Being a winter country, there's no surprise that the Norway is one of the best destinations for skiing. From the north to the south, it’s possible to enjoy a long skiing season that stretches from early November until April. Since last week, most of the nation's resorts are open and hosting the first skiers and snowboarders.
The Nordic country has a wide variety of places to ski, most of them well-regarded as family-friendly destinations that also offer a wide variety of other winter activities, from dog sledding to ice climbing.
“Norway has something for everyone, so it depends on what you looking for,” Georg B. Hana, the international project leader from Innovation Norway, told The Local.
“The ski industry here is not as large as in France or Austria, but it is very important for the region in Norway," he added.
Several ski resorts opened last weekend, which allowed the early bird skiers to get a jump-start on the season.
“A lot of the larger destinations are already open or will open the coming weekend," Hana said.
Ski off-piste in Hemsedal. Photo: Nils-Erik Bjørholt/Visitnorway.com
Contrary to Norway's well-earned reputation as an expensive country, there are three Norwegian ski destinations ranked among the 20 cheapest resorts for a snow-sport break this year, according to UK financial travel site Fairfx.
There’s even a Norwegian destination in the top ten: Geilo, one of the oldest ski resorts of the country. According to Fairfx, the cost of a week of skiing in Geilo is around £291(413 euros, 3,800 kroner).
“The skiers come mostly from Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Russia and the UK,” Hana said, adding that this year has seen an increase in the number of international reservations.
“From the UK so far bookings are up 45 percent,” he said.
Oslo winter park. Photo: Terje Borud/Visitnorway.com
Most of them come because of the family friendly resorts, with specific areas for children. And there’s also plenty of other winter activities making it suitable for everyone.
“Even though destinations are smaller than other destinations like the Alps, Norway has great snow conditions, most family friendly and a good ski-in, ski-out," according to Hana.
If you are looking for a place to ski (or for any winter sport), here are Norway's ten biggest ski resorts:
Trysil is the largest ski resort of the country. Labelled as perfect for families, Trysil consist of one large ski area, linking the three faces of the mountain by lifts and slopes. Featuring one of the most advanced snow-production systems in Norway, there are 150 skiing days per year.
Hemsedal is one of the top ski resorts in northern Europe. Located in the mountains between Oslo and Bergen, Hemsedal offers a large selection of lifts and slopes with varying levels of difficulty and 100 kilometres of cross-country and off-piste skiing. There are also activities including dog sledding, ice climbing and snowshoeing.
Hafjell/Kvitfjell: Hafjell is located 15 kilometres from Lillehammer and only 198km from Oslo, with the giant slalom track used during the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics. Hafjell has recently merged with Kvitfjell and its outstanding Olympic Downhill Run.
Geilo, one of the oldest ski resorts, is also well-known as an outstanding area for kite-skiing. Their ski lifts can be used by 25,000 passengers per hour, a recipe for shorter queues and more fun.
Skiing at Geilo. Photo: CH/Visitnorway.com
Myrkdalen ski resort is close to Voss, only two hours from Bergen. Myrkdalen is a large station with 25 lifts and plenty of other winter activities. Is the largest ski resort in western Norway.
Norefjell is only a 90-minute drive from Oslo, what makes it a very popular ski resort. Norefjell includes Scandinavia’s highest drop and hosted the Olympic Games back in 1952.
Oslo Winter Park is relatively small, but it is located just 20 minutes from Oslo. It offers a vertical drop of 381 metres and the European SuperPipe that will hold the X Games in February 2016.
There are plenty of winter activities beside skiing. Photo: CH/VisitNorway
Hovden is the largest ski resort in souther Norway, located in the Setesdal Valley. It includes a 1,300 metre terrain valley and over 30 slopes, ten lifts and over 30km of groomed descent.
Rauland is a compound of three resorts connected by a free ski bus. It has one of Norway’s best snowboard parks and one of the best destinations for Telemark skiers.
Kongsberg is a modern ski resort located an hour’s drive west of Oslo. Not the longest tracks in the country, but it includes a Slalom hill for competition and a terrain park.