In the heart of the Haute-Savoie Alps, the village of Samoëns welcomes you this winter to fill up on fresh air. Come and discover cross-country skiing and the Nordic areas open to all levels in the Giffre valley, the Joux Plane pass, and the Cirque de Fer-à-Cheval. Between the sensations of sliding and discovering the magnificent surrounding landscapes, cross-country skiing is a fun activity for people of all ages!


Ski de fond à Samoëns

In cross-country skiing, there is no point in trying to go too fast! To begin with, you will need to become familiar with your skis and the balance they require.

Cross-country skiing is an activity open to all ages and levels. Indeed, everyone can find pleasure in cross-country skiing as different areas adapted to different levels of expertise. Whether you are skiing on the flat, downhill, or uphill, you can learn to cross-country ski in a fun and enjoyable way on the tracks of the three Nordic areas of the Haut Giffre

But before you start cross-country skiing, it is good to know some principles of this Nordic activity.

Classical cross-country skiing VS skating 

There are two disciplines :

  • The « classic», practiced on tracks or rails
  • The « skating step » also known as  « skating », praticed on groomed tracks

How to practice classical cross-country skiing? 

Classic cross-country skiing is a very good way to start Nordic skiing as it allows you to acquire the necessary balance while becoming familiar with the sensations of sliding.

Classic cross-country skiing uses the alternating step, a technique similar to walking, which is very easy to learn. Practiced in the rails along the cross-country ski trails, this activity will allow you to discover the alpine landscape.

Although it is accessible to the youngest and the oldest, this discipline will require a little practice to acquire a good sliding technique and thus be able to advance efficiently in the tracks to enjoy your ride to the fullest

ski de fond - hiver - paysage
ski de fond - hiver - paysage

How to practice skating? 

Once you have mastered the balance of cross-country skiing, you will be able to move on to the second discipline, skating: the most familiar method.

Skating is practiced on groomed cross-country ski trails and requires good balance on the skis, good coordination, and a good physical condition. Nordic skiing is more technical than its “classic” form as there are several steps that will vary during the outing and the terrain encountered. We categorize these steps as two-step, combined two-step, and one-step (but we will talk about that in due course!)

 Cross-Country Skiing in Samoëns

In Samoëns, cross-country skiing, whether in its classic or skating form, is accessible to everyone (from the age of 5). However, it is advisable for young and old alike to start with classic cross-country skiing as it allows you to acquire the basics of balance and gliding present in Nordic skiing.

This activity is suitable for all physical conditions and will allow children to gently develop their cardiovascular system while enjoying the magnificent landscapes of the Haut Giffre areas as well as the view of Mont Blanc offered by the Joux Plane pass.

Children will learn discipline through games and playful exercises.

Paysage hiver - montagne


Cross-country skiing lessons in Samoëns, for a good start

In order to get off to a good start and to immerse yourself in thIS activity in the best possible way, we recommend that you take at least 2 x 2 hours of lessons given by an instructor. During these introductory hours, your instructor will adapt to your level in order to introduce you to this sport.

Depending on your goals, you can continue to be coached, or practice on your own in Samoëns.

In Samoëns, we are lucky enough to be able to offer you several organizations, all composed of cross-country skiing professionals, to ensure that your cross-country skiing initiation is a success! 

Ski de fond Joux Plane - Tourisme Samoëns


Skieuse de fond dans le bourg - Christian Martelet

Cross-country skiing does not require special equipment which is very practical!

When s cross-country skiing, it is advisable to dress in soft, light but warm clothes. This way so you can carry out the wide movements of the activity. A raincoat and a good pair of gloves will complete the outfit in order to counter the cold outside and to avoid getting soaked on rainy days or when it snows (there will be some, be sure!).

The key to success in cross-country skiing is to be comfortable in the clothes you wear. They should not be too heavy or bulky.

As far as cross-country skiing equipment is concerned, i.e. skis, poles, and boots, you will find very good equipment at our resort, adapted to your level and well maintained.

Find our equipment rentals in the village of Samoens!


The three golden rules of cross-country skiing

In order for cross-country skiing to be a moment of pleasure and discovery for everyone, it is necessary to follow a few safety rules.

  • It is important to stay on the slopes of the areas which are groomed and maintained by our ski patrols every day.
  • In cross-country skiing, the trails are often loops. It is therefore important to take the trail in the right direction to avoid disturbing other skiers or causing accidents.
  • Choose a slope adapted to your level. As in alpine skiing, the slopes have colors (from green to black). These colors correspond to the technical difficulty of the piste and its length. Don’t overestimate yourself and start on a run that you feel you can complete without burning out.
Ski de Fond à Samoëns, technique de ski alternatif

These few safety rules seem obvious but it is always good to keep them in mind.

And don’t forget, that the goal is to have fun in the middle of groomed areas and breathtaking landscapes!


The nordic domains of Samoens

In Samoëns there are three main areas, suitable for all levels of skiers.

  1. The Giffre valley: you will find in the Giffre valley rather flat slopes, perfect for beginners. But be careful, as these are in the valley, the snow cover can vary. 
  2. The Cirque du Fer-à-Cheval:  a listed site of which we are very proud! With slopes for all levels, it is a magical spectacle that you will find at the top. During your walk, you will have the chance to ski facing the Mont-Blanc on quality powder snow.
  3. The col de Joux Plane: you will find other trails and an equally magical mountain setting to enjoy cross-country skiing, whatever your level.


Samoëns offers a free shuttle service to its cross-country skiers and trainee skiers to access  the Col de Joux Plane and the Cirque du Fer-à-Cheval. We recommend this method of transport, as the parking lots are limited in number of spaces.

Cross-country skiing in Samoëns

Que ce soit pour le goût de l’effort ou pour la découverte de paysages splendides des Alpes, vous trouverez dans l’activité ski de fond ce que vous êtes venus chercher. Au rythme de la nature, dans un silence apaisant, vous découvrirez les trésors cachés des montagnes de la Haute-Savoie. 

Whether it is for the taste of effort or for the discovery of splendid landscapes,  you will find in cross-country skiing what you came for. At the rhythm of nature, in a soothing silence, you will discover the hidden treasures of the mountains of Haute-Savoie.

This winter, come and slide on the slopes of the Samoëns Nordic areas!

We thank Marcelle Emonet for his help in writing this article.

Samoëns remains reachable

Samoëns Tourist Office

66, place de l’Office de Tourisme


Phone number: 0 33 (0)