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Skiing in Norway - Part Four
Tuesday April 16, 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 - next winter Crystal is offering holidays again. PlanetSKI is in Norway and we have a series of special reports. Here we try our hand at husky sledging and have a ski area all to ourselves. Literally.

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?

For the first PlanetSKI blog from Norway see here.

While here is Skiing in Norway - Part Two.

And Skiing in Norway - Part Three

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.

Boys and their toysBoys and their toys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saving the best till last

This winter I have been skiing for about 12 weeks in around 30 different resorts. 

In total I have skied in over 400 resorts across the world but I have never had a ski area entirely to myself until I chanced upon Raudalen near to Beitostolen. 

It was just myself, Max and a series of deserted slopes. 

All to ourselvesAll to ourselves

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we took the first poma up the only other tracks were those made by the snow foxes and mountain hares.

There was a vertical descent of 350m, the length of the runs was 1,600m and they were groomed to perfection.

Now much as I love off piste and powder I also adore going fast on wide groomed runs and carving.

The slopes were designed for my passion. With the certain knowledge that there was no-one else on the slopes we let rip.

Max skis hard and fastMax skis hard and fast

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afterward as I had a coffee in the lodge I shared my experiences with a new friend.

He even laughed at my jokes.

New friendsNew friends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beitostolen has just 273 permanent inhabitants but in busy times the population swells to 2,000 as the guests flood in.  We were here at the end of the season - good choice.

Next up was more adrenalin as we tried snow rafting.

It is exactly what it says - rafting on snow. 

A skidoo drags a raft uphill and then pushes it down a specially prepared track in the snow.

It was terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure.

It may be a gentle family resort but there is serious fun to be had.

White snow raftingWhite snow rafting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The highlight for me though of the non-skiing activities on offer in Beitostolen was husky sledging.

Meet Loba, Asterix, Smirre, Hansa, Shy and Lady. 

Man's best friendMan's best friend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They are all Alaska huskies and they took Max and I on a 2-hour tour. We crossed Lake Oyangen and headed through the woods. 

This was not a simple tourist experience but rather a hands on experience.

We put the harnesses on the dogs, drove them and then put them back in their kennels afterwards.  We got involved.

It was yet another highlight of the trip.

Woof, woofWoof, woof

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the dogs pulled Max and myself over the frozen Norwegian scenery we reflected on the past few days.

We had both been pleasantly surprised by what the country had to offer. 

If your idea of a ski holiday is to ski downhill from first lift to last clocking up the piste miles and then hitting the après ski with a vengeance and sinking as much beer or wine as you can manage then Norway is not for you.

But if you like trying new winter activities, engaging with the local population and discovering the history and charm of the mountains then Norway is well worth a look.

If you want to experience a more real and genuine winter holiday than the somewhat over-commercial Alps then Norway has much to offer.

It is nothing like skiing in the Alps and you may like that or you may not.

Max and I loved it.

As we mentioned earlier in this series of special reports from Norway and in the news section of PlanetSKI, Crystal, the UK's largest ski tour operator, once again has Norway in its brochure.

It has a weekly charter flight to the local airport of Falgernes.

It is an experience in itself and on our visit we flew out of the airport on a small 19-seat aircraft. We were the only passengers. 

It seemed to sum up our trip.

Not a bad way to get homeNot a bad way to get home

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a video report on the visit of James and Max then see below.

FACT BOX

James and Max travelled with Crystal Ski.

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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