Xavier Thevenard's best cross-country ski places.

This winter, we need more than ever to reconnect with nature, to be free and calm, so Nordic skiing is an obvious choice for us.

The professional trailer and ESI athlete, Xavier Thevenard, agreed to share with us his best spots for cross-country skiing. Far from the hustle and bustle of the alpine ski slopes, Xavier gives us a glimpse of his philosophy and expertise of Nordic skiing in this beautiful selection. So, ready to get away from your worries and explore new playgrounds? 

1) LES PLANS D’HOTONNES/ PLATEAU DE RETORD (HAUT BUGEY/ AIN) :

1) LES PLANS D’HOTONNES/ PLATEAU DE RETORD (HAUT BUGEY/ AIN) :

"It is a small ski resort with a great Nordic ski area. I know the slopes of the Plateau de Retord perfectly, because it's in this region that I first put skis on my feet, 29 years ago now. 

I grew up in Les Plans d'Hotonnes, the cross-country ski trails were only 10 meters from the house. When you're a hyperactive kid, it's a real chance to get away from it all, and for parents, it's a relaxing and soothing comfort that is not to be underestimated. The Plateau de Retord offers open spaces with large axial combes facing north-south, the wooded parts are mainly covered with beech trees, which gives a unique charm to the whole Jura massif." 

2)  LES HAUTES COMBES / LA PESSE AREA (JURA) :

2) LES HAUTES COMBES / LA PESSE AREA (JURA) :

"This is the wildest ski area in the Jura, there are so many kilometers of cross-country ski trails that one day is not enough to do everything unless you take the front end with you.

It is a magical place of untold beauty. The wide open spaces give us a real sense of escape and freedom, for adventure lovers, the hautes combes/ la Pesse sector is ideal. 

3) MONT D’OR AREA (DOUBS) :

3) MONT D’OR AREA (DOUBS) :

"Certainly the most playful ski area with a lot of ascents and descents, it's a perfect place to get the body, which requires a good physical condition and a good technique.

The cross-country ski trails of the Mont d'Or are physical and must be earned! You never get tired of it, the views are numerous, it's a treat for the eyes.

MARCHAIRUZ/ MOLLENDRUZ (JURA - Switzerland ) :

MARCHAIRUZ/ MOLLENDRUZ (JURA - Switzerland ) :

"The Marchairuz/Mollendruz area is the perfect place to immerse yourself in nature. Here you have more chance to meet a wolf than a dog... It is the highest ski area in the Jura mountains, the snow can stay until late in the season.

A perfect place for the purists of skiing and great for beginners in cross-country skiing, since the tracks of Marchairuz / Mollendruz are not very demanding. For the kings of the mile marker, this is paradise." 

5) MONT DE L’HERBA AREA (DOUBS) :

5) MONT DE L’HERBA AREA (DOUBS) :

"The Mont de l'Herba sector is a really beautiful place for the diversity of the landscapes, pleasant for beginners as well as experienced skiers. We can have the impression to ski in the great Canadian spaces as well as on the Scandinavian plateaus. 

When the weather is good, you can see the Alps, and there are many access points to the slopes of Mont de l'Herba. 

It is really a nice area that is worth a look, on the heights of the cross-country ski trails you can see the resort of Métabief in the distance. To have a good time, it's perfect to see the people crowded at the foot of the ski lifts. " 

6)  SJUSJOEN (NORWAY)

6) SJUSJOEN (NORWAY)

"When you live in the Jura mountains, you certainly have nothing to envy any other French region when it comes to Nordic areas. We have by far the most beautiful massif for cross-country skiing in France. But in all honesty, maybe Norway can compete with our Jura playground for cross-country skiing.

As Nordic skiing purists, Sjusjoen and its large plateaus as far as the eye can see can drive you crazy, because you think you will never be able to go anywhere before the end of your stay. Of an indefinable immensity, it is in this region where I understood the definition of having "sore arms" and where I also learned the expression "no arms, no chocolate"!  Sjusjoen is first and foremost about great memories with friends.

Generally with friends, we go there at the beginning of December for a ten days training course. Our slogan during our stay was: ski, eat, have fun, ski, laugh and sleep. Traditionally, we can finish the course with more than 800 kilometers of cross-country skiing on the clock."

The magical atmosphere of Scandinavia is really a source of inspiration, motivation, relaxation before the launch of the new season, it is ideal." 

Thank you Xavier for this wonderful selection, we hope that it will give the desire to a maximum of people this winter to discover this incredible feeling of freedom that comes from sliding with the free heel. Who knows, maybe you will meet Xavier Thevenard on the slopes this winter in his beautiful blue ESI instructor outfit.