Cross-country skiing on the Steinbock trail | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Photographer: Dominik Berchtold

10 Feb. 2014 · Winter Activities
Sarina Berchtold

Out and About on Narrow Boards on the Cross-Country Skiing Trails

After discovering ski touring this winter, I have become very open-minded about strapping different types of skis to my feet. My alpine skis were therefore facing new competition last weekend in the form of cross-country skis!

The Right Way to do Classic Cross-Country Skiing

Langlaufen auf der Schwende-Loipe | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen

I take a beginner’s cross-country skiing course to ensure that I use the correct techniques right from the start. We meet with our cross-country skiing instructor Daniela at the Schwendeloipe trail on Saturday morning at 9.30 a.m. We have rented the cross-country skiing equipment. It is quite cold this particular morning, however, I comforted myself with the thought that we would certainly soon be getting warm. I wasn’t wrong in this respect. We started off with a warm-up session – without skis. It is important to warm up tired muscles and joints.

Cross-Country Skiing – Exercises for Beginners

Start der Schwende-Loipe | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen

We were soon faced the first challenge: putting the skis on! It requires a certain degree of accuracy to click the front of the boot into the binding. We all managed to do it after two or three attempts. The trail is relatively hard and icy as it is a cold morning. We are consequently quite wobbly when we stand on the thin skis which we are not usually accustomed to. After a few exercises, we then head to the Spurrillen (tracks in the snow) on the practice trails – without our ski poles! We try to glide our way along the tracks: place pressure on the foot, push away and lift the heels. As this seems to work well after a few circuits, we can then pick up our ski poles. It is now not quite so easy to coordinate yourself. However, our movements gradually become more fluid and we come to the conclusion that it is actually great fun!

Cross-Country Skiing Has To Be Learned

 Cross-country skiing on the Steinbock trail | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen | Photographer: Dominik Berchtold

Before we can do a few laps of the trail, we need to learn how to brake. This feels quite strange, almost like a plough without any defined edges, however, the experienced skiers among us get the hang of it well enough using our tried-and-trusted snowplough moves. We have earned some refreshments after all this hard work and having completed our first lap of the proper trail. We enjoy the views as we sit in the sunshine on the terrace and watch the other cross-country skiers. Daniela explains, ‘You can tell straight away from their technique who has attended a course and who has not.’ Even as beginners we can see this for ourselves. The course was definitely worthwhile from our point of view and the cross-country ski trails in Kleinwalsertal have certainly now benefitted from having a few more cross-country skiers who are conversant in the classic method. However, I am naturally still loyal to alpine skiing.

Schneekanonen auf der Steinbock Loipe | © Kleinwalsertal Tourismus eGen

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Snow cannons for the cross-country skiing trails

From December 2017, three new snow cannons will provide a continuous white blanket of snow on the Steinbock trail in Mittelberg.