Nordic (Cross Country) Skate Skiing may be the perfect full body work-out. And not surprisingly, near Geneva many of the best locations are at the top of interesting cycling climbs.
It’s been a cold, snow-filled, fantastic winter so far. And while I have a fairly good track record of doing freezing, icy, snowy, silly winter cycling climbs …. this winter I decided to focus on cross country skiing for a while.
I purchased a Rhône-Alpes Region Nordic Skiing Season Pass and it has been getting good use (link to the official Rhône-Alps Nordic Skiing web site and all 83 locations).
Here are seven cycling climbs with great skate-skiing in winter – all within an hour of Geneva (see map below for locations). Feel free to suggest any I may have forgotten.
1. Plateau des Glières
My favourite location. Two challenging black / red routes surrounded by mountains and next to the Monument National de la Resistance.
It’s a great cycling climb (both sides) – see here.
2. La Vattay (Jura Mountains)
More than 100 kms of trails at all difficulty levels. Half the trails on a high, beautiful plateau, and the other half through mountain forests – leading to a fabulous Mont Blanc lookout.
La Vattay is near Col de la Faucille, but the trails pass a little known, very challenging climb: Col de la Vattay (also known as Col de Combe Blanche). Cycling details here.
3. Plateau Beauregard
See photo at top of page. Starting at Col de la Croix Fry, this medium size centre has a few short greens, blues, reds, and blacks — with stunning views of the Aravis Alps:
Col de la Croix Fry is one of my very favourite winter cycling climbs, details here.
4. Mont Revard
With more than 150 kilometres of trails, Savoie Grand Revard nordic ski centre is huge. It has plenty of trails of all difficulties – almost endless challenges.
5. Le Confins
A few kilometres above La Clusaz ski station in the Aravis alps is the well situated Les Confins nordic ski centre. Take the black trail up to some fabulous views (above). Les Confins also has a very difficult trail linking it to Le Grand Bornand which has a biathlon track.
Col des Confins is a steepish 6 km cycling climb that can be combined with some of its more famous neighbours such as Col de la Colombière, Col des Aravis or — see here — Col de la Croix Fry.
6. Plateau de Retord
In the Jura mountains above Bellegarde, Plateau de Retord has more than 100 kms of trails of all difficulty levels.
The main entrance is at Col du Cuvéry, a medium sized, quiet cycling climb that can be combined with other nearby cols for some fantastic cycling. Examples here.
7. Praz de lys
Praz de Lys ski station has cross country ski trails that allow skate-skiing up to Col de la Ramaz from either side (Sommand or Savolière). Surrounded by high mountains, it is a perfect location.
Col de la Ramaz is a challenging cycling climb from either side. The west side appeared in the 2011 Tour de France.
View Cross Country Skiing Near Geneva in a larger map