New Line of Cross-Country Skiing Vacations

Cross-Country Skiing in the Alps, the Dolomites, and the Canadian Rockies Provides a Perfect Blend of Outdoor Activity and World Travel with VBT’s Tradition of Excellence

VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations has announced a new line of cross-country skiing vacations, a wonderful way to bring together an active traveler’s love for the beautiful winter landscape with VBT’s long commitment of providing warm encounters with local people, access to fascinating cultural traditions, and stays in superb accommodations around the world.

“This is the perfect way for VBT to offer a terrific outdoor activity, spectacular scenery, and our proven excellence in creating itineraries filled with unforgettable people, regional customs and cuisine, and excellent local Trips Leaders who are thrilled to share their knowledge and experience with our travelers,” said VBT President Gregg Marston.

“This new line of three cross-country skiing vacations is a natural extension into a new season of the year—winter, and all of its thrilling beauty—using a model we have perfected for thousands of travelers over 42 years,” Marston said. “Winter provides a whole new world of breathtaking natural beauty, and, as ever, we’ve designed these unique vacations to engage our travelers’ bodies, minds, and spirits.

“The result is a travel experience that, as with all of VBT’s vacations around the world, is so much more rewarding than ordinary sightseeing tours,” he said. “And the activity level is yours to choose—from easy skiing loops to moderate and every level in between. We’ve included some delightful and really enjoyable après-ski features, as well.”

VBT’s three new cross-country skiing vacations are:

VBT associate Garrott Kuzzy, a 2010 Olympic skier, former member of the US Ski Team on the World Cup circuit and a VBT Leader Operations Manager was the driving force behind VBT’s new cross-country skiing vacations. In addition to his ski expertise he brings a keen understanding of how to meet travelers’ needs creating itineraries in these superb winter locations that combine thrilling mountain landscapes, outdoor activities with flexible trail options, and plenty to do when the skis are put away. Kuzzy knows his way around a trail and knows a few things about après-ski, too. So travelers can look forward to some relaxation, friendly pubs, and great cuisine.

“In other words, more fun than a school snow day,” Marston said. “Caroline and I love cross-country skiing and it doesn’t require athletic prowess—it’s safe and easy and so enjoyable. There’s nothing like the fresh, brisk winter air in your lungs, the trail and the mountains spread out before you, and a nice drink and warm fire back at the lodge afterward.”

On all cross-country skiing vacations, VBT provides free use of all the skiing equipment a traveler would need—top-quality skis, boots, and poles—with a choice of skate skis, classic skis, or waxless skis, depending on the traveler’s level of proficiency. Since there will be a variety of daily trail options, travelers can pace themselves as they wish, and the lodge or hotel will usually be very close to the trails. VBT also provides two expert local Trip Leaders to provide fascinating insights into the culture and assistance on and off the trail.

As always, VBT’s travel experts have selected unforgettable accommodations in beautiful natural settings—framed by the jagged peaks of the Southern Limestone Alps, to Alberta’s spectacular Rocky Mountains—including Deer Lodge, in Lake Louise, Canada; Hotel Maria in Cavalese, Italy; and Hotel Vitranc in Kranjska-Gora, Slovenia.

Travelers can extend their discoveries and their value by adding affordable optional extensions. On Slovenia, Italy & Austria: Cross-Country Skiing the Alps, travelers can add a pre-trip extension in romantic Venice and a post-trip extension in Salzburg, the city of Mozart. Italy & Austria: Cross-Country Skiing the Dolomites offers a pre-trip extension in Salzburg and a post-trip extension in Verona. Banff & Beyond: Cross-Country Skiing the Canadian Rockies features a pre-trip extension in rollicking Calgary.

On one departure only—January 18, 2013—travelers on VBT’s Italy & Austria: Cross-Country Skiing the Dolomites will have a rare opportunity to attend the Dolomitenlauf in Austria and the Marcialonga in Italy. Both are events in the Worldloppet, a series of 15 international cross-country ski competitions sponsored by the Worldloppet Ski Federation.

