Combining the tranquility of cross country skiing with the challenge and adventure of winter touring off the beaten track, ski touring is a marvellous way to enjoy the beauty of the Swedish winter landscape.
Photo: Janey Shemilt
Just as the popularity of cross country skiing is growing as skiers seek ways to escape the bustle and noise of the pistes into a quieter world where it is possible to appreciate the silence and grandeur of winter, so ski touring is drawing the more adventurous keen to explore deeper into Sweden’s vast mountain wilderness areas.
Ski touring makes it possible to cover much greater distances over unprepared and unmarked routes than snowshoeing. Indeed, ski touring may be a quicker and easier way to get around the mountain world even than hiking in summertime, with ascents and traverses possible that would be more challenging in the summer. Compared to snowshoeing, descents are of course much faster, but being able to glide on flat sections also extends the distance covered with each stride considerably.
Photo: Janey Shemilt
To achieve the necessary grip both to climb and travel on the flat without slipping, touring skis use wax or removable “skins”. For steep or icy conditions, ski crampons can also be attached. Skis for touring have the possibility to free the heel for ascents. Depending on the kind of skis and techniques used, the heel may then be reattached when skiing downhill.
Of course, travelling in remote mountain terrain, especially in winter, requires not only good physical condition but also a sound knowledge of winter mountaincraft. Unless you are an experienced tourer, it is strongly recommended that you travel with a guide who knows the local area intimately.
Photo: T. Idestrom
Nature Travels offers a wide range of guided ski touring holidays, from Discover Mountain Ski Touring in Lapland, suitable for those with some previous cross country experience but yet to try a mountain tour, to more challenging multi-day cabin-to-cabin tours on the King’s Trail in Lapland and in the mountains of Dalarna near the Norwegian border. If you are keen to improve your knowledge of winter mountain skills, Ski Touring and Winter Mountaincraft in Jämtland is an ideal private experience for small groups.
Photo: STF Bildarkiv
If you don’t have previous experience of cross country skiing or ski touring, don’t despair! There are plenty of other options for enjoying winter mountains. For example, Winter Weeks in the Mountains is ideal for those with no prior experience, based at a comfortable mountain station with extensive opportunities for self-guided XC skiing and ski touring on prepared and marked trails starting right from the door. If you would like to improve your technique, instruction can be arranged, while guided day excursions with the station guides are also available.
And while snowshoeing may not be able to match ski touring in terms of distance covered, it is very much an activity with its own special charm and requires no previous experience. Our 4-day snowshoeing and winter camping tour in Jämtland is an ideal option for adventurous types who want to get away from it all for a few days!
The Nature Travels Team