
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Thoroughly enjoyable, met a great bunch of people and skied in a magnificent location.

Mrs Telford
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Wonderful experience. Excellent location , great tuition great guides

Enjoyable. Very good location (as long as lots of snow). Very good guide, learnt a lot and all in group improved a great deal by end of week. Mini bus a complete bonus. Small groups. Distance from airport to location less than an hour.

Mis Ross
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

There is no better place to cross country ski than Venabu. Food, accommodation and quality of Guiding is excellent and Line, Robert, Wenche and the rest of the team maintain their standards year in year out. A unique place.

A fantastic week learning to cross country ski. Our rep, Steve, made it all completely effortless - getting us to and from the resort, teaching us how to ski, making sure we were always well-fed and watered and ensuring we got to the best snow every day - could not fault it.

This was my fifth visit to Leutasch to enjoy cross country ski ing. Steve, the Headwater representative, is very professional, friendly and excellent at assessing the skill levels of individuals and ensuring that the day's activities are planned to meet all needs. Thoroughly recommend this holiday.

The Leutasch Valley is a brilliant base for xc skiing - and Hotel Xander in Kirchplatzl, enabled skiing almost direct from the door. Steve our guide and mentor was brilliant in his teaching and giving help and advice and managed always to pop up just at the right place if we ever had a query. (Haven't a clue how he always achieved that - although he knows the area so well and is a much better map reader than I!) The hotel is lovely and quiet, although the bulk and volume of food was enough to sink a battleship. And the staff could have done with a crash course at a charm school to learn to smile a little more! Shame there was no lounge area to enable you to chill out in, read a book or have a cuppa - I generally went back to my room after supper on account of this and if you're on your own, this did make it a little flat. You don't always want to hang out in the bar. And since there were no local facilities to visit without a 30 min yomp, you did need a good supply of books and your room fridge well stocked! Go for the Stempel stamp collecting system - gives a real target to clock up the km!

Dr MacMillan
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Excellent area for xc skiing, and hotel, equipment, staff also excellent

Mrs Goodfellow
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

This holiday delivered exactly what it said on the box- fantastic, extensive, well maintained ski-ing area, a friendly sports hotel, likeminded guests, great hospitality, superb ski instructors and guides.

Don't go if you want a modern, five start hotel, but do consider it if you love XC skiing or want to try it for the first time.

It was a magical week. The location of the hotel and it's facilities was perfect. I really appreciated the welcoming and informal atmosphere.

Our cross-country skiing adventure was very versatile. We were faced with different challenges every day.

Our instructor and guide was always on hand to help and encourage us. He filled us in on local historical and geographical facts and his sense of humour and vivid anecdotes made for a very entertaining week.

The beautiful winter landscape made my dream come true!

Brilliant holiday thanks to Steve who made sure we were all really well looked after, no matter what our abilities or fitness. I definitely recommend this beginners week for anyone venturing into cross-country skiing for the first time. The itinerary was flexible, enabling Steve to select the location according to the weather conditions & our abilities. Had it not been for Steve, I suspect we would have been going round & round the local loipe and would have missed out on much of this beautiful area. We had absolute confidence in his judgement of what we could safely tackle. He was able to push us just beyond our comfort zone, enabling us to progress further than we would have done with a few 2 hour sessions in ski school. Guests from another company were clearly envious of our experience & may well be future clients of Headwater. The hotel was very comfortable & had a great wellness centre - as long as you don't mind doing saunas the European way. The food was plentiful & mostly very good. The service was variable but amiable.

Mr Ferdenzi
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

We would recommend a cross-country ski holiday at this friendly. laid-back resort. The area was lovely and it felt so peaceful because we had it all to ourselves!.The food was bountiful, imaginative and always of high quality. The staff were helpful and leaving the resort felt like leaving friends. The tuition was excellent, the ski tours good and varied. The wireless was reliable. The rooms, though small, were adequate for a week. It was useful to have a drying room for damp clothing and the saunas were good and well-used. The transfers to and from the (Oslo) airport were good and reliable.

Mis Kerridge
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Amazing trip to get away from everyday life, relax and enjoy the mountains. Richard was a brilliant guide and teacher. Loved the snow shoeing and husky dogs too. Food was superb and never ending...fantastic. Can't wait to go again

We love the Leutasch for skiing holidays for many reasons, notably:

- The fact that the hotel provides a friendly welcome and is situated right in the heart of the extensive ski area (catering for all levels of ability),

- The transfer from the Airport is quick,

- The accommodation and food are good

- Above all - Steve's guiding and extensive knowledge of the area adds tremendous value.

