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Skiing in Norway
Saturday April 13, 2013 - Email this article to a friend

Norway used to be popular with the British but recently numbers have dwindled. That may be about to change as the tour operators look again at the country. Next winter Crystal is offering holidays. PlanetSKI is in Norway and we have a series of special reports.

The growing popularity of the Alps, the UK economic situation, expensive local prices and a poor exchange rate have combined with a lack of marketing and promotion to ensure a fall in British numbers to Norway in recent years. 

It was in danger of being forgotten about by UK skiers.

Next winter though Crystal Ski, the largest UK tour operator, is offering it again with a weekly charter flight available. Other tour companies are also looking again at Norway.

With this in mind the PlanetSKI content editor, James Cove, decided to visit the Norwegian resorts of Geilo, Hemsedal and Beitostolen. 

So what is skiing in Norway like?

The country prides itself on family skiing so he took his 13-year old son Max with him to see if it is all that it is cracked up to be.

Father and son on tour.

Father and sonFather and son

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Norway - Part One.

First stop, Geilo.

A town steeped in tradition and probably what many people's image of Norway is.

It is situated in a wide valley with the ski slopes cut through trees in the hills above the resort with cross-country ski tracks liberally scattered along the valley floor.

The buildings are attractive wooden constructions that blend into the natural surroundings.

Man in harmony with nature.

It feels and looks like a few US resorts I have visited, but somehow more real.

So many US resorts look like a film set - they have a temporary feel to them; Geilo is for real.

Geilo, NorwayGeilo, Norway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A short distance to the west is the area of Telemark, the birthplace of modern skiing.

We arrived by train from Oslo and, as has so often been the case this winter, on my arrival in a ski resort it was snowing.

Thick heavy snowfall in the middle of April.

By no means unusual for the area as the season lasts until May.

Arriving in Geilo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arrival in Geilo

 

The train journey was an experience in itself as it snaked through stunning scenery.

Some viewsSome views

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In fact the whole journey to Norway had been a pleasure as at 39,000 feet we had free internet access from the airline, Norwegian, who we flew with. These 21st century things make me happy.

Max did some surfing while others did some reading.

Shape of things to comeShape of things to come

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Regular readers will know that poor internet access is one of my pet hates.

As Max and I were later to find out the freely available internet access summed up the Norway experience.

The customer comes first.

In fact if I had to sum up the distinct difference between Norway and other countries it is the hospitality of the locals. 

Not just the hotel staff and resort workers that are paid to be nice. There was the man at Oslo Central Station who helped us de-cypher the instructions for the left luggage.

The two youngsters who helped us on to the train with our heavy bags.

The man who offered advice on how to locate our hotel as we starred at a map on arrival in Geilo.

The driver that stopped as we tried to cross the snowy road heaving our luggage behind us.

The Norwegians are, without question, some of the friendliest people I have ever come across. 

They are also probably polite in the ski lift queues but we didn't find out in Geilo.

There were no queues. 

The slopes were deserted - great for Max and myself as there was also fresh powder.

We didn't even have to leave the marked runs.

Norwegian powderNorwegian powder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Geilo in snowGeilo in snow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By alpine standards it is small, but there was enough terrain.

39 runs with 4 different parks.

There are two ski areas, on either side of the valley floor, and they are connected by ski bus.

GeiloGeilo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It is best suited for beginners and families - there is no real challenging terrain but if you want to perfect your carving and improve your technique then the slopes are ideal.

But of course what Norway is famous for is cross-country skiing.

No-one should come here without giving it a go. 

There are 550km of marked trails around Geilo.

We could have taken a valley floor tour skiing round the lake.

But the alternative was a full tour of more than 20kms to one of the most famous mountain huts in Norway, the Tuva hut, with an overnight stay and a dawn departure.

We opted for the latter and will be reporting back in the next installment of this series of special reports from Norway.

But whatever you do in Norway - there is one thing you need to remember. Booze is expensive. Seriously expensive.

At least £10 for a large beer in a bar.

The best advice is bring some with you or stock up on arrival if you come through Oslo airport.

The Duty Free at Oslo airport resembles a supermarket in Andorra.

More like AndorraMore like Andorra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone seems to get off their plane and head straight for the Duty Free.

You are allowed to bring in 1 litre of spirits, 1.5 litres of wine and 2 litres of beer or 3 litres of wine and 2 litres of beer.

The third option is 5 litres of beer.

Duty FreeDuty Free

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next stop is the Tuva hut on cross-country skis.

With my personal supply of duty free.

FACT BOX

For more information about the holidays that Crystal is offering to Norway for the 2013/14 winter season then see here.

Beitostølen
Crystal Ski (0871 231 2256; www.crystalski.co.uk) offers a week's stay at the three-star Hovi Cabins in Beitostølen from £1271 for a family of four including direct flights from Gatwick to Fagernes and transfers, departing 5 January 2014. Special limited offer on selected dates: 2for1 lift pass. Free kids place.
 
Hemsedal

Crystal Ski (0871 231 2256; www.crystalski.co.uk) offers a week's stay at the three-star Ski Per Apartments in Hemsedal from £1461 for a family of four including direct flights from Gatwick to Fagernes and transfers, departing 5 January 2014. Special limited offer on selected dates: 2for1 lift pass. Free kids place.
 
Geilo

Crystal Ski (0871 231 2256; www.crystalski.co.uk) offers a week's stay at the three-star Geilolia Apartments in Geilo from £1441 for a family of four including direct flights from Gatwick to Fagernes and transfers, departing 5 January 2014. Special limited offer on selected dates: 2for1 lift pass. Free kids place.

For the spirit of the mountains

intersport

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