10 spots for an introduction to cross-country skiing

in the French Southern Alps!

Climb the snow-covered giants and you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking panoramas of the Alps: unforgettable descents (with the added bonus of an azure blue sky!). Get out your sealskins and warm up your calves – after the climb up you get the joy of skiing downhill in cross-country skiing.

Cross-country skiing in Serre Chevalier in the Briançon valley

Right in the middle of one of the biggest high ski areas in France, the resort of Serre Chevalier in the French Southern Alps offers many a large number of cross-country skiing trails. In the Briançon valley, most of the circuits are secured and marked but if your level is good enough, there’s nothing to stop you from escaping along the trails on your own personal adventure. Our favourite: the trail which starts from Chantemerle, 5.4 km of pure delight on red and black trails to reach Col de Prorel.

Discover the Haute Vallée de l’Ubaye from Sainte-Anne

Perched at an altitude of over 1,800 metres, the resort of Sainte-Anne located beyond the village of La Condamine, is the ideal playground with its 35 km of runs not far from Barcelonnette. As one of the 30 Stations Villages des Alpes du Sud, its high altitude and the East wind all add up to an exceptional snow cover right through the season. Cross-country skiers appreciate the special pass which allows them to set off on outings right at the top of the ski area.

Choose your itinerary in the Dévoluy

The Dévoluy, an old limestone plateau is filled with contrasts between the imposing cliffs, deep valleys and amazing high plateaus. In the heart of the massif, discover two linked resorts: Superdévoluy and La Joue du Loup. They offer two marked trails on the edge of the ski area. To try the third itinerary, head for the Col du Festre.

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A Nordic escape in Saint-Dalmas le Selvage

Saint-Dalmas le Selvage, an authentic village at 1,500 metres is still a private place which is perfect for cross-country skiing. Just 1 hour from Nice, this is the highest hamlet in the Alpes-Maritimes. Over the 50 km of marked and snow-covered trails, you can admire superb virgin landscapes such as the Col de la Braïssa and even the Col de la Moutière, which are both at over 2,000 metres. Most of the cross-country circuits, and probably the one you’ll prefer, are in the Mercantour National Park.

Get a mix of sun and powder snow in Val d’Allos – La Foux

What better place to get a breath of fresh air than the Sources du Verdon? Head for Val d’Allos, a Famille Plus Montagne-approved resort linked with Pra Loup. The magnificent Val d’Allos opens onto l’Espace Lumière, which is renowned for being the biggest ski area in the French Southern Alps. So you have a choice between Val d’Allos – La Foux and Le Seignus, which both have trails which have you itching to get on your skis. From the start at the foot of the Col d’Allos, the “L’escapade” heart-stopper trail offers a climb up to the top of the Vescal with an amazing view at the top!

Play at being explorers in Orcières Merlette

At the gateway to the Ecrins National Park, the resort of Orcières Merlette on a balcony overlooking the Champsaur valley, has two cross-country skiing trails with descents on the ski runs for a great finish! Perched at over 1,800 metres, there are magnificent landscapes on the Lac des Estaris trail, over 4.6 km from le Garage des Dameuses. The same goes for the Pointe de Méollion trail, which starts on the Les Drapeaux snow front, which promises a lovely escapade to the snow-covered peaks.

Choose Le Fanget for a winter excursion

Between the villages of Seyne and Auzet, the Col du Fanget is resolutely nature-orientated and offers enormous wide open protected sun-filled areas, ideal for a cross-country skiing outing. Le Fanget is linked to the resort of Grand-Puy, and has a superb trail through the forest of Fissac. Set off on your outing with the backdrop of the magnificent panorama of the Vallée de la Blanche – Serre-Ponçon range. Some instructors offer beginners lessons to discover cross-country skiing in the sectors of La Blanche, Le Laverq, the Ubaye, and the Haute-Ubaye.

Let the sun warm the cockles of your heart in Boréon

In Saint Martin Vésubie, the resort of Boréon might be the headquarters of excursion fans. With its 20 km of groomed and marked trails crisscrossing the forest of Boréon, the ski area is still one of the biggest Nordic skiing centres in the Alpes d’Azur. Enjoy the stunning landscapes of the massif du Mercantour and particularly the Col de Salèse, la Madone de Fenestre, and Gordolasque!

Go cross-country skiing with a professional in Montclar

If you want a peaceful outing, the ski area of Montclar, the resort of the Vallée de Blanche Serre-Ponçon which is on two slopes, is perfect for an outing in the open air! Perched between 1,350 and 2,500 metres, you can follow an ESF MONTCLAR instructor for a day or a half-day of cross-country skiing to perfect your technique and find out more about the area.

Keep to your own pace in Chabanon

Head for the Vallée de la Blanche in Selonnet and more precisely the village-resort of Chabanon. Its ski area is spread over 40 km of trails, between altitudes of 1,530 and 2,030 metres. Take to the heights on its 25-kilometre-long permanent marked and secured Nordic skiing itinerary. Perfect for a group introduction to cross-country skiing with an ESF instructor, the best guide for a mountain escapade.

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