- This why we have returned for the last 5 years and why we are planning to return.

great holiday in a very beautiful place. Hotel meet all expectations with wonderful views, food and staff. Steve took great care of us all adapting to our ever changing needs and helping to accommodate a party with very different needs and abilities. it all added up to a fantastic holiday. thank you to all who made it happen.

Mrs Gillott
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

The guides were fantastic, food amazing. Unfortunately xc skiing is not for us.

Steve,the resort host, couldn't do enough for the group during the week, always making sure that clients had skiing applicable to their abilities (from beginners to seasoned skiers). Even on his day off, he showed up at the hotel in the morning and ferried 4 of us to another village, rather than have us catch the bus. The skiing was good and we were blessed with good conditions. Trail preparation was also good, with only 2 tracks remaining closed all week. However, the area overstates how many kilometres of trails there actually are, counting shared classic and skating runs twice. The Xander is a pleasant, not overly large hotel with good, if sometimes busy, facilities. It is somewhat remote, being in a small hamlet, but because of this, it is very quiet, with no nighttime noise. The normal rooms were huge, bordering on suite size. The food was good and plentiful (afternoon 'tea' was a real bonus) with most courses being buffet style. It is as well to have some supplies in your room if like a night cap, as the bar closes if there are no customers around (we returned from a post dinner walk to find the bar closed by 9:30). With the blessedly short transfer from Innsbruck (less than an hour) and the early flight, our room was not ready on arrival, as were others. Given that this is the time that Headwater clients always arrive, I would have thought that the hotel would make sure that clients were ready to be shown their rooms upon arrival.

A very good holiday with an excellent rep. We expect to return next year.

This was our first time cross-country skiing and we are totally hooked. This is due to the beautiful location; perfect snow, and the excellent instruction that we received.

We appreciated the flexibility Steve offered in our itinerary. Great area for xcroutry sking with good variety of terrain and routes. Would have been happy with more rustic accommodation with log fire in a communal area and less food would have been fine!

Mr Tomkinson
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

I decided to take a cross-country skiing holiday at the Venabu Fjellhotel after reading the recommendations left by previous visitors on the Headwater website which I fully endorse. The hotel was comfortable with welcoming, friendly staff. The food was wonderful & plentiful - 5 course lunches & dinners with many different dishes to choose from.

The ski tour leaders were excellent.They gave advice on skiing techniques and also explained features of the landscape, plus details of the local flora & fauna which added to the enjoyment of the tours.

I stayed in a single room in the East Wing which was adequate if a tad on the small side. Larger rooms are available in the West Wing for a supplement. Tea & coffee was not provided in the room, but is available in the public rooms at no extra charge.

I met several guests in the hotel who had stayed there before & one person was on his fifteenth visit! I, also, hope to make a return trip to this hotel at some point as it is an excellent centre for cross-country skiing with many kilometres of waymarked loipen from the hotel.

The only improvement I can think of is that it would nice if the hotel had a swimming pool!

Mrs McKown
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

This beginners week in Venabu was in my opinion the perfect introduction to the delights of cross country skiing .

The all inclusive package insulates you from the normal expense of a holiday in Norway in this snow assured area .

The hotel was charming all the staff friendly and we wanted for nothing during our stay .

The room was warm and comfortable , the food plentiful with all tastes catered for and truly excellent .

Our ski instructors,Richard and Siobhan were great .

There wasn't a direct flight from Manchester to Oslo but that is the only downside to this holiday !

I rarely return to the same location for holidays but I can see why people do for this holiday and I think it will be very difficult to

match this experience and overall value , so I might well be back again !

Dr Barton
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

A really good experience - excellent organisation, beautifully located hotel with comfortable accommodation and lots of really good food, great skiing tuition tailored to our needs, huge choice of ski routes and other options such as snow shoe trekking - and other guests in the hotel were really friendly and good company. Hard to beat!

Mis Ross
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Venabu is the best place for cross country ski-ing. No matter what your level of experience is, you will be well looked after and have a great week.

Mr Mitchell
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Overall very good , although due to exchange rates Prices are high compared to hotel prices

Extensive area for cross country skiing with good walking options when snow condition poor. Knowledgeable, enthusiastic and helpful local representative.

Steve, Steve, Steve...was brillant...his coaching was very relaxed and got the group finding their 'ski feet' quickly. I had done some downhill skiing in my youth but never expected to xc ski so far and in so many different areas during the week! We must have done most of the blue routes in the valley and beyond with the added benefit of the use of Steve's minibus. I'm definitly hooked...wish I'd tried xc skiing years ago!

Although there was insufficient snow for any real skiing we still had a fantastic holiday. Steve organised great walks with options for everyone. He is an excellent guide. The spa at the hotel was an additional treat.

Mr Kennedy
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Although the accommodation is dated at this hotel, it is more than adequate, clean and comfortable. The family welcome, ambiance and excellent wholesome food, makes this a holiday worth repeating.

