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Nordic skiing and snowshoeing in the Alps and Norway can be amazing value!

Making a trip across the Atlantic for a winter break cross country skiing or snowshoeing doesn’t have to be expensive. It’s a misconception that venturing to Europe need be a once in a lifetime endeavour! In fact now’s a better time than ever to make the most of a great Dollar/Euro exchange rate that works in your favour - the US Dollar hasn’t been this strong against the European single currency for 10 years! Norway too is more affordable than ever for our guests from the United States ($1 bought you less than 6 Norwegian Krone last year in 2014 - now it’s up more than 35% in the past 12 months to just over 8.5 Norwegian Krone!).

When factoring in the return flight it pays to shop around on price comparison sites such as Expedia and Orbitz, as well as checking with low cost airlines. Increasingly we’re having many clients travel to spend a week with us in the Alps from the northeastern United States, with New York City now particularly well connected with airlines WOW and Norwegian offering great deals either direct (to Oslo) or through connections to Geneva and Paris airports. Consider too that travelling by rail in Europe is convenient - particularly as good, reliable networks now access many resorts directly. Towns such as Chamonix are also connected by a range of shuttle bus services from the nearby airports: the healthy competition between the different services driving down prices even more! Rail connections in France and Switzerland are particularly good, allowing for European city stopovers (using the Eurail pass, for example) and short breaks to be incorporated should you wish to make the most of a longer break. There’s the opportunity to visit the European museums, theatres and palaces that you’d miss out on with a trip to the Rockies or Quebec!

Our snowshoe and cross country trips feature carefully chosen accommodation that immerse our guests in the authentic charm of mountain life in the Alps and Norway. By choosing a winter snowshoeing or cross country ski trip in the Juras, Alps or the Norway you’ll also get to sample the authentic cuisines, which include regional specialities based on locally prepared meats, cheeses and, of course, the wines! Exploring the mountains with an experienced and knowledgeable Tracks and Trails guide from the area provides a unique insight into the traditions and way of life of the little-changed communities en route. In general, with the current strength of the US Dollar you can expect any additional expenses such as drinks, local travel and gifts for friends and family back home to be very reasonable in value.

At Tracks and Trails we can provide guidance on selecting the trip that best meets your aspirations and schedule.

We can also arrange for tailor-made and custom packages for individuals and groups - just drop us a line by phone (from the USA: 011- 44 - 20 8144 6442 note: we’re 6 hours ahead of EST, 9 hours for PST) or email to discuss how we can best arrange the perfect trip for you!

It can seem a little daunting choosing the right destination for your cross country skiing or snowshoe trip this winter. So much choice!
Well, we’ve a short guide to the different countries - what they each have to offer by way of their distinct charms and unique experiences …

France

France offers two mountain ranges within reach of Chambery, Lyon and Geneva airports for snowshoeing and cross country skiing: the Alps and the Jura. It’s also possible of course to take the train from London, Brussels and other destinations making use of France’s well-run high speed TGV network and Eurostar. Our guests love the traditional French ambiance they experience in the Alpine towns of Chamonix, Samoëns and Briançon. In the smaller villages the peaceful way of life and farming traditions have remained little changed for fifty years. Of course, French cuisine is also a great draw: fresh baguettes and patisseries, mulled wine and and seemingly endless variety of local cheeses.

Why we love France:

- A choice of different type of resorts: quieter locales such as Samoëns or the villages of the Queyras, or towns with a buzzing nightlife such as Chamonix.
- Good food and wine at affordable prices.
- Alpine centres such as Chamonix have a long history of winter sports, but also offer many other activities both during the day and in the evening. Chamonix also has the added bonus of easy access to Italy and Switzerland, and not forgetting of course Mont Blanc itself!
- Extensive cross country ski networks with affordable, quality ski rental and good value day ski passes.

Switzerland:

It’s very name conjures up images of alpine chalets, dramatic snow-covered mountains and charming villages that feature on chocolate boxes and postcards from a country that turns into an amazing winter wonderland when the snow falls. Access to the mountain villages and towns of the Swiss Alps is often made by scenic railways that wind their way through spectacular valleys and alongside pristine frozen lakes. There’s perhaps no other country that’s quite so well looked after! The superlatives used so often to describe Switzerland really are well deserved – it is breathtakingly beautiful!

Best for:

-First rate public transport that’s reliable, clean and efficient making village to village skiing a breeze!
-Excellent accommodation.
-Good food and warm hospitality.
-Efficiency and service: whether it’s at the ski shop,hotel, restaurant or the airport - the Swiss will always do their best to make sure you’re taken care of!
-Good green credentials in many of the resorts, with increased efforts being made to be eco-friendly.

Italy:

The Italian resorts all have the own distinct charms and individuality. Italians will say that there’s ‘no such thing as Italian food’ it’s all regional: from one region or valley to the next, there’s a different style and a unique speciality that they’re very proud of! We can’t praise the food too much - really, it’s a major draw for our guests who come back year after year! Coupled with the cuisine is the amazing warmth and hospitality of the Italians, which is especially generous in the mountain regions of Aosta and Piemonte.

Choose Italy for:

-Exceptional cuisine!
-Local people are very friendly and relaxed.
-Quieter resorts than many in the other Alpine countries.
-Great value for money.
-Glamourous mix of mountain tradition and style whilst staying in Courmayeur below the towering Monte Bianco.

Germany:

Germany’s most popular holiday region transforms into a winter sports wonderland with the first snowfalls in December. Skiing in the Black forest region of Germany, close to the Swiss border, is truly a delight (and not just for the cake!). The area has a particular, hand-crafted feel and the region proudly preserves its distinctive identity. The cross country tracks are well groomed and orientation via the trail maps and signposting top notch - the skiing here is indeed made all the more enjoyable by the excellent facilities and care taken to assist visitors. The hotels and restaurants too are of a high standard and provide a warm welcome. All-in-all a first class experience for the skier!

Germany's special for:

- Friendliness of the local people.
- Good public transport: efficient, clean and good value.
- Environmentally friendly ski operations.
- Well-run hotels with great service.
- Incredible Black Forest gateaux and sweet treats!

Norway:

Norway is synonymous with Nordic skiing… it’s a way of life! Cross country skiing in Norway is a unique experience, and quite different from that of the Alps: you’ll experience the majesty of exploring wilderness areas where population centres are few and far between. For the Norwegians the mountains are ingrained within their culture, and the outdoors are seen as a wonderful playground to venture into and enjoy. Staying in Norway you’ll experience first class service and the warmth of a people genuinely proud to share their love of nature!

Best for:

-Stunning scenery and the feeling of complete remoteness.
-Regular flights to Oslo and easy/efficient trains to the resorts.
-Sterling/Krone: the best exchange rate for several years!
-Warm and welcoming people that are genuinely enthusiastic about all things skiing!
-Amazing light in the spring months.
-A different pace of life: Norway’s generally quieter than its Alpine counterparts
-You won’t struggle with the language: almost everyone can speak English really well!

Need more help? Do get in touch and we’ll be happy to provide further guidance and advice to help you choose the best trip for you!

 

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