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Vemdalen is one of Sweden's long-established ski areas, owned by the Same company that runs two other leading Swedish ski areas, Are and Salen as well as Hemsedal in Norway. The limited terrain is none the less varied so it's a good choice if you fancy somewhere different and off the beaten track for most mainstream British skiers and boarders. English is widely spoken and the atmosphere friendly, intimate and relaxed. Although Vemdalen won't suit those searching for lots of long runs, it is a good choice for those wishing to experiment with off piste - always assuming conditions are right.

A long established centre, with skiing as far back as 1930, Vemdalsskalet operates a fully interchangeable lift ticket with Bjornrike, both centres being owned by the same company.

Mountain

Vemdalen has wide open pistes on large hills not dissimilar to northern Scotland, only with more snow-surety (backed up by snow making coverage on around half the terrain. The runs are located on both sides of the valley and are split evenly between above and below treeline skiing. The lift ticket covers three other nearby ski areas at Bjornrike - which is of a similar size again and 18km (11 miles) distant; and smaller Klovsjo and Storhogna. Although the terrain is limited by the standard of the Alps, it is varied and of a stature that World Cup GS and Swedish National Championships have been staged here. The Hovdebacken black run (number 6) is the longest at Vendalen, down from the top of Hovde, mogul fields are usually cut up on it or the other black on the mountain Vastpuckeln (Number 8). Blue 13, Hildingsbacke, from Skalsfjallet across the valley is a fast long cruiser whilst the longest run at just over 2km is green number 1 (Pensionaren), also down from Hovden. Off piste is generally safer here than at many resorts, although it is still sensible to ensure you are in a group with a guide. The ski school takes off piste courses so its also a good place to learn your technique. Routes are possible with a hike or even just a traverse from the tops of many of the lifts above Vemdalen and above Bjornrike. At Vendalen you have the option of hiking further up Skalsfjallet than the lifts go to begin your descent. Of the four areas Vemdalen has the most opportunity for above treeline powder field skiing, when conditions are good. All four have plenty of tree skiing opportunities. Night skiing is available on two or three evenings per week, depending on the season. Vemdalen is a great place to take a Telemark ski class or get in to cross country - there are 200km of cross country terrain.

Families

At Vemdalen kids are treated as guests of honour. There's great fun indoors and outdoors with treasure hunts, snowmobile excursions and toboggan races to name but a few. The junior disco with ice-cream binge is quite a highlight - there's music, dancing and games but best of all, no parents! There's a weekly programme advertised in resort All of the individual ski areas have their own kids' clubs - Björnrike - Björnbus, Vemdalsskalet - Skalmanklubben, Klövsjö - Klövsjöligan and Storhogna - Storhognakul. The facilities are available to children from age two. Ski school is also available for children almost as soon as they can walk.

Eating Out

The choice of restaurants is severely limited, with most facilities in one of the base buildings, which is on the other hand, very convenient. Of the four ski areas only Vemdalen has an on mountain establishment, at the top of Hovde from which there are great views. At the base the Vemdalen Hotel complex which dominates the area has a choice of four restaurants. Similarly in Bjornrike the base complex boasts the main restaurant in the resort. Nearly all serve up a mixture of standard dishes known worldwide, together with Swedish and local specialities.

Apres

Nightlife is limited in Vemdalen, especially during the week. However the fact that there are only a few venues means that any chance of night time action is concentrated in one or two places, so you won't miss it! The Hoigfjallshotell in the base at Vemdalen is one such option with three bars including a piano bar that has live music Tuesday to Sunday. The hotel also has the only disco in the area, with three dance floors, which is free to hotel guests. At Bjornrike the place to be is the Nalle Bar with occasional live music.

Boarding

The resort has mixed blessings for boarders with two parks, but virtually all the lifts are drags, and most of those the dreaded T Bars.

// HIGHLIGHTS //
Vertical drop
340m
Ski area
13.1
Resort height
595m
Airport
Stockholm
Train station
Östersund
beginner
20%
intermediate
69%
expert
11%

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