The teaching instruction we had was excellent and we were extremely well looked after. The guides went out of their way to ensure we had a rewarding and enjoyable introduction to XC skiing even though we were reluctant to go up or down hills!!

Mrs Ruberry
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

This was coming up to our 20th visit to Venabu. For us it is more like 'going home' to see friends and family than a basic holiday. Venabu is a unique destination.

We had a fabulous holiday. There were only two of us on the holiday and Steve was amazing! My wife hadn't done x-country skiing before but Steve made sure she was very competent within a few days and we couldn't have asked for or received more attention.

The hotel was your 'alternative' hotel. I have stayed at the Zander twice before and was a little apprehensive. However the Hubertishof was excellent. All the staff were very attentive and friendly. The food was superb, particularly the dinners in the evening. The swimming pool, sauna and steam room were spotless and easily accessible. The hotel was a little way out of town but there was a bus stop nearby and the town was 8 minutes away. The hotel had a sister hotel in town where we could take tea in the afternoon at no extra cost and if we missed the bus they would offer us a free transfer. We gave the hotel a top rating on Trip Adviser.

The ski trails were outside the hotel door and it was easy to skip back to the hotel in the late afternoon from town. Overall I thought the hotel better than the Zander.

Mrs Freedman
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

The hotel is really welcoming, and the ski guides and the food both excellent. This was my fifth visit.

Mrs Hughes
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Great introduction to XC skiing. Wonderul scenery, lots of snow. Amazing food!

Mrs Hannah
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Venabu is the perfect winter 'get-away-from-it-all' destination, and great for immersing yourself in learning how to cross-country ski. It was lovely staying in a hotel that is still owned & managed by the original family. The instructors were superb, and really made the holiday for me. We had an American, Richard , and his lovely wife Siobhan with our beginners group. They were so experienced, yet incredibly patient, enthusiastic and encouraging and displayed such a passion in passing on their expertise. It made for a brilliant holiday!

Mr Bruce
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Family friendly hotel with relaxed atmosphere with excellent food and facilities for Crosscountry skiing

Ms Turner
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Wonderful holiday in the most amazing,quiet location. Stunning views from the hotel which was run by lovely staff. Will probably go again next year!

Cross country skiing guides were great and patient with us novice skiers! Went out on some great trips.

A very enjoyable Xmas break. Great location, guides, hotel, and weather!

There was no natural snow in the resort, but enough man-made snow was put down to ensure some x-country skiing in the mornings.

In the afternoons, we went for extremely pleasant walks along the many sign-posted trails.

Ms Sholer
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

A great experience trying something new in a fairly remote location in Norway. Ideal for getting away from city life, we really enjoyed the cross-country skiing and found it reasonably easy to pick up (some downhill ski experience does help). The food at the hotel was excellent, including for vegetarians which I wasn't expecting.

Ms Sinclair
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

It was the first time I had travelled alone but I had no problem making friends. There were 11 others in the group and they were really fun to be with. The hotel staff were friendly and helpful especially the tour guides. The skiing was brilliant helped by amazing scenery and blue skies most days. The food on offer for breakfast, lunch and dinner had to be seen to be believed! I especially enjoyed the Norwegian buffet. There were lots of little touches which made the holiday more enjoyable, such as having your flask filled with hot chocolate each morning and relaxing in the sauna after a long day's skiing! Altogether one of the best holidays I have had

Mrs Harbach
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

The entire Headwater team was extremely professional and accommodating. They were most helpful (especially Donna Webber) in sorting out a more 'tailor made' holiday to suit our particular requirements and we couldn't have been more delighted with the end result. The Venabu Fjellhotell was quite simply one of the best hotels we have stayed in in terms of friendliness, warmth of welcome, quality of food and skiing tuition. We will definitely be going again - thank you to everyone for helping to give us such a wonderful holiday.

Mrs Shotton
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Excellent location for cross country skiing, very good twin room, friendly staff, amazing food,

Steve is an excellent guide and very accommodating. Leutasch is a beautiful area to ski, walk and relax in.

Steve made the holiday special. With welcome good humour he made everything but everything work: travel to and from airport, managing the varied abilities of skiers, being available for any problems and proving excellent company. Steve is worth every penny for Headwater.

Mrs Mortley
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

The Venabu hotel has things just right. The rooms and public areas are comfortable and homely, the food is good and staff are welcoming and helpful. This was our first cross country skiing trip. The equipment and tuition were good and the instructors knowledgeable and friendly doing all they could to ensure everyone has the best experience. A great holiday.

Mr Caldwell
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Everything it promised and more. The guides, instructors and staff were outstanding. The food and extra activities like yoga mean that this could be a great wellness break in its self, add in the great skiing and beautiful landscape and it has everything you could want.

