You glide silently on freshly-made tracks alongside trees laden with snow, finding your rhythm as you kick, stride and glide across the snow… nothing can beat the aerobic treat that is cross country skiing! Gaining in popularity from year to year, XC skiing offers a special combination of pure, serene wilderness, and energizing outdoor discovery. A well-marked and maintained trail system gives access to pristine, snow-covered scenery and a great cardiovascular workout: Tirol has 4,000 kilometers of spectacularly scenic trails from novice to advanced, with double track-settings and skate lanes. To get your skis pointed in the right direction, here are five of the most breathtaking trails in the country.
1. The Challenging
Dominik Landertinger XC Ski Track has its trailhead in the village center of Hochfilzen and meanders across scenic Pillersee Valley with stunning views of the snowcapped Loferer Steinberge Mountain Range. Named for Austrian Biathlon World Champion Dominik Landertinger, the 5-kilometer long expert track leads down to Feistenau with the loop bringing skiers back to Hochfilzen through old-growth forest on a moderate grade.
2. The Scenic
Albert Einstein and Ernest Hemingway were frequent visitors to Galtür, lured by the pristine natural beauty of Paznaun Valley. The awe-inspiring views of rugged Silvretta Mountain Range make cross country skiing here a highlight – explore the beauty of the jagged peaks on the quiet hush of the ski. Galtür’s hamlet of Wirl is trailhead of the beautiful Silvretta – Bielerhöhe Skier’s Track, traveling up to imposing Silvretta Reservoir, 2,040 meters above sea level. The 18-kilometer long track offers double track-settings and skate lanes for advanced skiers.
„Albert Einstein and Ernest Hemingway were frequent visitors to Galtür“
3. The Long
Coming in at 30 kilometers long, stretching from Lourdes Grotto in Tannheim to neighboring Allgäu Region in Germany and back to Schattwald, the SKI-TRAIL Loop is one of the longer ski trails in Tirol. Each year, this very track plays host to the SKI-TRAIL Tannheimer Tal – Bad Hindelang XC Ski Marathon, one of Austria’s biggest cross country ski race events. Designated for classic and skate skiing, sections of the trail offer challenges for the physically inclined – along with rewarding sights such as stunning views of towering Wannenjoch Mountain.
4. The Border Course
Depicting cross-country skiing at its finest, the High Altitude XC Ski Track atop Staller Saddle in East Tirol winds through the border area between Austria and Italy at an elevation of 2,000 meters. The round trip circuit starts at Jausenstation Lackenstüberl and continues through the northern mountainside to Obersee Lake and to Alpine Pasture Huts, with the loop bringing you back to the trailhead. The amazing trail ranges in difficulty, with the final section to the border demanding warrior-strength to conquer the steep elevation gain. The border area between Austria and Italy offers uninterrupted, postcard-worthy views.
5. The World Champion Course
The demanding 8.5-kilometer long World Cup XC Ski Track is an absolute must for the high performance skier. Fulfilling international competition standards, the track has successfully hosted several Cross Country World Cup events and sections of the track will feature in the 2019 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships. Rated as one of the most challenging XC ski tracks of Seefeld Olympia Region, the round trip circuit has its trailhead at the Seefeld Nordic Center and continues up through forest towards Mösern with the loop bringing avid skiers back to the Nordic Center.
„Where the World Champions skate“