The jury that decided Norway's ten best places to go cross-country skiing consisted of such former skiers as Trude Dybendahl Hartz, Erling Jevne, Anette Bøe and Hilde Gjermundshaug Pedersen - all of them former gold vinners on an international level.
Cross-country skiing is a favourite winter pastime in Norway, and a list encompassing places that will be familiar to most enthusiasts, like Geilo and Beitosølen, as well as less obvious choices such as Svalbard and Trondheim, is certainly expressing the diversity available in Norway. Have a good trip.
1. Sjusjøen, Hedmark
Known as a prime site for skiing, biking and trekking, the famous Birkebeinerløypa (The Birkebeiner Trail) is integral to Sjusjøen. Here, you will find more than 350 kilometres of well-made tracks for cross-country skiing through terrain ranging from forested to mountainous, as well as a large selection of available accomodation.
2. Gålå, Gudbrandsdalen
Over 200 kilometres of tracks through varied terrain can be found at Gålå. One of the tracks is made on artificial snow and is thus available for use well before the season starts elsewhere. Accomodation at Gålå is plentiful and varied.
3. Holmenkollen, Oslo
One of the main gateways to Nordmarka, Holmenkollen is the starting point of many kilometres of cross-country tracks in the vicinity of Oslo, many of them floodlit. In Nordmarka you will rarely be far from a staffed cabin where you can buy food, drink or snacks. There are also many staffed and unstaffed cabins offering overnight stays.
4. Beitostølen, Oppland
More than 300 kilometres of tracks for cross-country skiing through the Norwegian mountains are on offer at Beitostølen. You will also find many other available activities here.
Geilo can offer more than 500 kilometres of well-prepared tracks through varied terrain suitable for for skiing. The trails around the Ustedalsfjord are recommended for families with small children, while the trek to Hallingskarvet will satisfy the more demanding skiers. At Geilo you will find accomodation in all price ranges. Geilo is situated mid-way between Bergen and Oslo and is easy to get to by train.
Skeikampen has a large network of tracks with connections to Peer Gynt Ski Region and Kvitfjell. The combined 600 kilometres of ski-track of Skeikampen will take you through terrain varying from forest to mountains, less than three hours from Oslo by car. A wide selection of accomodation is available locally.
7. Bymarka, Trondheim
Near Trondheim lies Bymarka with over 250 kilometres of ski-ready tracks, many of them floodlit. Trondheim was the first capital of Norway and has plenty of places to stay, allowing you to combine your cross-country skiing holiday with some city living.
8. Hovden, Setesdal
Hovden's tracks are maintained on a daily basis and will take you through both forests and mountainous terrain, as well as lit tracks in both the surrounding countryside and the local cross-country arena. Plenty of accomodation is available in Hovden, ranging from simple camping cabins to cabins of a more luxurious standard.
9. Norefjell, Buskerud
Only 1,5 hours by car or bus from Oslo lies Norefjell with a large and well made network of tracks. The area has been extensively built-up in later years, and a wide variety of accomodation is available.
The northernmost permanently settled place in Europe, the skiing season at Svalbard runs from November until May. You can get there by air from Tromsø and/or Oslo and join organised trips across the glaciers or to one of the peaks in the unforgettable arctic landscape.