Traverse of the Jura Ski Tour - France

A fantastic journey across the Jura Mountains on cross-country skis




From $2,260 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Characterful accommodation and hospitality in gites and hotels
  • Fabulous French food and wine
  • Luggage transfers included - no heavy bags!
  • Easy access from Geneva Airport with many flight options

The Jura Mountains are France's best kept secret, and one of the least explored pockets of the Alps. If it is peace, tranquility and a true taste of authentic mountain life you seek then look no further! Known colloquially as ‘le pays qui respire' (the country with breathing space), the inhabitants take immense pride in their local produce and transjurassienne travel is a memorable feast for all the senses. Straddling the Franco-Swiss border, the Jura Mountains extend for a 250km arc from the Rhone to the Rhine. Our Grande Traversee du Jura (GTJ) starts in the Swiss town of St Croix and ends 142kms later at Giron in the Ain department of France. The ski route, which was first completed in 1978, crosses the Haut-Jura regional park and follows much of the route of the world famous Transjurassiene ski race. Unlike the jagged peaks of the Alps, the landscape is more Nordic and rolling and each day we aim to cover 20 - 30kms of the trail, carrying only our daypacks, arriving at our overnight hotel or gite to find our luggage waiting for us. In this quiet corner of France, amidst a weather beaten Gallic culture cut off for centuries from both France and Switzerland, it's not unusual to ski all day without seeing anyone else. This is a unique trip and a true journey on skis, where the enigmatic landscapes will captivate and reward even the most seasoned of traveller.

See also the Trans Jura Swiss

Ski Hire Available
Cross country skiing equipment, which includes fishscale classic skis (not skates or waxables), Saloman (or similar) boots and bindings, and poles, can be hired locally at the start of the traverse. The total ski hire for the week is 90 Euros per person (this includes the cost of returning the equipment to the hire shop at the end of the trip).


Which Jura Traverse is for you?

Our two tours are for experienced cross country skiers wishing to cross the mountains of the Northern Jura either via the French or the Swiss routes, point-to-point, from valley to valley. Both trips offer well groomed, first class trails and soak up the history, culture and gastronomy along the way.

Our Traverse of the Jura Ski Tour - France holiday (there is one night in Switzerland), is the ideal trip to first cross country skiing experience in the Jura, offering a challenging 146km of piste, 2600m of ascent and descent. Passing through several small villages on route, our accommodation is in a mix of characterful auberges and small hotels with limited single room options. Our Traverse of the Jura Ski Tour - Switzerland holiday (there is one night in France), is a more challenging tour offering a challenging 153km of piste, 3600m of ascent and descent with the occasional section of un-groomed trail. There are occasional sections above the tree line and because of the higher elevation the ’Swiss’ side has a more remote ski touring feel to it. This offers all hotel accommodation with single room’s options.

Both trips are superb in their own right and many of our travellers come back to do the trip a second time, switching routes or even doing the same one again!

Is this holiday for you?

At 142 kms, the Jura Traverse is a long, sustained journey across remote, undulating and hilly terrain and is only suitable for those who have previous cross-country ski or nordic ski touring experience. Distances covered will vary from 20 to 30kms per day, on a combination of mainly groomed but some unpressed trails also.  Skiers should have good knowledge of cross-country techniques (they must have fully mastered a controlled snow plough and plough turn for both undulating and steeper descents) and be of good fitness.  Technique coaching will be included, but you should be able to ski for 6 to 8 hours each day.

Note that your guide will try to fulfil the itinerary, but this is dependent on weather/snow and track conditions. We run this tour at the time of year when snow is most reliable and the tracks are well-maintained in preparation for one of France's most important ski races, the Transjurassienne. In the event of bad weather or poor snow conditions, alternative skiing will be arranged visiting the highest Nordic ski areas locally, offering comparative distances each day where possible.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in St Croix. St Croix is easily reached by train from Geneva or Basel.
  • Transfer to the trail head at Les Fourgs. Ski to Metabief.
  • Ski under the flanks of Mont d'Or (1463m) and down to Mouthe.
  • Ski along the course of the Transjurassiene to Pre Poncet before descending to Chappelle des Bois.
  • From Chappelle to Les Rousses, via Bellefontaine.
  • Uphill to Foret du Massacre and chalet La Frasse (1400m). Decend to Lajoux.
  • Ski through the Hautes Combes, climb to the Cret au Merle (1448m) and descent to Giron.
  • Departure day. A single time transfer to Geneva aiport is provided.
Sat 23 Jan - Sat 30 Jan Code GTJ /01/16/ Adult$2,260 Status Limited Availability Book now
Sat 20 Feb - Sat 27 Feb Code GTJ /02/16/ Adult$2,260 Status Available Book now
The dates above are for the LAND ONLY itinerary, joining at the group hotel in St Croix. The nearest airport is Geneva, and we recommend you take the train directly from the airport to St Croix. Please refer to the 'Joining arrangements & transfers' and 'Flights' sections in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.

