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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Meet the VBT Cross-Country Ski Team

Get set to delve into some of the world’s most astounding destinations on a winter vacation with VBT! Cross-Country Skiing is a great way to actively explore a new locale. And we’ve got the perfect team to lead you on your outstanding Cross-Country adventure.

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Garrott is a 2010 Olympic skier, former member of the US Ski Team on the World Cup circuit and currently the driving force behind VBT’s new Cross-Country Ski vacations. He has traveled the world and served as a VBT Leader Operations Manager, so in addition to his ski expertise he brings a keen understanding of how to meet your travel needs. Out of his extensive knowledge of the international Cross-Country Ski circuit, Garrott has chosen some of his favorite destinations for our new trips.


Damjan studied economics at university but says he’s “happy still to be in the school of life.” He continues to study a wide range of interests, from sustainable development to history to viniculture and cheesemaking. Damjan has snowboarded in India, cycled Uganda, and explored many places in between. He caught the travel bug early, recalling that “for us kids the top event was our monthly road trip to Austria and Italy, crossing the border to buy Milka chocolate and jeans!” A onetime journalist, he describes himself as “an observer of conduct” who is eager to introduce you to life in Slovenia.


Elena grew up in the foothills of the Alps, and first put on skis at age six. They haven’t come off since, as she went on to become a competitive skier, instructor, and (for the past ten years) Trip Leader. “Sport is for me an opportunity to see the world,” says Elena, who’ll introduce you to Italy’s art, history, cuisine, and “the people who treat you as family.” Active, engaged, and always up for adventure, Elena loves the expression “butta la pasta!” (boil the pasta!), which has as much to do with making ready for lunch as just being ready for fun!

Whether you’re after a European vacation, or if you’d like to glide your way through winter in Canada, VBT and our great local Trip Leaders have got your ticket to a winter getaway like no other!