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The joys of cross-country skiing

Today is an insanely beautiful day in the Meribel mountains – crisp, cold and sunny with a lovely blue sky. It is a day when you just have to be outside enjoying the scenery and the clean, fresh air. Perfect for cross-country skiing !

Meribel has some wonderful cross-country tracks that are great for everyone from tentative beginners to lycra-clad experts. While it might lack the fast pace and exhilaration of downhill skiing, and is still regarded (unfairly) as the OAP version of the sport, cross-country allows you to truly appreciate the magnificent scenery and to enjoy the peace and calm that can be lacking on the main slopes. It is fantastic exercise and gives you a really thorough work-out that the downhill version lacks – it is the perfect way to build all round fitness as well as being great fun. It is also extremely friendly and social – maybe the slower pace is more conducive to conversation.

The technique is relatively simple to pick-up, although I would advise a lesson with an instructor to get you started and then you’re off – no lift pass required and no waiting around for lifts. Just clip in and you’re off. There are two version of the sport – classic and skating. I am currently a classic but really want to try the faster and more demanding skating but I need to work on my fitness levels first and that involves getting miles under the belt so I am delighted to see the forecast for the next week is excellent.

The two main areas in the Meribel Valley are the tracks around the Altiport from where there are some circular trails as well as tracks to La Tania and Courchevel for the more adventurous. The other area to head for is around the Lac de Tueda in Mottaret. Both are perfect for trying this great sport and I would urge everyone to try it at least once although I do understand that when you are out for a week’s holiday, it is difficult to give up a day’s skiing. Luckily I have a whole season to mix and match – I am trying to persuade the other members of the Avery Crest team to give it a go ……… will keep you posted on my progress !