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Top 6 ski touring hot spots

Where on earth can you ski on top of a white powdered mountain with a shockingly beautiful view to a famous fjord? Just follow in the fast tracks of this expert guide, to six great routes with less probability of avalanches.

“It's a crazy experience!”

“Skiing in powder whilst looking down on a fjord several hundred metres below is a very cool adventure”, promises Erlend Sande, the proud co-editor of Safer Ski Touring in Norway, a guide to no less than 111 safer alpine ski touring trips in several parts of Norway.

“Insiders often consider the Alps to be the best place in the world to go skiing, but Norwegian mountains offer a lot of the same kind of spectacular scenery. On top of that, as a bonus, you get the wild fjord landscapes, a long winter season with loads and loads of snow, untouched nature, and numerous easily accessible mountaintops.”

“No wonder Norway is simply establishing itself as the ski touring paradise of the north”, Sande says enthusiastically whilst inhaling like he was eagerly ascending a snowy mountain.

“In fact, the whole of Norway is a skiing destination​.”

Erlend Sande, Co-editor of Safer Ski Touring in Norway

Safer means more fun

Sande and fellow editor Espen Nordahl wanted to create a guide with a focus on safer areas that also offer great fun. The 111 tips come from local, certified ski guides and avalanche experts, and include detailed maps and aerial images – most of which were specifically taken for this purpose.

“Knowledge is the key to choose safer routes and avoid accidents. Safer Ski Touring in Norway is the first guide that shows that there are several breathtaking mountains in various parts of Norway where you can avoid dangerous and unexpected situations”, Sande informs – and quickly adds that part of the motivation for the book was their own personal experiences with avalanches.

Know the snow

“Even though you plan to ski in safer terrains, it is crucial to familiarise yourself with the complex composition of different layers of snow and study local avalanche forecasts closely”, Sande says. During the winter season, The Norwegian Avalanche Warning Service publishes daily avalanche forecasts on the website varsom.no.

The 338 pages long guide is written to help ski enthusiasts manage on their own. Many are already used to the conditions after trips to the Alps, North America, or elsewhere. But at the same time, Sande seizes the opportunity to recommend professional guides:

“Even though I consider myself a highly skilled skier, I always learn something valuable from a mountain guide.”

The easiest way to avoid avalanches is to stay away from avalanche terrain and to keep in mind that avalanches may occur in less steep terrain. Ask local experts and tourist offices for updates on particular snow conditions.

In this video, H.R.H Crown Prince Haakon shares his best tips for a safe ski touring experience.

Gear up for the mountains

Sande stresses that having the right equipment is just as important part as knowing where it is safe to go.

“You will find specialist shops many places, and several guiding companies also rent out necessary gear”, he says.

He would like to remind all skiers of the importance of staying aware of avalanches, as well as bringing a beacon, probe, and a shovel.

And his ultimate advice?

“Remember to follow the recommended route to avoid danger. In real life, no route is 100 percent safe. At the end of the day, you depend on your own choices to return to your base safely.”

Beginner in the game? Check out the ultimate beginners guide to ski touring.

Expert Erlend Sande’s six favourite alpine ski touring routes

Please note that avalanches may occur in less steep terrain, so it's always highly recommended to consult local experts before you go and to use a local guide.

Nibbi, by the ski resort in Hemsedal

Just a three-hour drive from Oslo lies Hemsedal, the number one alpine ski resort for Norwegians. Nibbi always gets a lot of snow of good quality, making it the perfect place for locals to start their skiing season.

Closest train station: Gol (3 hours from Oslo). Closest airport: Oslo

Storanosi, by the skiing town of Voss

Voss is one of the most traditional skiing towns in Norway, and the mountainous route of Storanosi is where you go to earn your powder turns.

Train: It takes 1 hour and 15 minutes from Bergen to Voss, and 5 hours and 30 minutes from Oslo to Voss.

Nearest airport: Bergen

Auskjæret, in the Sunnmøre Alps

The Sunnmøre Alps form an impressive coastal landscape with a lot of steep and challenging terrain. The route of Auskjæret is a good place to start if you want to explore on your own.

Nearest airport: Ålesund

Pilan, in the Lofoten archipelago

There is nothing like the Lofoten Islands in winter. The Pilan route offers an easy start with great views of the Atlantic Ocean and the surrounding mountain peaks.

Nearest train station: Narvik via Sweden.

Nearest airport: When you travel to Lofoten from abroad, you usually have to go via Oslo. From there, you can fly to to Svolvær or Leknes in Lofoten via Bodø or Tromsø. Another option is to fly to Harstad/Narvik Airport and continue your journey from there, which takes around 3 hours by car.

Lille Blåmannen, by the city of Tromsø

The mountain Lille Blåmannen was once supposed to be the venue of the Olympic downhill competition. It’s a favourite mountain amongst the many locals in the ski touring capital of Tromsø.

Nearest airport: Tromsø

Rundfjellet, in the Lyngen Alps

The Lyngen Alps are deservedly the most famous ski touring destination in Norway. Most of the slopes might seem challenging to many, but Rundfjellet is still a good and safe introduction.

Nearest airport: Tromsø

Winter activities in Norway

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