Frequently asked questions
What is cross country skiing? Will it suit me?
Cross country skiing is also known as nordic skiing or "langlauf".
Cross country skiing is an activity enjoyed by a variety of people and for different reasons: it can be a way to explore and take in the winter landscape, away from the crowds; it is an exciting sport which combines learning ski technique with great exercise and it makes excellent winter cross training.
For cross country skiing we use light-weight skis and boots. There are no ski lifts and instead we ski (mostly) on prepared tracks and glide across the snow, powered by our own effort.
Scandinavia is the home of skiing which has evolved since prehistoric times, first as a means of journeying in winter, into the fast paced, action sport enjoyed by thousands of people today. These different strands of the activity continue to develop and here at Venabu we have holidays designed to suit you, whatever kind of cross country skier you are.
Where we ski
In the tracks
Cross country ski areas have prepared tracks where the snow has been pressed to create a smooth gliding surface. The terrain is gently rolling, for the most part. We will teach you the techniques you need to travel across the snow, and up and down gentle gradients.
Out of the tracks
On cross country skis we can also explore outside the tracks, still in gentle rolling terrain. At Venabu we like to introduce our beginners to skiing outside the tracks because it is fun! We can also explore more of our wild Norwegian nature. This done at a gentle and appropriate pace, to suit the group.
Our instructors are qualified and our guides are experienced. We all love to share the joy and beauty of Norwegian nature in winter with our guests.
Which is the best month to ski?
This is a good question. Each winter month has unique qualities, and the conditions change through the ski season.
Christmas and New Year
The days are shorter at Christmas and New Year, but there is plenty of time for skiing. All the seasonal activities are taking place alongside great cross country skiing. There is a cosy atmosphere in the hotel; the celebrations are traditional and typically Norwegian. If you are looking for an active yet relaxed Christmas or New Year holiday, then celebrating with us in the mountains could be the perfect holiday for you.
January is many people's favourite month here in the mountains. Venabu is on a mountain plateau, and we see the sun all year round. The low-angled light bathes the snow in a red-gold, and the sunrises and sunsets are exceptional.
The days are shorter in January, but with more than six and a half hours of daylight (increasing to eight hours at the end of the month), you can have a full day of cross country skiing. The snow lightens the landscape, extending dawn and dusk, which are very beautiful.
The temperatures can be low, but cross country skiing is active, so you will be on the move outside. We have two blog articles on how to dress and stay comfortable while cross country skiing. Lower temperatures mean the snow conditions are often excellent. The snow stays in good condition without the freeze-thaw often associated with spring.
The days are getting longer now and it can be warmer. There are the school holidays and more people visit their cabins.
Towards the end of February the snow pack has usually consolidated enough for good offtrack ski conditions. We offer our Introduction to Off Track Skiing holiday. The snow in the tracks is in good condition.
The days are long and the off track skiing is "in". We offer our off track day tours at the beginning of March. It is also warmer in March. You can see the last twelve months' weather for Venabu at Yr.no.
March can be a good month to see the Northern Lights.
There is still plenty of skiing, certainly at the start of April. We have long days and warmer weather. Check with us to see how far into April the tracks will be prepared.
Is cross country skiing easy to learn?
In our experience many people learn to cross country ski more quickly than alpine skiing, for example. If you are active in daily life, have reasonable fitness and enjoy gliding, then by the end of your first holiday you can be enjoying tours of 6, 8 or even 18kms. This means you'll be well on your way to exploring much of our fantastic ski area.
At Venabu we offer two cross country skiing holidays for beginners: Learn Cross Country Skiing which is a course-style holiday with six full days of guiding and instruction, and our Classic Cross Country Ski Holiday which has guiding and instruction five mornings and one afternoon, allowing plenty of time for you to practice your new skills.
There is another difference between cross country skiing and alpine skiing. Very quickly, skiers of different abilities can ski the same tracks, although they may be travelling at a different pace. These factors give guests a feeling of rapid progress and a great sense of achievement.
Where do beginners ski?
Very quickly, skiers of different abilities can ski the same tracks, although they may be travelling at a different pace. These factors give guests a feeling of rapid progress and a great sense of achievement. This is another difference between cross country skiing and alpine skiing.
What should I wear for cross country skiing?
Find the answers in our blog article what to wear for cross country skiing in Norway.
How do you grade your holidays?
This is a good question and to help you choose the best holiday - to suit your interests and ski level we have a page that explains our cross country skiing grades.
How fit do I need to be?
Many people of all ages enjoy cross country skiing. We think it is fair to say that guests who lead active lives and perhaps take some time to prepare for their holiday are most likely to feel ready for skiing.
No one needs to be an olympic athelete! Activities that you enjoy and can find time for on a regular basis, and that increase your heart rate and breathing such as walking, cycling or swimming can be good preparation. Classes such as Pilates, yoga or others that improve balance, coordination and strength are also excellent.
Our blog article "How and why to improve your fitness before your cross country ski holiday" has ideas and information.
Our Become a Better Skier! cross country ski course combines ski and movement coaching, including Pilates, to help you develop your skills and understanding of how to become a better skier
Please check with your GP if you have any concerns about starting a new exercise programme.
Classic or skate skiing: what's the difference?
There are two main styles of cross country skiing: classic which uses movements similar to running and walking; and skate which is a more recent evolution of the sport. Skate skiing uses movements more like ice skating. At Venabu our holidays use classic technique and skate lessons are available.
FAQ on travel to Venabu
I'd like more information about getting to Venabu
There's plenty of useful information to be found on our Travel page.