Plan an unforgettable cross-country skiing experience

Whether you already love cross-country skiing or are just dipping a toe
into the popular winter sport, you’re in for a real treat if you have
not yet embarked on a hut-to-hut excursion. We might think of
cross-country skiing as a form of exercise, but in Scandinavia and
China, it’s one of the oldest means of travel. And today, there are all
kinds of hut systems that allow skiers to go on multi-day ski adventures
with the promise of a warm, cozy shelter each night.

In the United States, you can find several hut systems, like the Sun
Valley Linkup in Idaho, the Wallowa Alpine Huts in Oregon, the San Juan
Hut System in Colorado, and the Maine Hut and Trails System. Distances
between the huts range from three to 10 miles, and different systems are
better for different experience and fitness levels. Make sure to do
your research. Find more tips for booking the perfect hut-to-hut cross-country skiing adventure in this helpful infographic!

Cross Country skiing infographic

10 Late Season Skiing Destinations in Europe

Person skiing

European mountains give us the pleasure of a pretty long skiing season. Yet, true ski lovers still disagree – they always look for a place to extend it for a bit longer. The late-season in most European skiing locations lasts until late April. Therefore, if you didn’t have time to enjoy this fantastic sport yet this season – this is a perfect moment to start looking for the best spot. We present to you the guide to selecting the top 10 late-season skiing destinations in Europe – it’s time to take a look and pick a favorite for your next trip.

Why ski lovers enjoy the late season

Experienced skiers love practicing this sport all the time. However, some of them claim the late season is the best. The main reason is the arrival of spring, which means longer days and more sunshine. Clear skies and sun make the skiing experience even more enjoyable, ensuring you relish those fantastic landscapes. Furthermore, the late season is excellent for beginners, too. Warm temperatures make the snow softer and the whole experience a lot easier for first-time skiers. Finally, Europe skiing in the late season is like going on the beach in September – it can help you spend less money and still have all the fun.

Skier in a blue jacket and black pants

Where to go skiing in spring? Here are the top 10 late-season skiing destinations in Europe

Now let’s see what the best locations to hit the snow with the arrival of spring are.

1.      Ischgl, Austria

This small Austrian town has transformed from a remote border village to one of the top skiing resorts in the country. With the growth of tourism over the years, Ischgl has become more and more popular. Now, it’s one of the most popular locations in the Alps and undoubtedly one of the top late-season skiing destinations in Europe.

2.      Val Thorens, France

This is such a great place to go skiing in spring because it’s located at 2,300m with lifts over 3,000m. With the days being longer in spring, you can truly enjoy the slopes as much as you can during the day. Apart from all the skiing features, the place is also known for its entertainment aspect. There are parties and other events you can enjoy here and have an unforgettable experience even as the season is closing.

3.      Cervinia, Italy

Let’s pop in Italy for a moment and check out one of the best late skiing destinations in Europe. Even though Italy is known for wine-tasting in Florence, you can also have a memorable skiing experience here. Cervinia is located in Aosta Valley, and it is known for its high-altitude slopes that are suitable for skiers of all levels. Visitors can enjoy a relaxed atmosphere in the town and soak up the sun until late in the evening, surrounded by glaciated mountains and beautiful views.

4.      Tignes and Val d’Isere, France

The Espace Killy region is known for these two fantastic skiing locations, and it’s named after a famous French skier. Snowy slopes connect these two skiing resorts and make it skiing heaven for skiers of intermediate and advanced levels. You can visit both places by hopping on a bus, exploring their distinct features.

5.      St. Anton, Austria

St. Anton belongs to this list as it is one of the largest ski resorts in the country, but it also guarantees a snowy season late in the spring. Its high altitudes ensure high lifts and low temperatures for longer, so you can be sure you’ll enjoy its 88 ski lifts even though spring has arrived. Even when not skiing, you can have fun, as St. Anton is great for families and friends.

6.      Verbier, Switzerland

This lovely place in Switzerland is known for its beautiful scenery and the fact that the height of 3,300m keeps the snow longer in spring. It’s open until mid-April and ensures the snow stays longer with the snowmaking technology. This is also a great location to visit other Vallees’ areas, so make sure to plan a more extended stay in Switzerland.

7. Saas-Fee, Switzerland

If you’re traveling with your family, choose Saas-Fee for your next skiing destination. Its slopes are great for beginners and intermediate skiers, but experienced skiers can also have fun on red slopes. This is a rather traditional place with unique Swiss architecture and only about 2000 residents. It also includes a leisure center where your family can have fun even when you’re not skiing.

8. Riksgransen, Sweden

Located in the country’s far northwest corner, Riksgranses has long been a popular skiing destination. The shiny mountains and sparkling snow will help you have an unforgettable skiing experience and enjoy the unique natural beauties of the area. In spring, days are longer, and you can be out from early in the morning until late in the evening when mountains are glowing with beautiful orange and yellow hues from the evening sun.

9. Narvik, Norway

This skiing location is open until the beginning of May, which is excellent for those who truly want to use the season until the very last moment. The resort is relatively small, but it has different ski slopes, and it’s suitable for skiers of different levels. Narvik is a great place to visit with a family, as it’s not too crowded.

10. Ruka, Finland

This lovely Finnish town is one of the top ski resorts in the country. It’s where many professional sports teams train, which tells more about its quality. There are many other things to do here apart from skiing. For instance, be sure to try out dog sledding, snowmobiling, or going to a party.