I have been on many cross-country skiing holidays & consider that this one has been the best to date. Leutasch is an excellent location & I enjoyed my stay at the Hotel Xander. The food & facilities there were very good. The snow conditions were ideal & we had a great leader - Steve is the font of all knowledge regarding the trails in the area & provided a high degree of support for the group. I particularly liked the way in which he managed to accommodate the different levels within the party, plus the use of a minibus was an added bonus as it beats waiting around for public transport at the end of the day if you were not skiing back to the hotel. This is the first holiday I've been on where the leader had a minibus.

Third consecutive year in Leutasch and pleased to find Steve continues to guide this holiday. He is so encouraging and helpful whatever the ability group, and this plays such a huge part in the success of the holiday. We were very fortunate with the weather for our week, the sun shone every day and the snow conditions good. We chose to walk on our 'free day' and thoroughly enjoyed the route - easily following the walking signs. The hotel offers good accommodation with excellent food. The staff are welcoming and efficient and the Gala Dinner was good fun.

Well planned and executed holidays. Headwater take the hassle out of arranging holidays, so that you can have more fun.

Mrs Williams
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Venabu offers excellent skiing, knowledgeable guiding and fabulous food.

Ms Edwards
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

An excellent week with everything just as described on the website. Great service from the whole team at Venabu and a superb choice of food at every meal. Snow-shoeing in fresh snow down to a frozen waterfall was the highlight of my week.

We had another great week in the Leutasch. The Headwater rep,Steve, is a tremendous ambassador for Headwater.. He really goes out of his way to ensure that everyone, no matter what their level of ability, gets the most out of their holiday. His knowledge of the ski terrain and how to adapt the day's schedule to the weather conditions really makes the most of the time available. My wife managed to get her Gold Badge this year due in no small degree to Steve's recommended routes for each day (as well as her own efforts of course!).

The Hotel food was back up to its previous good standard this year and their Gala evening in 1920s style was great fun and a big success. We are already looking forward to our next ( and 6th ) holiday in the Leutasch.

Mrs Simpson
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Very relaxing. Everything organised for my daughter and I. Hassle free. Excellent holiday.

This was our second time on this holiday and it completely lived up to our expectations.

Hotel and area great. Steve an excellent host, catered well for a mixed ability group. He went out of his way to help all of us.

We had a fabulous cross-country skiing holiday in Leutasch. Everything was perfect - which is what we expect from Headwater. The location of the hotel and the quality of service and food were superb. Steve Barrington our instructor was faultless and nothing was too much trouble. He spent so much time with me trying to perfect my basic skiing technique. His humour and patience deserve a medal.

A perfect holiday in a perfect location.

Another fabulous holiday - with nothing being a problem. From the helpfulness of the office team when we changed our booking through to lack of snow in Dobbiaco, through to the great week of skiing with Steve in Leutasch. Steve is a master juggler ensuring everyone's skiing levels were accounted for & also a great guide. The quality of the food at The Xander has improved & is of a high standard with plenty of choice & variety. The snow conditions were fab & there was plenty of blue skies & sunshine. Another great week of skiing - a very big thank you to Steve for an enjoyable & memorable week - already planning our return for next winter.

A sociable holiday. Great guides. Lovely way to experience the country. Well worth getting fit over several months prior to holiday as this will ease you in and avoid physical strains.

I would recommend this holiday to anyone who likes exercising outdoors, followed by comfort and LOTS of food. Spent a long time looking at reviews for similar holidays, and I feel I made the right choice- I was not disappointed.

Mrs Eidahl
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Wonderful! Great variety of skiing routes. Great guides - great people. A very unique family run hotel that is very international. Everyone feels at home.

Great fun even though a beginner,great group of people,hotel was perfect,and the food was top notch.

Steve's guiding and tuition in cross country skiing made the holiday. Cross country skiing is very energetic and requires balance. We had thought we were quite fit! We went to two mornings langlauf school to start, it was very useful.

Thank you Steve for a fantastic week . Leutasch is beautiful. One of the best holidays we have been on. Food was delicious, and Xander very comfortable. Would definitely go back. The winter walks were also beautiful.

Short transfer time was good too.

We had a fantastic skiing holiday at Leutasch, returning to the same destination for the seventh time. The trails are excellent and we like the fact that you can get straight onto the snow from the door of the hotel. It is great to have access to the spa facilities at Hotel Xander to relax after a full day's skiing and Steve is an excellent tour leader. In fact he is one of the main reasons we return to the same place each year. Just keep giving us more of the same.

