Skiing in Scandinavia
Lillehammer is intense. The venue for the 1994 Winter Olympics is home to five alpine resorts grouped together under Lillehammer Ski Resorts. If you want to put your inner Olympian to the test, make for the forested slopes of Hafjell or the wide-open spaces of Kvitfjell. Hafjell hosted the slalom and giant slalom competitions during the Games, Kvitfjell the downhill competition, but both offer forgiving carving slopes for families.
Gudbrandsgard at Kvitfjell’s halfway point is a true alpine hotel, and a favorite of World Cup skiers. You can even put your bags in the lift car in front of you on the way up to hotel.
The hotel’s restaurant serves game from the Gudbrandsdal Valley. One of the highlights is reindeer fillet with root vegetable mousse and lingonberry sauce.
But the best thing about Kvitfjell is having the slopes to yourself just before the lifts open and flying down Olympiabacken.
If alpine skiing isn’t your thing, there are 300km of cross-country ski trails within easy reach
of the top of Hafjell. Kvitfjell is part of the Peer
Gynt Ski Region, with a total of 630km of groomed trails.
Skeikampen, Gålå, and Sjusjøen are the three other Lillehammer Ski Resorts destinations. Here Norwegian charm reigns supreme, with log cabins, old farmhouses, guesthouses, hotels – and Norway’s best cross-country skiing facilities.
Norway’s biggest alpine ski resort Trysil boasts an impressive drop of 700 meters, 31 lifts, 67 slopes, trails in three directions – and Norway’s biggest snowmaking facility.
On the other side of the border in the Swedish region of Jämtland-Härjedalen is Vemdalsfjällen, a little gem with over 60km of groomed trails and 180km of marked trails for cross-country skiers.
SAS flies direct to Oslo from Stockholm and Copenhagen, to Östersund from Stockholm, and offers connecting flights from elsewhere in Scandinavia.
All four Vemdalsfjällen resorts – Storhogna, Klövsjö, Vemdalsskalet, and Björnrike – are family friendly, but Storhogna is ideal for families with young children.
At Björnrike you glide down long and wide carving slopes, from barren treeless peaks to sparse birch and spruce forests. The most intense runs can be found at Vemdalsskalet, which also features a newly built mountain village at Skalets Square.
The 5km trek to Fallmoran, an old mountain farm dating back to the 18th century, is bound to warm you up in the morning. Be sure to stop in at Samevistet along the way for crispy waffles, hearty soups and homemade bread.
Alpine skiers meanwhile can choose between 56 runs and 35 lifts at Vemdalsfjällen.
Text: Cenneth Sparby