Join Garrott at a Nordic Ski Clinic Near You

Milwaukee- September 18

St. Paul- September 19

Minneapolis- September 20

Call us at 800-245-3868 for more details about these fun clinics!

Founded in 1971 by a Middlebury College professor, VBT offers deluxe, small group bicycling, walking and cross-country skiing tours worldwide, including destinations in Europe, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand, Peru, Argentina, Canada and the U.S.A. Each trip includes all accommodations, many meals, two expert local Trip Leaders, unique sightseeing and cultural activities, and full vehicle support. Unlike other companies, VBT also includes international airfare in its trip cost.

For reservations or more information, and to receive the new 2012-13 cross-country skiing vacations catalog, call 1-800-245-3868 or log on to the company’s website at www.vbt.com.

Top 5 Cross-Country Tips

Cross-country skiing is a great way to get outside, stay active and enjoy yourself in the winter. Most of all, it’s a lot of fun! As with most invigorating activities, a little preparation goes a long way in helping you get the most out of your experience. With that in mind, VBT’s very own Cross-Country Olympian, Garrott Kuzzy, has shared with us his Top 5 Cross-County Ski Tips to help you get the most out of your Cross-Country vacation.

Ski vacation, cross country skiing, ski Europe, Winter vacation

1.   Prepare

Enjoying your winter ski vacation is always more fun when you’re fit and ready to go. The great thing about cross-country skiing is that almost any outdoor activity can help prepare you for it. No heavy lifting required. Spend time in the fall months biking, hiking, running or rowing. For more concentrated practice, try hiking or bounding with poles to build up a bit of upper body strength and coordination. If you need a little push to get in shape, just picture yourself zipping through the valleys below the Julian Alps before grabbing a hot chocolate back at the hotel.

2.   Dress Right

When the ski season does arrive, the clothes you wear out on the trail can make all the difference. Just remember the British adventurer Sire Ranulph Fiennes’ adage: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”

While skiing, it is best to dress in layers that can be put on or taken off throughout the day as temperatures change. Wear clothes that can wick away moisture and keep you dry. A light layer to block the wind is a great idea as well. Even though you’re not on the beach, you’ll still want sunscreen and sunglasses—the sun reflecting off the snow can be hot too! For more, check out our Cross-Country Packing List. Don’t forget to pack your swimsuit for a dip in the Hotel Maria pool or hot tub after skiing the plateaus of Passo Lavaze in Italy.

3.   Know the Trails

Just like downhill skiing, cross-country trails are rated for beginner, intermediate and advanced skiers. Knowing where to go to find the best vistas can help you get the most out of your time on the trail. Fortunately, you’re touring Europe and Canada with VBT’s expert Trip Leaders. Whether you’re looking for a flat coast along a babbling brook or a challenging day on rollercoaster trails, you’ll have no problem finding exactly what you want.

Ski vacation, cross country skiing, ski Europe, Winter vacation

4.   Go with friends

Cross-country skiing can be a very social activity. Go ahead, ski right alongside your buddies. You don’t have to worry about traffic jams or following the rules of the road. You’re on groomed trails dedicated to skiing. So take your time and have a few laughs as you glide along the trails. After all, the only thing you’ll have to look out for is the fantastic scenery and the next refreshment hut.

5.   Eat Well

You’re burning a lot of calories on the ski trail. Skip the salads and smoothies and treat yourself to what you’re really craving. Be it a thick Italian hot chocolate, cold Austrian beer or a warm Slovenian sausage; make sure you get a true taste of your surroundings. It’s your vacation!

For more great tips or to get to know more about the VBT Experience, join Garrott himself at a Nordic Ski Clinic near you! Click on the dates below for more information.

Ski vacation, cross country skiing, ski Europe, Winter vacation

Sunday, September 16, Garrott will hold a Chicago Area VBT Nordic Ski Clinic

Tuesday, September 18, Garrott will host a Milwaukee Area VBT Nordic Ski Clinic

Wednesday, September 19, Garrott will be leading VBT Nordic Ski Clinics in Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN