Under the winter sun

Cross-country skiing has a long tradition in Lenzerheide

Left, right, left, right, just find the right rhythm and you'll glide over the frozen lake as if on rails. It's a way to focus the mind and relax.

My dear Sara, you know, I don't just want to get out there skiing – I have to! Preferably every day. No, it hasn't always been like that. But since I've been living in Lenzerheide, I've become almost addicted. It's no wonder, because the trails here begin everywhere and never end. You can ski till you fall over, literally. I don't normally let it come to that. Of course, in the Engadin Marathon I give it all I've got, but here I'm often just looking for peace and quiet, inner calm, and I enjoy gliding through the silent countryside, alone with my thoughts.

Some people recharge their batteries in front of the TV or with a book on the sofa, but I just have to get outside. Of course, I don't always feel totally motivated, and then I look for an excuse not to go. Perhaps the weather isn't quite perfect, it's too hot or too cold, or I'm a bit short of time. But generally I pull myself together and give my weaker self the boot, and ten minutes later I'm flying across the snow and never regret it for a second.

Just imagine, I'm so hooked, I sometimes even go out skiing wearing a head torch! Like a piste machine that has got lost in the night. I have seen people shaking their heads at me, but I don't really care. The atmosphere in the evening is simply indescribable, and you have the whole track to yourself – it's like a dream, as if you’re in a fairy-tale, especially when there's a full moon!

«Get outside and glide through the winter. No plans, no deadlines, no goals. Do just what you please. That's fun.»

By the way, you can also ski by night without the head torch. Occasionally I go to the floodlit night-time trail in the Biathlon Arena. That makes a change for me and it's really cool. Actually, when it comes to variety, there's something for everyone here in Lenzerheide.

If you're not yet very good at cross-country skiing, or you want to take it up, the tracks between St. Cassian and the golf course, or round Lake Heid will be perfect for you. You can get every- where on the winter sports bus or by post bus – and back again, too, if you run out of steam half way round! The beginners' tracks are marked blue, like ski slopes. Then, at some point, the day will come when you want to prove to yourself or your companions that you're ready to move on from the "nursery slopes" of cross-country skiing. That's where the red tracks come in. They can be found across the whole network around Lenzerheide. 

From then on, it's not just a question of gliding along, but also climbing, because in some places there will be some uphill stretches.

My tip: the red route going towards Bual in Lenz takes you to one of the most beautiful spots in the whole valley. And of course, some tracks are even one notch more strenuous: if you want to tackle the black La Pala race track, you need to know what you're doing, otherwise you could make rather an ignominious spectacle of yourself. Covering a vertical distance of 133 metres, it is the most challenging route in Lenzerheide and only suitable for technically skilled and very fit skiers. Using brand-new kit isn't the secret, because having "all the gear but no idea" won't help you here.

Anyway, leaving the "race ma-chines" and amateur Colognas aside, let's get back to us leisure skiers. For us, there is one more circuit, the one they call the Heart Trail:

from the Canols cross-country skiing centre – Hotel Seehof – La Riva car-park – round the lake – back to the Canols centre.

It was set up by the Swiss Heart Founda-tion in association with Loipen Schweiz, and is one of eight Heart Trails in Switzerland. They are all circular routes with no gradient, specially desig-ned for beginners and anyone who wants to do something for their cardiac health.

Of course, that's another aspect, the health side. But I wouldn't say that I very often go skiing for that reason. It means far more to me: the enjoy-ment of using your body and finding out what it can do, and it's also a way of switching off after work. It's like being on a mini-holiday: not having to think about anything. Just moving, observing nature, finding a rhythm. I get drawn further and fur-ther into the white winter wonderland. Sometimes I set myself a goal and reward myself at the end – whether I've achieved it or not. – Carpe diem!