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.
Family-friendly Trysil is Norway's largest ski destination. Surrounded by unspoilt nature, Trysil was one of the first holiday spots in Europe to achieve the prestigious Sustainable Tourism certification.
If you are craving thrilling adventures, extreme surroundings and Norwegian food specialities, Voss will not let you down.
The mountains at Norefjell, just 90 minutes from Oslo, offer peaceful hikes with a huge view. In winter, this is where to go for skiing and snowboarding – for families and daredevils alike.
In the charming mountain village of Rauland you can enjoy an active holiday by the foot of the Hardangervidda mountain plateau.
In the small village of Hemsedal you are greeted by lush mountain surroundings and some of Norway's best skiing and fly-fishing.
The mountains at Skeikampen have been a popular recreation area for generations. Cruise down a slope, hike a mountain or simply lean back and enjoy the inviting surroundings.
In Stryn you can join a rope team walking up on a glacier, go summer skiing, and enjoy white sandy beaches on the very same day.
The Røldal ski centre in the Hordadalen valley is known for receiving the most snowfall of any area in Norway. It is also one of the best free skiing resorts in the country.
Rjukan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, located by the Hardangervidda National Park. It is known for Gaustatoppen mountain peak and the heavy water sabotages during World War II.
Enjoy the view from the top of Galdhøpiggen, Norway's highest mountain, or walk along the narrow, but popular, Besseggen ridge.
Hafjell, Norway's third largest ski resort, welcomes you to endless slopes, internationally known parks, and up-to-date ski adventures for all ages. In summer, Hafjell turns into a natural playground for both mountain and downhill biking.
Lofoten is known for excellent fishing and nature attractions, and small villages off the beaten track. Kayak between the islands, go fishing for the catch of your life, or look for sea eagles soaring in the sky.
It’s wild, it’s dramatic – and it’s most certainly unique. If you are searching for genuine nature experiences or an active holiday, Narvik is definitely waiting for you.
Up, down, all around. During winter, you will find groomed trails for cross-country skiing crisscrossing the entire country.
Stunning leaps leading to deserted expanses of powder snow, or large ski resorts with all modern conveniences. Either way, it all goes downhill from here.
Stay safe in the mountains by adhering to these simple rules of thumb:
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.
Norway is a country of outstanding natural beauty, with dramatic waterfalls, crystal clear fjords, majestic mountains, and spectacular glaciers. Preserving this landscape, its communities, and their way of life is essential for locals and visitors alike.
You are in Norway, therefore no reason to stay indoors. Here are some fun things to do, whether you're visiting the coast, the mountains or somewhere in between.
The soul singer Marvin Gaye sang that there «ain’t no mountain high enough» – but then again he never came to Norway. With almost 300 mountain peaks above 2,000 metres he would probably have found himself a suitable challenge.