You know that old saying, “Norwegians are born with ski on their feet?” We’re not ones to repeat a cliche, but let’s just say that if it was indeed true, they’d have plenty of places to take their ski-clad feet to. There are around 125 ski resorts all over Norway, catering to everyone from families to professional skiers and snowboarders. But if you want to save your slaloms (or, shaky attempts at slaloms thereof) for the best slopes, then the ski resorts listed below are where you should start.
Located in West-Telemark, Rauland skisenter has three interconnected ski areas—Tiur, Holtardalen, and Vierli—with a free ski bus helping you move about, and a joint ski pass for all of them. That practically translates to 41 pistes of various difficulty levels, spanning to a total of 20 kilometers. There’s also a terrain park for snowboarding, and you can take kite-skiing lessons. We do hope you have all day.
As one of the country’s oldest ski resorts, there is a very strong (and proud) ski tradition in Geilo, a town about midway from Oslo to Bergen, in southern Norway. A great destination for a family and with many activities for children, SkiGeilo has 37 slopes that range from “beginners” to “black diamond.” The surrounding area is very interesting as well—Geilo is at the foot of two national parks, Hallingskarvet and Hardangervidda.
Norefjell was the venue for the alpine skiing events during the 1952 Winter Olympics (that took place in Oslo). It’s a mountain ski resort that you can access from Oslo by car, bus, or ferry, or even take a transfer bus directly from Gardermoen airport. It has two snow parks, one close to Bøsæter, and one close to Skistua, both with features and obstacles for various difficulty levels.
Just 35 minutes away from Lillehammer, Skeikampen has been attracting cross-country skiers since 1895—although the resort’s first ski lift was built in 1959. If you love cross-country skiing, you’ll enjoy how varied the terrain here is: right on the border between the Skeikampen mountain and a fir-tree forest.
Did you know there is such as thing as Scandinavian Alps? The term may not be 100% official, but it’s definitely well-deserved: the craggy Hallingdal mountain-slopes rise up to 1,500 meters (don’t worry, there’s a lift), making Hemsedal the ski resort with the highest lift-served slopes in all of Scandinavia. There are more than 50 slopes to choose from—and the largest children’s ski area in Norway.
Although it’s smaller than most of the other ski resorts on the list, Oslo Vinterpark gets points because of its location: it’s just a subway ride away from Oslo. There are 18 slopes for various levels of difficulty, as well as a SuperPipe for snowboarding. Oslo Vinterpark is where the World Snowboarding Championships (WSC) were held in 2012.
Trysil is located in Hedmark county, in the region of Østerdalen, very close to the border of Sweden. It’s undoubtedly Norway’s largest ski resort, with interconnected ski areas on three sides of the mountain and different slopes for everyone. There are also many accommodation options here—from resort hotels to cabins and modern flats—so you can ski all day long.
Do you want to feel like a movie star while skiing? Then Hafjell, where many events from the Winter Olympics of 1994 were held, is perfect for you. Not only do they offer 47 kilometers of ski slopes and several terrain parks, they also have something called SkiMovie—a slope that’s equipped with automatic timing and filming equipment to document your every triumph! And did we mention they also have a gondola?
Are you one of those people who can never choose between a mountain and a beach holiday? You will be pleased to know that Myrkdalen is located a short drive away from Sognefjord, in West Norway—so even if you get bored skiing, you won’t lack for options. Not that it’s very possible to get bored skiing: Myrkdalen has 22 slopes for all difficulty levels and some great off-piste terrain.
Hovden is located in the Aust-Agder county, in the Setesdal valley. It’s actually the largest ski resort in southern Norway, with over 30 slopes that will set you up with more than 30 kilometers of downhill skiing. There are also many cool events happening in the alpine lodge.