The holiday was an enjoyable cross country skiing experience. The holiday area provides varied challenges and much enjoyment for people of all levels of track cross country skiing ability. Steve Barrington provides excellent leadership and support to each and every person in the group, whatever their capabilities, without favour.

Our Leader Steve was excellent - friendly and knowledgeable and made sure everyone had a great holiday even though we were at different levels and had different needs. The hotel was brilliantly located and you could ski from the door.The bus stop is a few steps from the hotel reception too, so you couldn't be better located. The hotel has huge buffets and a complimentary 'afternoon tea' which is more like a late lunch - a vast tureen of soup, bread, salad, pasta and several types of cakes. Dinners involve several courses - some of which are a little variable in quality, but there is choice. The traditional Austrian food is done very well (eg roast meats, trout and almonds, wiener schntizel) but some of the others eg sushi or blackberry juice with a yellow pepper skewer - were not quite as succesful. Amazing cheeseboards - as good as France.

Only gripes - the hotel charges for tap water which we questioned since it, well comes out of a tap and should therefore be free? The hotel, unusual for a 4 Star establishment, also charges for its Wifi - which in most hotels nowadays is free. The Wifi is exceptionally slow - found it could tkae 1/2 hr to send an email. Especially annoying as you are having to pay for it. Otherwise, an absolutely lovely hotel and recommended.

Very good holiday. Very lucky with the amount of snow having changed resorts. The service from some of the waiters, waitresses and receptionist could have been more polite. They were very rude at times. We were the customers, although it wasn't always obvious.

Wonderful hotel with very relaxed and friendly atmosphere, and beautiful location on edge of Rondane national park. Ski trails for all abilities. Food and catering outstanding as were hospitality and helpfulness of hotel reception and dining room staff. Excellent sauna and free yoga classes available. Massage also available at additional charge.

The provided holiday is inclusive of a full week's guided tours and also 3 very substantial meals a day. If this is more than what some travellers are looking for, the hotel itself provides a range of other flexible options. Journey time from Oslo airport is ca 3 hours by arranged coach but the hotel will also organise collection from the nearest train station for those travelling independently.

We had never skied before so this was a real adventure and we were not disappointed. We had a fabulous time and loved that we could ski in the morning and after lunch we were able to go for a walk along one of the many well marked routes. We are already thinking g about doing it again next hear. Steve was an excellent guide and teacher - so patient.

We had an excellent holiday. Steve our guide was brilliant. He very quickly gauged the different abilities of the group, and ensured that we all got what we wanted / needed from the holiday. Didn't really want to leave, can't wait to go back!

The snow was fantastic, hotel comfy, food excellent. Headwater staff were very helpful and accommodating when I made last minute change from Dobbiaco to Leutasch (3/4 weeks before departure) due to lack of snow in Italy.

This was our second cross country skiing holiday at the Xander Hotel and we had a great time again. Thankfully it snowed just before we arrived and the conditions were very good. Steve looked after us fantastically again and our skiing is improving under his guidance.

The Xander Hotel maintains its high standards and the food was excellent. Slight criticisms would be the lack of a bar area to relax in after dining in the evening, the cold swimming pool and the off putting no swimming costume policy in the spa and sauna!

However these are minor quibbles, overall we had a great holiday and hope to be back again one day.

We have been skiing in Leutasch on several occasions, so it must be good! We were lucky with the snow, and enjoyed every day out on the runs. Steve Barrington is excellent and could not be more helpful and worked hard to ensure that all members of the party had good, suitable days out. This often involved difficult logistical problems of driving people to different locations and classes. We do not understand why Headwater do not have such reps in other locations. The food at the Hotel Xander has returned to the high standard that we had come to expect but which did fall last year. We understand that a former chef had returned. It was well worth arranging the day around the afternoon cakes! The staff too were good. Thank you all, especially Steve.

This was a brilliant holiday! Steve did a great job of assessing our abilities and catering to all our skiing needs. The food at the hotel was fantastic and should be described as 'full-board' due to the afternoon tea being way more than just tea and cake! This was a prefect place for XC skiing and with so many different runs available it is suitable for all levels of skier. We has never skied before but by the end of the week we were on the black runs!

Headwater response:
Dear Mr Brodd, Thank you for taking the time to complete your post-holiday questionnaire feedback. We were pleased to see that Steve took good care of you and that you managed to ski black runs by the end of the week, that was great progress! I have passed on your feedback to Steve and the Hotelier at the Xander, they were both delighted to receive your positive comments. We would like to thank you for travelling with Headwater this winter and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future.
Yours sincerely,
Headwater customer service team

Mr Manvell
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Good skiing opportunities in a very scenic location; good equipment with knowledgeable and helpful guides.

