Norway is fast becoming Scandinavia's top ski destination, always famous as a winter wonderland offering a fantastic choice of winter activities, but over the last couple of seasons, it is becoming more and more popular for skiers and snowboarders.
Norway's temperatures are colder than your average European resorts but are no colder than USA or Canada. Another myth is that it is dark all the time, well that's simply not true, granted is that it gets darker earlier in December and January, similar to UK daytimes, however, almost every ski run in flood lit and makes it more magical skiing at dusk. And with cold weather, comes fantastic snowy conditions, making Norway a perfect place to ski and the seasons are usually longer than the average European ski resort too.
Geilo in Norway offers some excellent skiing, particularly for beginners, with its wide, uncrowded slopes and excellent ski schools. This is a charming resort, rich in traditional character, with two areas to enjoy after a day on the slopes, relaxed during the week and getting livelier on weekends.
Beitostolen offers a friendly, safe environment that suits families, beginners and intermediates best. Based on the edge of the Jotunheimen National Park, Beitostolen also offers some of the most dramatic and beautiful scenery and some amazing off piste opportunities. The village centre offers a great choice of bars and restaurants but still offers a relaxed atmosphere of an evening.
Hemsedal, probably the most famous ski resort in Norway, with beautiful forested slopes, huge powder bowls and a huge selection of off piste challenges makes this a resort for all levels of skier. Snowboarders have been returning here year after year with its amazing terrain and snow parks and half pipes. There are two main villages in Hemsedal and both offer excellent choices in bars and restaurants, along with some beautiful traditional accommodations.
Lillehammer, famous for hosting 1994 Winter Olympics, offers a beautiful town with a wide selection of shops, bars and restaurants and an endless list of non ski opportunities. The nearest ski area is Hafjell, little over 15 kilometres from Lillehammer, the ski area caters well for beginners, families and intermediates, uncrowded slopes, excellent English speaking ski school and a wide range of beautiful scenic runs.
For the non skiers in your party, the choice of activities are endless, but to name a few, why not try a husky dog safari, a tree top walk, a search for Santa, snowshoe excursion under the stars, or maybe you would enjoy a day at the Langedrag Nature Park and Mountain Farm?? The choice is huge.
Another plus point for skiing in the beautiful country, is the unusually short transfers to these resorts ranging from 30 minutes to 2 hours, amazing considering you normally need to drive for hours to experience such wonderful ski conditions. So for a ski holiday that is pure magic and a totally winter paradise, give Norway a go, you wont be disappointed. Its simply stunning.
Skiing in Norway is a beautiful experience, the villages are traditionally "oldly worldy", family friendly and all offer snow for sure. The season starts in December right through into April and usually colder than most other European resorts, no colder than Canada or America, and we know with cold comes snow!
Days in Norway are no shorter than they would be in England but it can get darker earlier in December and January so Norway resort piste is often floodlit during these months making skiing even more exciting and enchanting, there's just something magical about skiing when its getting dark.
Many of Norway's resorts are part of the beautiful Norwegian fjords and a lot of the villages are build around the captivating lakeside, the scenery is truly breathtaking. The accommodation tends to be traditional Norwegian hotels and apartments, and are based at the bottom of the mountainside and tend to be close to all the local ski schools and lift systems. And another fantastic attraction to skiing in Norway is the short transfers from the Airport to Resort.
Beginners, intermediates, advanced and boarders are extremely well catered for, there is a great selection and variety in runs, so regardless of your ability, you will find somewhere to suit. Families return here year after year, the local ski schools offer excellent childcare options, with creches and kindergarten and many hotels offer in-house babysitting facilities too.
Non skiers will be in their element in Norway, as the non ski activities are endless, maybe you'd enjoy the husky dog safaris, tree top walks, search for Santa, nature parks, mountain farms, not to mention ice skating or spa facilities, ice fishing, snow shoeing......honestly, there is so many things to do.
The Apres ski in Norway tends to be quieter midweek with a god selection or bars and restaurants but really liven up on a weekend, many live music bars and clubs come to life on a Friday and Saturday.
So if you are looking for a country which offers fantastic snow conditions and a magical atmosphere, traditional type accommodation and beautiful scenery, you really don't need to look any further than Norway, and is now much more accessible with most Ski operators offering flights from many UK airports. Give it a try, you wont be disappointed.
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