On the cross-country ski trail with Xaver Frieser

Xaver Frieser auf der Loipe bei Ftan im Engadin, Schweiz.
The first rays of sunlight of the day fall gently over the Piz San Jon on the opposite side of the valley near the Engadine mountain village of Ftan. Xaver glides harmoniously in his skating rhythm over the still untouched cross-country trail below the Hochalpine Institute and makes the first cross-country tracks of the morning. He is on the Hochalpines Institut cross-country track in Ftan. Xaver, who used to be a ski coach at the institute, no longer has any Olympic ambitions. Instead, he enjoys endurance sports in the fresh winter air before heading back down to Scuol, to the Lower Engadin cross-country centre. «MANARÖL sport nordic», he leads.
Cross-country skiing, whether skating or classic, is the ideal winter sport for all ages and fitness levels. In a very short time, you can train your stamina in a gentle way and do something good for your body and mind.

Xaver Frieser checkt die Engadiner Loipen.
Xaver Frieser: Langläufer aus Leidenschaft.

Lower Engadine cross-country playground 

Xaver visibly enjoys cross-country skiing in the Engadine. Within a short distance, cross-country skiers will find a wide range of trails, most of which can be reached quite comfortably by public transport.  
The valley trail from Scuol in the direction of Sur En and on to Martina leads along the Inn River, through almost fairytale-like forests and offers plenty of variety in the trail profile. The landscape changes practically behind every bend. The Passlung, the annual cross-country race, is also held here.  
Beginners feel particularly at home in Zernez, where the cross-country trail runs flat near the sports centre. An ideal starting point for the first attempts, especially with the somewhat more complex skating technique. 
Ambitious athletes will find their own personal challenge on the Ftan high-altitude trail. Demanding ascents and rapid descents are completed over a short distance. 
Nature lovers are also in good hands on the circular trail around the small mountain lake Lai Nair, which lies above Tarasp on a quiet plateau. For Xaver, this is a real place of strength to switch off from everyday life and gain new energy. 

Auf der Nachtloipe in Scuol. Knopf für das Licht drücken und los gehts.
Auf der Nachtloipe bei Scuol.

Also in the evening 

In winter, as we all know, the days are shorter and locals who work during the day, in particular, long for a sporting opportunity in the soothing nature. Thanks to lighting, the night trails in Zernez, Ardez, Ftan and Scuol offer a sporty balance to everyday life - even during the week. The light is simply activated by a switch. Together with the cross-country skiing commission, Xaver has campaigned for the expansion of the night trail in Scuol, which now starts conveniently directly at the cross-country skiing centre.

Auf der Loipe entlang des Inns bei Sur En.
Durch herrliche Wälder und entlang des Inn geht es bei Sur En.

The classic cross-country skiing style is in vogue 

His father was already a passionate cross-country skier, so it's no wonder that Xaver was drawn to the narrow boards at an early age. For him, being on the track at the same pace is almost a kind of meditation. Xaver enjoys being able to clear his head and also find creative time for new ideas. As a former ski coach in competitive sports, he is particularly fascinated by the technical components of cross-country skiing, the interplay of balance, use of strength and breathing. What is a little more demanding at first with the skating technique is much easier for beginners in classic cross-country skiing, and since the beginning of the pandemic, young and old are increasingly drawn to the trails.

More and more people are taking a liking to classic cross-country skiing again. For many, it is a form of sporty walking and a way to experience the winter landscape in a completely new way. People who have knee and back problems can also practise the sport in a gentle way and thus strengthen their health and well-being.

Bei Raschvella. © Dominik Täuber
Auf der Strecke des Passlung.

Cross-country race in the Lower Engadine 

For those who want to challenge themselves a little more, we recommend taking part in a cross-country race. In addition to the big "Engadiner", the "Diagonala" and a popular cross-country race from Maloja to Zernez and other events, the "Passlung" (Rhaeto-Romanic for cross-country skiing) takes place every winter on the route from Martina to Scuol. The race is an event for everyone: ambitious athletes, popular runners who want to get a taste of the racing atmosphere and simply take part, as well as children and future cross-country skiing professionals who want to compete in the cross-country races. As OC president of the "Passlung", Xaver pulls the strings together and thus contributes to the successful organisation.

Das richtige Wachst pflegt den Langlaufski.
Xaver trägt das richtige Wachs auf die Langlaufski auf.

The wax makes the difference

When the ski runs well, it's simply more fun.

At the cross-country ski centre, you won't only find Xaver in sales and advising. He is also passionate about the workshop and applying the right wax to the skis. On the one hand, this is important for athletes who are competing, but on the other hand, it is also important for beginners who are tackling their first kilometres of cross-country skiing. The wax maintains the surface of the skis so that they glide more easily over the snow. Without the necessary care, the skis would become dry and scratches would form, leading to an increasing braking effect and ultimately frustration on the trail. By the way, while glide wax is applied throughout on skating skis, classic cross-country skis are divided into a glide zone, a kick zone, which on some models are equipped with a mechanical climbing aid, and another glide zone.

Der klassische Langlaufski.
Xaver Frieser im Flugmodus.
Im Flugmodus. Auf dem Langlaufspielplatz Unterengadin kann sich Xaver so richtig ausleben.

Passionate sportsman 

The Engadine is a wonderful playground for Xaver, in whose soothing nature he can really let off steam in terms of sports. And not only on the cross-country ski run and the piste. In summer, he can often be found in his white-water kayak on the varied rapids and in the impressive gorges of the Inn. He also shows guests the region's most beautiful single trails as a bike guide. He enjoys sharing the happy moments of biking with others. But when the first snow falls again, the anticipation for the new cross-country skiing season rises and then Xaver can finally fly over the trails again.


Text & pictures: Dominik Täuber