The Long Distance Ski Championship

September-October, a perfect time to visit Ramsau!

For most Visma Ski Classics Pro Teams, camps are a central part of the off-season training. Ramsau is a popular travel destination for cross-county skiers, especially in the fall when you can combine high altitude skiing at the glacier with sunny dryland training in the valley.

Many of the successful Visma Ski Classics Pro Teams have about one week of training camp each month from May until October. Among the resorts that they choose we find:

Ramsau, Austria. Skiing on glacier at 2700 meters above sea level (a.s.l.) combined with dryland training in hilly surroundings. 

Mallorca, Spain. Great rollerski training in the fall, when the weather is getting bad at home. The destination is also perfect for road biking and satisfactory for running.

Torsby, Sweden. Torsby not only have a 1,2 K long tunnel for indoor skiing summertime, they also have good options for rollerskiing and running.

Sognefjellet, Norway. During the spring and early summer, many of the top teams are eager to get some snow at the glacier, and at the same time test skis for the next season.

Of course there are many more popular resorts that suits well for training during the time from May until November. In this article we focus on Ramsau, since it has a great history as a destination for both amateurs and professional skiers.

Beautiful in September and October

For decades, Ramsau am Dachstein in the Austrian Alps has attracted cross-country skiers all year around. What makes the destination unique is the amazing training opportunities in the summer and in the fall, before the snow arrives in the valley.

Many would agree upon that September and October is the best time of the year to visit Ramsau. At that time, the Dachstein glacier is open and you can train in fairly warm weather in the valley, surrounded by beautiful colors of the fall.

Two loops on the glacier

The Dachstein glacier is located at 2700 meters a.s.l. To get there from the community of Ramsau you will have to drive about 9 K, where the last 5 K is a switchback road that climbs from 1200 to 1700 meter a.s.l. From there, you jump on the gondola Dachstein Südwandbahn, to get up to 2700 meters a.s.l in six minutes. 

On the glacier there are cross-country tracks as well as downhill slopes. The problem with coming to Ramsau in the middle of the summer is that sometimes the top layer of snow on the glacier has melted away. In that case it is still possible to ski, but it tends to be icy and the snow is not as white as one would wish it should be.

In the period September-October, it usually snows every now and then up there, which in combination with great work of the groomers renders perfect tracks. There is usually two different loops to choose between. Ramsauerloipe 5 K, located a few hundred meters from the top station of the gondola, and Hallstätterloipe 10 K, located about a kilometer from the top station of the gondola. 

The exact distances of the trails depend on the snow conditions. Sometimes they are shorter. Since they are on a glacier, the design of the courses is not the most exciting. They are formed like a switchback road, with a few long downhills or long uphills. But since the views you get up there are tremendous, most skiers can stand a monotonous loop.

A drawback with skiing on the glacier is the rather long transfer time to get to the training, and you need to be careful when skiing the downhills from the top station of the gondola to the loops.

Sometimes the gondola is closed due to bad weather, such as heavy snowfall at the glacier.

How do I get there?

By train: There is a train station in Schladming, about 7 K from Ramsau. It is possible to get around in the area of Schladming and Ramsau by public transportation (busses), but it is an advantage to have a car.

By car: Approximate driving times to Ramsau: Salzburg 1 h 20 min, Wien 3 h 10 min, Bratislava 3 h 40 min, Zürich 5 h 20 min, Prague 4 h 50 min, Munich 2 h 30 min. Alternatives including ferries: Stockholm 19 h 20 min, Oslo 19 h 00 min, Helsinki 26 h 00 min, Copenhagen 13 h 20 min. 

By airplane: Fly in either to Munich or Salzburg.

How do I stay there?

There are plenty of picturesque pensions in and around Ramsau. There are few big hotels. You can also stay at the bottom station of the gondola, where you can find a few pensions. But remember you need a car to rollerski from there and it might be tough to stay at 1700 meters a.s.l.

Further reading:
ramsau.com
derdachstein.at
rittis.com