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Cross Country Skiing - not just a bushwalk on skis

Updated 9 May 2023


There’s a lot of focus on downhill skiing at alpine ski resorts, but cross country skiing also enjoys a devoted following, and is a sport with a lot of history.

The original form of skiing

In fact, it’s the oldest and original type of skiing, and stemmed from the very practical need to travel over snow in countries where winter and white stuff go hand-in-hand and make travel on wheel or foot impossible.

One of the great advantages of cross country skiing is the pace – you travel at a speed that is faster than walking, but it still gives you the opportunity to really immerse yourself in the environment around you.

The peace, the vistas that open up over valleys as you turn a corner, the fresh air – it’s a truly refreshing pastime. If you prefer to work a bit harder, you can pick up the pace, and there’s always the odd hill you have to herringbone up to earn the downhill coast on the other side.

From a necessary way of travelling to a popular sport

Cross country skiing had its origins in Scandinavia, where communities had to hunt, gather firewood, and socialise over tough, snow-covered terrain, and it didn’t become a sport till the end of the 19th century.

At Mt Hotham we are blessed with over 35 kilometres of beautiful cross country tracks that you can enjoy while getting a great workout.

Good for your longevity!

In fact, some studies suggest that cross country skiing is so good for your physical conditioning, it might even help you live longer! Whether or not this is true, it’s definitely a great way to enjoy parts of Mt Hotham that many people never get to see when they’re busy on the groomers.

If you’ve never tried cross country skiing, you can book a lesson with Hotham's Ski and Ride School. Traverse Hotham also offers cross country ski instruction and private tours (back in 2024).

If you're an experienced and independent skier, you can just check our daily trail reports and snow cam before heading out on our beautifuly groomed trails for a great day. You can hire cross country gear on mountain at Hoys and SnowMonkey in the Davenport area of the resort, where the cross country trails start.

Photo credit: @Blooplanet on Instagram

“Ski” is a Norwegian word which comes from the Old Norse word “skid”, a split length of wood.

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