Family hotel, excellent food, good facilities - sauna, massage, yoga, fitness room, games rooms, horse drawn sleighs, dog sledding, board games, music / dancing. Excellent selection of wines to match some very good food - lots of choice at the buffets. Special Norwegian buffet was very impressive at New Year.

All staff we encountered were very friendly and helpful. We met lots of returning clients. Free WifI was a bonus.

Good location to offer snow shoeing weeks as well as skiing. Ski instruction was first class, good boots, good skiis, great guides and well equipped ski room.

Local supermarket well stocked for any emergencies or forgotten items.

It was a brilliant experience. We arrived to find no snow in Leutasch and little prospect of cross-country skiing at Christmas for the first time in ten years. Our Headwater guide Steve did a brilliant job in taking us walking for two days, understanding our abilities and that we liked a bit of a challenge and then finding us man-made Loipen in Leutasch and Seefeld. It snowed on our penultimate day (Christmas Day) and Steve introduced us to the joys of getting into, across and down virgin snow covered fields and slopes. The Hotel Xander is an excellent 'off the beaten track' location and a wonderful place to spend Christmas. We would like to come back!

Headwater response:
Dear Mr James, Thank you for taking the time to complete your post holiday questionnaire and for the feedback you have provided. It was great to see that the snow eventually fell and you were able to enjoy the cross country skiing and winter walking.I have passed your comments on to Steve and Christine, they were delighted to hear your lovely feedback.They do work really hard to ensure our customers have the best holiday possible, with or without the snow!
We would like to thank you for choosing Headwater for your winter holiday and look forward to welcoming you on another of our holidays in the future. Yours sincerely, Headwater customer service team

Very good holiday. Second year cross-country skiing in same resort - complete beginners last year. With thanks to Steve's excellent tuition and patience last year have been able to further improve this year, once again with Steve at the helm!

Ms Kitchen
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Remember to bring a pair of walking boots in order to best enjoy the excellent snowshoeing trip, usually run on Wednesdays! Everything else is catered for on this excellent week for either complete beginners or improvers in cross-country skiing. The Tvete family at the Fjellhotel are not only friendly and welcoming, but also extremely well organised and hard working. The scenery is so stunning that the odd grey day doesn't matter.

Mrs Heywood
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

First holiday on my own, and despite my worries, I was made to feel welcome by the members of my group...experienced warm and friendly company from fellow holiday members, hotel staff and guides.....a busy and active holiday, wonderful scenery, great for me as an important part of the holiday for me is to paint the landscape.

Mrs Cartwright
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Venabu is an ideal resort for cross country skiing. The guides at the hotel are brilliant and make the holiday a memorable experience.

Mr Payne
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

We have been to 6 different XC Sking venues with Headwater and Venabu is consistantly the best. Excellent variety and length of ski tracks from easy starts near the hotel to Challenging hills within 5km. Food is always of good choice, well prepared and generous in quantity for hungry skiers. The guides are knowledgable, helpful and good instructors for beginners and more experienced skiers - particularly Robert Molnar, who is a good allround athlete as well as good skier and an excellent instructor. For the above reasons we have now been to Venabu 11 times and we meet friends who also return each year from UK, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Canada.

Definitely an activity holiday and if you are with a keen fit group it is hard work a nd a good level of fitness is required.

It is hard for the guide to cater for mixed ability clients.

Steve Barington is an exceptionally nice chap. He went out of his way to see that we got the most from our holiday and even gave up some of his day off.

He couldn't have been more helpful in ferrying us around and guiding us.

From what we saw of Chrisie she was equally nice.

The girls at reception at Hotel Xander were helpful The waitresses, who were mainly Hungarian, were both good and fun.

Breakfasts were fine but the evening meals were disappointing. The menus were OK but the quality of the cooking was not great.

The afternoon cakes and tarts were a great disappointment.--- Not up to Austrian standard!

It was difficult to obtain a drink if one returned to the hotel between 1 and 2pm.

The cleaning of our room was substandard. The bath was only cleaned once during the week and bars of soap were not replaced.

We had sunny weather and an excellent holiday due in mainly to Steve's input.

Another fantastic well run xc skiing holiday by Steve. Steve is an outstanding guide whose knowledge of the snow conditions and selection of trails made the very best of tricky weather conditions. He has an uncanny knack of balancing the needs of the group, and each individual - we chose to take up the challenge of the 'xc badge ' and with the help of Steve's knowledge of the area, he helped us achieve a Silver Badge. We intend to book next year and go for Gold!

Headwater are a very good company to deal with, they are professional and efficient.

Mrs Williams
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Venabu is the perfect place for all generations to enjoy cross country skiing.