Person in blue coveralls snowboarding on snow

Late season skiing tips

After choosing your destination for some skiing in the late season, be sure to remember some of these tips for a smooth and safe winter experience:

  • Look for deals and discounts to save as late-season can mean lower accommodation and travel costs;
  • Improve your safety gear, as lower snow can mean more rocks and trees are sticking out
  • Check the weather and wear layered clothes, as spring skiing means different temperatures throughout the day;
  • Prepare your sports gear for the next year when you’re finished—though, knowing the best methods to put away your equipment in a storage unit and keep it safe after your trip is essential. This will ensure everything is in good condition for the next skiing season.

Final words

Our list of top late-season skiing destinations in Europe will quickly help you decide where to go and arrange a new skiing experience. But it will also make the bucket list longer for passionate skiers – are you one of them?

How to Be a Traveler instead of a Tourist

Person in the airport

Travelers and tourists both like to travel and visit places. However, depending on the cause of travel, you can only use one of the terms to describe a person who travels. For instance, a tourist travels for pleasure while a traveler goes on a journey. Also, tourists are considered amateurs, but at the same time, you can’t become a traveler before being a tourist first. You can learn how to be a traveler instead of a tourist by following some simple steps. So let us see how you can improve your traveling experiences and learn how to blend in as a traveler instead of sticking out as a tourist.

Research your destination

Before visiting any new place, you should first research it. And not just on the map. That is one big difference between travelers and tourists. While tourists seek out the major attractions of their destination, travelers seek out the culture and history of the place. Additionally, travelers study the local customs to communicate and connect with the locals more easily. Furthermore, research can also keep you safe during solo travel. If you know where you are heading, you know how to avoid problematic neighborhoods or conflict areas, for instance.

As a result, research your destination on travel blogs and guidebooks, look for local newspapers, and watch documentaries. Know as much as you can about your destination, and you will be one step closer to being a traveler instead of a tourist.

Live like a local

While most tourists choose to stay in a hotel, travelers prefer to be closer to the locals by staying at an Airbnb, a hostel, or even Couchsurfing. That way, their experience is more authentic and personalized. You can even look for a voluntary homestay if you want to be in the heart of the community and be helpful. There, locals will be grateful for your help and warmly welcome you. However, if you are uncertain about where you will be staying or how secure the place will be, you should leave your valuables at home. You can, for instance, rent a storage unit where you can store your belongings until you return from your travel. Storage units are a safe and secure place where your valuables will be in good hands for as long as you need.

Forget your camera

One thing that reveals that a person is a tourist is the camera in their hand or the obnoxious selfie stick. All locals despise tourists for snapping hundreds of photos per minute, posing for the perfect selfie in the wrong place, and using the flash when they shouldn’t. If you want to be a traveler instead of a tourist, forget about your camera from time to time. Sure, you can photograph special moments or places that will make great memories. Nobody will tell you otherwise. However, be careful about how and when you do it. For instance, always get permission before photographing people, monuments, graves, or works of art. Also, make sure that when you are trying to take a picture, you are not blocking the way or the view of others. Be polite, and nobody will hold a grudge against you for taking pictures.

Put away your map

Another thing specific to tourists is the map in their hands. You can always see a confused tourist sitting in the middle of a road, checking a map for directions. So if you don’t want to end up in the same situation, put away your map. Or, better yet, get lost in the city. Travelers are known for spontaneity and not so much for planning. Also, you will never know what hidden jewel you can find in the small neighborhoods of a city. It can be a valuable painting tucked away in a local church, a beautiful monument, or impressive street architecture.

In addition, when you get lost in the city, you will also see the daily life of locals. You will see where children like to play, where the elderly meet to socialize, and where and how locals relax. And, after you see how locals live, you can get a bit more personal and socialize.

A woman looking at a map
If you want to be more like a traveler than a tourist, don’t be afraid to explore your destination without a map.

Learn the language and socialize

You have to get to know a place firsthand if you want a true sense of it. And that you will achieve by meeting the locals and doing what they are doing. Ask them where the best food is, what you can do for fun, or where to go for hikes. Locals will always tell you the little secrets of their city that don’t appear in guidebooks. Of course, you should first learn at least a few words in their language. Learn how to greet politely, how to say thank you and please, yes and no, and how to say that you don’t understand. Any local will be thrilled about your effort to learn their language, even if it’s just a few words. Furthermore, you can even expect your effort to be rewarded with a special tour of the city or a great travel tip.

Avoid cheap souvenirs

You will undoubtedly come across several small yet crowded souvenir shops wherever you go. They are full of noisy tourists that are looking for a bargain. Most tourists, however, are unaware that those shops are often a rip-off, and the items they buy are not authentic. That is why, if you want to be a traveler instead of a tourist, take your time and find the most original souvenirs to take home. For instance, you can visit local stores and markets and find handcrafted or locally made products. And the best part is that you can, most of the time, negotiate the price for what you buy from a producer. However, you should always be polite and know when there is space for bargaining or when you should pay the price listed. Even if some vendors are trying to empty your wallet, it is not the case with all of them.

Be a traveler instead of a tourist

The main difference between tourists and travelers will always be time. Tourists usually have limited time on their hands to visit and explore a destination. For that reason, they move with the crowd, pay higher prices for everything, and return home more tired than when they left. Travelers, on the other hand, have time to get lost in the surroundings, meet the locals, learn the language, and most of all, relax. That’s why it will pay off to be a traveler instead of a tourist.