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Romsdalen Romsdalen
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Romsdalen.
Photo: Sverre Hjørnevik/visitnorway.com
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Add some drama to cycling

Visit one of the world’s most mountainous countries and discover unheard biking opportunities.

It seems logical that you should have to endure hours of agony climbing the Norwegian mountains before you can enjoy the fun of freeride mountain biking or racing downhill.

More and more ski resorts in the Norwegian mountainside allow adrenaline-seeking mountain bikers to use their lifts during summer, to contend with downhill runs of varying levels of difficulty.

Many people see this as a form of extreme sport, and believe us – it can be just that, with challenging terrain and inventive track designs with a mixture of natural and manmade obstacles. However, there are courses for children as young as seven years old as well.

You could bring your own full-suspension or hardtail bike, or you could rent a dedicated downhill bike and all the equipment you need. Many freeride and downhill venues are situated close to other sports facilities, for example skateparks, high rope courses, via ferrata climbing areas or kayak rentals.

And don´t forget to wear your helmet. 

 

Storfjorden
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Storfjorden.
Photo: Sveinung Myrlid - Visitnorway.com

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Storfjorden.
Photo: Sveinung Myrlid - Visitnorway.com

Top 5 freeride bike parks

Kristoffer Kippernes is the editor-in-chief at Norway’s major cycling magazine terrengsykkel.no. He welcomes visitors to mingle on the publication’s web forum, which has become a hub for the two-wheeled community. Here are his top 5 “playground” tips for freeride and downhill cyclists.

Hafjell
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Hafjell.
Photo: Hafjell.no

1. Hafjell Bike Park

“Norway’s premier bike park with trails of World Cup standard.”
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Hafjell.
Photo: Hafjell.no

Norway’s premier bike park is internationally recognized, with trails of World Cup standard. Bikers have access to a comfortable and quick gondola cable car, a wide range of equipment for hire, and the Skavlen restaurant, which has a separate section for those who bring their own food.

Location:
At the top of the lush Gudbrandsdalen valley, a 20-minute drive north of the Olympic city of Lillehammer.

Suitable for:
Cyclists of all skill levels. The park satisfies the most demanding bikers.

Drammen
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Drammen.
Photo: Sven Fjeldheim

2. Drammen Ski Centre

“An enjoyable balance between natural and built trails.”
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Drammen.
Photo: Sven Fjeldheim

Norway’s second most important freeride (downhill) area, with an enjoyable balance between natural and man-made trails. The bike park is situated in the winter park, with an express lift that takes you to the top.

Location:
In Drammen, less than an hour’s drive from Oslo.

Suitable for:
Cyclists of all skill levels. The park is especially suitable for families.

Nesbyen
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Nesbyen.
Photo: Ove Grøndal

3. Nesbyen, Hallingdal

“Low-key but fun trails in hilly forest terrain.”
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Nesbyen.
Photo: Ove Grøndal

Low-key but fun trails in hilly forest terrain. An uphill car shuttle compensates for the lack of a lift.

Location:
In Hallingdal, among Eastern Norway’s major valleys.

Suitable for: 
Enthusiasts with some experience who come for the fun.

Narvik
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Narvik.
Photo: Helle Holt

4. Narvikfjellet

“Designed for hard-core downhill enthusiasts.”
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Narvik.
Photo: Helle Holt
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Kristiansand
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Kristiansand.
Photo: Bryn Perrett Photography​

5. Kristiansand Sykkelpark

“A small-scale downhill bike park with ambitions.”
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Kristiansand.
Photo: Bryn Perrett Photography​

A small-scale freeride/downhill bike park with ambitions. Experts from other bike parks help out to improve the cycling facilities. Cyclists have access to the country’s shortest ski lift. 

Location
Kristiansand, the southernmost part of Norway.

Suitable for:
Experienced downhill bikers.

Other freeride/downhill cycling offers

Be inspired by this freeride biking video

The trail code

Manners and common sense on the trail

Having great trails to ride on is not a right, but a privilege. The Norwegian Organization for Mountain Biking (NOTS) urges everyone to be considerate of the trails and ski trails. Here are the most important guidelines for trail-wit.

  • Be considerate and give way for pedestrians and skiers.
  • Limit your speed, avoid being a danger or nuisance to others.
  • Avoid making new trails.
  • Don't cross the ski tracks more than necessary.
  • Don't ride on vulnerable trails just after periods of heavy rainfall.
  • Don't ride in the ski trails when it is breakthrough snow.
  • Don't make the trail wider.
  • Carry your bike through marshlands to prevent deep grooves. 
  • Don't lock the rear wheel when riding down steep hills.
  • The biker riding uphill has the right of way.
  • Avoid riding in the most popular ski trails during peak hours on weekends and public holidays.

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 pastime, 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.

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