Each year, more and more people are discovering how much satisfaction can come from Nordic skiing. To find some of that satisfaction yourself, check out any one of the large-scale Nordic races happening across Tirol each winter—if you want to suit up and jump in, here are five of the coolest events.
1 Tannheimer Tal Ski Trail
In one of Austria’s most popular cross country ski races, the Tannheimer Tal – Bad Hindelang Ski Trail, enthusiastic skiers annually traverse the boundary between Austria and Germany. Skate or classic, whatever style is chosen, this cross-bordering event serves as a perfect meeting ground for the cross-country skiing community that makes the sport so special. Plus, the event coincides with the Balloon Festival, where a kaleidoscope of colours takes over the sky at Tannheimertal Valley.
2 International Dolomites Run
Backdropped by the lofty peaks of the Dolomites, the International Dolomites Run, Austria’s biggest XC ski event, attracts legions of people each year, from professional to recreational racers. Featuring six different races, ranging from a sprint across downtown Lienz to the Bambini Marathon for the smallest racers, this event has appeal for all abilities of winter enthusiasts. Whatever distance you decide to go, and even if you’re just a spectator on the sidelines, the snow laden forests of East Tirol and its lovely capital Lienz provide a true winter wonderland to enjoy.
3 International Koasa Race
Named after the epic mountain massif of Wilder Kaiser, lovingly dubbed “Koasa”, this event is deeply steeped in tradition. Each year, the International Koasa Race brings together all types of skiers for a variety of events and races. As the centerpiece for all the action, people come from all over the world to compete in the 50K events. Classic and freestyle skaters are both able to enter. The “Night Koasa” team event gives winter the adventurous tone it deserves.
4 Galtür Nordic Night Race
Winding through the snow covered streets of Galtür, the Nordic Night Race isn’t your average ski race. Ambitious recreational athletes rub shoulders with pro skiers like Simon Eder, Dominik Landertinger, Urban Lentsch and Simon Schempp and battle for glory in this demanding sprint race. First, competitors have to tackle a short 500-meter long qualification round that makes its way through downtown and past a huge gathering of spectators to cheer them on.
5 Ganghofer Race
Famous Bavarian vernacular writer Ludwig Ganghofer gave the annual Ganghofer Race its name. This is Tirol’s oldest signature cross country skiing race—and one of its biggest. Featuring some of the best snow-laden terrain you’ll ever ski through, for the cross-country enthusiast, the races are spurred on by the stunning Leutasch Valley scenery in the cloak of winter, ensuring every racer ends on a high note. Skiers have the choice between races ranging from a 5K to a 50K classic style and a 20K to 42K skating style.