If flying from the UK there are a number of low cost airlines offering flights to Geneva. These include Easyjet who have flights from London, Manchester, Liverpool & Glasgow and Jet 2 who have flights from Manchester, Leeds Bradford & Belfast. Other airports may be available. Click on the 'Flight information' link below for further information on booking low cost airlines. Alternatively if you would prefer to book a 'flight inclusive package' using scheduled airlines from the UK please contact our flights department for a quote. Whilst flight prices are likely to be more expensive you will benefit from full financial protection.

See also the Trans Jura Swiss

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • transfer
  • trek

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in St Croix. St Croix is easily reached by train from Geneva or Basel.

    Meet at the group hotel in the small Swiss town of St Croix. Your guide will be at your accommodation in the afternoon to assist with organising any ski hire and to brief you on the days ahead. The town has ATMs, a tourist office, post office, sports shop, supermarket and pharmacy, useful for any last minute purchases.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals d

  • Transfer to the trail head at Les Fourgs. Ski to Metabief.

    After breakfast at the hotel we make a short taxi transfer to the trail head at Les Fourgs where we can buy our GTJ ski passes. We allow time to find our ski legs and get used to the equipment before starting the Grand Traverse, skiing along gentle terrain through pine trees and then across snow covered meadows. The GTJ ski trail continues gently over undulating terrain to Metabief, a small ski town which is our destination for the day. Accommodation here is in a small hotel. Some small shops are accessible in the town.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 230m

    • Distance 20km

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 350m

  • Ski under the flanks of Mont d'Or (1463m) and down to Mouthe.

    Leaving Metabief our trail takes us back off the “beaten track into the ‘Doubs’ region. We ski under the flanks of the highest summit in the region, Mont d’Or (1463m), alternating through forest and clearings used in summer as pasture for cattle. Their milk is used to produce local Mont d’Or cheese and no doubt the serenity of the area helps produce the unique flavour. The local produce includes ‘apellation contrôlée’ designations for wine and cheese. The local cheese producers are called Fruitières and produce Comté, Morbier and Mont d’Or. We ascend through pine forest on good trails and after lunch, we enjoy skiing gently downhill to Mouthe and La Source de Doubs.

    • Accommodation Gite / Hostel

    • Ascent 630m

    • Distance 29km

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 495m

  • Ski along the course of the Transjurassiene to Pre Poncet before descending to Chappelle des Bois.

    The next three days of our journey take us along the race course of the world famous Transjurassienne. The Transjurassienne is the most important cross-country ski event in France and is held in February each year. The course starts in Lamoura and a variety of races traverse up to 76kms of hilly ski trails before the finish line in Mouthe. Thousands of skiers from across the world congregate to attempt the event which takes place over 2 days. Our route takes us into fabulous pine woods to Pre Poncet. As we enter the Combe des Cives the angle of the terrain eases into an enjoyable descent into Chappelle des Bois where we will spend the night.

    • Accommodation Gite / Hostel

    • Ascent 390m

    • Distance 26km

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 370m

  • From Chappelle to Les Rousses, via Bellefontaine.

    Chappelle les Bois in the Haut Jura boasts first class ski trails. From here we ski towards the town of Bellefontaine with superb views and excellent trails and from here continue to the popular ski town of Les Rousses where we spend the night. Les Rousses is home to French National Nordic Ski School and several Olympic champions have come from this area. There are over 220km of pisted cross country trails for those with enough energy! A relatively easy day means there is usually time in the afternoon to wander around the many specialised cross-country ski shops.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 344m

    • Distance 17km

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 383m

  • Uphill to Foret du Massacre and chalet La Frasse (1400m). Decend to Lajoux.

    We leave Les Rousses and head uphill to another popular ski location in the Foret du Massacre in the Haut Jura. The Foret du Massacre, has some of the oldest fir trees in France and is named after an ancient battle in the area, very close to the Swiss border. A steady well-graded climb brings us to the high point of our day, the delightful chalet La Frasse (1400m) in the heart of the forest where we can enjoy a well-earned lunch stop before our descent to the small rustic village of Lajoux.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 422m

    • Distance 26km

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 340m

  • Ski through the Hautes Combes, climb to the Cret au Merle (1448m) and descent to Giron.

