Skiing in Norway – here’s what you need to know about the best skiing and ski resorts in Norway.
Sometimes overlooked for France, Switzerland or Italy, Norway is quickly becoming a prominent player when it comes to offering pristine slopes and good conditions for skiing. Skiers are quickly becoming fans of the resorts that are quaint mix of rustic charm as well as consistent snow fall that is perfect for indulging in snow sports of any kind.
Norway forms part of the Scandinavian trio – Norway, Sweden and Finland. Starting from the North, skiing resorts in Scandinavia are open for an extended period. This makes it a possibile to ski throughout the year.
In Norway, the skiing season can start as early as late October and extend to late summer. Most approaches in Scandinavia are short and the maritime climate makes the snow stick to the steep mountainside. The skiing area in Norway stretches from Lofoten Islands in the Northwest to the Lyngen Alps.
If you’re considering a holiday in Norway, consider skipping Oslo and head to the following ski resorts instead. These resorts offer some of the best skiing experiences in Norway and rank high on the list of the best resorts in Norway.
Geilo offers some of the best skiing in Norway
Considered to be the epitome of skiing culture in Norway, Geilo is counted as one of Norway’s oldest ski resorts. Consisting of a charming and rustic ski village that nests near Oslo and Bergen, Geilo is easy to access. It is situated on the edge of Hardangervidda, the biggest mountain plateau and part of Norway’s largest national park.
While Geilo is situated on a lower altitude, its climate as well as its unique location contributes to making it extremely snow sure.
Geilo has 40 different runs and has something suitable for skiers of all skill levels. There are enjoyable runs for children and challenging black runs for the more advanced skiers.
From Geilo you can access 220km of well-prepared and well-marked cross-country tracks. This includes 5km which is flood-lit at night for those who enjoy nordic skiing.
Geilo ski resort offers a unique variety of experiences and activities. All of the facilities are within a short distance of the slopes. The resort is also extremely suitable for families with children.
Other snow activities are on offer too. These include horse sleigh rides, snow safari with dog sleds, ice fishing and tobogganing. Geilo is world-renowned as a paradise for kite-skiing too.
Voss too, offers some of the best skiing in Norway
Voss Resort is located in Western-Norway, only a 1 hour drive from Bergen. The resort is situated near Vangs Lake along the foot of Mount Hangur. It is said to have the most stunning natural views and mixes the beauty of the fjords with those of the mountains.
At Voss ski resort you will find 40km of groomed alpine slopes. These slopes range from beginner areas to demanding runs for advanced skiers.
There are 12 ski lifts, including a gondola from the village, a snow park and a children area. Snowmaking facilities guarantee perfect conditions all season.
Also considered as a tourist destination, Voss has plenty of four star hotels, restaurants and boutiques. The village has more than 100 shops, and cafés, pubs piano bars and nightclubs ensure a great après ski. At the restaurants you can try exotic local specialties.
Skiing in Norefjell
The site of the Oslo Olympics in 1952, Norefjell is one of Norway’s top ski resort’s despite its compact size. Considered the “real” mountain closest to Oslo, Norefjell is one of the most dominating mountains in Southern-Norway. The terrain is hilly, with Høgevarde as the highest point at an altitude of 1459m.
Norefjell ski resort is located south of Høgevarde. The resort is home to 13 ski lifts providing access to 25 groomed runs. These runs run for a total of 26km with a vertical drop of 1010m.
In the event of large snowfalls, early risers can enjoy unprepared “powder” on the slopes. Norefjell’s snowboard area features a big jump and many other features.
The village of Norefjell is situated at mid-altitude, instead of lying at the base of the skiing area. This means that with slopes on either side, it makes for an interesting and easy way for one to grab a bite to eat or head out to ski.
While Norefjell hasn’t grown much in size, overtime, new additions have been made to the place. These new additions include a luxury spa and a hotel complex. The complex earned that earned the title of Leading Spa Resort in Norway in 2011.
Skiing in Hovden
Considered to be the largest ski resort in Norway, Hovden has been active since 1968. It is renowned for providing a classic skiing experience.
Hovden has grown to offer slopes that appeal to any expertise level in skiers and there are even flood-lit runs available that are suitable for night skiing purposes.
Skiers have access to a total area of 34km that includes a vertical drop coming up to 420m. Off-run skiing tracks are available and kept in exceptional condition.
The terrain is perfect for other snow sports. Hovden’s terrain park, called Bukkerittet, is renowned for being the best place for snowboarding. This is because of the range of the jumps, boxes and rails it has to offer.
Children and beginners will love Tusseland. Here, they can play and learn in a safe environment. There is also a free lift pass for children under 7 years. Children are safe in hands at the ski school or the children`s club. The instructors speak German, English, Danish and of course Norwegian.
Hemsedal also offers some of the best skiing in Norway
Hemsedal in the Scandinavian Alps is known as one of Scandinavia’s largest ski resorts and has mountains that resemble those further south in Europe. Consisting of two ski areas, the resort is the closest you can get to experience alpine skiing in Norway.
