Friday, February 06, 2015

Cross-country skiing in Switzerland

The Frau is skiing. And she is skiing the way she knows best—on flat land. It’s a relief, actually, to know that her cross-country skiing this year will not involve those pesky large hills people from Switzerland refer to as flat land.

Chicago has had a lot of snow this winter (the fifth-largest ever snowstorm left 18 inches in the area last weekend), so The Frau has gone cross-country skiing four times already and has plans in the works to go snowshoeing too.

Granted, it’s not the same, yodelers. There are no mountain vistas or places to ski that don’t involve some traffic noise, but alas, there is also a lot more opportunity to ski since The Frau now has built-in babysitters otherwise known as grandparents nearby.

In any case, all of her winter sports activities got her thinking about her favorite places to cross-country ski in Switzerland, a sport that is often ignored in a country that favors the downhill version. Still, despite its mountains, here are some great places to do cross-country in Switzerland—although some versions are flatter than others. Viel Spass, mitenand.

Disentis-Trun is a beautiful 15-km cross-country ski trail
In this fairytale Romansh-speaking area of Switzerland, you can enjoy a 15k cross-country ski trail of medium difficulty. It runs between the villages of Disentis and Trun, but you can ditch the trail at various train stations that run along the valley if you want to shorten it. Don’t be put off by the trail’s initial steep descent —it soon flattens out about 2k after Disentis. Bonus: this trail isn’t too well traveled, giving you a full appreciation of the picture-book landscapes.

From Oberwald to Niederwald, you can cross-country ski through 12 picturesque villages in the Goms Valley on an easy 18k prepared trail. If you get tired halfway though, you have many options for a hot chocolate break and it’s simple to take a train ride back to where you began.

Einsiedeln has a lot to offer cross-country skiers of various levels including the advantage that there is not an Alpine skier in sight. Choose your distance (up to a half marathon) and follow the trail signs. These trails tend to be busier than the previously mentioned ones because of their proximity to Zurich.

Take the lift up to Tannenboden with the downhill skiers. Ignore their looks of superiority. The classical and skating 4k loop at Tannenboden is short, but picturesque. As you ski in the clouds, dog sleds will probably race by you. Bonus: This trail is perfect for those with downhill skiing partners because you can both do your thing and meet for lunch at the mountain restaurant.

Berg means mountain and the Zugerberg is true to its name. Cross-country skiing on this mountain overlooking Zug and Lake Zug involves many ups and downs. And they are big ones too—at least to those from the flat American Midwest. In any case, the mountain is worth a visit—even at night since it offers a 1.1 kilometer lit trail for both classic and skating skiers. Daytime trails include an 11-kilometer classic loop and a 11.5-kilometer skating loop. Neither are recommended for complete beginners.

What cross-country trails to do you love in Switzerland?


Hattie said...

I did cross country in Einsiedeln and also in Forch,where we lived. Hope you are enjoying your winter wonderland in the US of A!

Scott said...

How does the Swiss downhill skiing compare to the US downhill?

Charlotte said...

In Pontresina. Beautiful and great trails with not too much up and down hills.

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