Mis Smith
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

An invigorating break in a beautiful location with great food and wonderful guides

This is our fifth consecutive holiday at this destination and we think it was the best. Steve Barrington is an excellent Rep/Tour Leader and - as I've said before, has the unique ability to ensure each and every person has the best holiday possible. We felt the quality of cuisine at Hotel Xander was not as good as other years but the overall comfort and condition of the facilities was as good as ever. We would definitely consider booking the same holiday again.

Wonderful location, duvets size snowflakes

Steve was an excellent guide,patient and diligent. And with a great sense of humour

Mis Ross
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

There is no where better to cross country ski than Venabu.

Ms Charlton
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Fantastic scenery, excellent ski tuition, warm & welcoming hotel.

Just what I needed to start the new year.

Message for hotel- Hotel was comfy but needs to update accommodation. Message for ski instructors - good instruction but need to keep us moving in such cold temperatures so our muscles dont freeze up. Wenche paced things well and kept us moving.

Headwater response:

Excellent. The guide/rep Steve Barrington was fantastic. His communication and teaching skills are magnificent. I would recommend anyone to go with Headwater if they could be assured that their rep was anywhere near the level of professionalism demonstrated by Steve.

Dr Winslow
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Very good. Vegetarian food a bit variable

Mr Williams
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

An excellant t

no faults , except very disappointing snow conditions , so I would probably not book so far ahead should I choose to repeat this type of holiday .

We thoroughly ejoyed our second holiday with Headwater at the Hotel Xander in the Leutasch Valley. It was lovely to be recognised and remembered by the hotel staff. The New Year's Eve Gala Dinner was excellent and the standard of food and service was once again superb.

It was our first time cross country skiing and with the help, guidance and patience of Steve we were soon up and running and hope to return next year to improve further.

Our holiday reps the Barringtons were superb. By the end of the holiday they were like friends who cannot do enough for you.

This was our second time to Leutasch and the Xander Hotel and we weren't disappointed. Excellent food and service. The snow conditions weren't ideal but Steve Barrington with his usual enthusiasm found us descent locations every day so we able to ski. Thoroughly enjoyed the holiday which was an great way to unwind after a hectic Christmas and New Year.

Sporthotel Xander is an excellent base for cross country skiing for people of all abilities. The local rep Steve Barrington is an interesting character and very proficient at guiding beginners taking there first steps, encouraging intermediates to progress and advising on routes for the more advanced. Definitely a place to visit at least once in your skiing career!

Leutasch is an excellent Cross Country Ski area with also scope for beautiful and easy walking. The Hotel Xander has a very good location for the ski trails and walks and is served by a good bus system. It is located in a quiet village which suited us but might be too quiet for some. The guides were extremely helpful and were a major contribution to our enjoyment of the holiday.

Overall the holiday delivered a good level of comfort with regards the hotel especially as it was a Christmas break. The locality was excellent for x-skiing. The arrangements for guests to take lessons at the local ski school was of great benefit to myself and contributed to the enjoyment of the rest of the holiday.

Overall a great holiday. Shame about the poor snow which is a risk in a low lying area of Austria. The hotel was great, the rooms really big and comfortable and the sauna, spa, swimming pool a real asset and lovely at the end of the day. Be prepared for some regimentation at meal times; just ever so slightly disconcerting as a single traveller to be allocated a table on day 1 and told that's where you are sitting, and that's who you are sitting with, for the entire holiday.

Mr Manning
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Excellent hotel for friendliness and Norwegian culture, especially at Christmas. The food was outstanding. We were complete novices so the cross country skiing was challenging, but the ski guides were helpful, patient and encouraging. A sauna on site was most welcome.

Ms Davies
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

The hotel at venabu was excellent. Top notch in all aspects.

I was however extremely disappointed that we had to leave at 9am, and duly spend 3 to 4 hours sitting in the airport waiting for the flight home.

Considering we travelled through ringebu, then past Lillehammer, within the context of a high cost holiday, not permitting us an hour or so to spend in these places seems very mean spirited.

For this reason I would hesitate to recommend headwater. I cannot fault the hotel, so would recommend people to make there own way there .

Our fifth Headwater holiday, his was a terrific trip. We were blessed with excellent weather but even without this the Xander Hotel was brilliant, excellent food, very good service and facilities including a really nice pool, use it in the morning or late afternoon and you could well have it to yourself. The other major success of this holiday is the resident rep Steve Barrington, he did everything he could to make sure we got the most out of our skiing. As first timers to the sport he gave confidence and led us through all the basic techniques extremely well ensuring we had maximum time out on the snow. His enthusiasm was great and he went out of his way to fix any issues, e.g. getting a leaking ski boot replaced. We'll be back next year so long as Steve's there to lead the group.