Hemsedal is a popularly sought after ski resort due to the fact that it lacks large mountains. It is just 3 hours away from Oslo and has some of the largest peaks in Norway. It is very snow-secure from November to May.
For some skiers, Hemsedal is the best ski resort in Norway due to the fact that it provides a vertical drop coming to around 800 meters. Moreover, with different types of terrains available for experts, beginners and intermediate skiers, the Hemsedal is the perfect ski resort to visit.
The resort is modern and has express chairlifts, snowboard parks and designated areas for children/ beginners. The skiing area stretches from an altitude of 625m to 1920m.
A wide variety of other activities are available too. These include dog sledding, horse-drawn sleigh rides and snow scooter rentals. There are 130km of prepared cross-country tracks and 80km of marked mountain trails are available for Nordic skiing too.
Hemsedal offers high quality accommodation, from large, well-equipped chalets to intimate hotels.
Trysil too has some of the best skiing in Norway
Located close to the Swedish border and about two and half hours drive from Oslo, Trysil ski resort has become extremely popular by many Scandinavian ski sports aficionados. Surrounded by a stirring beauty, Trysil starts welcoming ski holiday guests from mid-November snow till April/May.
Trysil has one mountain, which is surrounded by different satellite accommodation-hubs. Spending your ski holiday in Trysil guarantees not only cold and excellent skiing but also create an opportunity to ski the sun all day by skiing clockwise around the city.
Trysil ski resort is one of the biggest ski resorts in all of Scandinavia. Although the mountain is not more than 800-1100 metres in height, there is a high degree of snow security, which makes the resort very popular.
Apart from regular guests who take their ski holiday in Trysil, more athletic guests such as ski clubs and national teams from all over the Scandies are often noticeable.
With a total of 70 km of runs that spread out on three sides of Oslo, Trysil also happens to be one of the most remote skiing resorts in Norway. Its remote location does wonders to provide a magical skiing experience.
The early winter days (November to January) only lasts around 6-7 hours in Trysil. As a consequence, a lot of investment have gone into the installation of floodlights in order to illuminate the ski slopes by midafternoon. Skiing in the glow of the lights is an unparalleled experience on its own, and nighttime skiing is one of the main attractions in Trysil.
The highest point of the mountain is 1132 meters above sea level. The state of the art lift system makes it easy for visitors to navigate through the mountains.
The mountain offers something for everyone, although it mostly attracts beginners and intermediary skiers. The high-speed six-man chair is the only way for avid skiers looking for a challenge to access the sevens keep slopes.
For skiers, young and old, Trysil also offers skiing and snowboarding lessons with ease.
Most of the accommodation in Trysil is situated right on the slopes and has Ski in/Ski out facilities. To the north of the mountain, you find some of the biggest complex in the resort.
Plenty of shops and restaurants make it an impeccable place for families to have a good time. There is something for everyone in Trysil as it has a wide range of luxury resorts, apartments and single rooms.
Skiing in Lillehammer
Lillehammer ski resort in Norway actually consists of five resorts – Hafjell, Skeikampen, Kvitfjell, Gala and Sjusjoen. These resorts are all within a 1 hour ride of each other and all on the one ski-pass. Together they provide a varied and extensive network of slopes and trails.
Lillehammer is famous for having hosted the Winter Olympics in 1994. The town itself only has one tiny hill, with one ski lift. You have to access the 92 runs over 117km of varied terrain with a car, due to the fact that the skiing terrain covers five resorts.
Skiers of almost any expertise level will find the skiing experience suitable at Lillehammer.
Hafjell is the main ski area. Just 15km north of Lillehammer and served by a free ski bus, it has 17 lifts, a very passable 835m of vertical and 31 runs totalling 40.5km. Kvitfjell is 45 minutes north of Lillehammer and its 29km of runs with a summit to base vertical of 854m include an Olympic downhill run.
Skeikampen, 38km to the north, is more modest, with just 17 runs totalling 21km and just 350 vertical; Gala, 89km to the north-east has a combination of downhill and cross-country and Susjoen, 20km north, opened in 2003 and its six-seater express lift serves a network of downhill runs and trails.
Lillehammer is unique as a ski resort in Norway, in that it can offer the thrills of the hills by day and, if you’re staying in central Lillehammer itself, a full-blown urban cultural experience in the evening, with many award-winning restaurants, plenty of lively bars and clubs, as well as a cinema and even an art museum.
All the five centres have their own accommodation, with much of it being ski-in, ski-out, and their own apres spots.
Norway is considered a skiing paradise by many, and not just because of the long season or the great snow conditions. The main reason is that there is something for everybody on offer here.
Play in the children’s slopes, cruise down a red piste, or chase the perfect powder further up in the mountains – the important thing is that you have fun when you do it.
You’ll find family-friendly resorts all over the country and most of them have ski schools and staff who are happy to teach the children to stay on their feet.
Common to all facilities is that they work hard to be both safe and enjoyable at the same time. Many resorts have ski lifts literally right on your doorstep – which also means that you can ski all the way back to your room after a long day in the slopes.
And after a quick change of clothes, you can lean back and relax with tasty and often local food and drinks in front of you.