    Our final and longest ski day completes the Grand Traverse as we ski through the Hautes Combes. We leave Lajoux for the mountain village of Bellecombe and wind our way up into the mountains and along the limestone crest where the views of the surrounding peaks and ridges unfold before us. After a steady climb we reach the high point just under the Cret au Merle (1448m), a fitting spot to bask in our achievements as the end of the journey nears. We make our gradual descent through the forest towards the trail end at Giron where we’ll have time for a most deserved ‘vin chaud’, before transferring to the village of Lancrans for a celebratory dinner and final evening.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Ascent 560m

    • Distance 28km

    • Meals bd

    • Descent 730m

  • Departure day. A single time transfer to Geneva aiport is provided.

    KE group package services end after breakfast. A single timed transfer to Geneva Airport, via the train station at Bellegarde (for those travelling on by train) is included.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • A professional BASI Nordic Ski Instructor throughout
  • All accommodation as described
  • Meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • Baggage transfers on each day

  • Travel insurance
  • Airport transfers
  • Some meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • Equipment hire
  • Jura ski pass - approximately 45€
  • Miscellaneous personal expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc.

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

You must join the group at the group hotel in the Swiss town of St Croix by the evening of Day 1 of the trip itinerary. St Croix is easily reached from Geneva or Basel Airport by by train - please see for timetables. There is no neeed to purchase tickets in advance. There is a train station in the airport at Geneva and the fare is approximately 50 CHF. Journey time is 1hour 40 minutes. Alternatively you may wish to travel from home. See for more information.

At the end of the tour, there will be one single timed transfer from Giron to Geneva Airport via the train station at Bellegarde. This will aim to arrive at Geneve Airport in the mid morning.

Further details on meeting arrangements will be provided with your booking confirmation.

The Grand Traverse of the Jura passes through sparsely populated territory and accommodation choices, especially for groups, are very limited. Accommodation will be on a half-board basis at a mixture of small hotels and French-style gites. Facilities at each night stop will vary. Rooms will be a mixture of twin-share with ensuite facilities and more basic non-segregated dormitory style accommodation with shared bathroom, within either a gite or hotel. Single accommodation is extremely difficult to book in advance but may be possible to arrange at additional cost on arrival at some hotels. Please contact the KE office for details.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

Continental breakfasts are provided - cereals, fruit juice, tea and coffee, bread and a variety of spreads including jam, honey and Nutella, for example. Lunches will normally be picnics bought from our overnight accommodation, bakeries or local cafes. Please feel free to bring additional hill snacks from home. At each of the overnight stops, a full 3-course dinner will be served, usually a soup dish, followed by some wholesome local speciality and a dessert.

All meals except lunches are included in your holiday price. You will need to purchase lunch and snacks for each day. These can easily be bought locally. We recommend an allowance of €10 to €15 per day for lunches, snack food and soft drinks. Tap water in Switzerland and France is drinkable.

€250 to €300 should be sufficient to cover your miscellaneous expenses including lunches, 1 dinner, drinks and any other personal outgoings. In addition, you will need to set aside €125 for equipment (if you intend to hire skis, boots and poles) and €45 for the Grand Traverse of the Jura ski pass for the week (note this cost is for the week, not per day). Only a few Swiss Francs are needed - for the taxi to the start of the trip if needed and the single night in Switzerland. Note that euros are accepted at the hotel where we spend the night in Switzerland and at Geneva Airport. There are several ATMs en route. You may also require Euros cash for the taxi or train at the end of the trip depending on your onward travel arrangements.

The group will be led by a fully qualified BASI Nordic Ski Instructor.

It is OK to tip your guide if you wish to thank him or her. We recommend that any tips be given by the group as a whole rather than as individuals.

On this tour you will only need to carry a daysack on the ski days and your main baggage will be transferred every day between accommodation points. Luggage will be mainly transported in cars and small vans so we would ask that you keep both size and weight of luggage to a respectable limit of around 12 kg (and only one bag per person). It is worth noting that you will be required to carry your own bag up and down from your accommodation every day. On the nights we spend in ‘dormitoir’ style accommodation space for baggage can be quite limited.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

This holiday does not involve any significant ascent to altitude and we would not expect any altitude issues with this trip.

A passport with 3 months remaining validity is required. Passport holders from the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, or any EU countries do not require a visa. Other nationalities should check with the respective consulate in their own country.

Whilst we keep our information up to date, you should be advised that visa requirements can change. It is recommended that you contact the relevant commission in case of recent amendments.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum. Your main baggage will be transferred each day between accommodation points. Luggage will be mainly transported in cars and small vans so we would ask that you keep both size and weight of luggage to a respectable limit of around 12 kg (and only one bag per person). You will be required to carry your own bag up and down from your accommodation each day and there are up to 4 nights in ‘dormitory’ style accommodation with limited space for luggage. Note: winter cycling clothing is excellent apparel for cross-country skiing.

