Two hours away by plane, friendly English speaking natives, 5000 years of skiing pedigree, the best winter sports nation on earth, a mountain chain stretching 1800km, an 8-month long season, a network of 500 cabins opened with a single key, ski touring festivals, the northern lights, polar bears, reindeer and not another soul in sight…phew!!!
Is Norway the ultimate ski touring playground. Here’s 10 reasons why you should head north this winter
Whether you drive round them, sail on them, or swim in them their magnificence never fails to amaze. Of course we believe the best way to experience them is to skin up from them and then ski down toward them tearing up the wonderful white stuff as you go. Skiing the fjords is the stuff of legend and a must do on every ski tourer’s bucket list.
From the alpine like peaks of the west coast with fjord and ocean views, to the soaring summits of Sogndal, from the glaciated peaks of Hurrungane and Jotunheimen to the gentle hills around Oslo and Bergen the shear amount and variety of ski touring terrain is enormous. With the entire country covered in snow for the winter any hill becomes a ski touring target providing great snow and challenging lines for everyone.
Two hours by plane from most major European cities, Norway in the middle of winter is like being teleported to Alaska, Japan or Antarctica for that matter. People have settled in all corners of this land and in winter it seems even the most out of the way single lane farm track is methodically ploughed and kept clear of snow. Great for accessing huge swathes of mountains and great for cutting down on the skinning.
4. Summit every day
If you like your skinning up to be rewarded with a summit and a 360-degree panorama, then Norway is the place to do it. A typical days ascending will always bag you a summit, will always get you your photo and will in return always give you all those lovely metres back again on the descent. It’s no wonder the Norwegian for ski-touring is “topptur” literally summit trip.
5. No altitude sickness
There simply is no altitude danger because the mountains aren’t high enough. Great if you’re a bit out of shape as you won’t be punished by the thin air, that said you’ll be robbed of an excuse.
6. Long season and long days
Every day from October to July someone somewhere in this long thin country way up north is out in the backcountry finding a great skiing line. In Norway your ski touring addiction can be fed from as early as October to as late as August. In the summer you can sleep all day and ski all night, if that’s your thing. Long season, long days, long lasting memories!
7. Peace and quiet
We are not saying that ski tourers are an anti-social bunch but there’s a reason why you choose to walk up a mountain when a perfectly good lift would get you somewhere similar. The freedom and distance from the madding crowds is a life affirming experience and nowhere is the freedom and distance greater than in the Norwegian mountains in winter.
8. A good night’s sleep and long breakfast
Long days and stable snow equals long breakfasts! In Norway we wake up at normal times, we have a long breakfast and we ease ourselves into the day, safe in the knowledge the snow is as safe at noon as it was at midnight.
9. Tradition and culture
They say Norway the birthplace of skiing. We’d go one further and say Norway is the home of winter. Winter is in this nation’s blood. For the ski tourer this means a complete winter experience in the valleys as wells as in the mountains. It can also provide for some quite humbling experiences. Don’t be surprised if a group of teenage girls come whizzing past you on the way up or down that steep Norwegian mountainside.
10. Northern lights
OK, this is the one thing we can’t guarantee, but if you are lucky enough to see the Northern Lights we guarantee this alone will have made your trip worthwhile.