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Ask the Expert

Trip Designer Garrott Kuzzy answers your questions about VBT Cross-Country Ski Tours

Meet Garrott Kuzzy – 2010 Olympic skier, former member of the US Ski Team on the World Cup circuit, and the driving force behind VBT’s Cross-Country Ski tours. Garrott 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. Garrott has chosen some of his favorite cross-country destinations for our ski trips, and here, he answers some frequently asked questions.

How many miles will I ski each day?

It’s all up to you! All our itineraries offer a range of trail options, so you can ski as little or as much as you’d like. Typically, we plan for distance as follows:

For tours rated Easy:
3 - 10 miles (5 – 15km) per day.
For tours rated Easy/Moderate: 6 - 16 miles (10 – 25km) per day.
For tours rated Moderate: 10 - 20 miles (15 – 30km) per day.
 
On all trips, we offer a number of options as loops or extensions off the shortest (easiest) option. Bear in mind also that it’s not a day of nonstop skiing! We intersperse other activities throughout the day, and you can always stay back at the lodge for some time in the spa or pursue your own interests, like a day on the alpine slopes. 

New for 2014 – Select Beginner Dates

VBT will be offering “beginner” departures for each of our ski vacations. These special dates are for travelers who may not have ski experience, but would still love to discover the joys of winter travel. These beginner departures feature waxless classic skis and shorter, flatter routes than on the regular ski departures. Rather than skiing every day, we will include snowshoe hikes and winter walks on some days of the tour. If you have never skied before, but would like to experience a winter vacation—these departures are for you. Of course, off the trail, you will still experience the discoveries you have come to expect in a VBT vacation. See ski beginner vacation page for the beginner dates.  

Will there be van support on tour?

No. Because of the terrain we cover it’s not possible to provide van support. But since there will be a variety of daily trail options you’ll be able to pace yourself, and the lodge, hotel or local ski shuttle will usually be very close to the trails.

Will there be leader support on tour?

Yes. As with all VBT active vacations, we provide two local Trip Leaders who will be on the trail with you every day. There will also be ski instructors from local ski schools to offer basic instruction, included with the tour. Off the trail, your VBT Trip Leaders will guide you on included excursions and activities, providing insights to the local culture, and assuring that all goes smoothly.

Do I need to bring my own skis?

No. There’s no need to bring your own skis (or boots, or poles)—unless you want to. VBT provides free use of skis, boots, and poles while you are on tour. Upon reservation you’ll be asked if you prefer skate skis or waxless classic skis; and upon arrival your Trip Leader will have your gear ready. If you choose to bring your own gear, bear in mind that additional luggage charges will apply based on your airlines’ usual fee schedule.

What do I need to bring?

Of course you should pack warm clothing that can be layered. I recommend wool or synthetics with good wicking abilities like Thermax, Capilene, Synchilla, and Polarfleece. Don’t forget a hat or ski headband, sunglasses and ski gloves. A lightweight daypack will be essential to carry your personal belongings like cameras, sunglasses, wallets, lip balm, and sunscreen. Aside from outdoor trail wear, you should pack comfortable, casual clothing. Fancy dress isn’t required unless you are planning a special night out on your own.
 

What if there's no snow?

While VBT has purposely chosen destinations with a high probability of snow during our season, there’s always the possibility of poor or marginal snow conditions. Your trip will depart regardless of trail conditions. In the event that skiing is curtailed, your local Trip Leaders will offer alternate activities designed to showcase the area’s cultural and scenic wonders, such as walks/hikes, cooking classes, museum visits, and visits to local homes.

Will alpine (downhill) skiing or snowboarding be included in the tour?

No, alpine skiing or snowboarding is not included, but will be available for you to enjoy on your own (with lift tickets offered at the usual rates of each resort). Additionally, most of our destinations offer other winter pastimes (some free, others at a cost) that you can enjoy on your own during your free time, such as sledding, snow-shoeing, skating, and scenic gondola rides. 

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