The Best Cross-Country Ski Slopes for Advanced Skiers

Ski CenterNovember 11, 2022
Seefeld’s iconic Seekirchl church at the Nordic trailhead (Photo: Seefeld Tourism)

This is the time of year when Europe’s top ski resorts begin to open their slopes and the best cross-country skiers begin their preparations for the World Cup season.

For fans who want to follow the action, there is plenty of coverage, and even opportunities to wager on your favorite competitor at sites like BestOdds. Unlike many sports, cross-country skiing gives amateurs and leisure skiers the chance to try their abilities in the same setting as the experts. Here are seven of the most challenging cross-country slopes in Europe:

A few of the 14000 participants make their way across the lakes from Maloja to St Moritz – Lumi Experiences Seefeld – Engain

Kaiser Max Round, Seefeld, Austria

Seefeld can claim to be the home of ‘langlaufen’, a group of five villages comprising the Olympiaregion that offers 279km of trails, equally divided between skate and classic. The Seefeld plateau is a regular venue on the World Cup tour and features one of the world’s most challenging courses. The Kaiser Max Round stages the popular Kaiser Max Run and is a 60km challenge that winds through romantic forests, following the beautiful Leutasch Valley and ends with a stirring downhill run.


Wildmoos Circuit, Seefeld, Austria

Another Seefeld trail that deserves a mention is the 17km Wildmoos Circuit. Beginning at the famous Seekirchl, the circuit passes through majestic forest scenery to the famous Wildmoos plateau before circling two mountain lakes and leading back into Seefeld. This memorable course takes in many of the region’s most picturesque spots and is popular with expert skiers across Europe.


Havsdalen til Oddnakk, Geilo, Norway

Few ski resorts can match Geilo when it comes to distance. This beautiful setting offers 550km of trails, crossing through multiple picturesque valleys and dramatic plateaus, and often provides a season that runs from October through May. The Havsdalen til Oddnakk is not for the casual skier, but if you enjoy being alone in the elements, and you have the stamina for it, this 22.9km course, lasting about 5.5 hours, is one of the best cross-country experiences Norway has to offer.

Venue – FIS world cup cross-country, mass men, Engadin (SUI). © Modica/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Engadin Ski Marathon Route, St Moritz, Switzerland

The 230km cross-country skiing network surrounding St. Moritz is the perfect location for skiers of all abilities. It has everything you could want for a ski location, including a fascinatingly varied topography, unmatched track quality and consistent snowfall. The most challenging trail at St Moritz is the Engadin Ski Marathon Route, a pure test of endurance at 42km that passes over challenging slopes, glides around lakes and climbs through forests.


Val Casies Monguelfo Tesido – Gsieser Tal Welsberg Taisten, Kronplatz, Italy

Kronplatz is one of the top cross-country resorts in the world, boasting high-class snowmaking and almost 300km of trails. It has something for skiers of all abilities, but the biggest test is undoubtedly this 42km course with a suitably lengthy name. The site of the annual Gsieser Tal Lauf marathon, it joins three villages in the Gsieser Valley with Taisten. It is a dramatic, looping trail that incorporates the very best scenery that the Tyrol has to offer, and although it is mostly on the flat, there is a 200m climb leading to the village of St Magdalena that will test even the best skiers.


FIS world cup cross-country, individual sprint, Davos (SUI). © Modica/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Weltcup-Strecke Davos Nordic, Davos, Switzerland

Davos holds the distinction of being the training venue for the Swiss, Russian, Swedish and Norwegian ski teams, and offers everything that the experienced cross-country skier could want, including the famous Hofmanner’s store in the center of Davos, the original cross-country outfitters.


The Weltcup-Strecke Davos Nordic trail leads out from the Bunda area, skirting the forest up to the Obersand and then across the Flüelabach to the valley’s opposite side. Its most famous stretch is the Cologna-Stutz, named after Dario Cologna, the most accomplished cross-country skier in Switzerland. This is a 236m ascent that requires strength and nerve to conquer and leads to the high point of the trail that then circles back toward the starting point.

11.01.2020, Oberhof, Germany (GER):
Synnoeve Solemdal (NOR), Elisa Gasparin (SUI), Kristina Reztsova (RUS), Anastasiya Merkushyna (UKR), Elvira Oeberg (SWE), Julia Simon (FRA), Vanessa Hinz (GER), Jessica Jislova (CZE), Sarah Beaudry (CAN), Susan Dunklee (USA), Dunja Zdouc (AUT), Monika Hojnisz-Starega (POL), (l-r) – IBU world cup biathlon, relay women, Oberhof (GER). © Manzoni/NordicFocus. Every downloaded picture is fee-liable.

Grosse Runde, Oberhof, Germany

Thuringia is a major cross-country skiing region in Europe, and Oberhof is the location for a top cross-country and biathlon venue, the DKB Skisport-Halle. The most challenging of the trails available to skiers is undoubtedly the Grosse Runde. At 52km, it stretches the stamina of even the strongest cross-country experts as it winds through the thickly forested slopes of Thuringia. The section around the Finsterbachkopf shortly before the Grenzadler is a particularly beautiful part of the trail, and there are opportunities to cut the route shorter if the full 52km is too demanding.


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