Skiing in Norway

Sometimes it is judgement, often it is luck and occasionally a combination of the two. This week PlanetSKI has been in Norway, the location of some of the best current snow in Europe.


Even if the Alps had been blanketed by a fall of fresh snow I would still be delighted to have been in Norway this week.

I have tried not to gloat about being in the right place at the right time, but it is hard.

Norway has an abundance of snow, cold temperatures and the resorts are set for the beginning of the season and beyond.

There isn’t deep powder and when skiing off piste then caution needs to be used, but overall this is one of the best places to be in Europe at the moment.

The first falls came in November and snow depths here are very respectable.

Yours truly

Yours truly. Image © PlanetSKI

“Winter has started well this season and snow is rarely a problem over Christmas here in Scandinavia, it is good to see it,” said the General Manager of Hemsedal, Andreas Smith-Ericson to me.

“This winter has got off to a very good start,” he added.

Off course snow can never be gauranteed at this time of year but this winter the resort of Hemsedal has full top to bottom cover and was able to open a new run 2-weeks early.

It is a 5.1km run from the top of the highest lift in Scandinavia at 1,497m to the village of Hemsedal down in the valley.

It is small by alpine standards but long for Norway.

Highest lift in Scandinavia

Highest lift in Scandinavia. Image © PlanetSKI

At the bottom is a welcome pit-stop.

A well deserved beer!

The Hemsedal Cafe. Image © PlanetSKI

Two days ago I was in Geilo – the runs are not as steep as here in Hemsedal, but the snow was just as good.

Geilo, Norway

Geilo, Norway. Image © PlanetSKI

Geilo, Norway

Geilo, Norway.Image © PlanetSKI

Plenty of snow

Plenty of snow.Image © PlanetSKI

Norway has perhaps been lucky with the snow compared to other parts of Europe, but I chose to come here with thought.

Personally I wouldn’t recommend people to book ahead to go anywhere in the Alps pre-Christmas that does not have access to a glacier or slopes up to the 3,000m mark.

In Norway the resorts and ski areas are low – Geilo is at 800m, Hemsedal 640m, Trysil 360m and Beitostolen is at 900m.

But altitude is not so important here – it is in northern Europe and it is usually plenty cold enough.

Even with the current snow they are still producing huge amounts of artificial snow to help them for the rest of the season if it is needed.

It even carries on through the night.

Staying prepared

Staying prepared. Image © PlanetSKI

I was on the first charter flight of the season into Fagernes airport last weekend.

It is a Thomson route and was full of skiers and snowboarders out with Crystal Ski.

We even made the papers in Norway as the first plane full of foreign skiers for the winter!

First to arrive

First to arrive. Image © PlanetSKI

In Norway visitors are welcomed and the hospitality knows no limits, unlike some resorts in France shall we say.

It is like the service in the USA, but with a crucial difference; in my personal opinion it comes with more sincerity and is perhaps less sycophantic.

But ultimately I am here for the snow.

“Norway has a good snow record at both the beginning and end of the season as it is much further north than the resorts of the Alps and the Pyrenees. Snow can never be guaranteed but it is pretty much as certain as it can be for the time of year,” said the Norway Purchasing Manager for Crystal, Michael Brabin.

Crystal returned to Norway and began offering it again in 2013/14.

Last year it took 2,000 people to Norway and this winter it expects to take more people with sales going well so far.

The next few weeks are booked out and January is selling well.

I visited the country in the season of 2012/13 to see the attractions of Norway.

I was in Norway at the end of the season on that trip for some late-season powder, but it is not just about the snow.

Norway is as much about the other activities on offer; from husky dog rides to cross-country skiing and much else besides.

See here for those earlier articles as I visited Geilo, Hemsedal and Beitostolen with my son Max, who was 13-years old at the time.

This time round though I have just been skiing, in some of the best snow currently to be found in Europe.

Right place, right time

Right place, right time. Image © PlanetSKI

View from the top

View from the top. Image © PlanetSKI

Into the wilderness

Into the wilderness. Image © PlanetSKI

For further news and images on James Cove’s trip see the latest PlanetSKI snow report that details conditions round the Alps and in Norway. 

Here are a couple of pictures from the article as he travelled from Geilo to Hemsedal.

The road to Hemsedal

The road to Hemsedal. Image © PlanetSKI

The road to Hemsedal

The road to Hemsedal. Image © PlanetSKI

Later this week the PlanetSKI video snow report will come from Norway. 

While there will be a full feature on taking a winter holiday in Norway next week.


Crystal Ski Holidays (www.crystalski.co.uk; 020 8939 0726) offers a week’s half board at the Finest four-star Hotel Vestilla Resort in Geilo from £629 per person (based on two sharing) including flights from Gatwick and transfers departing on 17 January 2015.

A week’s bed & breakfast at the Hotel Alpin Lodge in Hemsedal costs from £716 per person departing on 17 January 2015 (based on two sharing) including flights from Gatwick and transfers.

Crystal Ski app for iPhones – see here.

For more information about Geilo then see here and for detail about Hemsedal follow this link.

For the spirit of the mountains