Some resorts cater solely for cross-country skiers and most ski resorts offer a range of cross-country trails close to and within their resort boundaries. Cross-country skiing is a pleasant way to enjoy the alpine environment, but as with all alpine activities, you must plan ahead and prepare for your cross-country ski outing.


The right clothing ensures your comfort and therefore your enjoyment of your cross-country skiing trip. Windproof and waterproof clothing is essential. Cotton or nylon clothing is not suitable for snow conditions as these materials are poor insulators when wet. Do not wear jeans.

What to wear or carry:

  • Clothing made of wool, or synthetic fibres that have insulating properties similar to wool such as fibre pile.
  • A number of layers of thin clothing, rather than a few layers of thick clothing.
  • Woollen beanie and gloves or mittens.
  • Woollen socks.
  • Warm insulating layers, ie polypropylene thermals, thin woollen jumpers.
  • Waterproof and windproof outer layer, ie jacket, pants and gloves.
  • Woollen socks.
  • Goggles and/or sunglasses.

Before buying clothing, seek expert advice and remember that showerproof is not waterproof.


Most resorts offer trails at different standards. Ski only those trails suitable to your standard. Take ski lessons and ski within your capabilities. Do not underestimate the time required to complete a trail or circuit and return to your car.

The equipment used in cross-country skiing is generally lightweight and is not suitable for use anywhere other than on groomed tracks.

Most ski hire outlets have a range of cross-country skis but it is recommended that you call ahead to confirm that you will be able to hire cross-country skis at your destination, especially if you are in a large group.


When cross-country skiing you should always have the following with you:

  • Plastic ground sheet or thermal blanket.
  • High energy foods such as chocolate, nuts, dried fruits or barley sugar.
  • Fruit juice or water.
  • Whistle (you can blow a whistle for hours, you can only yell for help for about 20 minutes).
  • Compass.
  • Map.
  • Emergency windproof, waterproof and warm clothing.
  • Waterproof matches or a cigarette lighter.
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