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Hemsedal Hemsedal
Photo: Nils-Erik Bjørholt - Visitnorway.com

The secret to skiing lies in the details

Skiing like a Norwegian can be deeply rooted in traditions and rituals. Or you can forget all about that, and just focus on the adrenaline­ surging drops and big jumps.

Coming to Norway, you will probably be told the history of legendary Norwegian Sondre Norheim, the inventor of the world's first relatively stable ski binding and often credited as the big pioneer of modern skiing.

However, the world of skiing has moved on since the mid­19th century (thank goodness!), and skiing in Norway today could just as well be about snowboarding or twin tip terrain park action – or even snow kiting.

At the high mountain ski resorts the season lasts from fall through spring, and – if based at a glacier – some are even open through the summer. While there are cross­country trails and alpine resorts all over the country, the largest and most popular destinations are located in the mountains in central and eastern Norway. In addition to lifts, slopes and trails, these will offer accommodation, good foods and nightlife.

If you want a genuine and traditional Norwegian skiing experience, however, you should perhaps not focus as much on technique, or even where and when to go, so much as the relevant traditions. Winter activities are deeply ingrained in Norwegian culture, which explains why there are as many rituals (and opinions) as there are groomed pistes.

Try a cross­country skiing trip in the forest, and fill your backpack with fresh oranges, and thermoses full of hot chocolate or blackcurrant cordial, a Norwegian “matpakke” (packed lunch), and foam pads for your sitting comfort.

And before you get into your overalls and strap on the skis, talk to a local to get the details right – like what brand of chocolate to buy. Then you’ll blend in with the Norwegians in no time.

Ski Out Race i Trysil
Skistar / www.skistar.com
Skiing in Spanstinden. Close to Narvik
Fredrik Schenholm - Visitnorway.com
Winter in the Mountains
C.H. - Visitnorway.com
Snowboarding in Hemsedal
Hemsedal.com/Nils-Erik Bjørholt

Winter destinations

Skiing is believing

A quick glimpse into some of the skiing opportunities in Northern Norway.

Go up or down

Safety in the mountains

Return to hike another day

Stay safe in the mountains by adhering to these simple rules of thumb:

  1. Do not embark on a trip you're not qualified to complete.
  2. Leave word of your route and planned arrival.
  3. Listen to the forecast and respect the weather.
  4. Equip for bad weather and worsening conditions, even on short trips.
  5. Listen to experienced hikers who know the local conditions.
  6. Bring navigation aids, and know how to use them.
  7. Do not go alone.
  8. Turn around in time - there's no shame in returning to base.
  9. Conserve your strength. Make a snow shelter before you are exhausted.

Leaving it as you found it

Take only pictures, keep only memories

Norwegian philosophy is very much that conservation is everyone's responsibility. Enjoying nature and the outdoors is considered a national pasttime, and this is reflected in our attitude towards the preservation and use of the wilderness.

Whether it's hiking in the mountains or biking an idyllic forest road, Norwegians try to leave as small a footprint as possible. Leave it as you would like to find it is the mantra, regardless of whether you are a guest in the landscape or a small fishing village.

Quality of life is what it is all about, not only now, but for the time to come as well. It's about recognizing that everybody else are just as important as ourselves, and taking steps to implement that thought in all aspects of life. It's not easy, nor is it quickly done. But it is definitely worth it.

Skiing offers

No need to wait until you get here to start planning your trip.


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