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One of Norway's oldest ski resorts, Geilo epitomises what skiing in Norway is all about and will particularly appeal to families, beginners and those looking for an all-round winter holiday experience rather than a full-on skiing one.

Overview

Geilo ski resort is a traditional and charming village situated in a wide valley midway between Bergen and Oslo on the edge of Norway's largest national park, the Hardangervidda, which is also the largest mountain plateau in Northern Europe. Its scenery is impressive: endless snow-covered fells bathed in that uniquely Scandinavian winter light.

Despite its low altitude (800m), its location and climate make it extremely snowsure, and while there is terrain to suit all levels, Geilo is a resort best-suited to beginners, intermediates and, especially, families.

Ski area

Geilo has two ski areas on either side of the wide valley floor, Slaatta and Geilolia, connected by a ski bus, and its 39 runs are cut into the trees below the plateau. First-timers are well catered for with gentle nursery slopes, easy progressive runs and an excellent ski school with English-speaking instructors. Intermediates will particularly enjoy the wide open cruising reds, especially from the top of Geilohovda and Gullsteinhovda on the Slaatta side, and Biodnahovda on the opposite slope.

For more experienced skiers, the well-prepared slopes include a handful of blacks from the same lift-tops and there are a few off-piste areas. The resort also has five terrain parks with all-ability features to keep new and experienced freestylers happy. And for something exotic, on the Hardangervidda plateau you can try kite-skiing where you let the wind pull you across the snowy fells.

The resort is quiet, especially during the week, so if you enjoy skiing on perfectly groomed, uncrowded slopes, Geilo will keep you happy for days. And after a snowfall you don't even have to leave the marked runs to get a taste of that fresh powder feel beneath your skis.

Off the slopes and apres ski

Away from the downhill slopes Geilo really comes into its own as an all-round winter resort: dog sled safaris, horse-drawn sleigh rides, ice-fishing, snowshoe walks, tobogganing and the year-round Treetop Walk adventure park are all great fun, and if you've never tried cross-country skiing, Geilo is a great place to have a go on the long, skinny skis (it's almost as common as walking in rural Norway!) .

The apres is lively at weekends, but can be quiet during the week, when it's mostly family-orientated. Most of the bars, restaurants and cafes are on the Geilo side of the valley. The Geilolia side is quieter, with a purpose-built ski centre, but does have some delightful cabin accommodation in the trees as well as the excellent Vestlia Resort with its wonderful, huge spa.

When the party does get started, Off-Pist and Recepten are the best places to be. 

Scandinavian cuisine is superb, and Geilo has its own celebrity chef, Frode Aga, whose Hallingstuene restaurant offers delicious dishes using local ingredients. At the other end is Peppes Pizza, a Norwegian instituion, serving pizza and pasta dishes, while families will enjoy the Bowl & Dine experience at Geilo's famous Dr Holms hotel.

Families

With perfect English coming as standard, whether it's the hotel receptionist or the ski instructors, Norway is perfect for families. Everything from the accommodation to the childcare, the off-slope activities and the ski schools is tailored to ensuring families get the most from their holiday here. The hospitality is exceptional, and what's more, children under six ski free. 

 
// HIGHLIGHTS //
Apres Ski
7
Families
10
Lift System
8
Off the slopes
8
Off-piste
5
Resort Charm
8
Ski Area
7
Vertical drop
378m
Altitude range
800-1178m
Ski area
35
Parks
5
Resort height
800m
Summit
1178m
Airport
Fagernes
Train station
Geilo
beginner
55%
intermediate
39%
expert
6%