As international cross-country skiers, my wife and I are fortunate to visit some of the most beautiful and exciting skiing destinations in the world.
Here are 6 of my favourite places to ski:
1. DAVOS, SWITZERLAND. We spend a lot of time here. It’s great because it’s always sunny, the food is delicious and you can ski up big mountain passes. It’s a really fun place to train.
2. PROSPECT MOUNTAIN, VERMONT. Vermont is home so I love skiing there. I can go skiing with friends I grew up with and there are so many great ski areas to explore. Most people don’t realize this but Vermont is scattered with lots of very cool, small ski areas. We’re really lucky. None of them are very big but there are lots of small cross-country ski areas and almost every town has one. It makes skiing accessible to everybody and the terrain has something for all abilities so it’s very cool to explore, especially for groups or families.
3. PLANICA, SLOVENIA is such a cool place to ski. It has some of the most dramatic mountains I’ve ever seen. Very rocky mountains with huge cliff faces and very dramatic peaks that stretch right out of the ground. I love it.
4. SWEDEN. I like Sweden a lot... Stockholm, Ulricehamn,Falun, Östershund... there are so many places to visit. People are so friendly and skiing there is always a lot of fun – they just love it. We travel a lot and out of all the countries we’ve travelled to they’re definitely the friendliest people. They’re always willing to have you in their homes, open up their doors and go skiing with you. It’s a great atmosphere.
5. SJUSJØEN, NORWAY. One of my all time favourite places to ski. It’s just outside of Lillehammer - the home of cross-country skiing – and where it was more or less invented by the Vikings back in the day. Cross-country skiing is such a huge part of their ski culture and they hosted the 1994 Olympics so it’s a cool Olympic town. If you get a chance to visit, definitely go. The terrain is perfect, the environment is beautiful – very untouched and well looked after – and if you travel up into the mountains of Sjusjøen, there are 1000’s of kilometers of skiing to explore. Plus, it’s completely free to the public so you can just show up and ski. It shows you how much people love the outdoors there. A brilliant place.
Or, if you're feeling particularly adventurous...
6. TOBLACH & VAL DI FIEMME, ITALY. Some of the most challenging nordic skiing terrain is in Italy, at the end of the Tour De Ski – it’s like the Tour De France for skiing. In one section, we race uphill on an alpine slope for 6km straight. It’s pretty difficult but if you're an experienced skier and up to the challenge, go for it! It's definitely worth the effort.
Andy Newell an American cross-country skier. Follow his journey to the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics on Twitter.