Tracks and Trails / Cross Country Skiing / Alps & Around: Switzerland, Italy, France, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland / UPDATED: Skate Ski Breaks

UPDATED: Skate Ski Breaks

Skate Nordic Skiing Alps

All smiles with a trip to Italy!

Skate style cross country skiing in Italy, an extended weekend dedicated to learning or improving the art of 'skate skiing'.

Developed in the 1980's 'skating' or 'freestyle' as it's known is a form of Nordic 'cross country skiing' where we ski on groomed trails using a motion similar to ice skating. Explore quiet alpine valleys and villages whilst gaining strength and fitness along the way!

Cogne, our base for this trip, is know as the 'Queen of Cross Country' areas in Italy. It is a truly beautiful setting offering excellent skiing away from the crowded alpine ski resorts.This picturesque location is famous for the Gran Paradiso, Italy's highest peak. With it's typical stone-house village and eighteenth-century chapel, the area is steeped in history.

These weekends suit either Nordic or Alpine skiers wishing to learn the basics or take their skating to the next level.

Receive first class tuition by one of our instructors. We only work with small groups to ensure that to ensure that you gain the most out your lessons.

  • NEW for 2018 centrally located 3* Hotel & Spa
  • Professional ski instruction
  • Ski in Italy's 'Grand Paradiso' National Park
  • True Italian hospitality with good food high on the agenda
  • Ski in a remote Italian valley away from the crowds
  • Airport transfers to and from Geneva included
  • Reduced price option for 'locals' joining on Day 2


Experience the charm of Cogne's oldest hotel. Hotel du Gran Paradis is in the heart of the old town close to the ski tracks, shops and cafes. Relax after a days skiing in the hotel spa followed by traditional Italian cuisine.


Trip Departure date End date Price Status

Ski & Snowshoe Combo Week 

Combine either an Italian Cross Country Ski Break or a Skate Ski Break with our Snowshoe Long Weekend with for a multi-activity winter week. View our Trip Planner for details. (Details for winter 2019 coming soon).

Trip Grading 

Please note with regard to the dates above we are offering two 'Introductory' weekends, and two 'Intermediate' weekends. Be sure to book on the one which suits your skill level.

We base these long weekend breaks in the small Italian town of Cogne, a true gem with cobbled streets, and excellent cafes and bars. This picturesque location in the Aosta Valley has traditional stone built houses, and a community which dates back many hundreds of years. Enjoy exploring up to 80km of trails, both in Cogne, and on the last day in Val Ferret, near Courmayeur. We have plenty of options for varying lengths of excursions and terrain to practice our skills while enjoying the mountain and woodland scenery.

What is Skate Skiing? 

Skating takes place on a wide, evenly prepared track that has been well groomed and pressed. The skis are shorter, stiffer and lighter than classic skis, and are narrower at the tip and tail than in the centre. Developed in the 1980's 'skating' or 'freestyle' as it's known is a form of Nordic 'cross country skiing' where we ski on groomed trails using a motion similar to ice skating.

The Ski Day 

You will be on skis for most of the day, but with stops for rests, photos, with a very leisurely Italian lunch each day. We usually are on the ski tracks from about 0945 hrs, we do not start too early to allow the sun to come up and warm up the day. There may be a morning coffee stop & lunch is usually taken any time between 1230hrs and 1400hrs. We then ski for up to two hours in the afternoon depending on how everyone is feeling and of course taking into account the weather. It is a holiday and we want you to enjoy the experience!

Day 1 Arrival Geneva, Switzerland

We begin at Geneva airport where you will meet our private minibus transfer to Cogne, in Italy. The departure to Cogne will be at 1630 hrs to allow us to arrive at your Italian hotel in time for dinner. The drive takes approximately 2 hrs initially along the Autoroute Blanche with views of Mont Blanc to reach Chamonix and access the Mont Blanc tunnel and Italy. At Aosta we join the final mountain road that lead us up into the Val di Cogne and the Gran Paradiso National park. Our accommodation NEW for winter 2018 is the Hotel & Spa du Gran Paradis it's centrally located close to the shops, cafes, ski tracks and ski hire.

For flights that arrive earlier in the day then please see our notes below under 'Getting There'. Your ski instructor will meet you at your hotel this evening and brief you on the days ahead.

