If you are looking for a family holiday with great skiing and a wider winter adventure, Norway is an all-round destination that’s hard to beat.The days are long gone when all a ski resort needed to do was get us on the mountain and leave us to it. Now many skiers – especially those with families – expect more than just a ski holiday. These days, we want to give ourselves, and our children in particular, an all-round winter snow experience.
So much more than just a ski holiday
We’ve embraced ‘non-skiing activities’ on our ski trips. We go tobogganing, we skim through trees and across frozen lakes on husky dog sled rides, we glide through pretty villages in a horse-drawn sleigh with a blanket over our knees and hot chocolate warming our hands. And whether or not we can enjoy these ‘downtime’ experiences is playing a bigger part in where we choose to go for our winter holiday.
Canny tour operators, resorts – even countries – are realising that to win our love they must woo us with snowmobiles, hot tubs under the stars and even wildlife. And for many of these attractions we now look north, to Scandinavia – and, in particular, Norway, that long, skinny finger of fjords and mountains that curls itself round Europe’s northern edge from the Baltic south to deep into the Arctic circle.
Norway has long been a successful summer cruising destination, but despite extensive skiing to suit all abilities from beginner to expert, the country has been off the ski radar as far as most UK skiers go. Now, five of Norway’s top resorts – Hemsedal, Geilo, Beitostølen, Hovden and Trysil – are working together as Norwegian Mountain Resorts to take advantage of our growing desire for an allround winter experience.
Partnering with five of the UK’s leading schedule operators (Crystal Ski Holidays, Ski Safari, Wexas, Inntravel and Ski Norway) they can offer tailor-made options beyond the traditional 7-night charter options, using daily scheduled flights from many UK airports, which are less than two hours flying time from Norway. And when it comes to accommodation, Norway has it all – from luxury hotels to cosy log cabins.
Norwegians are quick to remind visitors that this is where modern skiing was born more than 150 years ago – where we get the words telemark and slalom, where the first ‘stem christie’ was turned, by Norwegian potato farmer Sondre Norheim, honoured as the father of modern skiing. Even the word ski itself is Norwegian, from skio, meaning ‘split piece of wood’.
And while Norway may not have the vertical of the Alps, it has plenty of horizontal. Exploring its miles of unspoilt snowy landscapes by ski, snowshoe, snowmobile and husky sled, visitors can really experience nature.
Norway Home of skiing by Norefjell, Hemsedal, Betosdølen, Geilo, Voss
Beitostølen is a great resort for families who want to learn to ski. The village is compact and everything is withing walking distance. The resort is 900 meters above sea level an located near the Jotunheimen National Park. Welcome!
It's unlikely there is any place on earth with as rich of ski history as Norway. Skiing is woven through every part of Norwegian culture and there is nowhere more beautiful to illustrate this than along the snowy Fjords of the Sogndal region.