GTJ Jura Cross Country Skiing

The Jura is a department in France near Geneva at the very North of the Alps. It is mid size mountains but with a particular charm and very identifiable touch.

It is pretty famous for some of its cheeses, especially the Comté. It is also the capital of cross country skiing with its immense domain and the Transjurassienne race.

La Grande Traversée du Jura (GTJ) can be done by ski, trek, mountain bike,snowshoes, horse… in my case it was cross country skiing!

The booklet of the GTJ

It snowed the week before and forecast was for blue skies and crisp. This kept the snow exceptionally sliding:

  • Temperature: cold
  • 2 days, 130 km, Chez Ladez → La Pesse
  • Great snow except missing near Les Rousses
  • Rating: 10/10!
Start at Chez Ladez, near Mouthe (one of the coldest place in France)

After an early morning drive (with snow missing in the middle), we are welcomed by some whirl-winding wind.

I exit the car, drop the bag (15 kg… 5 liters of water), self supported for 2 days with tent and off-we go right away as it is pretty chilly!

The tracks go inside some pretty woods with hills, and I am actually hot with the backpack. It looks like the skiing is not suffering too much from it, which is good news.

Out of the woods and enjoying the valley

Arriving at La Chapelle and it is busy. There is a bridge over the road that continues to a long valley. 20km done already, with a good time.

After Bellefontane, there is the biggest uphill of the trip, which is actually not that bad. Then a maze of tracks in the wood anda steep downhill finishing with just a trail of snow in Bois Damont (not much snow left facing South).

View on Bois Damont at the middle of day

Actually I might finish the same day, 70km, even with the backpack. Yet another long valley which is good, then when arriving closer to Les Rousses the snow tracks disappear (no grooming as well as barely any snow).

Putting and removing the skis as well as avoiding some mud become the habit. It gets better after Premanon, and there is a steep uphill for 3 km. It is also getting closer to 5pm and super cold. After a long downhill, more or less flat, but facing the sun and walled from the wind, I get a very enjoyable end of the section!

A long day of 70km of cross country skiing

This speed with the backpack was not expected, and tomorrow continues without it!

Old family place

It is blue sky and a crisp morning, starting up where I left and going up with one of the longest uphills of the route until 1400 meters.

Why is it called the forest of the “Massacre”

Ensue one of the longest moderate downhill above the “Combe a la Chevre” and the magnificent first view on the Jura Crest Trail (bringing back memory of last summer there).

What a view and morning!

After a road crossing and break at Lajoux, the sun is up and the tracks continue towards Bellecombe.

Arriving towards Bellecombe, seeing the Jura Crest on the left
Start of the Bellecombe valley

There is an enjoyable flat section then a good uphill that lands on of one my favorite view point. Then starts the Bellecombe valley, and a little detour via Les Moussieres which feels remote and picturesque.

Near La Pesse and where I turn around to loop back, a very typical section of the Jura.
This Southern section was my favorite

It was very tempting to go for the last 10km to the end of the GTJ at Giron, but I need to have time to go back and stop at the Reculet then backtrack all the way to Lamoura for the last leg of this awesome Winter sliding journey!

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