If you live locally there is the option of a reduced price. Please ask for details.

Day 2 Cappucinno Trails in Cogne

Our hotel is located 5 minutes on foot from the ski tracks. After fitting skis and taking time to find our 'ski-legs' your instructor will take you through various exercises as a way of introducing (or if on an intermediate trip) refreshing you to the techniques for 'skate style' cross country skiing. Cogne has an excellent 'stadium' offering beautifully groomed tracks in a large flat area. This perfect arena for learning to skate ski offers a range of trails suitable for every skater.

Lunch will be at a local restaurant or cafe. In the afternoon we will go back to our skis for further practice consolidating what we have learnt with options to make some short journeys.

It's not all about the skiing! After a day on the ski trails there will still be time to explore the shops, bars for a pre-dinner apéro or relax in the hotel wellness 'Spa La Baita'. Post ski massages can be booked directly with the hotel.

Day 3 Going through the Gears

Be inspired to ski! With is 80km's of ski trails many regional and national cross country ski competitions like the Marcia Gran Paradiso take place in the Cogne valley. The trails are flat or gently undulating and are the perfect training ground for beginners and racers alike.

The free ski bus means we can explore slightly further a field today by starting in one of the neighbouring villages such as Epinel or Lillaz. After we warm back up and review and practice our new found skills from yesterday. Always keeping the enjoyment factor high and the fear factor low it is our instructors aim to ensure that you progress each day at 'your' level.

Lunch today can be taken at one of the village restaurants. In the afternoon we will spend time consolidating our skills but at your own pace. We will make short tours over easy angled terrain through stunning mountain and woodland scenery. After a second day of exercising in fresh mountain air return to the hotel for some chill out time and making use of the hotel jacuzzi and sauna before dinner.

Skate skiing enables the skier to transfer weight from ski to ski to travel over a variety of terrain. Learning to skate also helps with other sports that you may already do making it an excellent form of 'cross-training'. It will enhance your balance, co-ordination, aerobic and muscular strength and tone all whilst enjoying gliding along amongst beautiful views.

Day 4 Valnontey Day Tour

Today we plan to put all our skills into practice and make a longer tour that can be adapted to suit all levels reached so far. Our aim is to ski to the delightful upper valley of Valnontey. This snow filled valley is famous for ice climbing and it's possible to see ice climbers tackling the spectacular frozen waterfalls that line the valley on both sides. We will stop for lunch at the charming family run Albergo of La Barme. Think heavy stone tiles on the roof, ancient woodwork, and a tiny hamlet of old wooden houses.

After lunch we tour further on undulating trails by the rivers edge to the head of the valley. It's often possible to spot ibex and chamois on the valleys slopes and in the woods close to the trails. Our return journey includes some enjoyable downhill sections which can again be adapted or avoided(!) to suit!

A final Italian meal and over night concludes this Italian Ski Break where we hope you have enjoyed exploring both the joy of cross country skiing and the charm of the Italian Alps.

Day 5 Departure Day

Today is departure day and your private minibus transfer will collect you after an early breakfast from your hotel to take you to Geneva airport. We have chosen a Sunday for departure to avoid Geneva week-day rush hour and to minimise any chance of traffic delays.


Included: The price includes half-board accommodation for 4 nights, based on two people sharing in a 3* hotel. Use of the hotel Spa la Baita (jacuzzi, steam bath, sauna, relax area etc) with bathrobe, towels and slippers included during your stay. 4 Course evening meal with a selection of typical Italian dishes at the Hotel Sant’Orso. A card for discounts in shops, ski rental and restaurants. 3 Full days of skate style cross country ski instruction by a fully qualified and experienced BASI Nordic Instructor or equivalent. Transport between the ski venues, and Geneva airport transfer between your hotel on your arrival and departure days is also included.

Not included: Insurance, flights, lunches and drinks, massages, ski hire (approximately 45 Euros for the 3 days) and ski passes (approximately 24 Euros for 3 days).

Minimum Numbers

This trip requires a minimum of 4 clients to run. We will take a maximum of 8 clients.

