Nordic Skiing: Col de la Loge; Massif Central, France - 1,426 m. (4,679 ft)

Thu, 14 March 2024


Minimum altitude: 1,254 meters

Distance: 19.5 km

Slope Aspect: North-East

Trip Reports

Vertical Climbed: 418 meters (1,371 feet)

Vertical Descended: 422 meters


The Col de la Loge is nestled in the heart of the Massif Central region of France between Saint-Etienne, Clermont-Ferrand and Lyon.. . It has activities throughout the year. A Natura 2000 listed reserve it features vast high-altitude plateaus, renowned, outside of the winter months for their wealth of flora and fauna: peat bogs, heaths and high-altitude grasslands with spectacular views from the extinct volcanoes of the Sancy mountain range to the Alps including le Mont Blanc.

The nordic trails are situated at an elevation of between 1,200 meters and 1,400 meters at the northern end of the Hautes Chaumes du Forez. Near the col the tracks climb through enchanting pine forests before exiting onto the plateau for a true nordic feeling. Short stumpy trees have been shaped by the harsh winds that can blow across the mountains. The trails themselves from a series of concentric loops starting at the col de la loge. The difficulty is more to do with the distance although the Puy Gros black is challenging with a steep descent and corresponding climb.

The Col de la Loge ski resort has been welcoming cross-country skiers since 1973. The resort's claimed sixty kilometers of ski runs are groomed every day for all skiing techniques (classic and skating). In addition to its exceptional skiing opportunities, Col de la Loge offers amenities such as rental equipment, ski instruction, and cozy mountain lodges. In summer you can mountain bike. The area is also ideal for nordic ski touring and snowshoeing. Winter travelers should take care with the weather once out of the forests. There is an alpine ski area at Chalmazel.


Trip Report

The area has hardly been open this winter despite the good altitude. A bit in early January then nada until a storm blew through at the start of March. Today was last chance saloon for testing the tracks and trails before the late snow melted. The initial kilometer from the lodge had intermittent snow cover. A pisteur had made a continuous track by shoveling snow.

You only get to 60km of trails by double counting. I covered about 17km and to be honest I skied most of what was on offer. There is perhaps 20-25km of unique tracks. So it is not the biggest area in the world. With the sticky snow the 17km I covered were enough tbh. The main backbone track across the plateau was ok but some of the south facing climbs had no snow at all. You can access the ski area from the Col du Beal but a notice warns that if you have an accident between the col and the pistes, about 200 meters distance, you are officially "off piste".


Warm, 8C at the col. Snow was soft and sticky but not too bad on the main loops.


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