You must bring the following items:

  • Approach shoes / Snow boots or walking shoes
  • Rucksack – 25 to 30 litres maximum*
  • Waterproof/windproof jacket
  • Waterproof/windproof overtrousers. Sallopettes are not needed.
  • Thermal leggings or running/cycling long trousers
  • Thermal top – long sleeved
  • Thin fleece top – long sleeved
  • Gloves x2 – 1 thick and 1 thin
  • Warm hat
  • Sunhat
  • Scarf or buff for neck
  • Warm socks (like walking socks but not too thick or long like alpine ski socks
  • Gaiters
  • Comfortable underwear/sports bras for ladies (not wired)
  • Water container (1 litre) NB. Drinks tubes and bottles stowed on the outside of your rucksack usually freeze in winter
  • Small flask
  • Toilet paper and small pack of hand wipes
  • Waterproof bag for documents
  • Head-torch with spare batteries
  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)
  • Slippers for your overnight accommodation
  • Clothing for use in hotels/chalets
  • Sheet sleeping bag (usually only needed for 1 night)
  • Ear plugs (especially if you are not the one snoring)
  • Lightweight pack towel
  • Swimming costume – for sauna available in some accommodation
  • Basic First Aid Kit consisting of: throat lozenges, painkillers (anti-inflammatory), antiseptic cream/spray, plasters (band-aids) and blister treatment/tape, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite).

Cross Country Ski Equipment*

  • Cross-country ski boots
  • Cross-country skis
  • Ski poles
  • Ski Tie

The following items are optional:

  • Extra pair of warm mittens
  • Head/ear band
  • Waistcoat – fleece or wind stopper
  • Camera, media, spare batteries
  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)

* Notes

  • The ideal skis to use for this trip are track skinny skis, classic/fishscale style for cross-country (Nordic) skiing. We will not be waxing or using skins. The majority of the skiing will be on prepared trails. Ski boots should be comfortable, warm classic style to match your bindings. Boots with a high ankle are more comfortable for this trip than a racing-style boot. Classic length ski poles (which should sit comfortably under your arm pit once stood on your skis) are also required.
  • On this tour you will only need to carry a daysack whilst skiing. Ideally this should be large enough to stow any warm and bulky clothing which you may want to shed as you warm up. It must also have ski loops or ties with an extra couple of bungee cords or a ski tie/strap

Ski Hire:

  • Cross country skiing equipment, which includes fishscale classic skis (not skates or waxables), Saloman (or similar) boots and bindings, and poles, can be hired locally at the start of the traverse. The cost of equipment hire is €125 for the week (this includes the cost of returning the equipment to the hire shop at the end of the trek). You will make your payment direct to the guide (cash only). All equipment hire must be arranged in advance, as it will be necessary to pre-order correct sizes. Please contact our office if you wish to arrange equipment hire. We will need to know your height, weight, normal shoe size (you must give us your everyday shoe size and not your personal adjustment for wearing boots) and the measurement of your height up to your armpits (for ski pole hire). The guide will accompany clients to the hire shop and at the end of the traverse, will collect any hire equipment and organise its return.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa Europe

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

It makes a lot of sense to spend some time before coming on a cross-country ski trip getting some additional exercise. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. We would suggest that you adopt a weekly exercise regime in the 6 to 8 week period leading up to your trip. Running, cycling, indoor rowing machines and swimming are excellent cross training methods for developing endurance. Nordic walking or the cross trainer machine are also excellent ways to imitate the arm action needed for cross-country skiing and help to build up arm and shoulder strength. Cross-country skiing is excellent cross training for other sports and as a low-impact exercise is a great way to improve your fitness.

You should contact your GP or travel clinic to check whether you require any specific vaccinations. UK residents should obtain a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). This entitles you to state provided medical treatment, but is not a substitute for medical travel insurance which is still vital when travelling overseas.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

The temperatures that we can expect to encounter during the day will be in the range minus – 15 to 2°C, though it can feel much warmer than this in the reflected sunlight high on the slopes away from the forest. In the evening temperatures will drop well below freezing levels. January to March is statistically the time of most snow in the Jura but mountainous areas do generate their own weather systems and variations cannot be ruled out.

Not many people in this area of France speak good English, so we recommend that you try to learn some simple French phrases and greetings as attempts to speak in the local language will always be appreciated and is all part of the fun.

France - Lonely Planet Guides Burgundy Jura - Michelin Green Guide The official GTJ guide (currently only available in French) can be purchased from your guide for around 12 euros

Route Map

Maps can be prurchased from your guide at the start of the holiday for a cost of around 12 Euros.

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