Cogne Accommodation

Cogne is a small town equipped with all the facilities you might need for this trip including; a pharmacy, banks/ATMs, small supermarket, sports shops, tourist office, local produce, souvenirs, bars and cafes. Situated in the heart of the old town our accommodation is perfectly situated to easily access the ski trails, free bus to neighbouring villages, shops and bars. For winter 2018 we be staying at the family run, 19th century Hotel du Gran Paradis, making it Cogne's oldest hotel. It boasts traditional architecture, local Italian cuisine all in a relaxed alpine setting. Make yourself at home with access to their living room with fireplace, little bibliothèque, bar, heated ski room plus it has a small private wellness Spa La Baita. Single rooms may be available on request for a supplementary payment. However, these are limited in number and we recommend that you book early if you wish to be sure of a single room. Please contact us for details.

Getting there

For convenience we have included a transfer from Geneva airport, in Switzerland direct to Cogne. Although the local Italian airports of Milan and Turin are also only a few hours away from Cogne the flights are limited in comparison to Geneva which has a huge range of airlines with daily scheduled flights at relatively low cost. Geneva is also only a 2 hour drive to Cogne taking a beautiful route through the mountains. Our departure/pick up time from Geneva airport is scheduled for 16h30, however, once we have all the guest arrival times we may bring this forward if it suits all the other members of the group. If your flight arrives earlier in the day you can use the time to explore Geneva. The return transfer will leave Cogne at approximately 07h00 in order to meet flights leaving Geneva from 11h30.

If you are booking onto a combined Skate Ski Break and Snowshoe Long Weekend then both your transfer to and from the airport will be included in the trip price.

It is important that you inform us of your flight times as soon as possible after booking.

Early Arrivals - Time in Geneva

Geneva airport is just 4 km's away from Geneva city centre. It is easily reached by train or bus using the united network of public transport Unireso. You can pick up a free ticket for public transport from the machine in the baggage collection area at the airport arrivals. It gives free transport for a period of 80 minutes. Only one single ticket is required to travel by train, tram, bus or boat in the area France-Vaud-Geneva. It only takes 6 minutes from/to Geneva city centre by train (every 12 minutes at rush hours). All trains stop at Geneva-Cornavin station (city centre). The buses stop every 8-15 minutes at rush hours at the airport (bus stops at the Check-in level, in front of or beside the train station). Full details can be found here.

Left luggage lockers at Geneva

There are two left luggage facilities, both in the Railway Station which is attached to the airport building. The office beside the CFF/SBB counter takes luggage of all dimensions for a fee of CHF10 per day per item. It is open 7 days a week from 07h30 to 20h15. The automatic lockers are in front of the CFF/SBB counter and just behind the Chicorée Shop and come in 3 sizes (245mm x 420mm x 765mm / 350mm x 600mm x 770mm / 445mm x 610mm x 895mm); they are accessible from 05h00 to 23h50.The cost is from 6-9 CHF per day depending on the size.


Please be aware that 'skating' does require a reasonable fitness and you be active for between 4 - 5 hours per day. You do not need to be a super athlete, but you do need enthusiasm, determination and a willingness to put a good degree of effort into this activity. We would expect you to be someone who does exercise several times a week.


Please ensure that you must have the appropriate insurance for your chosen activity. You must be covered for helicopter rescue, repatriation and medical costs. With regard to this requirement please be sure you have read the Insurance section in our Terms and Conditions.

Further Information

Upon booking a full list of the necessary suitable clothing will be provided. Please note that this itinerary is dependent on the weather and snow conditions at the time. Therefore changes to the itinerary may occur. Previous cross country ski or alpine ski experience is an advantage but is not essential. Please contact us is you are unsure about your suitability to join this trip.

Your instructor will offer structured 'on snow' time for about 4-5 hours per day. We roughly break the days down to a morning skills session, then a rest, further developing travelling skills to lunch and then an afternoon session all of which is easily accompanied with a cappuccino or hot chocolate break!

Ski Rental

The cross country skiing equipment includes lightweight track skating skis (not fishscale or waxing skis), Salomon (or similar) boots, bindings and poles. The total ski hire for the weekend is expected to be 45 Euros per person. Please make your ski rental payment directly to rental shop.

To ensure we get the correct sizes equipment hire is arranged in advance. Please make note of your equipment hire on our booking form. We will need to know your height, weight, normal shoe size (you must give us your everyday shoe size and not your personal adjustment for wearing boots) and the measurement of your height up to your armpits (for ski pole hire).

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