Mr Payne
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Venabu is an excellent XC ski centre with reliable snow. It has a much better quantity and range of tracks than any of the mid/southern european resorts. With gentle undulating tracks close to the hotel and hills 5 - 7 km away for the more adveturous amongst us. The guides, Robert and Wenche are vey good teachers and guides. The hotel accomodation is comfortable and the food is very good.

This is an excellent XC skiing holiday for beginners and experinced skiiers.

We thoroughly enjoyed our 1st (and not to be last) Nordic skiing holiday.

Hotel was ideally situated, in a stunning location. It was quiet and comfortable.

Steve and his wife Christine, were excellent hosts. Nothing was too much trouble, and their local knowledge was exemplary.

Everything went very smoothly.

Steve was a patient tutor and had a great sense of humour.

Skiing excellent (not very busy even though it was 1/2 term) and scenery beautiful.

We only wish we could have stayed a bit longer!

Our 4th cross-country skiing trip with Headwater and second destination allowing us to compare between Austria and Norway. Clearly we like cross-country skiing or this would not be our 4th trip, and are happy using Headwater and we would still do so. The guides (Robert - Norway, Stephen - Austria) are excellent and make the whole experience fun with their teaching and humour. As they know each other we encouraged a bit of friendly rivalry.

Order, impeccable extensive tracks, graded blue, red & black, both classic and skating, at time 3 lanes in both directions and with busy periods of the day before people disappear into the numerous atmospheric cafes for apple-strudel and hot drinks this is Austria. Norway on the other hand offers a less formal experience and on some remote tracks seeing few people and more opportunity to go off-piste to catch a glimpse of the reindeer. Packed lunch without returning to the hotel allows for more adventure. In the UK a similar comparison might be between the Lake District and Wester Ross in the Highlands of Scotland. Both holidays have been a real great experience and we have every expectation of repeating them again in the future.

This was our first experience of cross country skiing and for myself skiing of any sort! Our guide Steve came highly recommended and without doubt proved to be an excellent guide and instructor - first class tuition with an abundance of patience!

Location for cross country skiing was very good. Steve was a very good teacher and very patient and encouraging and eventually managed to get me to snow plough! I have gone from someone who had a bad experience alpine skiing and never wanting to go near snow again, to someone who can't wait to go cross country skiing again - I would recommend it to everyone! Afternoon Tea at the hotel was a well deserved treat.

We have done this holiday several years in succession and it is always a fantastic experience. Steve and Christine are outstanding representatives. They have the unique ability to make everyone's holiday the best it can be regardless of differences in skiing/walking ability.Nothing is ever too much trouble and Steve always comes up with great suggestions for the day, even when the weather changes unexpectedly. We would definitely consider doing this holiday again.

Good leaders and a very good site. The cross country skiing and walking (I only wanted fairly gentle walking) were superb. Good hotel too.

Mr Mitchell
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

I have been to Venabu numerous times and , first time visitors are given an equally warm welcome as returning guests. This relates to all the hotel staff.

Nothing is too much trouble.

Best place in the world to switch off from the hustle & bustle of London

The Skiing at Leutasch is good, with some easy skiing on the meadows of the valley floor and more ups and downs and some challenges on the hillsides. The tracks are all well prepared, both for classic and skating.

Steve B. is a very good guide and teacher with a very good knowledge of the area and soon picked up what the group were capable of, giving challenges to some of the more experienced skiieers and keeping it easier for the beginners.

The Hotel Sport Xander is excellent with very good food and an excellent Sauna/Steam room/pool area. The accomodation is listed as 'half board', but with Ausrian 'afternoon tea' available from 2 - 4pm this is really full board.

Having just returned from a second trip to Leutasch, next year we might do some trips independant of the main group on advice from Steve. Skiing on the valley meadows can be a bit flat and boring sometimes.

Very good hotel. Great location. Steve excellent guide.

Our third time on this particular holiday. As ever, Steve Barrington was an excellent guide and companion on our daily skiing outings, and the location of the hotel and the quality of the skiing remain first class. However, after two very pleasant stays at Hotel Xander, it was disappointing to find that their previously high standards seemed to have slipped. Staff numbers at the hotel seemed insufficient during our stay to ensure that the level of service (friendliness, supply and quality of food, crockery, glassware, cutlery etc) remained consistent and the overall standard generally fell short of that expected of a four star hotel - in particular, some of the crockery and glassware were chipped, cracked and dirty and on one evening at dinner we waited nearly half an hour between finishing one course and being served the next. This maybe a temporary issue - we certainly hope so as we are returning again in two weeks time!

Mr Churchett
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Very nice hotel in an wonderful location. The two ski guides (Robert and Wenche) were excellent and helped to make this a wonderful holiday. I will be going back to Venabu!

Ms Griffith
Cross-country skiing at Venabu

Venabu was an excellent location, and the facilities and staff there were amazing.