Time to Ski in Norway?
21st October 2021
Last modified on October 28th, 2021
With the realistic prospect of post-pandemic skiing this winter many are looking to take a bucket list trip or ski somewhere entirely different. Perhaps Norway is worth a look. We think so.
We can imagine the comments from the doubters.
- There are no real mountains, they’re hills.
- It’s not the place to go for downhill skiing.
- It’s cold and dark.
- It’s expensive.
Not all of the above are true and even if they are, they should be considered against the advantages.
- You can ski in many Norwegian resorts from November to May.
- The snow conditions are fabulous thanks to its latitude.
- The slopes are quiet.
- It offers a unique and genuine ‘winter experience’.
It’s on our ski list for 2021-22 and we look forward to returning.
Here’s a brief guide to some of the country’s main ski areas that come under the banner of Norway – Home of Skiing.
Small and perfectly formed
The cosy, family-friendly resort of Beitostølen is located on the edge of the Jotunheimen national park.
Pronounced Bait-oh-stir-len, the resort is 900m above sea level and can usually boast snow from November to May.
There are two ski areas.
The village centre is suitable for children, families and beginners. The alpine centre at Raudalen across the valley has more challenging slopes.
Two of the slopes are floodlit.
There’s a snow park and 320km of cross country ski trails.
Everything in the village is within walking distance.
Nearest Airport: Oslo
Transfer time: 3.5 hrs
Ski lifts: 9
Ski runs: 21 (5% advanced, 35% intermediate, 60% beginners)
A warm welcome guaranteed
Geilo is the vibrant mountain village, situated between Norway’s main cities Oslo and Bergen.
Pronounced Yay-lo, there are 50 slopes and both large and small snow parks.
The slopes come right down into the town centre, which is at 800m altitude.
All facilities are close by and there’s a ski bus from the accommodation to the lifts.
It’s a family friendly resort with separate areas for youngsters.
Children under seven ski free and the crèche takes babies from 6 months old.
There are a massive 550km of prepared and marked cross country tracks.
It’s a popular resort for well-being and spa facilities.
Nearest airport: Oslo, Bergen Airport Flesland
Transfer time: 3.5hrs by car
Ski lifts: 20
Ski runs: 40 (6% advanced, 39% intermediate, 55% beginners)
A family paradise
One of Norway’s largest ski areas, the Olympic resort at Hafjell has skiing for all levels. Whether you’re advanced or a complete beginner, there’s a tree-lined run for you.
The resort is 15 minutes north of Lillehammer and hosted the slalom and giant slalom races at the 1994 Winter Olympics.
There are wide open runs and some challenging slopes for experienced skiers on the Olympic runs.
There are also terrain parks for all abilities.
The snow conditions are fantastic. As well as frequent early and continued snowfall throughout the winter, there are 200 snow cannons, covering 90% of the resort.
Hafjell is one of the most popular ski destinations in Scandinavia but, remarkably, it can feel empty on the slopes.
And the views are spectacular too.
We were last there in 2019 when we also visited Kvitfjell (see below).
There are three family areas – one at the base of the slopes, one at the top of the gondola and one at the top of the mountain.
At Mosetertoppen there is the Ski Movie arena: a slalom slope with real start gates, a timer and filming.
Season: November – April
Nearest Airport: Oslo
Transfer time: 2 hours
Ski lifts: 19
Ski runs: 30 (30% advanced, 40% intermediate, 30% beginners)
The best ski slopes in the world – and much more!
At Kvitfjell Ski Resort you will find slopes for the elite and slopes for beginners in a unique atmosphere of comfort and coziness.
The resort was original developed to host the downhill alpine events at the 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics.
It still regularly hosts World Cup downhill and super G races and has slopes for all abilities.
There are three distinct sides that make up the ski area at Kvitfjell: the newly expanded Varden area, Kvitfjell Vest (west) and the original ski area of Kvitfjell itself – home to the Olympic downhill.
