News from the snow
Hemsedal has grown to become what many consider Norway's leading winter sports resort. It boasts some of the country's most extensive and testing terrain and has been the site of a World Cup Super Giant Slalom. The modern lift system includes four high speed detachable quads. Rich in heritage, Hemsedal village, which markets itself as 'The Scandinavian Alps' offers high quality accommodation, facilities and ever improving deals for families. The 'Alps' image is promoted to underline the fact that, unlike much of Scandinavia, the mountains around Hemsedal rise steeply and impressively rather than being the gentle rolling hills you're likely to encounter in most other northern European resorts. The local mountain peaks reach 2000 metres (6562 feet), the highest in Scandinavia. In common with other resorts on this latitude, the snow starts to fall early and the season can last from the middle of November in to May. However, Hemsedal has a large amount of artificial snowmaking equipment to ensure the availability of slopes throughout the season. The resort is located pretty well equi-distant from Oslo and Bergen in the heart of Norway and has an international, cosmopolitan feel with 65% of guests arriving from abroad - especially Holland, Germany, the UK and other Scandinavian nations.
One of Norway's leading resorts Hemsedal, boasts some of the country's most testing terrain and has been the site of a World Cup Super Giant Slalom. The village, which markets itself as, 'The Scandinavian Alps' itself offers high quality accommodation, facilities and ever improving deals for families with young children. The excellent Trollia Kindergarten takes children from 3 months and the Trollia also provides free safety helmets for children. Children up to age 7 ski free. The enhanced web site features a video cam pointing at the slopes which is updated three times daily.
For beginners there's a special ski area at the bottom of the mountain and long gentle cruisers to move on to. Intermediates have a good range of trails including challenging routes down through the trees and bowl skiing above the treeline. Hemsedal has plenty to entertain more advanced and expert level winter sports fans - especially if you take them up on the many guided tour options including off piste and high mountain touring.
On piste there are some steep mogul fields and a long World Cup course down from the area's high point at Totten peak. Slalom fans have a self-timer course and there are weekly races for almost all ages and abilities and in all disciplines. Parallel races with two competitors descending together are organised twice a week at the Solheisen centre. There are vast cross-country trails, 220km (138 miles) locally. Two trails (the 2km and 3km) are floodlit until about 11pm daily.
Telemarking is popular and it's possible to take a mountain top expedition on telemark skis, skiing up with animal skins under the skis to give grip and then skiing down again. Night skiing is available from 5.30 until 9pm four evenings every week. This night skiing covers tough and intermediate stand trails as well as the gentle slopes.
There's the excellent Trollia Kindergarten for children aged three months or older. It provides free safety helmets for children and adults. Children up to age seven ski free and there are special separate areas on the mountain for kids.
Children's ski school begins with 'Snow Gnome' classes for children aged 3 and up, progressing to 'Small Troll' status once a snow plough/pizza pie turn has been mastered. This is also the starting category for kids in the 6 - 8 age group, who can progress through 'Forest Troll', 'Hill Troll' and reach 'Mountain Troll' once they can ski all terrain.
Older children up to age 15 are in colour coded 'Snow teams' up to age 15 (green for novice, blue intermediate and red, most advanced). The Troll Park organises treasure hunts and tobogganing. Also at the Troll Park on other nights the 'Rumpe Rally' - sledging on 'flying carpets' is great family fun.
For a traditional Norwegian meal you can cook your own dinner on a large hot pumice stone at your table. This Fondue and 'Kleberstein' evening is organised once a week at the Hemsedal Café. In the village you will also find Peppes Pizza which have a take away system.
Hemsedal Café is an internet café that serves à la carte, pizza and snacks, and (of course) coffee. At Hemsedal Resort there is two restaurants, Stallan and Oxen. Also recommended in the town is Kjøkkenkroken.
There are plenty of organised evening activities, including sleigh rides with mulled wine and a weekly 'Rumpe Rally' tobogganing evening at Hemsedal ski centre and Solheisen ski centre. Those who has had their fill of Tyrolean evenings in the Alps will enjoy the rough and tumble of the weekly Viking Adventure at Huso Fjellgard.
The resort's stable snow conditions throughout the long Scandinavian ski season enable it to produce a superb park with twin half pipes, big jump, quarter pipe, fun box and plenty of other 'rad stuff'. Free riding on the mountain itself is generally excellent with few of the flats associated with some Scandinavian slopes and also quad chairs serving much of the terrain for easy uplift.
The après ski scene is also pretty good for 'boarders with a host of lively venues and an international feel overall.