The lifts connect you to all three.
The Olympiabakken downhill course, which was designed by Bernhard Russi, is highly regarded among the world’s best skiers.
Children can try their own World Cup slope with start gates and timing.
There are wide slopes with easy lifts for kids and beginners and a beginners’ terrain park as well as a more difficult one with jumps and rails of varying degrees of difficulty.
Nearest airport: Oslo
Transfer time: 3 hours
Ski lifts: 14
Ski runs: 33 (35% advanced, 40% intermediate, 25% beginners)
Discover Norway’s remarkable fjord landscape
Myrkdalen, located in Voss, is the largest ski resort in the fjord region. It offers skiing possibilities for the whole family, including exciting off-piste and leisurely cross-country.
A modern resort good for beginners and the more experienced and a great place to go if you are a mix of novices and advanced skiers.
The piste area is small but for good skiers there is plenty of untracked off-piste and some of the best snow in Europe.
Myrkdalen is described as ‘blissfully uncrowded’ and is snow-sure from December to May.
It’s set in a region of fjords and frozen lakes and, although it has grown every year since it was born in 2003, it is still relatively undiscovered.
Most slopes are wide and open, so is a good choice for learning to ski.
If you fancy something to do off the slopes, you can learn to fly with indoor sky diving.
Nearest Airport: Bergen
Transfer Time: 2 Hours
Ski Lifts: 9
Ski Runs: 22 (20% advance, 50% intermediates, 30% beginners)
Surrounded by majestic mountains and deep fjords
We offer a different experience, both for family, friends, top tour enthusiast, bike enthusiasts, active alpine skiers, to mention some.
A year-round resort that should be on every skier’s wish list, Narvik is in the far north of Norway with incredible views of mountains and fjords and, if you’re lucky, the Northern Lights.
It’s perfect for off-piste adventures with the one of the largest vertical drops in Scandinavia and there are several technically-demanding slopes.
The cable car in Narvik was the first cable car in Northern Europe when it was completed in 1957. A new cable car was built and opened in 2019.
Nearest Airport: Narvik Airport Evenes, Harstad
Transfer Time: 1 hour
Ski lifts: 6
Ski Runs: 15
Oslo’s nearest mountain
Spectacular Norefjell is only 1,5 hours away from Oslo city and Norways main airport, Gardermoen.
It has a variety of slopes for all abilities and two snowparks.
It is the mountain area closest to the capital, Oslo.
It has the highest vertical drops of all ski resorts in northern Europe with 1,010 metres.
There’s skiing from the top at 1,188m almost all the way down to the lake.
There are views over eastern Norway and the lakes.
If you like your luxury and comfort, try the award-winning ski-in-ski-out Norefjell Ski & Spa at 800 metres.It has a heated garage for your car, a gym and swimming pool.
The Wellness Spa at Norefjell has also won awards.
Nearest Airport: Oslo
Transfer Time: 2 hours
Ski lifts: 14
Ski runs: 30 (12% advanced, 27% intermediate, 61% beginners)
The largest ski resort in Western Norway
Voss Resort, the largest resort in Western Norway, is located in the heart of Fjord Norway and the fjords are a must do boat trip.
Voss is the largest resort in western Norway in the heart of the Fjords.
It benefits from a short transfer from Bergen.
The slopes vary in difficulty and there are three designated children’s areas.
The accommodation includes modern apartments and self-service cabins.
Nearest Airport: Bergen Airport Flesland
Transfer time: 1.5 hours
Ski lifts: 11
Ski runs: 24 (15% advanced, 45% intermediate, 40% beginners)
Past PlanetSKI Visits to Norway
We have been skiing in Norway each winter for the past decade or so.
Here are a few past articles from the PlanetSKI editor, James Cove.
- 2013 – Skiing in Norway Part One
- 2013 – Skiing in Norway Part Two
- 2014 – Skiing in Norway
- 2015 – Looking back at Norway
- 2017 – Norwegian Adventures